Saturday, December 3, 2011

December 4, 2011 6:45 AM

It’s funny how the infrastructure here (or lack thereof) is just accepted by the people here.  Power and water go out all the time and the people here just adjust their lives to deal with it.  Luckily for me my water comes from a rain tank, so I always have water unless the entire tank runs dry, which hasn’t happened yet.  But in Mbarara water has been going out all the time.  I know this seems strange because it doesn’t really happen in the U.S., but this means the water company shuts off the water.  It just seems ridiculous that Mbarara doesn’t have water half the time and we’re in the rainy season.  Things like this shouldn’t happen. For me power is the real problem.  First of all, I don’t pay my own power bill.  My school pays it (well…most of the time).  Every so often they don’t pay the bill.  I don’t exactly know why, but this causes the power company to disconnect the power.  This happened right before I left for Thanksgiving.  So my power went off Monday November 24th and it didn’t actually come back until yesterday December 3rd.  Luckily I was gone for a large portion of the time it was out, but after I came back I was told that they had paid the bill and we just needed the electrician to come out and reconnect it and that took about 4 days itself.  Power was not just out for me, but also all the other teachers that live on my row of houses.  This even includes the Headmaster and the Deputy Headmistress.  The fact that power was out for 12 days didn’t seem to bother anyone else in the slightest.  I think I was the only one really put out by this.  On top of problems like this, Uganda has been having problems with what they call “load shedding”.  I’m not exactly sure what this means, but to me it is an excuse for the power company to shut off power for an entire town or region for no real good reason.  I think it might be because the country as a whole is using too much power.  Either way it causes big problems for businesses and people have been demonstrating about it in Kampala.  And keep in mind as I’m writing this my power is currently out.

In other news, I’m leaving today to go to Camp Glow.  I’m taking 4 girls from my school.  This should be an interesting experience.  Most of the people here don’t move around their own country the way I do.  I don’t know that any of these girls have ever been to Kampala before.  Because my school is more urban, I know that they have at least been to Mbarara, which is the biggest town in the region.  But some volunteers are bringing girls that have never left their village.  So either way for most of these girls, this will be quite the experience. 

Camp Glow (Girls Leading Our World) and Camp Build (Boys of Uganda in Leadership Development), which are being held right next to each other, are the capstone events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Peace Corps.  So at least for the last day of these camps there should be a lot of volunteers around.  It should be a good week.

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