Being Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

By Sarah Curl, KF12 Uganda

I have spent the last two weeks in Kampala, Uganda learning how to adapt to a country that is very different from the one I’ve known for the last twenty-three years.  It has taken some patience, some meltdowns and some courage to continue on.  In the last two weeks, I have had my luggage lost, been chased by a crazy man with a branch and peed on by a child on a mini-bus.

When I arrived in Entebbe, Uganda after traveling for over twenty-four hours from Los Angeles to Detroit to Amsterdam and finally to Entebbe, I found out my luggage was nowhere to be found.  The employee at the airport continued to ask me what my cell phone number was, where I was staying and who I was traveling with.  I calmly told him that I had no cell phone, did not know the exact location of where I was staying and that I was on my own.  I took his phone number and hoped for the best.

Traveling in a foreign country is always exciting and has new adventures waiting around the corner.  Over my short time here I have learned that things never go as planned, but I have learned to become comfortable with this and am even learning how to thrive in it.  Last Thursday, I ventured to Mubende, a town north of Kampala which took 4.5 hours each way in a matatu, which looks like a minivan/mini bus.  In total it took twelve hours with travel times and wait times to talk to a borrower for 30 minutes.   At the end of the day I was exhausted, but was feeling lucky to get this opportunity to explore a country completely on my own, talk to Kiva entrepreneurs about their loans and their hopes for the future.  This is what being a Kiva Fellow is all about.

I have learned much about myself in the last few weeks.  Traveling has a way of doing that to you.  You are on an emotional roller coaster where one minute you have everything under control and the next minute you are completely lost and chasing after a bus.  That is the beauty of traveling, sometimes it’s fun to not be in your comfort zone.  Getting used to being unsure of where you are and where you are going is half the fun and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is the path to success or at least sanity.

Sarah Curl is a Kiva Fellow serving in Kampala, Uganda.  She is working at Pearl Microfinance, enjoying eating traditional Ugandan food everyday and using boda-bodas as her main form of transportation around the capital.

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