Friday, March 29, 2013

“30 Sites and 30 Nights”—March 29, 2013 (Day 10)



Name: Brianna Schuyler

Age: 29

Home State: Wisconsin

What she did before Peace Corps: Graduate School in Physics/Neuroscience

Program Sector: Education

Number of months spent in Uganda: 4

Host Organization: Gulu High School

Site location: 5 KM west of Gulu Town in Northern Uganda

Language spoken her at site: Acholi

Brianna has been teaching herself  braille so she can work with her  blind students
Brianna is working with Gulu High School as a Physics and Math teacher. Currently she is teaching Physics for Senior 2 and Senior 5. Her favorite thing about her site is working with the blind students at her school and her favorite moment at site, so far, is teaching sets to the blind students. “When we discussed the set of A = {men with 5 eyes} I asked why this set is an empty set, and one of the students responded, ‘I am not sure madam, I am simply amazed.’ Then once they understood that empty sets were sets with no members, they got super excited about coming up with examples like ‘goats … with wings!’ and ‘bicycles with … eight wheels!’”

Brianna was staying with the deputy head teacher and her daughter and grand-daughter. Her biggest challenge at site right now is getting privacy and maintaining her mental health. She also has running water in her house. Being so close to Gulu she has many food options, but she likes to do most of her shopping at the local market where she gets eggs, tomatoes, beans, avocados, ect.

What makes Brianna’s community unique is directly related to her primary project and the students she is teaching. “Like much of the North, the people and institutions here have been severely affected by the war. People with disabilities and physical trauma are a common site on the streets and in the community, and many of the students suffer from psychological trauma, which makes them act out at times.”

Brianna just moved into her house two weeks ago and she is still getting settled there. Unfortunately, the day after she moved in the students at her school rioted and the school was shut down. It has just reopened this week. At Brianna's school the kitchen staff went on strike and this is what caused the students to riot, because they were not being fed. Luckily, I don't think anyone was hurt, however the students did tear down some walls and the police had to be called in to disperse them. Despite this uprising, her school seems to be recovering and I believe classes have resumed.

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I left Brianna's house this morning and traveled back to Gulu Town. Unfortunately, Michelle is not able to meet up with me until later this afternoon, so I am currently at a cafe in town. This actually works out well for me, because even though this project takes up all of my time for a month, my life does not stop for that month. I'm taking today as an opportunity to catch up on everything else I have going on in my life and I'm taking advantage of the free wi-fi I can get here in town.

Later today, I will meet up with Michelle and I'm staying at her house in Gulu Town tonight. Then tomorrow I'm heading to Arua. This could be a challenging task because there is no direct road from Gulu to Arua. I've never made this trip before, so I'm holding out hope that its not as difficult as everyone has led me to believe.

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