Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May 30, 2011 2:45 PM

Classes started today and I taught my first real classes.  I was teaching both streams of senior 1 the same lesson.  So I had two double lessons today.  They were both before lunch.  I think they went pretty well.  I like it a lot better than having someone watch me teach like before.  And I think they understood me pretty well.  I still haven’t worked out my schedule or curriculum for senior 5 yet.  People keep mentioning it to me, but they haven’t quite worked it all out yet. 

Also, today my neighbor told me he might be getting my stove back tomorrow.  He finally got a hold of the man who is supposed to fix it and hopefully he will fix it by tomorrow.  He said he wants to charge me 30,000 shillings to fix it, but that is a lot better than buying a new stove, which might have cost me 150,000 shillings.  I was also told (yet again) that they were coming to work on my bathroom tomorrow.  I’ll believe that when I see it.

May 27, 2011 12:00 PM

I got part of my schedule today.  I was told that they want me to teach Senior 1 and Senior 5.  At first I was a little intimidated by this.  Senior 1 is a piece of cake.  There not even much practicals in it.  It is almost all computer theory and history.  But Senior 5, if we are going with the national curriculum, is fairly advanced.  However, I soon came to realize that my school does not offer computers as a principle subject for Senior 5 and Senior 6, which means I can kind of just teach whatever I want.  I was told to treat them as if they are computer illiterate.  So I will probably be teaching almost the same thing to the Senior 5s as to the Senior 1s.  With that being said, I only have my schedule for Senior 1 so far, because they haven’t worked out a schedule for Senior 5 yet.  For Senior 1 there are 2 streams (meaning two classes).  I teach each one twice a week.  Each stream has one double lesson and one single lesson.  So far, I’m only scheduled to teach on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and I’m only teaching 2 doubles and 2 singles (6 lessons in total) and a lesson is only 40 minutes long.  I have a feeling I’m going to have a lot of down time.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May 25, 2011 4:00 PM

So today they actually fixed the tap next to my neighbors’ house!  No more going up to the school to get water.  No more trying to find someone to carry it back for me.  I can finally just go and get it myself.  I don’t have to rely on other people to get it for me.  The water in my bathroom still isn’t finished, but we are definitely moving in the right direction. 

May 24, 2011 7:00 PM--Mail Call

I went into Mbarara today to get my packages from the post office.  Apparently, I didn’t have 5 packages…instead I had 9!  Naturally 8 of them were from my mom and 1 was from mom-mom.  I think I now have enough snack food to last me a life time.  Some of the more exciting things were dish towels and pot holders (Ugandans don’t understand a need for pot holders), newspaper articles (all of them about the Phillies no doubt), a Time magazine (of course it is from over a month ago, but I don’t care), more crossword puzzles from the Inquirer, a giraffe shower curtain and liner (although I don’t have a shower where I need a shower curtain, I hung them both as curtains in my living room, a giraffe clock (which, at the moment, doesn’t work, but I’m working on fixing it…**fingers crossed**) and a Phillies stuffed monkey (because my mom is always on the hunt for the craziest most awesome things to send).  So thanks for the packages.  And just as an FYI, we think that I’ve actually gotten almost all of my mail.  If you sent something to the Kampala address, odds are it is sitting in the Peace Corps office waiting for me to go back for IST to get it.  So don’t hesitate to send things (letters, padded envelopes, packages, whatever you want).

May 23, 2011 9:45 PM

So today was the first day of the term and it is still pretty uneventful here.  However, I did get more mail today.  And the mail today was even more exciting than usual.  I got my first piece of mail today that wasn’t from my mom (no offense mom).  I got a letter from Karissa today.  Thanks Karissa!!  It is hanging on my wall already.  I also got my first crossword puzzle from my dad.  I don’t think I’ve done a crossword in at least three months.  Thanks dad!  In addition to what I actually received, I also have five packages waiting for me at the post office in Mbarara.  I may try to go to town tomorrow to get them.

Today I also had my first real Dutch oven experience.  I tried to make a pineapple upside-down cake.  I don’t think the Dutch oven was that bad, but the cake still didn’t come out that great.  I can’t figure out if it is the recipe I used or if it was the way I made it.  Oh Well!  Hopefully I’ll have better luck next time.

