My Experience as Volunteer at Uganda Buddhist Centre
Fernando, one of our recent volunteers tells his journey and experience at UBC:
When I got in contact with Uganda Buddhist Centre (UBC) I let them know that I wanted to serve and progress in the Dhamma. After five weeks in Uganda, I’m glad to say that both those objectives have been satisfied.
As a volunteer I got the chance to help develop the center in different ways: from mundane and crucial daily chores like cleaning or gardening, to more challenging tasks like developing an inventory and building a fence. I also participated in the community outreach programme, attended Bugabo Primary School on several occasions, and delivered talks to the children.
As a Buddhist practitioner, I would highlight the interaction with the monks who were always approachable and friendly guides in my journey, suggesting the many books that I studied and delivering simple yet insightful pieces of knowledge. I will not forget how welcome I felt the first day, when Bhante Sangharakkhita greeted me with a beaming smile and invited me to watch a World Cup match with him. I also benefited greatly both from the group meditations at the Temple and from listening to the Insight Meditation CD programme with Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzburg.
UBC can pride itself on a wonderful team and a committed yet flexible environment. The community is visibly growing thanks to their hard work and they always found time for me, whether it was to show me around Uganda or for a good laugh.
The main lesson I learned at UBC was how to practice Buddhism in a controlled environment that is rich in mindfulness and faith in the Dhamma, yet at the same time not unfamiliar to the outside world with its difficulties and distractions. It is important, I believe, to learn how to keep the practice of meditation, the precepts and the aspiration towards a greater conscience of the present moment in a context that has a quality of purity but is at the same time relatable to your ordinary life, so that you can find a renewed drive to strengthen virtuous habits upon your return home. At at UBC I found some great friends and fond made memories along the way.