New Experiences in a New Continent

New Experiences in a New Continent
5th April 2018

I arrived from Vancouver, Canada one week ago and learning that my name, Neda, means “no” in Uganda’s language (Luganda) was a great first lesson in living here.


When I first arrived in Uganda I was at the same time excited and nervous, as it is my first time on the continent of Africa. We were first greeted by a welcoming Joseph, our volunteer coordinator, and a driver who drove us from Entebbe to Busembatia in a very hot car ride. That is probably the first thing foreigners need to adjust to: always being hot. Coming from Canada where it is winter it was an especially stark contrast; but I love the warmth and I think I am adapting already. Other new things to adjust to have been: bucket showers (which aren’t too bad!), long drop toilets, chickens, cows, and goat all around us and waking us up, and the mosque’s call to prayer very early in the mornings. Getting a lot of attention because we are foreign is also a new experience I haven’t had since I was in China a few years ago so I need to get used to that again.


However, I’m excited to get acquainted with food tasting differently, modes of communication being different, my perception of time and distance changing, learning new words in a language, building new relationships and connections, learning from a new culture in endless ways, and of course exploring cities like Jinja and Kampala.


I am mostly excited for the work I will get to do and the coordination experience I will gain as a team leader, and learning about the inner workings of a local women’s NGO at the grassroots level. Photography is one of my favourite hobbies so I am also really looking forward to creating content through photography and videos. I hope to grow personally and professionally through my 6 months here and I hope I will take everything that happens with an open heart and a flexible mindset.


Written by Neda Shadbakht

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