May 22, 2011 7:00 PM--I Have a Counterpart

I finally met my counterpart today!!  We had our beginning of term staff meeting, which was helpful and informative but, at points, it was painful.  It was supposed to start at 1:30 but it didn’t start til 2:30, which I kind of expected.  We had a break for lunch in the middle at about 4:00 (it was more like dinner for me).  The meeting lasted until a little after 6.  The length of it wasn’t really the worst of it, because I expected it to be long.  But at one point the secretary was reading the minutes from the previous meeting (the end of term meeting from last term) out loud for 45 minutes when we all had a printed copy of them.  He was reading them word for word with not additional comments.  Why!  Do they think that we can’t read!  We’re teachers. I think we are fully capable of reading them ourselves.  Someone suggested that we didn’t need to read them because not that much has really changed since the last meeting because the school was on break, but he was quickly shot down (I think it was the only thing in the entire meeting that was done quickly).  The funny thing is that I can’t really complain because the meeting was less than four hours and it was only one hour late.  By Ugandan standards, that’s pretty good.  In other news, I found out today that the school is coming up on its 30th anniversary this week.  Oddly enough, only one person noticed and mentioned it today.  But he did suggest that they slaughter two goats and have a celebration, which could be fun.  And after the meeting was all over, I was finally introduced to my counterpart.  She apparently lives in Mbarara, which is probably why I haven’t met her yet.  I was initially told that she was the head of the computer science department.  Although that is kind of true, the school doesn’t have a standalone computer science department.  It is actually part of their business department.  And she is, in fact, the only computer teacher, which doesn’t surprise me.  After talking to her for a few minutes, I figured out that it looks like I’m just taking some of her classes.  I don’t think there was more than one computer teacher before.  So we are going to wait for the timetable to be made and then decide which classes I’m going to take.  I don’t think we will split them evenly.  She will probably have more than me, but I guess for her it is better than teaching them all herself.  For now I have another week of lying low, because of exams.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

May 21, 2011 8:30 PM

I went into Mbarara today to meet up with Emily and Ryan.  We ended up getting lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, City Top, and then we did a lot of much needed shopping.  It was kind of funny to me, because I know Mbarara better than they do, I was kind of showing them around.  And it seemed like every store I took them in, the people knew me.  I got a lot of much needed food and other household items.  I also found a toaster oven at a reasonable price, which I think I’m going to buy the next time I’m in town.  Now that I have another bed, I think Emily and Ryan are going to come visit me sometime soon.

Sometimes the weirdest things end up being the most unnerving things.  Tonight, right as I was finishing my dinner, I realize that there was a bug flying around my kitchen (not at all unusual).  It looked like a cross between a dragonfly and a moth.  I’m still not sure what it was.  Before I knew it, my whole house was filled with maybe 25 or 30 of these flying insects.  At first, it really freaked me out.  I figured they were getting in somehow and I think they were coming in because of the rain.  So, I started to kill them, one by one.  But no matter how many I seemed to kill there always seemed to be more.  This is when I started getting really unhinged.  I realized that they were only in rooms that the lights were on.  So I started by turning out the lights in every room but my sitting room.  And then I figured out that they were getting in through a small crack in my window.  Once I covered it up, I continued on the killing rampage.  Eventually I got them all and I was able to relax.  Now all I have to do is clean up the mess I made.  I have dead bugs all over my floor.  I also realized that when the lights aren’t on, the bugs die.  When I went back into my kitchen there were several dead bugs on the floor.  Needless to say, I really need to clean my floor tomorrow. 

May 20, 2011 1:00 PM--New Bed

So today, while I was talking on the phone to my mom, the deputy headmistress of the school and one of the school maintenance men showed up at my back door with a mattress.  After talking to them for a minute I found out that they are giving me a mattress and they are going to bring me a bed later today or tomorrow.  That was really exciting because I was going to buy myself a new mattress and bed and now I don’t have to.  It is a bigger bed than the one I had but I don’t know if it is quite full size.  So I put my old bed and mattress in the empty room for when people come to visit and I now have my new mattress on the floor.

