ACF and My Last Week

As the end to my hopskotch volunteering, Erik found me some work with his team at ACF International.  Erik works in food security and last Friday I helped for a few hours since they needed to sort through an excel sheet of some 1,500 names to find conflicting reports.  This week, though, I got to do my ILF expertise: data entry!  The food security program gives unconditional funds to a number of beneficiaries in villages to ensure that they can provide for themselves.  On Monday I had an overview with Cresencia, a woman from Erik’s team, and four surveyors.  We went over the questionnaire and I made some changes to the main document while the surveyors translated everything into Luo.

Tuesday was my free day.  I spent a lot of time at home working on homework and gave dumplings a second try (turned out okay!) and then went out with a bunch of friends to PanAfric for Erik’s birthday dinner.  Food was delayed (like, two hours delayed) but it was great hanging out with everyone and I got see Martin and Annett’s place (they have little houses for all of their animals in the compound – too cute).  Got home and crashed soon after.

For the rest of the week I’ve been spending mornings (and a little bit of the afternoons) upstairs at the ACF office entering data from the questionnaires.  It’s interesting because I’ve never been an advocate of handing out money to people.  I’m still not fully convinced that it’s a sustainable program or that it helps any more than other methods that might promote more ownership.  That said, it’s been interesting to see how the money is spent.  Almost without fail, the beneficiaries are spending money on life essentials: food, health and education mostly, sometimes shelter.  On Wednesday I also took the position of native-English-speaker and edited some case studies written by German- and Luo-speakers to make sure they sounded good to donors.

Friday afternoon I spent relaxing and packing.  I threw all of my clothes and books and stuff together, and I hung out in the compound a bit.  I also ran around town a little getting soda for Alison’s farewell party.  The party was a lot of fun, I tried to dance a bit but that – as expected – was piecemeal at best.  But I got to hang out with a lot of people one last time and it was a lot of fun.  However, as the party wound down we realized there was a party crasher in our midsts.  Soon thereafter, Alison lost her phone and when I called it it was turned off.  So, we patted down the stranger and kept him inside – until a bad coincidence in which I was the last one outside and I turned away and then heard the gate shutting.  I ran outside and heard footsteps across the field, but couldn’t figure out how to give chase.  In the end, it was a really frustrating end to the evening, and I feel really bad for Alison.  Hopefully she can find the numbers to her Kampala friends and use my phone while we’re there together.

I’m spending the night at the ILF house tonight, and then I’ll finish packing in the morning.  Kampala, here I come!


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