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Students reflect on summer service program

| Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Eight Saint Mary’s seniors gathered in Carroll Auditorium on Monday night to discuss their experiences living in Uganda with the Sisters of the Holy Cross and working in the Moreau Nursery and Primary School and the Kyembogo Holy Cross Health Centre. Their travels were part of the College’s Uganda Summer Practicum, which brings nursing and education majors together for six weeks in the Toro kingdom and exposes them to the culture of the Kyarusozi community and the core values of the Sisters of the Holy Cross.

Senior nursing majors Allison Campbell, Madison Carmichael, Therese Dudro and Jovita Lledo Munoz, along with senior elementary education majors Anna McClowry, Katie Price, Megan Shea and Katherine Soper shared their memories from the 2017 Practicum.

McClowry said participating in the program helped her hone valuable skills, such as establishing a teaching schedule, collaborating with the other teachers and writing lesson plans the day before class.

“You kind of have to get creative,” she said. “There are some days when you’re exhausted and overwhelmed, but when you walk into a classroom, and you have kids smiling at you, it honestly makes your heart smile. The students and teachers are really, really appreciative of all your work there, so just know that your presence is enough in those times that you feel exhausted or overwhelmed.”

Dudro said students working at the Kyembogo Holy Cross Health Centre helped with outpatient care, inpatient care and lab tests. Most of the 20 inpatient beds, she said, were filled by patients who had contracted malaria.

“Unfortunately for them, [malaria] is kind of like the common cold here,” she said.  “Everyone gets malaria. It can be really serious. We saw some people that were in critical condition, some young children, and it was really scary to see them so sick.”

Prices said she felt an overwhelming sense of community while working.

“The first thing [the sisters] do when you arrive is make sure that you have that sense of home,” Price said. “I remember … we pulled up in the van after traveling for five hours that day … and Sister Lillian came out, helped us with our bags and the first thing that she said was, ‘Welcome home.’ You knew right then that you were going to be taken care of and well-loved.”

Daily mass and regular prayer helped students embrace the four core values of compassion, faith, prayer and community, Soper said.

“Their faith life is unbelievable,” she said. “It is quite an opportunity to be able to live with the Sisters of the Holy Cross and in their community. You are right there with them. You are living out their faith life with them, and you are on that journey to Heaven with them.”

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