Saturday, November 20, 2010

100th day

...or something like that.

Can't believe it is already November 20th, and about to begin the final month of the year. While in America the middle of November signals a return to the corduroy pants, whool scarfs, and other warm weather gear, here in Eastern Uganda we are settling in for the hot and dry season. Although the temperature doesn't get above 85, and the humidity is always at about 10% or less, the sun's direct rays provide enough sizzle to keep me under the shade for as long as possible.

There are so many sets of pools of ideas that I have put my toes into since being here. I have been continually considering, updating, renovating, and evolving several different IGA's that I think would be easily to implement, cheap to make, and have real possibility to sustain. I have started talks with the Water School of Uganda, in hopes of working out SO-DIS purification as a way to combat lack of drinking water and deforestation. I am also working on a syllabus for WWS (world wise schools) for next term so that I can link up my teachers to classrooms in Uganda. (TANGENT: If you are interested in working with me, and you are a teacher, SEND ME AN EMAIL!!! I am in contact with several schools, each with several teachers, all who would love to be a part of an American program supporting the exchange of cultural norms. I have lots of ideas and would love to share them with you.

I am also now well versed with LC1, who eats dinner at my house regularly,as well as the DHO (District Health Officer), Minister of Water and Sanitation for the District, Councellor of Ngora, Resident District Commissioner, Police Commander, NUSAF coordinator at the town council, Sr. Nurse at the local hospital, and so many other influential figures. This makes it much easier to think of ideas on the grandiose scale that my mind enjoys, but of course also makes everything I do ripple so much further in the small pond of Ngora. For now I'm trying to pull the levitation act, hoping that I will be given the time I need to gather respect at the lower levels of government and the community itself before these big-wigs start asking me to do a cannonball.

I have finally been made mobile; I have bought, and then the next day fixed, a second hand mountain bike that should work just fine. I have made a report with the local bike shop to let me use their tools when I need, and they are very happy just to have the local muzungu at their shop with nearly everyone in town staring. Walking around the town was a drag after the first hour; after 3 weeks, my skin was starting to sizzle even underneath the long sleeve button down and long pants.

Since said purchase, my life has really hit a different gear. That was awful. I am now traveling to Fredecarr (the local hospital, and the location of the district headquarters for health) once and twice a day, whereas normally it was a once a week trip due to it's hour long walking commute. Today marks the first day of Eastern Ugandan's house-house approach towards stopping the polio outbreak which was first confirmed a month previous. Ministry of Health and UNICEF have now come in to help with the task. It has been extremely enlightening to be able to sit in on the meetings. Today, the day of implementation, was even more enlightening (I am scared to think of another, more suitable word besides this) to be able to stand around the table while supplies were being passed out.

My house is nearly complete! I made the mistake of actually answering the question of what my favorite color was, when my priests asked me. I didn't realize that this color would result in me seeing nothing BUT this color in my house, a day later. Silly of me really, when I look back on it. Anywayyyyyy, as if the absolutely gorgeous Carolina Blue sky isn't enough for me everyday to wake up to, I will now have it in every room of my new house. Nothing could be finer...

Integration into my community is going extremely well. I'm pretty impressed with myself, with all honesty, in my ability to stay upbeat around town. Kids screaming muzungu is one thing, but when you're biking up a hill with the sun beating down in full business attire, and the damned kids just want to stare and look at you with something recognizant of Rambo's 1000 yard stare...lets just say it makes you want to test if they actually ARE as badass as Rambo. As of yet, no blow ups have occurred, though. I do have a sneaking suspicion that I'll be working out harder and harder, though...

I've also joined the ranks of the permanent soccer crew. Every night at around 5 I go out with the boys from the PTC (primary teachers college) and kick it around until they are called in for dinner. They are all of similar ages, maybe hovering around 3 or 4 years younger than myself. They are in much better apparent shape than it's a good thing they are lazier than me too. Oh, playing in cleats while half the others plays barefoot doesn't hurt either. No, I absolutely do NOT feel bad about that. Come play with me. You'll find out quickly why.

My most frustrating set-back right now is that it seems my computer charger, that I paid arms and legs to reach a PCV's parents house in the states at a certain date so that it could be carried back with said PCV when she came back from her US vacatio, has not showed up on time. This puts me back at square one for finding a way to power my computer.

Most inspiring was definitely two younger ladies that came looking for me by name (Opolot, which has stuck like no other nickname before in my life...besides maybe cuerpo). They are both orphans, living in a house together. Suddenly, after taking in a fellow orphan who's parents had died of HIV/AIDS, they have woken up to find over 15 mouths in their kitchen, waiting to be fed. They are asking for ways to sustain themselves, wasy in which they will be able to make this work. What are they NOT doing? They aren't asking how to get these kids out of their home, or how to receive funding from America, or how I'm going to fix their problems. They are asking for a little coordination, and any possible ideas from the kid with new perspectives. What else were they not doing? Speaking in English. Thank you very much, asisiankinan Susan Oce; your teaching of Ateso has been so fundamental to any and every role that I have performed in this country, and there is nothing I am more appreciative of than your commitment to making me learn.

As for pictures, I'm sorry to say that my foresight while packing for this country was quite short (surprise surprise, right?), and I have no way of loading my pictures from my computer without the SD slot embedded into my laptop. Considering my laptop, as mentioned above, is out of commission...yeah. I'll work on it.

As for the future...
There are some small plans for me on this glorious Thanksgiving week coming up, which I'm super excited about. I am also, I'm proud to say, excited about staying at my site with noone else but my new family of Ugandans for Christmas. I have been hearing rumors about it since I have arrived, and there are few things that I'm anticipating more.

After quickly re-reading this, it sounds like I'm quite busy I'm sure. Cut out TV, the ability to deeply conversate with another person within a 20km radius, the internet, and a computer...then throw in the fact that I finished my last novel (Catcher in the Rye) of which I have in stock...and then consider my previous work schedule with Spanky's, Squids, and Psychology Lab Work...and you'll see that my days are quite empty. Send emails, send texts, all will be welcome...even if I can't see them or get them for a few days time.

New number. +256757817300 (zain line)
+256700797157(Warid line-shitty service in my site, but cheapest and easiest to use in a more urban setting)

My MTN line (the first number I had) is currently not in my phone, so it won't be picked up. If I change, which I inevitably will in the next couple of weeks for some reason, I'll let you know.

Gotta go. Need to look up the process of starting to grow dreadlocks before I get kicked off the internet...

Awanyunos bobo lukapolok kede nukapolok,

1 comment:

  1. Hi MattBoddie! Hope you're doing well! I heard from MattGJ and Chuck about your great adventure, and I found your blog! I'm not a stalker I promise....but I enjoy reading your blog! It's amazing what you're doing, and I'll never have the courage like you!

    I went on a medical mission trip for the first time to Dominican Republic, and I fell in love with it! The group that I went with also goes to Uganda every year, so you never know, maybe I'll be in the same country one day :)

    Glad you're doing well and having fun!!

    Mihoko Sakai