With as much stuff that happens in this country that gets me agitated, I try and keep at least one or two things in the distance that I know are going to be a blast. Lights at the end of the tunnel, and all that. Ideally, the good days are spread out so that I can continue to look forward to things, but also don't get too disillusioned about where I'm living. This weekend didn't follow that rule at all!
Firstly, I traveled to Jinja to compete in the Annual Nile River Rafting Race. I also competed in this the last year with Peace Corps, finishing 4th (although two rafts in front of us cheated). This year, we said, we'd come more prepared. Either way I knew I'd have a blast; Nile River, good friends, and motivation to work my muscles to a point of total failure in less than 30 minutes? Right up my alley.
After we finished our race, we were pretty sure we'd at least get on the podium; the race was done solely as a timed competition, and there were 3 heats (18 or 19 boats total). We had pretty good rhythm throughout the race and despite hitting a pretty bad eddy which slowed us down, I was feeling pretty confident. At the awards ceremony, we found that not only had we won (we beat the 2nd place team by over a minute, with a time of 22:37), but we'd also set a new course record in the history of the race itself. What a great feeling! We'd accomplished our goal, and done it in the proper way.
During the Jinja trip, less selfishly positive things happened as well. Another company in the Jinja area approached me (which is a nice change of power) to start supplying them hammocks. I also started talking to a South African lady who happened to be the Sales Director of a major magazine published throughout Uganda, and she asked me to write up the NPHC story and send her some pictures to put it in her next issue. Wow! If I can get the kids to write it, and have it be solely their names on the issue, without any mention of silly me or Peace Corps, can you imagine how proud they would be? Great to be able to positively reinforce such great kids, and supporting them in something that they have done on their own.
Today, about 5 minutes ago (just in time for it to still be considered part of my amazing weekend, 7 minutes before midnight), I got an email being told that my Appropriate Projects Latrine Funding (http://appropriateprojects.com/node/703) had just gotten fully funded. Appropriate Projects did pre-fund my project for the health center...but still. It's complete! Also, I'm eligible (and preferred by the company) to re-apply for another grant, given that it's actually needed and can be used in a sustainable way to decrease the need for it's kind of support in the future. Awesome!
Riding the wave into the weekday, tomorrow. Fully expecting for my Apex-turned-high-plateau to start crumbling down back to sea level (or lower)...but also continuing with faith that weekends like this will keep arising, even if they're sporadic at best.
Bring on Monday!