On another note, I found out the other day that they always start the term off with exams.  So next week the student will have exams all week.  This means I won’t start teaching until the week after next.  Although I will probably have work to do next week, I won’t be teaching next week.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 19, 2011 8:00 AM

I’ve found that Ugandans have some very interesting and unusual skills.  If you mention that the weather is very nice today, a Ugandan may be able to tell you it is going to rain at 3 o’clock.  And as much as you don’t believe them, it does rain at about 3 o’clock.  Another thing that I’ve found that they can predict very well is when the electricity is going to come back.  The power will be out and the Ugandans may say “It will be back at about 10.”  And sure enough at 10 o’clock the power comes back.  I have yet to figure out how they do it.  There must be some trick or inside knowledge, but I have yet to find it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 17, 2011 7:30 AM--Movie Review: The Last King of Scotland

I finally got around to watching “The Last King of Scotland” last night.  It’s a really good movie.  I would suggest watching it if you are interested in the history and the story of Idi Amin, but, just a warning, it is a little graphic, especially at the end.  It is interesting watching a movie about history like that of a country you are in.  In a way, it can help you understand the culture better, knowing where it is coming from.  It also kind of blows my mind that some people still look at Amin fondly just because of what he did for the economy.  But I guess there are some things I may never understand.

In other news, I think I’m going to go out to Masaka in June to help with another 50th Anniversary service project that one of the volunteers out there is organizing.  Masaka is only about 3 hours from here on the way to Kampala.  And then right before IST, I’m planning to head up to Lira and then from there I’m going to go to IST.  It will save me about half the trip because I have to go to Kampala anyway.  I may plan some other trips in between, but I have to get my class schedule first.  Most volunteers that I talk to are saying they are only scheduled to teach three days a week, so there might be some good opportunity for weekend trips in there.

Monday, May 16, 2011

May 15, 2011 6:00 PM--Bushenyi Visit

I just got back from spending the weekend in Bushenyi staying with Emily and Ryan.  It was a lot of fun.  I also got to see Bailey’s site and I finally met her new puppy, who is so cute and very playful.  Today Emily, Ryan and I went to Ishaka, which is a town just past Bushenyi Town.  It’s only about a 10 to 15 minute drive.  We were trying to get cheese, but the only supermarket that sells it was all out.  So we did some shopping and then we went back to their house to make lunch, deep dish pizza…mmmm.  While we were waiting for the pizza to cook, Ryan decided to try to get an avocado out of their avocado tree.  It quickly turned into quite to ordeal.  The avocado was really high up so he was trying to tie two sticks together to try to knock it down, but just hitting it didn’t make it fall.  So then he fastened a knife to the end of the sticks and tried to cut it off (I know it sounds a little scary but it was secure).  However, that didn’t work either.  Next was a pair of scissors and a string to operate the scissors.  Also didn’t work.  In the end, he basically lassoed it with a piece of rope and the stick and he yanked it down, but it took quite a bit of effort and about 40 minutes to get it down.  And after all that, we don’t think it is ripe enough to eat yet.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May 14, 2011 8:00 AM

So I’m currently in Bushenyi staying with Emily and Ryan.  There was a little doubt about me actually coming because we were on standfast until yesterday morning because of Museveni swearing-in to office.  But I finally made it.  Emily and Ryan have a really nice house.  They have a guest bedroom that I’m staying and the mattress is better than the one I have at my house.  I think I’m going to get a new mattress this week if nothing else.  Last night Bailey and Galen came over for dinner and tonight we are going to Bailey’s place for dinner.  I’m excited because I haven’t had the chance to meet her puppy yet!  Today Emily, Ryan and I are planning to take a trip to Ishaka, which is a town just past Bushenyi.  It is a little bigger than Bushenyi and Emily told me she found a place where you can get Gouda, which is also really exciting!  I think we are going to make pizza for lunch tomorrow.  After lunch tomorrow I’m going to head home.  I have to stop in Mbarara on the way and do some shopping.  Hopefully when I get home my stove will be there waiting for me.  This week I want to look into getting some more furniture because currently I can’t have anyone come stay with me unless they want to sleep on the cold concrete floor.  

