Wednesday, March 27, 2024

One Month In Uganda

I can't believe it has been a month, since I entered Uganda! So much has been accomplished, experienced, and learned in such a short time. God is good all the time!

I have met all the administrative staff, but now it's time to meet the academic staff, establish mechanisms for quality improvement, monitoring and evaluation. Much is to be done in this area.

Well, I met the instructors during our first academic staff meeting!

During the meeting we were able to share the mission and vision of the university, the community challenges, and share ideas and thoughts of our next steps on establishing IGUKA.

Prior to the meeting, I was able to compile the data from student evaluations of their instructors and after analyzing the data identified the trends. I also administered a needs evaluation to the academic staff. I wonder what the data will reflect, when it is all collected.

After the meeting, we broke bread together. I look forward to our work together in establishing IGUKA!

The academic staff pose for a picture after the meeting.

 


Team: Academic Registrar and Quality Assurance Offer pose for a picture.



Things Moving Fast

Everything is moving quickly. I was provided many documents to review concerning the policies of the university while simultaneously researching the national accrediting governing bodies to gather information on quality assurance, higher education school of education requirements, standards of and indicators to receive full accreditations from theses bodies within Uganda. It is necessary and rewarding work but a bit challenging with the instability of the infrastructure in Kabale. However, we move on and forward.

 Now, I am more knowledgeable of Higher Education accrediting bodies requirements in Uganda. I have examined recent national policy changes to improve the quality of education at all levels and am confident that St. Ignatius University Kabale will be able to implement programs that are sustainable and will improve the surrounding community. 

 St. Ignatius is a young institution and there is work to be done for the revision of a few of their recently launched program structures, the development of programs, and the implementation of new programs. Two of the new programs are the Bachelor's of Arts or Science in Primary Education and Secondary Education. The establishment of Education Department is necessary with the new national policies and the rapidly increasing population. The need for professors that are innovative and are able to engage the community and business partners are a necessary resource that is scarce in Kabale.

So, if you have a Doctorate in any academic field, especially in education, information technology, sciences or agriculture, consider missionary work in Kabale, Uganda. It's a calling that we hope you answer.

 I did have the time, on the weekend, to travel to other parts of Uganda. The landscape is beautiful. I visited the hometown of the Vice Chancellor, Fr. Dr. Ngabirano, where his parents still reside. Alongside of the home are many acres of produce, especially green tea. It is a beautiful area. Unfortunately, for me I left my cell. I do hope to visit again this time with my camera. 

Monday, March 25, 2024

Lake Victoria

 

Lake Victoria is a beautiful lake and is the largest lake in the continent of Africa and the third largest in the world. The lake has three different islands; one mainly consists of a luxury resort, another is inhabited by mainly one family but there are other homes there, and one is uninhabited. During the boat tour the guide provided the history of Lake Victoria, due to technical difficulties, only some of his comments were captured.

There is beautiful scenery of the lake and the islands captured on the pictures and videos.













Thursday, March 21, 2024

Week 2 Continued: Fun

Fun! That is the only way to describe this week.

I visited Kampala, the capital of Uganda. We took an eight-hour bus ride from Kabale to Kampala and on this journey, we actually drive through the equator. Not many people can say that they walked or drove through the equator.  

Kampala brings out all the feelings of a big city with aspects of rural life on the outskirts. Surprisingly, it is very crowded. The most common way to travel is by motorcycle and they have many "Bodaboda," which means motorcycle taxi, at corner streets patiently waiting for customers. I personally have never been on a motorcycle, so it was both scary and exhilarating at the same time. I traveled part of the way, coming from the suburban area by motorcycle to the city and then by car within the city. It was the most interesting travel experience for me. It was myself and the University Secretary, Dr. Catherine Promise Biira that traveled to Kampala from St. Ignatius University Kabale. 


Driving in the heart of the city, I was able to observe the home of the King, Parliament and other government buildings. The city has such a rich history and is a religious area mainly of three prominent religions with signs of dioceses, churches and buildings throughout the heart of the city. The three most prominent religions are Catholic, Muslim and Anglican/Protestant. There are many areas and they seem more like small compounds of several buildings that may include living quarters of lay persons and those of the cloth. During this visit, we went to the Uganda Catholic Secretariat which is the headquarters of the Catholic Church in Uganda. 




