I do not know where to start. Preparations for departure basically already began back in November. Dedicating myself to this volunteer project meant for example that I was to find a short term job in Guernsey, and that I had to fly to Barcelona to move out of my apartment. From that moment on, I went through different stages of concern, and (mostly) excitement. I have to admit that it is really quite a challenge to make arrangements while working a nine to five. Everything is open while I am at work, and once I am off, its all closed! I have often wondered how others get things done this way. Well, my theory is that if you run fast enough, you can get it all done in your breaks, spread over weeks 🙂
A couple of things were particularly important to start arranging early on, like the visa and the vaccinations. In my case I had to fly to London to apply for a new passport. When I received my new passport I sent it off to the visa application office via the post. Vaccinations, wow, needed quite a few of them! So the rest of my running in my breaks had to be done with two pinched arms. Vaccinations include: Mengingitis, Yellow Fever, Typhoid and Rabies. Luckily I am already immune to Hep A&B, diphtheria, Tetanus, and Polio. Apart from these vaccinations I was recommended by the nurse to take two Cholera drinks and to bring Malaria pills for 99 days. Quite something! I was very lucky that the Guernsey state covers the costs of the vaccinations, as it is for a Charitable cause. Lucky lucky! Thank you Guernsey!
While arranging the important stuff, it has been inspiring to read bits and pieces of books and watch documentary’s about the people and culture of Uganda. You must have heared of “The last King of Schotland”, and for example a documentary called “Virunga” are very good to watch. Books I have looked at include “ABYSSINIAN CHRONICLES”, BY MOSES ISEGAWA, “Uganda Now: Between Decay & Development”, edited by Holger Bernt Hansen & Michael Twaddle, and “Culture and Customs of Uganda”, by KEFA M. OTISO. There are also quite a few interesting articles out there based on World Bank research. I like to believe that the more I read the better my understanding will be. Do you have any more recommendations? Please share in the comments!
Apart from doing my own research, I have been offered a sea of information through ICS and Challenges Worldwide, about the project, security, team leading etc. After our pre-departure training I printed most of the important slides and fitted them in my filofax, and saved the other files on iBooks in order to be able to access them from anywhere. My Filofax also contains weekly planners, so that I can keep track of all the other volunteers, some lists to write down goals, concerns, to do’s, idea’s for activities, etc., and bits and pieces of Luganda and Swahili language, accompanied by my notes on culture. After wrestling my way through, and organising a pile of exciting information, it has just come down to packing my things, so I better get started!