Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hakuna matata, mpola mpola

I think I officially made progress. 

It is amazing to me that I can work this hard every day and still not feel like I’m pushing forward! Three and a half months later, I can finally see the ball rolling! Thank goodness it is rolling in the direction I want.

This realization came to me this week when I finally made definitive plans to implement an herbal supplementation program that I finished developing about two months ago. When I had the meeting to discuss the implementation, every member was on time for the first time my whole experience in Uganda! Technically, the general manager was late, but he is ironically usually the only other person on time with me, so I let this one time slide. This gives me great hope for the program! Although, the actual implementation isn’t set to take place until Tuesday, so who knows if it is really a victory yet!

I also noticed the ball is rolling in my favor after my meeting with the Mustard Seed Health Team this week. Our first big school-wide project will be a performance to teach the rest of the school about the herbal supplement tea they will (hopefully) be taking in the coming weeks. I had given the kids about 20 minutes at the end of the lesson last week to start writing either a song or a poem to share with the school. As soon as I separated them into groups by preference of performance style, one teacher went to work with the song group, and the other went to work with the poetry group…I didn’t even ask them to! Then after about ten minutes, the poetry group had two nearly completed poems and the song group was starting to practice their wonderful song. By the end of the twenty minutes, the poems were getting polished and the song was being perfected. Since I had a prior commitment during our usual Saturday lesson, I assigned the Health Team to work on their products to be presented to me the following Thursday. Sure enough, at the beginning of Thursday’s lesson, the song group sang and drummed in perfect harmony and the poetry group rehearsed without looking at their notes. 

Pride is too small a word to cover this feeling. If the kids did that much in 20 minutes, I can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves when I give them several weeks for the other health topics!

As they say in Luganda, Mpola mpola…Slowly slowly. I’m beginning to love and appreciate that phrase!  

Also, Hakuna Matata…No problem/no worries in Kswahili; an incredibly relevant phrase that Ugandans don’t use, but it has been running through my head ever since my trip to Mombasa when I heard it actually spoken in a sentence (as opposed to by an animated singing warthog and meerkat).

Despite the mixed languages, I often say to myself, “Hakuna matata, mpola mpola” whenever I get frustrated with the lack of progress in my programs. I need to remember to keep doing what I do and the pieces will fall in place when they are good and ready…even if that often means moving at the pace of a 180 year old Giant Tortoise . 

With love,

PS Thank you to everyone who has donated to the dormitory construction in the last two weeks! We are getting so close! Like us on Facebook, Future Diplomats Education Centre Foundation, if you would like more information on how to make a donation!


  1. You certainly are making headway in all areas and it is a joy to read your blogs your mom forwards to us. This is wonderful work you are doing for a country that truly needs people like you in their hearts. Job well done Kristen. Brian K Brown

  2. This is great news!! Well done indeed-- you and the MSA kids and staff.
    Did you know that Swahili for "slowly, slowly" is "pole pole"? All Bantu languages including Swahili and Luganda have a lot of similarities ;-)