Fernanda Flores - 2015 Program Participant
Dance with your heart and your feet will follow - afternoon dance time at the school
Why did you decide to volunteer abroad?
I thought it was great to help a country that really needs to improve many things, and besides that, it's interesting to learn about a different culture.
Why did you choose The Real Uganda?
I like to be with kids, and just be around when they need something.
What was your favorite part about your placement?
The kids were awesome; the program was great. You learn more than you teach them! There are just a few kids, so you get really close to them and you have many chances to be around with them.
What surprised you most about rural Uganda?
The most surprising thing was that you know that there's poverty, but not in the way you think. Even if they live in really bad conditions and poverty, they are really happy and nice people; they give you more than you can give to them.
In what ways did the local staff support you throughout your time in Uganda?
The local staff is awesome, they always try to look after your best interests and help you in all the ways they can.
How difficult was it to communicate with locals?
It was really easy most of the people understand English. The only ones that it was hard to communicate with were the small kids, but I think it's not a problem at all.
The only thing to do great work is to love what you do.(My last day farewell)
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
Spend more time on the weekends with them.
What was the hardest part about volunteering abroad?
My hardest part of volunteering was at the beginning, when I first had to get used to the food and that there was no power or water. But it wasn't really a hard part for long, because I got used to it really fast and everything was great, so I felt at home.
Describe a day in the life of your program.
My day starts at 7:30 a.m. I wake up and go to the kitchen to help with whatever they need, then I go to the school and maybe teach them or play with any class that I have a chance. Then I go back for break time to serve them the breakfast, and after that I help to cook or wash the dishes. I prepare activities for the kids for the afternoon, and then I have lunch with them (they really appreciate when you have lunch with them). I then help again in the kitchen.
When school is over, I play with the kids or help them to do whatever they need to do, and after they finish the work I just play with them and have dinner together. If the kids are sent to the garden I go with them and help them.
What was your favorite activity during your program?
Going to the garden was my favorite, because you see how the kids, even if they are working, really enjoy it. They play around the garden and it's really nice to see them out there.
What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like best about it?
I lived at the orphanage, but I had my own room. I didn't have power or running water (just bucket showers and a squat toilet), but at the end you get used to it and it's completely fine.
Do you have any packing tips for individuals headed to Uganda?
Yes, they should try to pack really compact. A flashlight, a pillow, and in my case, a sleeping bag wasn't needed. Bring light clothes, maybe some snacks if you get hungry, insect repellent, and stuff like that.
How has volunteering abroad changed your life?
It changed the way I see things a lot. It has helped me to be more humble, and I now think I can do everything. The first week was tough, but after It was amazing. I really miss the kids and being with them.
What do you feel the biggest benefit of volunteering abroad is?
It definitely helps you to see and experience their everyday life and the poverty that they live in. You have the opportunity to learn from different cultures and traditions, and I think they end up teaching you more than you can leave them with. I definitely could consider it to be one of the best experiences of my life.
A smile is the shortest distance between two people - free time on the weekend with the kids
Would you recommend The Real Uganda to other volunteers?
I would recommend The Real Uganda to everyone. Their treatment was awesome and the programs to.
If you could volunteer abroad again, where would you go?
I would go back to Uganda, or maybe another part of Africa.