Friday, March 25, 2011
This morning we had a structured lesson and then we went to the market to buy food for dinner at Charlene’s. We headed to Charlene’s site after lunch. It took us about an hour and a half to get there because we walked slow and we were taking pictures and greeting people. Charlene’s site is really nice. She lives on the campus of her PTC (Primary teacher’s college). She has running water and electricity. After we got the grand tour of the campus, we made dinner. We had salsa, guacamole, pita, refried beans and chocolate cake. We also made passion fruit juice. The food was amazing as well as the company. I think today was one of the best days I’ve had here so far. Charlene is awesome and I can’t wait to see her again at the 50th anniversary party. Charlene’s was the first real site I’ve seen. This makes me really want to know where my site is. I also feel like I’m forming a preference for where I want to be. I think I would really like to be down near the Rwanda border (near Kabale). We find out our sites in a little less than two weeks and I think we’re all getting anxious. My language group has come to the conclusion that we won and got the best region. It is amazing here!!
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
My homestay is on a massive hill. Coming home every day I have to climb up it and it just gets steeper and steeper. My host mom tells me that I have no need for exercising, I just need to walk up the hill once a day and that is enough. I really like my homestay. I just wish it was closer to the training center. Some people only walk about 5 minutes to get there and it takes me about 30. However, I think the real challenge is on the days when I walk with Andrew (a PCT that lives a few houses up from me). He walks so fast that I have trouble keeping up. My host mom asks me why he "runs", although he is only walking fast not running. But the Ugandans think I walk fast.
Teaching has been going okay. The teacher I'm working with isn't the best. He is really willing to work with me, but I feel like our lesson plans are a little incomplete and too short for the allotted time. I just can't wait until next week is over. Everyone is really excited for language immersion.
Hopefully I'll upload some pictures soon. I haven't gotten them on my computer yet.
Monday, March 7, 2011
I taught my first class today!! I was co-teaching an S1 Math class. The Ugandan teacher introduced the topic of numbers and then went over addition and I had to go over subtraction (yes, they learn addition and subtraction in Secondary school). Sounds easy...It isn't. The teacher didn't collaborate with me much before we went in. He basically threw me his notes and what he wanted me to cover. So I had problems I needed to go over that I had never looked at before and I had to solve them as I went in my head. That's what I call an on the fly lesson. I still have 5 more lessons to co-teach this week and then next we I will be solo teaching probably 4 or 5 lessons. Needless to say, I can't wait for next week to be over.
Things here have been hectic. We have been having 12 hour days about 5 days a week and then we have a half day on Saturday. On Sundays I need to do laundry and catch up on other things. So I don't really ever get time off. And when I do have time off I feel obligated to spend time with my homestay family. Its kind of rough right now, but everyone here is really helpful and I just have to make it through training.
I got to talk to Julie, Jamie, Joey and Kevin yesterday. I finally got through! It only took two weeks. It was nice talking to them, but I had to cut it a little short. It was time for dinner and I think I held up dinner a little because I was on the phone.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Yesterday we had a fair put on my some of the current PCVs. I finally got to meet Shannon which was exciting. She is also in the same region that I'm going to, so she speaks Runyankore.
I enjoy how they say certain things here. One of the volunteer trainers yesterday complemented me on my outfit and said I looked smart, which here just means you look put together and nice. Although some of you might find this hard to believe, but I've been getting a lot of compliments on my clothes. The other trainees often tell me how nice I look.
It still amazes me how much American culture is here in Uganda. My homestay family listens to music on the radio a lot and today I heard both The Spice Cirls and Justin Bieber. They also like to try to put on the TV when we eat dinner (if the power is on). Most of the time it is news. I find it really interesting being here and watching the news about all the uprisings in Africa and the arab world. It seems so much closer to home.
I had quite an intense language lesson today. We reviewed everything we have learned so far. I'm actually kind of getting it. I can't wait for language immersion. That will be our first chance to get away from here and fully engulf ourselves in the language.
Today we went to UWEC in the afternoon. UWEC is the Uganda Wildlife Education Center (basically the Entebbe zoo). It was very different from an American zoo. There were monkeys everywhere. Now I can say I finally saw giraffe in Africa. After that we ordered pizza and had it delivered to Luweza. I think that was the first real American food I've had since I got here.
Today was our first real day in the school. It was good and bad. The teachers weren't all clear on what was going on. Once we clearly stated our purpose things got better. I sat in on two classes. The first one was Senior 2 and they were learning word processing. The second was Senior 3 and they were learning Excel. Computer class is only required up to Senior 2, so in my first class there was about 45 students and 2 or 3 students to each computer and the second class was only about 9 students and everyone had their own computer. I'm getting used to the computer teacher and I'm sitting in on another one of his classes on Friday. I'm also sitting in on a math class. For the first time today I had to eat with my hands. The school gave us lunch of posho (a very bland much made from maize) and beans. It was harder and messier than it looks. I'm sure that won't be the last time for that.
I can't believe its March already. Today was the actual 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps. We commemorated it at break tea today. We sang Happy Birthday and Dan reenacted the speech that John F. Kennedy made at the University of Michigan in October of 1960. It was funny because he got a suit jacket from reception and the sleeves were too short. It was kind of nice to hear it considering that is the reason all of us are here.
So, We Have Arrived!! Our plane landed in Entebbe a little before 7PM today. I could tell this country was beautiful from the moment we landed as we flew in over Lake Victoria at sunset. It is really humid here. It is like Philadelphia in the summertime. After we went through customs and got our bags, we were greeted by the Peace Corps Uganda director, Ted Mooney, and other staff members who got our stuff in the jeeps and got all of us on buses. We then rode about a half hour to our training center. It was interesting to see people walking around, riding bikes and running businesses (even though it was after dark at that point). I noticed that there were no traffic lights in our entire ride (I guess that’s why it went so fast). After we got here, we got our bags, picked roommates and picked rooms. Kelsey and I decided to room together again. We ended up with the last room at the end of the hall on the first floor. The girls are on the first floor and the guys are on the second floor. After dropping our stuff we went to have dinner, where we were introduced to the whole staff. During dinner, we were given medical surveys to fill out before we meet with the medical staff tomorrow. We were also given a lot of information to promote good health and prevent illness. After dinner, I went back to my room, organized some of my stuff and took a hot shower. Yes, we have hot water. We also have electricity, which only went out once during dinner. Breakfast tomorrow starts at 7, so I’ll probably go to bed soon. So far, Uganda seems to be a very interesting very hot place.