May 11, 2011 12:30 PM--Collecting Rain

It’s funny how the weather here can affect you so much, positively and negatively.  It started raining in the middle of the night last night and it is still going strong right now.  Part of me is happy about the rain and part of me is frustrated with it.  If I put my basins and my bucket out on my front and back steps, I can collect rain water, which makes doing my laundry today much easier, because doing laundry take almost a full jerry can; however doing laundry while it’s raining is problematic, because now I have all my clothes hanging in my house.  The rain also bothers me because it makes the walk to the pit latrine really muddy and I have to walk out in the rain.  And finally, it has caused my internet to stop working.  So I guess overall, the rain is more of a hindrance than a help.

May 10, 2011 2:30 PM

It’s interesting how certain gestures mean so much in a culture and can confuse people who are not from that culture.  I’m sure, as Americans, we have them in our culture and we don’t even realize that outsiders may not understand them.  Well, Ugandans have them too.  And they may sometimes be so subtle that you don’t even know that they are trying to communicate something.  For instance, when a Ugandan raises their eyebrows it means yes.  And when they wave by opening and closing their hand it means come here.  If you don’t understand some of these, you may not be able to communicate with the people as well or you may be sending signals you don’t want.  If you ask someone a yes or no question, they may seem like they are ignoring you, when in fact they raised their eyebrows to say yes.  It is similar to how American nod to say yes.  Or you may be waving at some children you pass and then all of a sudden they are following you and you don’t know why.  Maybe it was because of the way you waved and you didn’t even think about it.  As I stay here and interact with people more and more I begin to pick up on these subtleties and they become very normal.

Swear-In Pictures

Kelsey and Me

Emily and Me

Me, Rachel, Emily and Ali

Silas and Me

Jan, Me and Ted

Liz and Me

More Pictures of My House

My Kitchen
(Where I do my dishes)

My Kitchen 

My Dining Room

My unfinished toilet

My Shower that has no water yet

The Back Porch and Door to the Bathroom

The view from my back porch

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My New House

My Desk

My Bed and my wardrobe

My Room

My Dining/Sitting room

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 8, 2011 9:00 PM

I finally figured out my internet!!  Unfortunately to get it to work I have to hold my computer up in the air near a window or outside and try to use it at the same time.  This is one of those few times I actually wish I had a netbook.  For the past few days I thought that I wasn’t getting any service here, but then today I decided to try it while moving around to see if I got any signal at all.  It turns out the best signal is in the only room without lights or furniture at the moment.  I’m not really sure what to do about this.  Maybe I’ll take my computer up to the school and see if I get a better signal up there.  It’s frustrating because I know it’s there and I just can’t get it to work.

May 7, 2011 3:45 PM--Banana Plantation

This afternoon Juliet came over and asked me if I wanted to go to the plantation with her.  I didn’t know exactly what that was or where we were going, but I went anyway.  Apparently the school has a huge plantation on the other side of the tarmac.  They grow all their matooke there.  They also grow beans, papaya, guavas, tomatoes and Irish potatoes.  So we spent the better part of an hour picking beans and guavas, so now I have both.  I also found out today that Juliet doesn’t actually live next door to me.  She lives over near the plantation.  She took me to her place after we left the plantation.  It is kind of just like a dorm room.  She said that she takes care of the guys who live next door to me.  They are friends of hers.  The one I see the most apparently has mental problems and doesn’t really know what is going on.  I kind of realized that before she told me, because I always say hello to him and he never responds, which for Ugandans is unheard of.  I feel like I keep learning more and more what goes on around here every day.  And I also enjoy any excuse to get out of the house, because things are getting quite boring here.  I can’t wait to go to Bushenyi next weekend.

