Ndere and Namawungo reflection

Our Georgia State University class had the pleasure of visiting the Ndere Cultural Center where the Ndere Troupe take visitors on an inspirational journey trip, while incorporating centuries of history from all regions located in Uganda.

“The word ENDERE means FLUTE, NDERE TROUPE, therefore means FLUTE TROUPE.” The mission of their art is to express how we all have shared characteristics as humans, however among these common features to continue to educate and celebrate the differentiations among cultures.

Ndere Troup Performance

The Ndere Troupe was founded by Rwangyezi Stephen in 1986 and consists of over 50 performers (singers, dancers, orchestra players, etc.) It integrates a compilation of traditional songs, dance, instruments playing, folklore tales, poetry from over 50 tribes located in Uganda.

This experience presented creative visuals of how these traditions continue to be passed on to future generations and address societal issues Uganda face in present time. The performances actively engages the audience in learning the Ugandan history while conveying the message through an array of emotions.

Ndere Troup Performance

Out of many stories mentioned that night, one particular short story discussed the style of dance in Uganda and how they acknowledge and include all moving body parts into dance. The leg holds the same significance as the arm, shoulder, neck, etc. All body parts have specific functions that work together for a bigger purpose. The message taught me to acknowledge appreciate all things and people in my life no matter how big or small because everything has purpose. I didn’t expect this story/message to constantly flow throughout my mind so many times here in Uganda. However, I am glad this message remained as a top thought especially when our group visited the slums in Kampala, Uganda.

Being in Uganda, we have had multiple opportunities visiting slums and analyzing the infrastructure of where many of the local Ugandan residents call home. According to Webster dictionary, “The slums consist of a densely populated usually urban area marked by crowding, run-down housing, poverty, and social disorganization.” With a high unemployment rate, steady income can be limited for locals here in Uganda, which effects living conditions. Majority of slum housing structures consist of mud, tin, metal, wood, cement, brick that is not supported foundationally which various weather may cause these homes to fall. Even with all the societal issues faced in the slums, residents still manage to come together to uplift one another in their community. One of the issues that is persistent in slums is the water insufficiency and/or lack of safe drinking water which effects health of humans, socioeconomic development, workable and productive healthy environment. This story made me reflect on living situations in America compared to Uganda and how we, as Americans, can easily forget how accessible our resources are such as steady employment, food, and water supply. I learned how to appreciate “all moving parts” after seeing how having access to water supply in the home can affect daily life of the Ugandan household.

Group visit to Namawungo slums.

Locals in slums being charged to fill up their Jerri cans at their communal water tap in the Namawungo slums. Residents tend to fill up as many as possible to prepare for unplanned water supply shortages/outages.                                            

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