Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Don't Steal in Uganda. Check.

In order to keep my mental health strong, I thought it was pertinent to get out of site before we get put on Standfast for the remainder of the month of February.

(Standfast is an Emergency precaution; in times of trouble in the country, for whatever reason, we can be put on Standfast by Peace Corps. Basically this means that wherever we are in the country, we have to stay exactly there and sit tight until we get more instructions. It is designed to make it easier for the next progression of the emergency program—consolidation of a volunteers into central locations. )

Because of the elections, happening on the 18th, we’ve been given notice to expect to be on standfast from the 11th to the 25th, at least. Therefore, for now, I’m stocking up on my book to-read list and using my last chances of the month to speak American English to fellow PCV’s in the area.

Got super super lucky yesterday, and was able to watch the superbowl (without commercials. Whomp whomp) in its entirety. The game was actually good enough to make up for the monstrosity that was the halftime show, which is saying a lot. (No, it wasn’t good. Nope, not arty either. I was pretty embarrassed that people, like those in Uganda watching the game with us, believe that’s the best music we can come up with.) Anyway, it was extremely odd to be watching the superbowl, then to walk outside and realize that you were in Uganda. Like that feeling of being in a movie theatre, and realizing it’s still light out.

As if the country wasn’t sure I was appreciating exactly where I was, and more specifically the differences between here and the USA, it decided to remind me at halftime. While walking with a friend, we saw a man get dragged across the street (away from the police station) into a small alley. The man had apparently stolen something, but that’s all the information we got. The crowd was convinced with whatever kind of intel they had, however; convinced enough to start beating him with everything in sight. Fists rained down, on him, as the perpetrator/victim raised his hands in a general acceptance, knowing that if he were to resist, it would only get worse. Even a leg-less man was in on the action, beating the man repeatedly with a sugar can with all his strength.

Eventually, the man was unable to stand, and the mob continued to beat him as he fell to his hands and knees. It became, very quickly (this entire story takes place in about 3 minutes time) too much for me to watch, as I was losing confidence that the mob was actually going to let him go alive. I heard later that he was able to escape, and ran to the police station where he was finally arrested. Ridiculous.
Going to be in Jinja tomorrow quickly to meet with a fellow PCV in hopes of getting her PEPFAR funded organization to come and teach my district about HIV counseling services, and what exactly proper counseling entails. In a country where every town talks like a small town, and nothing is private…it is much needed.

PUMPED about Wednesday. Take those dookies down, Tarheels!!!

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