May 6, 2011 3:15 PM

So I’ve now been here for two weeks and my bathroom is still not finished.  I haven’t seen anyone work on it in about a week.  I don’t mind using the pit latrine.  It’s getting water that’s become a challenge.  I was getting water from the tap on the other side of my neighbor’s house, which wasn’t too bad.  It was only about a 20 meter walk.  However, that tap is not working right now (I don’t know why), so I have to go up to the school to get water.  The school has a rain tank that I’ve been getting water from.  The only problem is that it is about maybe a quarter mile walk to get water.  It doesn’t sound so bad, but I use a 20 liter jerry can of water every day.  I don’t know exactly how heavy that is, but I can only make it about 20 meters before I want to fall over.  I also have to get a piece of plastic tubing from my neighbor to use to siphon out the water from the tank.  And to connect the plastic tubing I have to climb up on to the platform that the tank sinks on.  It’s not that big of a deal but it gets to be a little bit of a production.  The only part I really can’t do is the walk back with the water.  So far I’ve had my neighbor’s children help me and some of the students from the school as well.  I will be really happy when the tap in my bathroom is working and I won’t have to go anywhere to get water.  On a better note, the guy came the other day to work on the wiring.  I now have lights in 3 out of 4 rooms and on my back porch.  I also have an electrical outlet in every room.  He just needs to come back and put in a switch for the last room and put a light out front of my house and then he will be finished.  So for the past few days I’ve been cooking in my kitchen, which is somehow much better.

May 4, 2011 3:30 PM

Some days just end up being really frustrating.  Today I went to Mbarara in the morning to get a few things I needed and to try to sort out my internet on my modem.  I thought it was a big success.  I went to the MTN store and they told me I would get a signal out here for internet and I got a wardrobe as well as a few other things.  When I got back I tried my internet and it says I don’t have any service.  So not only do I not have internet but I have to go back to town to complain and try to get my money back.  I then went to put my wardrobe together and it has to be the worst designed piece of furniture I’ve ever seen.  I don’t think the pieces were actually made to fit together.  I got it together but it is very lopsided and wobbly.  I also don’t think that the plumbers have done any work all week on my bathroom.  They were making good progress on Friday and now we are back at a standstill.  And if things couldn’t get any worse, I went to go get water from the main tap and the water is out.    I guess on a better note, the guy has come back today to work on the wiring in my other two rooms.  I don’t know if he will finish today, but we are making progress.  Also, two of my neighbor’s kids came over today and scrubbed my floor, which was awesome.  Sometimes there are things to make up for the frustrations, but sometimes they don’t totally counteract all my frustrations.

May 3, 2011 5:00 PM

Every day since I’ve been cooking for myself here Juliet, my neighbor, has been bringing me cucumbers.  Now I don’t normally really like cucumbers, but when my neighbors were cooking for me it was one of the only things that they didn’t destroy by adding massive quantities of oil and/or salt to.  So, they have kind of grown on me (no pun intended).  Well, today I finally found out exactly where they are coming from.  The school has a garden.  I don’t know who started it, whether staff or students.  And I don’t know exactly who is supposed to benefit from it.  I don’t know if the staff takes all the crops or if the school uses them to feed the students.  But either way, I got more cucumbers today and I got some green beans (or as the Ugandans call them, French beans).  It is quite an extensive garden.  They grow green beans, cucumber, egg plant (both the small bitter ones and the larger ones that we have in the U.S.), tomatoes, corn (which they call maize and it is not sweet like we have at home), and cassava (a root that tastes kind of like potato but is very dry).  Juliet and Ellen took me there to pick vegetables and we had a little lesson in what we do and do not grow in the U.S. and the different names we use for certain things.

May 1, 2011 4:00 PM

So I just spent the weekend in Mbarara with a bunch of the other volunteers.  The volunteers who were already in this region organized it for us to celebrate us finally getting to site.  We had a lot of fun.  Yesterday we went to the pool at the Lake View Hotel.  Its crazy how much stronger the sun is here.  Quite a few people got burnt and I got a really good tan.  And today before we left we did a little shopping.  I got some things that will make it easier for me to cook, eat and clean (aka some more dishes, a pan, more utensils, ect.).  I was unable to get a new data card for my modem, because I didn’t realize that the Orange store was closed on Sundays.  So I will probably be going back to Mbarara sometime this week to figure that out and get a few other things that I need.  I got back to site at around mid-day and my bathroom is a lot closer to being done.  When I left on Friday they were digging ditches for the piping and smashing up concrete in my bathing area for my toilet.  Now it appears that the toilet is just about done, they put in a tap and a new drain.  They are not here working on it today because it is Sunday.  It doesn’t work yet because the pipes don’t look like they a hooked up to a water source.  I may be getting a rain tank for my water.  A rain tank is just a big tank that collects rain water and it is usually hooked into the piping to give you water.  It’s also usually put up as high as the roof of the house so that gravity can push the water through the pipes.  It will be nice when it is all finished.  Hopefully they are coming back tomorrow to work on it.  I also have not gotten my stove back yet.  On Thursday we left it in Mbarara to get fixed and I don’t know if it is done yet.  Other than that site has been pretty good and I now figured out who my closest neighbors are.  I think Natalie is the closest.  I think she is a few kilometers done the road towards Kabale.  I’ll have to go see her site sometime before school begins.

