Shannon Orcutt

Shannon Orcutt (Kinawataka Women’s Initiatives – KIWOI, Uganda): Prior to working with AP Shannon earned an MA from the Peace Operations Policy Program at George Mason University, where she worked as a Research Assistant at the Center for Global Studies. Shannon has also worked with United to End Genocide and the Save Darfur Coalition in the US. After her fellowship, Shannon wrote: “I learned so many new skills and it was really rewarding to see the work I was doing make a direct impact on the organization. It was very validating. I had the best experiences when I got to interact with the women and youth the organization worked with.

Things for Uganda

12 Sep

When I was preparing for my fellowship I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect. I had never lived outside of Virginia before, let alone on a different continent. For future fellows and world travelers, I compiled a list of things I am incredibly glad I brought along with me and things I wish I had considered.

Top 10 things I’m glad I brought to Uganda:

  1. Creek crossingChacos: I love my Chacos. They have been on countless adventures with me for over 8 years. For the long walk to work they are super comfy and supportive. Plus they produce really sexy tan lines.
  2. Canon T3i: I’ve taken so many photos! It’s a fun way to share my experiences and document the organizations work and the T3i takes quality shots.
  3. Pepto-Bismol: I’ve eaten some questionable food here so I’m thankful for my pink friend to clear up poor decision-making.
  4. Anjou in boda helmet Motorcycle helmet: Riding boda-boda’s can be terrifying; I don’t know how there aren’t more wrecks here. I value my mental capacity and therefore my helmet. Plus my helmet has Bluetooth so I can rock out on the morning commute and little kids look hilarious wearing it.
  5. Rain gear: It rains a lot here, even during the dry season. There were 3 weeks in August and early September that it rained everyday. My Arcteryx Beta rain shell and pack cover have sure come in handy.
  6. External hard drive filled with movies and TV shows: Nice way to relax in the evening after work. Plus all these photos and video take up a lot of space.
  7. Shannon on the NileKayaking gear: The Nile has world-class whitewater and since it is only 2 hours away, it’s the perfect weekend escape from the craziness of Kampala. The river is my happy place.
  8. Nalgene and Camelback Water Bottles: We are about protecting the environment by reducing plastic waste here at KIWOI so I’m happy for my indestructible water bottles.
  9. Steri-Pen: I don’t want to have to buy water or boil constantly so glad I’m brought my Steri-Pen to produce some high quality h2o.
  10. iPod: Even the most frustrating situations can be at least partially remedied by a good playlist.


3 things I wish I brought to Uganda:

  1. My banjo: I miss playing music and it would have been a good way to spend the down time plus one of my roommates plays guitar and fiddle so could have had a jam partner.
  2. Camping Gear: There aren’t many reasonable day hikes nearby so a tent and sleeping pad would have been nice. Squeezing into a 2 person tent with 3 people and 1 sleeping pad just doesn’t do the trick.
  3. A warmer jacket: Even though Kampala is only 30 minutes from the equator, it can get surprisingly chilly here.

Posted By Shannon Orcutt

Posted Sep 12th, 2014

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