On the drive back from this closely knit compound, we were able to observe the statutes of the different most prominent clans of Uganda. The statutes represent the animals that they find to be sacred. By now it was late afternoon, and we decided to purchase grilled fish to bring to the residence for our meal. I was an invited guest of Dr. Catherine Promise Biira during my stay in Kampala, whose primary residence is in the suburban area outside of Kampala. From her home there is a beautiful view of Lake Victoria. The meal was delicious as fresh caught fish tastes amazing. It was most definitely a long day but refreshing.  


In my next blog, I will share our boat tour of Lake Victoria. 



Bye for now. 

Monday, March 11, 2024

Week 2: Challenges and Blessings

Well, it's been full of challenges and pleasurable experiences.

The most challenging aspect of living in Uganda are the lack of modern Western conveniences. Such as a constant flow of electricity and wifi, as well as public transportation.

Even though these are daily circumstances, we still move forward. You adjust to cold showers. You rely more on produce than refrigerated items of consumption. You take more breaks to enjoy conversations and the scenery.

I have been appointed as the Quality Assurance Officer of St. Ignatius University Kabale, which heavily relies on technology as a resource and tool to gather an understanding of the different nuances of Higher Education in Uganda. It is a young institute that currently holds provisional national certifications and is aspiring to be fully certified by the end of 2024. The current staff and faculty are pioneers, as they wear several hats as they collectively work on increasing enrollment. 

Comparatively to the United States, the national accrediting bodies of Higher Education are similar in focus, policy and monitoring tools. As the university grows the surrounding community will benefit and further develop. Conversations with staff regarding the status of implementation and what's next has allowed me to understand the founders mission and vision of the University. I look forward to the engaging work that lies ahead.

 


The campus has a few buildings and is still building.

Next, will be a blog of my adventures to the capital, Kampala.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Week 1: Arrival

Rwanda and Uganda are beautiful countries with green, wet, and mountainous terrains. It was breathtaking watching the countryside through the car window while driving. The soil is red and most roads are dirt roads, but the city areas and highways are asphalt. This first picture was taken during the travel to Kabale. This is how the majority of the country looks like.

 



I had the pleasure to meet several people within the community. The Diocese feels like a well developing compound on top of a mountain. There are several primary, secondary and post secondary institutions surrounding the Bishop’s home.

I had the pleasure of having dinner with Bishop Rubaramira a few days after my arrival. The Bishop welcomed me to Kabale, Uganda. During our meal, he provided rich information about the history of Uganda and the diocese. I find the people within the community to be warm and welcoming. The next few pictures are areas located on the property and walking distance from my sleeping quarters. 





Wednesday, February 7, 2024

The Beginning of New

 

Wow! What a year 2023! It was the end of old and the beginning of new!

Formation 2024 was a learning experience of myself, spiritual revelation, scripture, Lay Mission-Helpers Staff and the Association’s impact throughout the world. It allowed the sharing of previous missionaries’ experiences, their lessons learned, and gain support from caring and service-oriented individuals for the journey to come.

During formation, the knowledge gained prepared me for travel abroad within cultures and environments that I had not previously experienced, mitigating the apprehension that comes with this journey. Of course, there is still a bit of anxiety, not only of what is to come in a foreign country but what has not been resolved at home before boarding the plane. One item that has not been resolved is that my house still has not been sold. I can only pray that it will sell within the next couple of months or only God will be able to determine my next steps.

However, a new journey is always exciting. The anticipation of learning about another culture, meeting new people, and traveling is wonderful.  Being able to use the talent that God graced you with on a mission that may have long standing impacts to the development within another community or country is a blessing. I have been missioned to the Diocese of Kabale in Uganda, at St. Ignatius University by Bishop Callist Rubaramira to assist with the development of their Education Department.

I am packed and physically ready! I am almost mentally ready! Looking forward to the journey of 2024.

One Month In Uganda

I can't believe it has been a month, since I entered Uganda! So much has been accomplished, experienced, and learned in such a short tim...