Allan Kasango, 2019 UCU Literacy Project Intern: ‘I ask the Lord to show me’
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2020/01/allan-kasango-2019-ucu-literacy-project-intern-i-ask-the-lord-to-show-me/
(THIRD OF FOUR PARTS: This article features one of 10 interns hired to assist with the five-year-old Uganda Christian University dissertation research and writing clinic. He was selected from among 200 applicants. In addition to serving post-graduate students through the clinic, interns build their own resumes and obtain jobs. A profile on another intern appears in the last part of this series.)
By Patty Huston-Holm
“Please,” implored Allan Kasango, “can’t you take just one more?”
Speaking softly but forcefully, the almost 24-year-old asked the three Americans volunteering their time with Uganda Christian University (UCU) post-graduate students to squeeze one more, and then “just one more” into their already-packed schedules.
“You can’t refuse him,” Linda Knicely from Ohio USA said, half joking.
Thus is one special trait of Allan Kasango, a UCU alumni selected for an internship with the fifth annual clinic to help mostly master’s level students with their research and writing. One of Allan’s tasks was to schedule students for individualized coaching with the Americans. He did it well with a reminder, “We need to serve them.”
His curriculum vitae mentions that he is “adaptable, self-motivated and enthusiastic.” Friends, according to Allan, say that he is “humble, caring, loving, calm, helpful.” These characteristics contributed greatly to the fact that of the 115 students enrolled in the 2019 four-week workshop, 91 received one-on-one assistance and most attended the weekly, two-hour lectures.
“I believe in working hard to get what I want,” he said.
The oldest of three children from the eastern Uganda region of Tororo, Allan’s mannerisms are influenced by the compassion of his mother, Justine, and the work ethic of his father, Wilson, a medical doctor with the United Nations and serving in such high-need areas as South Sudan and Yemen. The mom is of Samia culture. The dad is Musoga.
While his father’s position might wield influence for a job, the son is expected to “make it on my own,” Allan said.
It was through his own efforts that Allan found work with The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) and Tororo General Hospital. Both experiences provided opportunities to use the knowledge and skill acquired through his UCU bachelor’s degree in social work and administration. In addition to such clerical tasks as filing and scheduling, he counseled clients about their social and medical issues, including those who are terminally ill.
“I went into communities to help distribute drugs, to provide clients with disease coping skills,” he said. “I listened and offered advice to help people live healthier and longer.”
Work at the two locations was unpaid. Thanks to UCU Partners, an American-based, non-profit fundraising arm of UCU, Allan received a salary of $125 a month for three months. With this, he was able to help with living expenses in the nearby Seeta house he shared with six other family members and “save a little” for a future job hunt and possible support of his siblings, Daniel, age 4, and Fiona, age 16. In Uganda, the oldest child is expected to help with education costs for younger brothers and sisters.
“When I was in primary school, I wanted to be a doctor or a pilot,” Allan said, recalling a song where students would stand in front of the class and insert their early career aspirations in a designated place. He was fascinated with airplanes, but has yet to ride in one. As his education continued, weak performance in science ruled out a job in medicine.
Social work – with its people and service focus – is a good fit. Active listening and caring came easy.
As Allan’s internship came to an end in mid-September 2019, he was looking at job advertisements and discerning next steps while “talking with the Lord.” He was exploring whether he should join an existing social work organization or do something entirely different, such as opening up a wholesale shop with food items.
“I always put my thoughts in prayer,” he said, referring to Matthew 7:7 and its reference to asking, seeking and knocking on doors. “I ask the Lord to show me what to do next. He will open up the right thing.”
To support Uganda Christian University programs, including the post-graduate literacy program that hired Allan as an intern, go to www.ugandapartners.org and click on the “donate” button, or contact UCU Partners Executive Director, Mark Bartels, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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