By Taylor Wong, ND'23
My time in Uganda was certainly a once in a lifetime experience! There is something to be said about having learned about St. Bakhita’s and their community for a year now and then getting to actually visit. I think this was one of the most rewarding parts for me. I had heard about St Bakhita’s for so long, seen so many pictures, and talked to so many of their students that it was incredible to have the opportunity to experience a place I thought I knew so well. Some parts of SBVTC were exactly what I had imagined but others were completely different. For one, the school was much bigger than I had thought. Even without all the students there the school felt so much bigger and brighter than what I pictured.
It was inspiring to see how much space they had and the possibilities of what they could do with it from the restaurant, to the early childhood development center coming soon, to even the space behind St Bakhita’s that was used for the movie night. I think creating the virtual tour/360 video was a great idea and will be really helpful for students in the future to get a better understanding of what SBVTC is like and what they’re working with.
Reflecting on some of my expectations prior to the trip, one expectation I had for myself was being able to fully dive into the project work. I was less familiar with the current projects since it had been a year since I took the Innovation and Design Thinking course. However, I feel like I was able to get up to speed and dive into the projects extremely well. I appreciated the flexibility and autonomy Professor Angst gave us to lead these projects, prototype them, and steer them in whatever direction made the most sense. The project work and implementing prototypes was definitely a highlight of the trip for me because it felt like we were making progress that we wouldn’t have been able to back at Notre Dame. We were truly capitalizing on the opportunity to physically be at St Bakhita’s and immerse ourselves in how these projects would actually be implemented.