A bit about me, Marina!

Hello! My name is Marina Mai and I am so excited to be one of the 2015 GROW Interns! I will be working in Iganga with the Youth Resource Center on UDHA’s sexual and reproductive health initiatives.

I am originally from the San Francisco Bay Area – shout out to the Golden State Warriors! I am a rising senior on the pre-med track and this year I will be completing majors in Anthropology and French with a minor in Ballet. I have been an avid dancer since the age of three and love crafting, cooking, engaging with nature and being an older sister/cousin to the most wonderful munchkins there ever were 🙂

While I don’t want to limit my GROW experience by going in with a set of expectations, I have spent a lot of time thinking about opportunities for intentionality this summer! 1) I want to better understand the reality of working in global health. 2) I want to explore how I fit into the larger picture and ways I want to continue working in this field in the future. But most importantly… 3) I want to learn from the people of Uganda what only the people of Uganda can teach me. There is much to learn from going to another culture and from the stories I’ll hear there. I hope to make this experience a part of my personal story, to bring back and share with others and to strengthen the brotherhood that is the core of our GlobeMed/UDHA partnership.

So far I’ve spent a significant portion of this summer watching Dr. Who with my little brother so I’m ready to go out into the universe and do some exploring of my own!

grow blog

❤ Marina

A bit about me, Marina!


That’s “good day” in Lugosa. My name is Shyamolee Desai and I’ll be one of the GROW interns working in Iganga, alongside Niara and Marina. I am so honored to have the opportunity to work with the incredible staff at UDHA this summer and get to know the community they serve. After training in Chicago, months of 8 A.M. meetings, and prolific group texts, I can honestly say that our little GROW family is ready to take on the world!

ShyamoleeProfPicJust a little about me: I’m a rising senior (yikes!) from Los Angeles, California studying Computer Science and Anthropology, with a focus in Global Health and the Environment. Aside from my day job as a student, you can find me being a GlobeMed-der, volunteering with a music service organization, or pretending to be a photographer. I’m also the GROW coordinator this year, which means that I’m knee deep in logistics/planning and will be working with our GlobeMed chapter back home and the national office staff to ensure that we have a safe and successful internship.

I hope you stick around and watch our partnership progress. That’s all for now; I have to start packing!

– Shyamolee


Hi from Niara!

Hey everyone! My name is Niara and I am sooo excited to be a GROW intern! I will be working in Iganga with Shyamolee and Marina.  Since joining GlobeMed this past Fall I have been awed by the work that our partner does and I am excited to have this opportunity to contribute to their organization! I’ve heard so much about the people at UDHA and I am beyond excited to finally meet them in person!

image1-1Here is a picture of meat the Ugandan Embassy in Washington DC, my hometown! I absolutely love to travel and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to experience Ugandan culture (including the food!).

That’s it from me!


Hi from Niara!

Hey Guys! My name is Alena (short for Alena, Destroyer of Worlds) (just kiddding, that would be cool though) and I am one of the members of the 2015 GROW team. I will be interning with Sakura in Naigobya.  I joined GlobeMed in the fall semester of 2014 and I have to say that GlobeMed is probably the coolest club ever. As soon as I joined, I have felt personally connected to GlobeMeblog pic 2d’s mission and have always been incredibly inspired by our partner, our members and their unwavering commitment to our partner. I am so excited to have the opportunity to experience a different culture and way of living, and most of all, to hopefully be able to improve the lives of others.

Right now I am leaning towards a Global Health or Biology major but won’t officially declare until next year. I eventually want to become a pediatrician and would love to work with the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders.


Blueberries, Oats, Oatmeal, Health, Breakfast, SlimmingThe person above is me. I am originally from Omaha, Nebraska, and even though in my picture there is some hay in the background, I swear I don’t live on a farm or ride a horse to school. Like Sakura, I would also consider myself a foodie. My all time favorite food is oatmeal because I find it to be the most comforting of all foods. I have included a picture of oatmeal for reference and also comfort. I also am really into running and health, making friends, funny things, and adventures, especially the outdoors kind.

