Emily & Laura – thriving in Mugumu

Emily Bowman and Laura Krabill are both living in Mugumu town, about an hour west of the Serengeti National Park.  Mugumu is a town with connections to Goshen!  Professor of nursing Jan Emswiler and her husband Kajungu lived in Mugumu before coming to Goshen.  We met many of their friends in the community and in the Mennonite Church.  Jan and Kajungu – watu wa Mugumu walimsalamia sana! (We extend many greetings back to Jan, Kajungu, and others familiar with the community!)

Emily is working with the organization called IMARA, a non-profit working with HIV AIDS awareness. Her host father, Mr Misinzo, directs IMARA and is her direct supervisor.  Her task is to assist the group called 10-in-1, a traveling drama and music group that educates community groups regarding HIV transmission and prevention.  The 10-in-1 group is between funding cycles and should get in full swing in the next week.  In the interim, Emily is working on some grant writing, office work, and translation of documents.  Emily’s passion has been her complete dedication to the church kwaya (choir)!  We had the pleasure of a private performance for us during one of their practices when we first arrived.  Emily is well loved and they are trying to convince her to stay; she is diving right in and thriving.

To further her aspirations of becoming a dentist, Laura  volunteers at the Nyerere DDH Hospital in Mugumu with Dr. Sebastian Makoni, the hospital’s dentist.  Her father, Juma Karamba, is the director of the hospital and is the perfect person to host Laura and provide supervision.  Laura’s day typically involves assisting Dr. Makoni with anywhere between 1-3 patients who typically come in for extractions.  She is doing a great job, is well appreciated by everyone at the hospital, and is gaining very valuable first-hand experience.  Maybe she’ll return some day to assist in the hospital!?

After arriving Tuesday night, we enjoyed catching up on Laura and Emily’s lives over a pleasant dinner at our hotel. Wednesday morning we visited the hospital and IMARA, after which we walked through the market and town together.  Both Laura and Emily are thoroughly enjoying their host family experiences, feeling the warm and consistent welcome of their brothers, sisters, parents, and extended family.  We enjoyed breakfast at Laura’s home and tea with Emily’s family.  The relationships they are developing are rich and lasting.  Mugumu is a town you look forward to visiting again….the nights are cool, the days warm, and the community inviting.