Wednesday, March 27, 2013

“30 Sites and 30 Nights”—March 27, 2013 (Day 8)



Name: Jacqueline Demko

Age: 24

Home State: Colorado

What she did before Peace Corps: Worked for Fishbio, an environmental consulting firm

Program Sector: Education

Number of months spent in Uganda: 25

Host Organization: Iceme Girls’ Secondary School

Site location: Northern region, Oyam District, Iceme Village, Owiyo trading center

Language spoken at her site: Lango

Jacque is working with Iceme Girls’ Secondary School where she is a teacher of Biology and Computers. Iceme Girls’ Secondary School is a very big school with almost 1000 students. The school is run by the diocese which also runs the community health center. Jacque is also working with Peace Corps’ “Uganda’s Young Stars”, which is a youth based nationwide creative writing newsletter, which encourages youth of Uganda to write about “Gender and Development” topics. She is a founder and editor of the project. In addition to this, Jacque also has a writing club, which focuses on creative writing based around Uganda’s Young Stars essay prompts as well as pen pal writing.

Jacque has worked on a project for World AIDS Day 2011 and 2012. She hosted, with another volunteer (Liz Skeris), a World AIDS Day 5km run/walk and health fair two years in a row, where they addressed driving factors of the epidemic, methods of prevention, and proper condom usage.

Jacque can get some basic food items in her village (tomatoes, rice and onions), but she has to do most of her food shopping in Lira Town. Jacque also has running water in her house that comes from a rain tank. Sometimes the water shuts off, but she usually doesn’t go more than 3 days without water.
The beautiful "un-Ugandan" Catholic church near Jacque's house

Jacque’s favorite thing about her site is that she is close enough to her school, yet she is also far enough away. She enjoys the privacy she has by living in the convent, but she is close enough to her school, which is a boarding school, that she can go to school and find something to do if she gets bored. Her favorite moment at site occurred while she was working with the Senior 2 girls during their PE (Physical Education) class. “I raced the PE instructor in front of the girls, and I almost beat him and the girls went WILD, they didn’t realize I could run fast.”

Jacque defines the biggest challenge at her site in two word: “THE HEAT”.

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I left Liz's house this morning and made my way to Lira Town, where I got a taxi to Iceme. I arrived at Jacque's trading center around 11:30. Her site is only about an hour outside of Lira Town. Her trading center is so small and very “village”. There is barely anything here. There is one restaurant and she can't even get much produce or other food here. When I first arrived I dropped my stuff off at Jacque's house. She lives at the convent and he house is somehow big compared to other volunteers' houses and she even has running water with a shower and a toilet.

Once I dropped my stuff off, we went down into the trading center so she could show me around. There wasn't much to see, but I think I came on a good day. We were able to get bananas and chapati, neither of which Jacque can get on a regular basis. We also searched the local dukas for macaroni, but to no avail. We did not find any.
Jacque on top of Pride Rock

After seeing the trading center and picking up a few things we walked through a local primary school to get to this rock structure that we climbed. Jacque refers to this as “Pride Rock”, because it actually looks like Pride Rock from The Lion King. From the top of this rock we could see for miles. Everything else around here is so flat. All the way up to the rock we had the primary school children following us. They even followed us all the way back to Jacque's school.

Finally, when we got back we went to Jacque's school where she showed me some of the classrooms, the library and the computer lab. I couldn't believe it when Jacque told me there was 1000 students because it seemed so quiet with all the students in class.

Now we are back at Jacque's house just hanging out and eating some of the food we bought. Later this afternoon we will probably cook some rice (because we found no macaroni) and vegetables. Tomorrow I have to leave this quaint little village and go to Gulu to visit a few volunteers up there. I didn't get to spend too much time in the Lango region, but I've seen enough to know that it definitely has some of the best villages around. I'm really glad I got to see Jacque's and Liz's sites before they COS (Close of Service) in a few weeks and it was also really nice to see some sites that are truly village.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jen,
    This is Jacqueline's grandfather, Jack, from Melbourne Beach, FL. I enjoyed reading your blog about Jacqueline's site. I also checked some of your other visits. I wish I had been aware of them earlier and kept up with them. Thank you for your service and continued work with the Peace Corps. I'm sure it will be a rewarding experience.
    Grandpa Jack

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