By Alexis Deeb
The e-mail was entitled “!” from Tom McEvoy. He informed me that I would be spending nine months working at the Engeye Health Clinic in Southern Uganda in a small rural village called Ddegeya.
I said good-bye to the world of declining balance, running water, delivery and familiarity and entered an entirely new world. “My friend you buy this monkey from me. 10,000 shillings.”
Well, this was a first. The picturesque perception of life in Africa, from what I had imagined at least, is quite true.
People really do walk around carrying everything from a basket to a jerry can to four dozen eggs on top of their head. Chickens, roosters, goats, and cows freely roam the village… and monkeys too.
My alarm goes off at 4:30 every morning—the clinic’s rooster. My early mornings are spent working in the pharmacy dispensing medicine to the patients, varying from 65 to 80 a day.
Some mornings I opt for digging in the field, where I have been planting coffee trees (that’s right, I have my own hoe and machete).
Following those activities I walk down the dirt road from the clinic to St. Gertrude’s Primary School, where I teach English to sixth- and seventh-grade students. Never in my life have I seen children so eager to learn.
The majority of my time has been spent working with a group of village women to create the first ever Engeye Craft Co-op.
We are producing headbands, bags, skirts, duvet covers and much more. You will have your chance to purchase plenty come spring term!
To read more about my experience in Ddegeya, take a look at my blog: www.bizalexisdeeb.tumblr.com