Hello to the Action in Africa blog community! My name is Alex Maple and I arrived at the Center a little over a month ago for a stay of 6 months! I graduated from the University of Colorado in May 2014 with a degree in International Affairs with a concentration in Africa and a minor in French. Through my classes at CU and my study abroad to Senegal in 2012, I became enamored with African culture. This interest helped me write my final paper my senior year in which I explored through research and my own personal experience, the important role of women in promoting social change in Africa. So, when I met with Sarah in Aspen in July, I jumped at the opportunity to take over the direction of the Women to Women program at Action in Africa!
As an Aspen local, I’ve known about Action in Africa since its beginnings at Aspen High School in 2007. I could probably track my initial fascination with the African region to some of the films the group screened for the school or from the look of wonder from a visiting boy with the African Children’s Choir as he watched the first snow fall from the high school parking lot. I’ve also worked a lot with children; I’ve been a kids ski coach in Boulder and in Aspen and I volunteered for an after school program for children aged 6-12 in Cusco, Peru last fall. Having never before worked directly with women, I have come into this position being both daunted and incredibly excited.
So far, I’ve loved my experience here at the Center! Each Friday meeting with the Women to Women program makes me feel more comfortable and the home visits Brenda (one of our Ugandan staff) and I have performed over the last couple of weeks have helped me to get to know each woman on a more personal level. My favorite day thus far has been the women’s dance class we had a few weeks ago which was filled with so much laughter and fun that it made my belly hurt!
I’ve also really enjoyed the time I’ve spent with the kids here—and to see how much they value the Center. It seems impossible to think that Sarah and other volunteers once had everyone out of here before 5:00! It seems like a miracle when we’re able to get everyone out of here by 7:30 these days! I’m so happy to have the opportunity to be here for 6 months as this will only allow me to become closer to the incredible community of Nakuwadde!