Life here in Uganda is pretty unbelievable. Currently I'm staying in a village called Kisimbiri in the district of Wakiso. I live around 4 kilometers away from my training center, where we go everyday from 8-5 to learn language, community interaction training, and capacity building expertise. I am staying with the Kanakulya family, consisting of a mother, Agnes, father, Michael, and 5 siblings: Samuel(19), John(15), Faith(9), Emmanuel(5), ???(4). Still working on the name of that last one.
I have started to learn Ateso as my language. This puts me in the Eastern Uganda region, apparently home to some of the more isolated villages in the country. I'm very excited about the prospect of moving here. I have been told that my language group is being sponsored by PEPFAR, and I will be interested to see in what capacity I will be working alongside this fund.
In the meantime, life is pretty standard here in Kisimbiri. I take a bucket shower every evening, take tea three times a day, and have learned the finer points of using the Ugandan latrine. I have gotten a bit ill and recovered from it, and I've already managed to split my head open and get it mended (long story). Anyway, I already feel myself starting to call Kisimbiri home. After 5 days in town, I am very happy with this progression.
Although this might not be a surprise to anybody here, the internet here is very shotty. I am writing this in "notepad" in hopes that I will be able to hook up my computer to the internet cafe and copy and paste this into my blog. This will (hopefully) prevent me writing large amounts and having the computers shut down or lose power just as I am about to send (which has happened twice already.)
We were issued bikes on Wednesday. I was pretty pumped to receive mine, given that it takes me 45 minutes to walk to class...after receiving the bikes, however, I have to admit that I didn't realize how spoiled I was from my bike at home. My pedals are made of plastic, and they have broken twice already. The bike is a 6 speed, but only changes into two gears. It's also brand new, so I'm confused. Anyway, it sure does look pretty...
Anyway, here I am! Today is a learning day for me, and I am hoping that at the end of it I will be well versed in the ways of cleaning, washing clothes, and (kind of) cooking some meals. I was also able to snag some information on well digging and a how to book on fuel efficient ovens while I was in Kampala getting my stitches from my head split (long story, promise it's fine.) I know that I may never actually use the contents of the book, but they are just so interesting that I felt it could be some good post-Ateso reading material.
If anybody just Happens to be making a shipment to Uganda, here are some things I was thinking about:
-music. I had to wipe my computer's memory once i got here. Womp Womp. Anything would be great.
-shampoo. Stuff is ridiculously expensive here, and it's not exactly vidal sassoon.
-rechargeable batteries. These won't be needed needed until much later on...but they'd be nice. for now i'm using up a pile of regular batteries that I brought with me. I already have a charger.
-pens. They suck here.
-Any pictures!!! Would love to have more here.
Thing that I have used the most since being here that I questioned bringing: UGA visor. The thing is one of the few things that I brought that reminds me of...well, you know. It travels with me always; if not on my head, then attached to my backpack. I anticipate most all of the pictures taken by the rest of the group will verify this.
Thing that I have used the least since being here that I absolutely thought would be vital: sunscreen. I'm wearing pants and longsleeves, as is custom. No need.
I'm an idiot because: Didn't bring a towel, or an ipod charger (because SOMEONE lost mine in Richmond), or a power adapter.
I'm a genius because: One of only two people to bring a hammock. Use it all the time.
My beard and hair is growing out of control. A fellow trainee has made promise to tame the wild mess, but results have not been present as of yet. I will continue the struggle.
The mefloquin (sp) that I am taking for Malaria has some interesting side effects. My dreams have become increasingly vivid. Looking forward to getting some real doozies in a couple of months time.
And so until next time, take care of yourselves everybody.