April 27, 2011 9:00 PM

It’s probably a little hard to understand what it’s like here right now.  I wake up every morning without any real purpose (which anyone who really knows me knows that that is almost impossible for me to handle).  And on top of it, I have no American friends around to hang out with or talk to.  Sure, my Ugandan neighbors are very nice and accommodating, but they don’t always understand me nor me them.  My favorite interaction here is with the old man who has been digging a hole for my septic system.  He speaks less English than I do Runyankore, yet I feel like sometimes I actually communicate with him best.  Maybe that is because I don’t always really want to interact with these people and with him I can’t really talk much past “Hello, how are you?”.  You may think from what I’ve been saying, that I’m bored and that the days go by very slowly.  But surprisingly, the days have been going by very quickly and even though all my neighbors insist that I’m bored (despite the fact that they have no real idea what I do every day), I’m not bored.  I’m just as shocked about this as anybody.

As the days go by, my house gets more and more finished…little by little.  Even though I don’t have any running water yet or a way to cook for myself, sometimes you just need to appreciate the little accomplishments.  It’s about picking one thing to finish everyday and doing it.  Today I was really accomplished.  I did most of my laundry and then I cleaned my floor.  My neighbor got me “carpet” when she went into town.  What they call carpet is actually just a plastic floor covering, but it’s definitely better than the cold concrete floor.  So when she came back from town, she helped me lay it in my bedroom.  The plumber also finally came today, however he just left his tools on my back porch and left.  I’m still wondering if this toilet will ever get put in.  This may not seem like much considering I have no real kitchen or bathroom yet, but it takes me just one step closer.

April 25, 2011 7:30 PM

The way Ugandans do certain things doesn’t make sense sometimes.  I have yet to find one that will ever fill up their gas tank.  Sometimes on one simple trip into town, we may end up stopping for gas 2 or 3 times.  They buy as much as they need in the mean time and that’s it.  There are no gas stations in Kinoni, but they don’t think enough ahead to make sure they have enough gas to get back to Mbarara.  Instead they have someone in a duka down the road that will sell you one liter of gas out of a water bottle just to get you to town so you can buy just enough to get home and then do it all over again.  I don’t think any Ugandan will ever see the little needle come off E.  They just don’t seem to fear running out of gas and that is something I don’t think I will ever understand.

April 23, 2011 8:30 PM

Today was my first full day at site and it turned out to be a pretty good day.  I slept in this morning and I didn’t know what I was going to do, but at about noon my neighbor came over and told me that he was going into town (Mbarara, that is) and he wanted to know if I wanted to go with him so I could get some things I needed to cook and such.  I asked when he was going and he said in about 2 hours.  So I began to get ready but in no real hurry.  Luckily I did get ready, because 20 minutes later he came back and asked if I was ready to go.  So we dropped his wife off at the Saturday clothes market and then he took me to a store where I could purchase pots and pans and other necessary utensils.  I ended up getting 2 pots, an electric teapot (which they call a percolator), some cooking utensils and a cooler to put water in after I boil it.  He also took me to get a gas tank for my gas stove and to the supermarket to get some food for myself.  After we got back to Kinoni, he helped me hang my mosquito net and his son and him tried to get my gas stove working.  First, he had a problem with the tubing for the gas tank.  The one that I bought with the gas tank was too small for the fixture and then he got another one and it was too big.  So he fixed it up using both pieces of tubing, some duct tape and a pen.  Then even after it was all set up, it still wouldn’t work.  It turns out that the man who sold me the gas tank gave me a fixture that doesn’t work with my gas tank, so we have to go back.  Little by little I’m unpacking my stuff as best I can.  I think I will need a bit more furniture, because I don’t really have any place to put my clothes yet.  Luckily, my neighbors are very very nice and they cooked dinner for me because I have no way of cooking yet.  Although I feel like they’ve been trying to get me to eat all day and I’ve been declining.  One good thing is that they are not quite as pushy as most Ugandans when it comes to eating.  Dinner ended up being rather unusual.  Instead of just having me over to his house to eat with his family, he sent his daughter over to my house with food and then had her eat dinner with me.  It was kind of awkward because she seems quite shy and my neighbor told me that he didn’t know if she would be able to understand my accent.  Anyway, dinner was good and she didn’t stay long at all.  So far, I think I really like my site.  I am curious to see how things go for the next month while school is not in session.

