First Impressions

Written by Hanne Tvedt, Assistant Project Coordinator

I arrived in Uganda about three weeks ago, and the first three weeks have been interesting, challenging, and fun! I can’t believe it has been three weeks already. I have a growing fear that my months here are going to go by way too quickly.

Even though I have been to Uganda before, I am struck by how green and lush and beautiful it is as we drive the two-hour drive from bustling Kampala to the smaller and more quiet Kasana where the volunteer house is located.

hanne3The volunteer house.

The first couple of days were spent settling in the volunteer house with my fellow new intern and WIGG coordinator Emma. Our proudest moment was when we made a perfect batch of English muffins. It is not easy cooking without an oven and without power!

Walking to Shanti is probably one of my favourite things to do during the day.  It takes about half an hour to walk there from the volunteer house in town and it is a beautiful walk although usually a very hot experience, especially for us mzungus who are used to a different climate. There are always a lot of people around and while the older people will greet you with a smile and a ‘good morning’, you will often hear a chorus of kids chanting ‘bye mzungu’ as you walk by while the more daring ones run up to you wanting high-fives.  It is amazing how they never seem to get tired of this and are just as excited to see us now as they were on our first day here.


Shanti’s birth house.

Shanti is located in Nsaasi village in beautiful green and lush surroundings.  Some days Shanti is busy and bustling with energy with pregnant women doing prenatal yoga with Flora, kids and adults waiting to get their vaccinations and the hut full with the HIV positive women’s income generating group working or having a workshop with one of the Shanti interns.

Other days you arrive at Shanti and there is a peaceful and quiet atmosphere, a perfect day to bring your work and spend the day doing your work in the beautiful surroundings.

When you look at maternal health statistics in Uganda you become aware of  how important the work that places like Shanti does is, and how much it means for the women here to get the mother centred care that Shanti offers.


I am excited for what experiences lay ahead of me for the next couple of months. I want to learn more, meet more people, travel to see more of beautiful Uganda and spend more days at Shanti…and make more English muffins.

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