Sunday, March 6, 2011

February 22, 2011 8:50 PM

We had a first rain fall here in Africa today.  It was really hard and pretty quick.  It really down poured just before dinner.  It was really nice.  It cooled everything off and it was kind of nice just to see something different.

It’s funny how we have been finding joy in the little things here.  Since everything seems to be pretty much the same day in and day out, we really appreciate it when things are a little different.  For instance, we had carrots and potatoes as part of our lunch today and I Thought that was pretty amazing.  We also entertain ourselves with the weirdest things.  Every morning over breakfast we seem to discuss our dreams and how we slept.  In many of the Ugandan languages we are learning, “good morning” is literally translated “how did you spend the night.”  At first we thought that was strange, but then we realized that we were asking people how they slept, which is kind of the same thing.  Then at dinner we often share gossip about each other because we have nothing else to talk about and then we end the night playing cards.

Something they keep trying to instill in us about our service is what in Luganda they call mpola mpola, which means to take things very slowly.  It is kind of hard to do that now because we have sessions everyday all day.  Our lives now are nothing like they will be at site, but we somehow have to learn to adapt to this way of life.  Everything in Uganda moves slower and not because the people are lazy, but just simply because in this culture things are not fast paced like they are in the United States.  I don’t think it will be hard to get into this new lifestyle, but it may be hard to get back to a fast paced life after service.

We had a session today specifically about HIV and AIDS and how to teach it in the schools.  Even though this is not our primary project, many  PCVs do touch upon it sometime during their service.  We started this session with an interesting activity that we could do with the kids in the schools.  Everyone was given an index card.  Everyone is told to shake hands with at least three other people.  Most of the index cards have nothing on them.  One of the index cards has a star on it.  Two of the index cards have a heart on them and these people are told to only shake hands with each other.  One of the index cards says to not shake hands with anyone.  And one of the index cards says to only shake hands with a bag on their hand.  As you may have figured out shaking hands signifies having sex.  The card with a star on it means that person is HIV positive.  The two cards with hearts on them are in a monogamous relationship.  Obviously, the person that doesn’t shake hands with anyone is practicing abstinence.  And the person only shaking hands with a bag on their hand is using a condom.  This can be a great activity to show how fast HIV can spread and ways that people can protect themselves.  They do this even with primary school children, which seems inappropriate but in Uganda it is necessary.  There are many misconceptions about AIDS here.  Some people think that Americans are trying to give them AIDS.  They also just don’t understand basic things that you would expect Americans to understand. 

We move to our homestays on Saturday and stand fast is going to be lifted no later than Friday.  Elections were even more peaceful than expected.  As of right now, it looks like they may take us to Kampala next weekend, but we shall see.

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