Student Spotlight

Desiree Gizaza- Journey to the Past

Desiree Gizaza is a sophomore Psychology Major at the university of pittsburgh. Originally from Philadelphia, PA she now is an African studies  intern and a dancer on the Ya’baso african dance troupe. Desiree has dreams of becoming a Physician Assistant, but before moving towards her future she took a journey to learn about her past.  

When was the last time you were in Uganda and how did you feel about going back?

Last time I was in Uganda was 2010. I was nervous to go back in summer 2016, I was worried things would have changed and I would not know how to adjust to them.

As soon as you touched down at Entebbe International Airport how did you feel?

Well the first thing I felt was the heat, but I was more excited and nervous. I was excited to see my family but did not know what to expect this time around. Specifically the people of Uganda.

What was the one thing you were looking most forward for?

My grandmother and being able to eat her food again. My favorite dish by her is Porsho and beans.

What did you do when you were there?

I visited the villages my mother and father came from. I participated in my uncles wedding.

How is a Ugandan wedding different from an American wedding?

Not that much of a difference apart from the clothing, intermediate family comes in traditional clothing while everyone else is free to wear what they want. There also is a ceremony months before the wedding. This is the time there are offers and gifts. The gifts are different because they are not animals compared to a coffee pot to the house. Biggest difference is the noise level and the amount of dancing increases 10 notches.

How did you feel when you realized you have to leave?

Very sad since I had bonded a lot with my cousins, and I did not know when I was going to come back.

Would you move to Uganda?

Yes after retirement, but I plan to return frequently throughout my life.


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