Sunday, June 19, 2011

June?

First of all, Happy Father's Day Papa! I could write novels and novels about how thankful I am for the way you raised me, for showing me the kind of person a man should be, and for guiding me in my progression into becoming one myself. I won't; but I could. Love you Papa.

June has been interesting. I have to look at my watch every day, and each time I do, I gaze with astonishment at the date which presents itself. The 19th? Already? It is pure craziness to think that 3 weeks from now my family will be traveling to celebrate my Grandmother's B-day and the 4th of July (in order of importance?). When I came to this blog, I realized that my last post was actually in May, which confuses me again. How is it possible, that first cricket game was 3 weeks ago? Time is playing tricks on me; events are all partitioned in my head as having occurred less than or equal to 24 hours prior. My day by day calendar continues to be filled, seemingly on its own, and at times is the only way I can actually prove to myself that I'm actually doing...anything...in this country. Time is thus at a standstill, yet moving faster than ever in my life. As if on one of those treadmills on the airport, where the slowest motion forward carries you past all those around you.

On paper, and on my sanity-keeping day by day calendar, this month has been a phenomenal success. I've received 1.2 million shillings from Appropriate Projects for the building of a latrine that is now nearly finished; I've received 2.7 million shillings from Heather Kloer's Class (Thank you St. Thomas More!!!!) for a borehole project that well commence in less than 24 hours; I've started and slowly reduced my responsibilities over the NPHC (Ngora Parish Harmack Company), who have set up an email, webpage, and sold over 40 hammocks to Ugandans, Volunteers, Embassy Workers, and Toursists of the country, not to mention learned valuable lessons about entrepreneurship, ICT, creativity, and problem solving skills. I've traveled around the country, played tennis in KLA (and won, of course; I'm Matt Boddie) and set up future matches. I've talked on a radio for 3 hours to a listening audience of over 100,000 people about healthy living and proper nutrition. Hell, after writing this paragraph, I am almost convinced that it's been nothing less than the best month yet in Uganda.

In a way, though, it's the beginning of a new chapter; I find myself facing more and more of a blank slate. These projects have been successful in-so-far as they've been the culmination of work since me stepping foot in Teso Sub-Region, Uganda. They have been successful in that I have kept my Peace Corps word of honor to encourage sustainability, to lead from the back of the room, and continually remove responsibility from my own hands onto others, who will learn from their experience and be able to carry it on long after I leave. I do believe in this, not just because the Peace Corps wants me to, and I'm incredibly proud of my boys and girls and men and women who have taken on the responsibilities of these roles. But, it also means, necessarily, that my responsibilities and positions are decreasing at the same slow but sure speed.

Only just now, writing this, do I realize that this doesn't have to be a bitter-sweet experience. I've been weighed down quite heavily by the stress of the two grants coming in, and it has been compounded by the expanding NPHC and all of the orders that have come in since it's inception (damn you, di caprio, you made me look up that word to make sure it actually meant "beginning"). It's just, well, it means another episode of trying ideas, giving up on others, hanging on to those that succeed, and finding the people in this country who actually want the help, not the handouts. It means re-entering myself into the unknown, after finding a place in relative comfort. It means being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uganda.