April 23, 2011 8:45 AM

I’m finally staying in my own house!!  I made it to site yesterday after a long journey.  My counterpart did not bring a car so we had to take public transport back to Kinoni from the Ridar Hotel.  This made for quite an interesting trip.  I had 5 bags (2 of which were almost as big as me) and a bucket (that was filled with stuff).  Not only did this prove to be more than I can carry, I think it was more than both of us could carry.  So after breakfast, I got my stuff to the lobby of the hotel.  The Peace Corps was supposed to take those of us without private transport to the bus or taxi park.  After leaving late (8:45 instead of 8), we sat in traffic and finally got to the bus park at about 10.  From there I saw all of my belongings get put into a giant wooden wheel barrel and pushed around the streets of Kampala by a Ugandan man.  Oh, did I mention that it was raining.  So if this day couldn’t be any harder, it was raining.  It actually rained so heavily during the night that there were quite a few accidents on the road.  So the wheel barrel man pushed all my stuff to the bus. I really thought that something was going to fall out or he was going to tip it over and all my things would then be covered in the nasty mud that covers the streets of Kampala.  Luckily, nothing bad like that happened.  So, we got on the bus and by 10:30 we were leaving.  Whoever, decided that we should be traveling on Good Friday clearly didn’t think it through at all.  Travelling on Good Friday in Uganda is kind of like travelling on the day before Thanksgiving in the U.S.  Good Friday is a public holiday so everyone is travelling home for Easter.  Leaving Kampala we sat in about 3 hours of traffic.  All I wanted was for the bus to actually move, because it was so hot.  I can’t imagine what that ride would have been like if it hadn’t rained.  The rain cools everything off and it was already incredibly too hot and humid on that bus.  I think part of the problem was that a lot of the windows wouldn’t open because it was an old bus.  After we got out of the traffic jam, we moved pretty quickly, however the entire trip took us 8 and a half hours (from Kampala to Kinoni, not including our trip to Kampala) instead of 6 hours like it should have.  After we arrived in Mbarara, we got a private hire taxi and made our way to Kinoni.  When I arrived, I found that my house was still being worked on.  The electricity was only complete in one room and they were working on a second.  So even though I was exhausted, I could not just go right to bed.  They also had not gotten to the plumbing yet.  Until I get my toilet, I’m using a pit latrine that is behind my house.   I was a little encouraged though, because my headmaster told me that I would be able to stay in my house that night.  So we went back up to the school and had tea and watched some TV in the staff room.  After a while, they brought me back down to my house, because they were finished wiring my bedroom.  However, my bathroom would not be started on until Monday.  It doesn’t sound like I’m going to have a shower, but I will have a flushing toilet.  I prefer a hot bucket bath to a cold shower anyway.  Currently I have a kitchen table, about 6 chairs, a bed (with a mattress) and another smaller table (to use as a desk).  They are going to put some kind of shelves/counter in my kitchen for me, but I’m not sure when.  It sounds like they will give me almost anything I need for my house.  They already offered me dishes, utensils and cups.  So after coming back down to my house at about 9:30 last night, my neighbors (some of the other teachers) brought over dinner (for everyone).  So they kind of just invited themselves over for dinner.  I didn’t even really want to eat.  I just wanted to go to sleep.  They were still working on a way to lock my front door.  After I finally got them all to leave at about 11, I was able to take a bucket bath and go to bed