That is all I have to say right now.


Hello from Sakura!

Hi there!

We all decided that we could each start off by telling you all a little bit about ourselves before we take off for Uganda. I’m pretty new to the blogging game so please bear with me as I attempt to introduce myself here. My name’s Sakura and along with Alena, I’ll be working at as an intern in Naigobya this summer. Since joining GobeMed freshman year, I have always wanted to go on GROW to see the direct partnership model in action and I still can’t believe that my dreams are coming true in 5 days! GROW will surely enrich not only my education in global health but also my life in more ways than one, and I am so thankful to have been given this amazing opportunity.

Since I grew up in St. Louis, even though I’m rising junior, these next two months will be the longest time that I’ve been away from home. I’m a little nervous, but I’m super excited to become friends with UDHA staff and experience Ugandan culture with the rest of the GROW team, my new family! At WashU, I’m studying global health, with minors in French and Biology. In the fall, I’m going to be studying abroad in Madagascar, so I’m unfortunately not going to be able to give GROW presentations with the rest of the team, but I plan to help out in any way that I can because I’m so excited about bringing GROW back to you guys. On campus, other than GlobeMed, I’m also a member of an a cappella group and play flute in the University Orchestra.

IMG_6548 copy

Here’s a picture of me eating ramen! I was born in Japan and I consider myself a pretty big foodie so I thought this picture might be fitting. By the way, I’m so excited to try Ugandan food!

That’s it from me for now!


Hello from Sakura!

5 More Days!!

Hello from GlobeMed at Washington University’s GROW 2015 Team!

With only five days left until takeoff, we are incredibly excited to begin this blog, which we hope will serve not only as a means to keep everyone informed about our internship but as a way for you to engage in conversations with us. If there is anything on your mind, whether it is a question, a critique or simply something you would like to know more about, please don’t hesitate to let us know by commenting on our posts!

-An Overview-

GlobeMed is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that engages over 2,000 undergraduates at 57 university-based chapters throughout the U.S. Each chapter is directly partnered with a grassroots health organization in one of 19 countries around the world. The Washington University chapter has partnered with Uganda Development and Health Associates (UDHA) in 2008. Since then, in addition to maintaining close communication with UDHA year-round, we have sent interns to UDHA every summer in order to further fortify and ensure the sustainability of our partnership. As the members of this year’s Grassroots On-site Work (GROW) team, we are all honored to have received the opportunity to partake in GlobeMed’s partnership model to work hand-in-hand with UDHA towards global health equity. During our time in Uganda, we look forward to developing meaningful and long-lasting relationships with both UDHA staff and community members, bonds that we hope can then serve as a catalyst for strengthening every staff member’s personal connection to UDHA. This blog is the first step.

-The Details-

Though UDHA manages many projects in Eastern Uganda, GlobeMed at WashU specifically partners with UDHA to operate two projects. In Iganga, UDHA runs a Youth Center that seeks to educate youth about HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases through partnering with local primary and secondary schools to train peer educators and install confidential question boxes. In Naigobya, in addition to maintaining a health clinic, UDHA uses a community health worker model to empower and educate families about how to meet the nutritional needs of their children through food demonstrations, community gardens, and basic health assessments. Over the next two months, Marina, Shyamolee, and Niara will be working at the Youth Resource Center in Iganga, while Sakura and Alena spend most of their time in Naigobya. We are very thankful to Dr. Isiko and Dr. Waiswa, both permanent UDHA staff members who will be generously hosting us. We know that our upcoming two months in Uganda will probably be full of experiences that may affect us in ways that are difficult to describe, but we promise to try our best to capture everything that what we can in videos, photos, and words to share here with all of you, so don’t forget to check in often and leave comments!

Keep on the look out for intros from each team member coming soon!

Marina, Shyamolee, Niara, Sakura, and Alena

5 More Days!!