Friday, September 3, 2010

Water/San tech session, ALLVol lunch

Since my last post, there haven't been too many changes in itinerary for us. Our group has spent the mornings walking to class, getting filled with knowledge about either economic development or community health, depending on your program that was assigned (for me, it's community health).

One of the changes is the emergence of the rainy season. It seems now that the weather is planning to stick around, meaning that we should be planning on getting precipitation at some part of most every day. The rain itself is completely fine, and looked at more of a relief rather than a nuisance. The mud, puddles, and small ponds that occupy the majority of the roads are, on the other hand, much more cumbersome. Even if I were agile enough on my bicycle to traverse the small oceans that cover nearly every meter of the roads, I still wouldn't be safe from the splashes that come from my best friends: the boda-boda drivers. They seem to combat the rainy weather with an increased rpm's, brighter smile, and less worry for everyone else. It certainly works for them.

Another high point (but this time I'm serious) in the past week was a couple of our tech sessions. We got schooled in some of the more basic and useful tools of a water/sanitation engineer. The designs presented to us from fellow volunteers Caleb and Steve were awesome, and are so simple, sustainable, and have SUCH a possibility for an impact and change in cleanliness and healthy living here in Uganda. I'm so proud at this point that my job will be primary centered around the possibility of doing these exact things. I have found myself dreaming up new inventions of low-tech fixes to everyday problems that the average and below-average Ugandan may face in a given day. Most are absurd...but that won't stop me recreating them at my site, once I get there.

Some of the things we learned about were bio filters, so-dis methods of achieving potable water, first flush methods to decrease disease, dirt, and virus in the drinking water, and other simple tools that could drastically reduce diarrhea as a result of fecal-mouth transmission. Not all are glamorous, but ALL are awesome, plausible, and completely important.

Another cool part of the week was that yesterday we were able to go and see all of the volunteers in one spot, while they were being put up in the Ridar Hotel (on behalf of the volunteers...thanks taxpayers. The hotel looks like a palace). Little did we know, we would be joined at lunch by not only the volunteers from all over the country (thereby giving us a chance to meet the guys that we'd be near for the next 2 years), but also the CD Ted Mooney, and ALSO the main man, the Ambassador. When it was announced that he actually is from North Carolina, I had no choice but to go up and shake his hand personally. As it turns out, he went to UNC for 6 years of Grad School and has been following our (diminishing) college football prospects for the year. Nothing like eating lunch, talking to the AMB about Marvin Austen and Butch. Sounds like home.

Oh. The volunteers also decided that they'd choose me out of our group to kidnap, blindfold, and throw in the hotel's pool. I managed to keep my phone and wallet dry, despite being dunked...however the volunteer that did the deed came out much worse. I suppose he didn't expect me to put up much of a fight, and so he (cockily) didn't worry about taking his phone or wallet out of his pants....and they were ruined. Sorry I'm not sorry.

All else is going quite well. I will give you some more updates when I have them to give...Until then, I hope all are managing amidst the high seas and increased wind speed on the east coast...I've heard Hurricane Earl is either imminent or presently sweeping through. Stay safe everyone.

Matt

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