Name: Matilda ouma
Host Institution: MAKERERE UNIVERSITY
Course: PhD in Agriculture and Rural Inovations
Thesis: AGRICULTURAL BUSINESS SERVICES AND COMMERCIALIZATION OF WATERMELON PRODUCTION IN HOMABAY COUNTY, KENYA
MY EXPERIENCE ABROAD
Experiences are neither spatial nor time bound, neither are experiences solely specific to demographic or socioeconomic characteristics of an individual. My experiences started before spending a night abroad! Why? After a long journey of 12 hours and after alighting at Kampala, the taxi from Kampala drove past Kabanyolo-CAEC, so I got lost! only to realize that the taxi had long passed Kabanyolo University (20 Kms), the conductor was drunk and could not remember I had requested to be dropped at the farm gate. The mistake was that I pronounced Kavanyolo as Kabanyolo! Luckily, another taxi arrived from the blues and was heading back to Kampala, and due to language barrier, I missed it! As they were saying “Nyabo togende” “nyabo togende” I stood still with my luggage besides me. Little did I know that they were referring to me as “Lady, let’s go!” Another taxi came, this time round the conductor announces in English, I boarded and arrived at CAEC by 7.30 pm.
That aside, in the course of my staying abroad, I had a rich experience communicating with diverse people from different cultures and I had to show increased sensitivity in how I communicate. I also had to develop a strong ability to solve problems. Initially, I did not have the short mobility fund. But even without stipend, I had to eat and rent a room at the host University hostel. I felt challenged; however, I was determined to finish my course work abroad. Towards the end of our coursework, the Secretariat with approval of the INTRA-ACP SHARE donor considered me for the short mobility! Of which I thank God and the Secretariat team led by Prof. Kibwika. The mobility saw me through the month of June to November, while drafting my proposal. What a sweet experience at the end! ‘Gods time is the best’ as my Christian colleagues exclaimed.
As I plan to hop on the next plane home, I must say that I have become pretty adaptable to survive within eleven months abroad with a hope of being effective and efficient in improving my career back home.
To humble men and women of Uganda, I say Goodbye, May God bless you all.
KWAHERI YA KUONANA”