Thursday, January 30, 2014

Signing off from Kampala Uganda

I can’t believe it but it’s now been two weeks since I left home and like all good things, it eventually has to end.

Today was our last official day in Uganda. This morning all eight of us in-country left the hotel en masse and travelled the few short blocks to the downtown offices of the Uganda Cooperative Association. UCA is the umbrella organization for cooperatives in Uganda and the Ugandan partner organization to the Canadian Cooperative Association, the Canadian organization that funds and administers the credit union coaching program.

There were eight Canadian credit union coaches and the CCA African Program Director, and we were joined by our UCA counterparts; the executive director, the program manager, the micro finance manager and four field officers. Throw in the German cooperative association representative and the CCA intern who’s working in Uganda for three months and we had enough for two very cooperative, very diverse baseball teams! J

It was a great opportunity to compare notes and analyze the pros and cons of what worked and what didn’t for the in-country program in general, and the impact we had on the individual credit unions. Our hosts filled us in on their next steps and how they plan on helping the SACCO’s to implement our suggestions and recommendations and it was great to be validated. They really appreciate us volunteering out time, energy and resources and it feels good knowing that in our own small way we each made a difference.

I’m now at that awkward stage between still being here and heading out. We’re checked out of our rooms and we’ve moved our bags into two hospitality suites so we can shower and change if we want but really all we’re doing is hanging out and marking time until we finally load back up into our vans for the final drive out to the Entebbe airport at 9:00 to catch our eight-hour flight to London. I’ll be in London for two days because we have a final debrief with CCA representatives from Ottawa to examine the entire program. We’ll look at the effectiveness of the pre-departure briefing, the overall in-country program and the logistics of putting it all together. It’s an intense all day exercise and I wish I was just heading home but it's a necessary part of the process to ensure the success of the program going forward. I’ll have a little time for site seeing but I’ll probably spend a lot of the two days just hanging out and resting while I try to assimilate the sights, sounds and smells of the last two weeks.

It’s been an incredible experience and I’m truly grateful but more than anyone I have to thank my wife, Rosalie for her love and support. She’s my staunchest ally and my closest confidante and only through her love and support have I been able to take part in these incredible journeys.

So here’s a big heartfelt thank you to you Rosi, I’ll see you in just a few more days.

Signing off for the last time from hot, humid Kampala, Uganda!

Audry and I and Michael and Adad on the drive back to Kampala



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