6 September 2015: Today I had the awesome experience of explaining the Role of the Pharmacist in Academia and encouraging students to envision their future careers as a way to stay motivated to learn in Pharmacy School. The Makerere University Pharmacy Student Association (MUPSA) held a “Career Day” for all levels of pharmacy students to help them learn more about the professional opportunities in the field of Pharmacy. The day long event brought many speakers with different expertises to talk about their fields, and I was invited to speak about Pharmacists in Academia. The student who introduced me gave me the best ever introduction. He commented on my dedication to the field of pharmacy and my desire to help students learn and he then said “she spend 3 hours in the classroom and then comes to the hospital with us and spends 3 hours at the patients’ bedside…we tire before she does”. I guess this is probably true. I know that my time working with the Ugandan students is limited and I always try to make the most of my time here so no doubt I probably make them work very hard. But, I believe he and the other students truly appreciate me and that is what makes coming to Uganda worth it!
In the afternoon I was able to meet up with my long-time Ugandan friend, Irene, and her husband and their 3 adorable babies! She just recently had the twins who are now just about 4 months old. They live in Mbale which is a 5 hour drive northeast of Kampala so I don’t often get to see Irene. I met her here during my very first trip to Uganda. She was working for The Water Trust, a water, health and sanitation NGO in Masindi and we’ve been friends ever since. Thanks to social media and email, even though we are far apart we can keep in touch.
Finally, this evening I was able to meet up with Kiran, an American Anthropology Faculty member in the USA, whom I met when she and her husband were here on sabbatical last year through a Fulbright grant. We, too, have kept in touch via social media but since she lives in the Midwestern USA, a 2 day’s drive from Pennsylvania, we haven’t gotten together on U.S. soil. But when I found out her trip to Uganda would overlap with mine by just 1 day, we decided to take advantage of that and meet to catch up. It is funny that we both had to come halfway across the world to get together. Kiran and her husband, Russ, have continued to do work after the Fulbright time ended with ACODE, which is a really cool organization. ACODE stands for Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment. They are an “independent public policy think tank helping to conserve the environment and promote sustainable development, promote social justice, to promote public participation in policy making at all levels, to promote dialogue and understanding among different groups, to promote peaceful resolution to conflicts, and to promote science, technology, and innovation in the East African community.” (from the ACODE website) In other words, what I think they do is encourage and support local community leaders to get involved in public policy and activities to promote justice, peace, and advancement for their people and the environment.