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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Making a list, checking it twice

Packing is the bane of my existence. Not to brag, but my packing skills are top notch (ok, maybe bragging a little). They have to be, I've been to over 25 different countries in the 25 years I have been alive (OK, I promise after this no more bragging). Either way, just because I'm good at it, I still hate it. I hate having to figure out what I will need to survive and live somewhat comfortably for a certain amount of time. Going on vacations, packing was always left to the absolute last minute, usually 2 or 3 days before I left (ok, maybe not ABSOLUTE last minute, but for me that is pretty bad). Usually a vacation composes of a month at the most. This I can do, knowing what facilities I will have and what accommodations I will expect, I can pack for a month or two. However, right now I am having to pack for two years. How in the world do I pack for two years? Ok, that doesn't sound completely impossible. The restrictions posed by the Peace Corps, airlines, and the unknown accommodations, however, make this task seemingly impossible. I can only take 80 pounds. Each of my bags that are to be checked in can't weigh more than 50 pounds. I have no idea what my accommodations will be. Talk about stressful. I relieve some of the stress I feel, and to hopefully stop the panic attacks from further occurring, I have made a list. The list, adapted from the Peace Corps packing list sent with the Welcome Book as well as from helpful hints from current PCVs, illustrates that I seem to be preparing for an extended vacation. With the exception of cutting knives and bed sheets, my list mirrors all other lists I have made for vacations. I do have to realize that I can do this, I have spend a semester abroad before, however that was Australia which is completely incomparable to Uganda. I don't even know why I brought that up.

So, instead of dealing with this stress, what am I doing? Listening to the initial language lessons for Luganda, the language which I will be learning in Uganda.

Apparently in Luganda, "water" and "feces" sound alike and "to kill" and "to release" sound alike. This is going to be a very interesting 27 months.

Here are a few other phrases I have learned (or mimicked to the best of my abilities). Please keep in mind the spelling is probably completely wrong as these are all audio lessons:

Sevoe - formal male greeting
Nyevoe - formal female greeting

Olyiota Herbert - Hello Herbet!
Je Valy Ko - Thank you Herbert!
Jen di - I'm fine.
Enze Herbert - I am Herbet.
Mmmm va ... - I come from ...

I am also reading "The Last King of Scotland" by Giles Foden and have learned some phrases:

Matooke (or Matoke) - common dish made of steamed green bananas mixed with various vegetables and meats served with rice.
Muganda - a single Ganda person
Baganda - the people
Luganda - the Ganda tongue
Buganda - the land of Ganda

I can only presume that "Ganda" refers to the country of Uganda.

The language uses a lot of "mmmm" sounds too. I presume this sound is a positive sound after listening to the whole sentence. I love that I have listened to five lessons and have "learned" introductions, formal greetings, and "other useful phrases". Now the "other useful phrases" include things like "repeat", "thank you, but I'm full", and "I did not understand". Too bad Lonely Planet doesn't have a phrasebook for Luganda. That would be somewhat useful, to say the least. Apparently the word for "chicken" sounds like "cocoa". Of course I could be wrong, these language lessons are somewhat confusing and very short. They say Luganda is spoken in the central park of Uganda. I pray that I am in the central part otherwise God only knows what language baganda will speak (oh yeah, just used a Lugandan word in a sentence!).

I have also found similarities in the sound of words between Gujurati (my ethnically native language) and Luganda however the meanings are completely different. For example, "poop" and "what is that" sound the same in both languages...this is going to be interesting.

I guess it is good for me to get some exposure to the language so when I land and potentially hear it, I won't look and be completely thrown off guard.


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