We can’t believe how time flies! Our group has been enjoying the
company of our old and new friends in Shilongo. I am so happy to
reconnect with so many old friends and introduce Kevin and Abby to
them! Although it is only Kevin and Abby’s first time, the community
has welcomed them with open arms as if they have been friends for years.
As soon as we wake up, Atha (a four year old boy) is already chasing
after Kevin saying “konga” hoping to get a piggy back ride.

Because we are staying within the village at people’s homes, we are
learning so much more about their culture and language. We even got
to see one of the most significant cultural events that only takes
place once every two years up in Wanale Mountain at a place called
Busano. This event was a celebration for the completion of their
circumcision year—a very traditional ceremony that boys endure to be
introduced into their village as a man. At this conclusion ceremony,
all of the men of Busano celebrated together by a traditional dance in
a big circle. At the center of the circle, there were drummers who
kept the festivity alive, and the men entered the ceremony in groups
as they arrived from their different villages. Slowly, the circle
grew larger and larger. The men were chanting and singing in the
circle which was surrounded by spectators of all ages. Before we
departed the ceremony, we also got to taste some chapatti and soda
from the local street vendors.

While we have been immersing ourselves into Shilongo and the Ugadan
culture, we have also been quite productive with what we set out to do
for this project! Yesterday, we were able to meet with the waterboard
about the next steps in the project. Once again, they expressed great
interest in setting up an automatic pumping system at the borehole,
and during our open dialogue, they offered numerous suggestions and
ideas for the designs. Next week, we will be traveling into Mbale
with several of the waterboard members to look into details about
specific parts that we will consider for the design. We also held a
meeting at the prunyende with the greater community to get their
feedback on the ideas suggested by Tufts EWB as well as their fellow
community members on the waterboard. These successful meetings have
been so uplifting and we are very excited to continue on with this
project.

On Tuesday, Dave, our new mentor, will join us in Mbale, and we cannot
wait to introduce him to the village. As the people in Shilongo would
say in Lugisu, “chende bulai” — Safe journey!|

-Misaki