Rotaract: Uganda Style

So, in the move to Lira I forgot to post about my experience with Rotaract! The night before I left I went with Morris to the Makerere University Rotaract Club’s installation (where they inaugurate the next year’s officers).

I have spent 2 1/2 years in the Rotaract Club at ASU. I’ve been involved with Rotary, Rotaract’s parent organization, since I was born. My dad has been an active member in Rotary for years and I can’t count the number of meetings I’ve attended and the number of fun events in which I’ve been involved.  It was nice to see the work of a club in another country.

I met a lot of great people, hanging out and having drinks before we all sat down for the big night. The departing President gave a speech and talked a lot about how Makerere had moved forward in the passed year, and the incoming President gave a long speech in which he described Rotaract, and I think rightly, not just as a project of Rotary but also as a partner.

After the speeches there was some downtime in which one of the officers asked trivial questions and gave out airtime for rewards. I won 2000 UGX for knowing the club’s web address! Thank goodness it’s in Morris’s e-mail signature :)

After some free time we started dinner, and it was a sizeable sum of pasta and meats with some traditional food mixed in.  Morris and I left soon after dinner as people started dispersing to different afterparty parties. On the way out I met, who would have thought, a college student who will be going to ARIZONA STATE this fall. How weird is that?

Anyways, the whole affair was much more like a Rotary Club induction than anything Rotaract Clubs, or at least mine, do. We have an annual benefit dinner in the spring and we usually use that time to introduce the incoming President.  I’ve been to a couple with my dad for his club and what I saw in Kampala was reminiscent of  that.  All in all a fun night!

The President of a local Rotary Club putting a pin on the incoming Rotaract President
Morris receiving recognition for networking with Interact, the younger branch of Rotary.

Morris and a blurry me.


A year in review

It took me less than 72 hours to realize that my intentions of declaring ten goals for 2010 were misplaced.  Why?  I’m not one for New Years resolutions.  I tend to resolve to do things as I think of them, and I decided at the last minute that coming up with ten things on New Years Day just wasn’t right for me.  I’ll try to do plenty of things in the next year, for sure, but I won’t be starting on day one but adding to what I’ve already got in the works.  However, I will make it up to you (as I’m sure you are all tuning in for my resolutions).  Instead of making resolutions, I am going to take one last look back and revisit my old tradition of reviewing the year.  No restrictive numbers or formats, no rules or audience – just remembering.  A lot of this may look like the last post, and I’m sorry for that.  This is just me pouring everything into a post.

This year started off between semesters at school and a couple of months into independent living.  I delved into what would be a very momentous year, but I had no idea at the time.  Kim and I rang in the New Year at the Tempe Block Party.  It was our first New Years together and it was quite a bit of fun despite quite the crowd.  Starting there, the following have happened:

-The Rescue hit.  I joined about a thousand people in a march where we abducted ourselves to raise awareness for the abducted child soldiers in Uganda.  We proceeded to sleep on a field in a makeshift camp alongside 100,000 others in 100 cities in 10 countries.  Several of my friends moved on to Albuquerque, then Wichita and finally Chicago while I called public servants all over the country to help them out.

-Kim and I celebrated seven great years!  Just one big step in a long line of getting closer and closer.  The celebration weekend was a lot of fun and we got to enjoy a lot of things we had wanted to do for a while – a concert, a museum, a zoo and painting.

-I went to LA with Kim, Cristina, and Zach.  The trip definitely had its ups and downs, but it was really nice to be on a trip with Kim again and it was pretty fun running around with Cristina.  California is always fun, but it was especially nice to see Los Angeles, which I don’t see too often.

-I flew to Washington, DC for something huge.  I joined 1600 people in the biggest lobbying effort for an African issue in American history: the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act.  For me this was a huge reunion with dozens of great friends and a chance to meet some of the coolest people.  In the end I had a great time and am stoked to do more lobbying.

-Kim and I took a huge leap in buying a townhome in Tempe.  After months of saving and discussing, we have settled down in our very own home and are enjoying it very much.  It’s roomier than our quaint apartment and we’ve got a little garage to match our little patio.

Final statistics are thus:

Places visited: Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco, CA; Washington, DC.

Places lived: Mesa, AZ; Tempe, AZ.

Concerts attended: No Doubt.

Altruistic/Political events: Project CURE; Rotary River Rally; Malawi Dinner; The Rescue; How It Ends; Gulu Walk; Rock ‘n’ Roll Paint-a-thon; Hometown Shakedown; Schools For Schools.

Anniversaries: Seven years dating; twenty years alive; one year engaged.

Courses taken: History Methods in the Community; France in WWII; Human Development; SEI Endorsement II; Intro to Violence, Conflict, and Human Rights; Teachers and the Law; Technology in the Classroom; Physical Geography; SEI Endorsement; The Vietnam War; Content Literacy; Religion, Nationalism, and Ethnic Conflict; Global Trends; SGS Internship; Inquiry into Religion and Conflict; Facing the Past.

Blog posts: 14.

People annoyed: Probably whoever reads this and the previous post.  Whoops.