Kait Quinn – Managing Editor
Hugo Kamya, PhD, a Simmons College professor, spoke to the campus about Uganda and service-learning on September 16. It’s “something much bigger than you,” said Kamya of service. The event was put on by the Nancy Lawson Donahue ’49 Institute for Values and Public Life.
Kamya, a native of Uganda, has been living in the States for 25 years. However, he often goes back for research and service work. From his experience, he said service-learning is an education of other cultures and international problems as well as being community work.
As part of giving back to his community, Kamya enjoys bringing back soccer shirts to the children of Uganda. Kamya said they wear the shirts as their “Sunday best.” He reflected on the feeling he gets when giving them the T-shirts; it has become a reward for him. Mutuality, collaborative practices, and reciprocity are impor- tant to Kamya’s service work. Kamya said service-learning and partnerships are a, “two-way street based on mutual respect and interest.”
Kamya discussed the cultural awareness that needs to be learned and appreciated everywhere around the world. People need to “recognize the need for cultural awareness….Striving for cultural curiosity,” said Kamya.
Morgan Nash, a junior and former student who visited Uganda on a service-learning trip this past May, said, “[Kamya was important] to raise cultural awareness and share the true need and effectiveness of service learning between cultures.”
When talking about Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014, Kamya discussed “moral and ethical issues” as well as safety issues. Kamya focused on the importance of cultural awareness and education with visiting Uganda. He agreed there are dangers associated with visiting Uganda, but described it as “cultural awareness.”
The necessity of being involved is not just global or local, but is, “glocal,” said Kamya. Kamya and one of his students made up, “glocal,” a combination of global and local.
“[Kamya] mentioned that when traveling to places like Uganda, it is amazing that the things they teach us are just as valuable as anything we could ever do for them,” said Nash.