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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pride and Prejudice

So I’ve found that the internet here isn’t exactly what one would call stable. It also isn’t cheap. Well, cheap meaning free. I put in 2,000 shillings onto my Warid adapter and got maybe 1 minute of internet. Ok, I know, that’s pathetic of me, putting less than $1 and expecting actual internet time, but that’s me. Always expecting more out of things. Oh well, I’ll just go recharge it one of these days on my way back from training. Ok, onto my recap of the days you missed!

August 8, 2011: Uganglish lesson

Yes, that is correct, Uganglish. Or, more properly termed, Ugandan English. Anyways, we went through a survival course of this and it was HILARIOUS. I really appreciate the trainers teaching us the terminology the Ugandans use when speaking English, because let me tell you, it is completely different compared to American English. They use phrases like reduce in order to signify the lowering of something, whether it is a size or price. They also say things like “you are lost” which just shows that they have missed you. It is cute in a way, although it can be confusing as times. It is similar to the English used in India in some cases. It’s not exactly proper English, but it works. Ugandans have also taken quite a bit of American slang and have integrated it into the Ugandan lifestyle, for example they do the fist bump (known to some as knuckles, or simply knucks), known here as “bonga”. I am going to try very hard to integrate other American slang into the Ugandan way of life. This will be a fun side project for me! Other things I have noticed about Ugandans is their pride. This is not a bad thing at all. I think it is amazing how so many people outside of the U.S. really have pride in their countries. That is something we really need. There is always going to be something wrong with a country, but to have true national pride is something that cannot be taken away (by the way, when did “cannot” become one word?).

One thing I have come to love about Uganda is the rain. Sure it can be annoying and somewhat disruptive, but it is so beautiful on the metal ceiling tiles. It is so nice to hear the flutter of the rain drops against the roof. Even if it rains all night, I think that I would still love it. You can really feel the sense of rejuvenation after a great rain storm. We have had a few here while I’ve been at my homestay. I have noticed that my roof is leaking (this I will explain further in a different day’s recollection).

Ok, enough with my observations, on to more pressing matters. First off, to anyone who is planning on sending me letters, DO NOT SEND INDIVIDUAL LETTERS! Write a few and send them in a large USPS envelope to ensure the receipt of the letters, otherwise they WILL get lost in the mail. Also, if you are sending packages or letters, add “sister” in front of my name in order to give the package a religious feel. This will ensure that the Ugandan postal workers will not mess with my package or letters.

Another note, I will be learning Luganda. I am fairly excited about this because I will have a three day head start over my peers who are learning other languages! TAKE THAT! Ok, enough competitiveness, PST is all about fostering friendship between PCTs, right?

Last note, my phone finally works. I will be changing my contact information on the side bar for those who care and wish to call.

August 9, 2011: The beginning of the end

As morose as this sounds, it is true. This day was the beginning of my sickness. I only have two words for you. Pee butt.

That is all you need to know.

August 10, 2011: The continued deterioration of my health

Same as above, except times 100. Also, note that my peers actually care. Happy day.
Oh and lesson learned, DO NOT BRAG ABOUT SOLID POOP. You will regret it.

August 11, 2011: Homestay

My pee butt prevented me from going to homestay. That was good and bad all wrapped into one. I’m happy because I don’t have to poop in a latrine for at least one more night, but I’m sad because I was looking forward to homestay. We are at a new training site. It’s pretty swanky. I’m on a liquid diet. I can’t even enjoy the amazing food being prepared for me, why? BECAUSE I AM AFRAID OF THE PEE BUTT. God save the queen. Yeah, yeah, I know, drastic much? But you don’t know what its like to be worried about having to make a mad dash to the toilet mid breakfast (or any other meal).

On a side note, I realize how amazing movies can be when you are stuck in a room doubled over, not able to move for feel of inducing bowl movements. Michelle and I watched Scot Pilgrim and Trick or Treat, bother highly recommended for the sick.

August 12, 2011: The end of the end

Well, sort of. I still have the pee butt but I decided it is not as bad anymore. I took an immodium and it wore off right when I was waking up. I had to run, I mean RUN, to the toilet. It was somewhat comical in retrospect. I feel bad for Michelle though, she had to hear all my unholy sounds (TMI much?). In an attempt to actually gain some kind of energy, I ate breakfast. Bad idea. Very bad idea. I also decided to go to homestay today. That was probably an even worse idea, however I guess everything happens for a reason. I have gotten used to pooping in a latrine, whether it be pee butt or solid poop. Happy day. I met my wonderful host family, I have 3 sisters and a brother. There is another sister who is married and doesn’t live with us, she is amazing and has the most adorable son. I am the fourth PCT they have hosted, which makes me feel less special but happy because it means they know what they are doing. I had great conversations with all the siblings and they soon realized I was a big ball of laughs. Soon after moving in laughter filled the compound. Even now, every night at dinner all you can hear is laughter. I enjoy it. I love making people laugh. Laughter is the best medicine, they say.

August 13 – 14, 2011: My weekend at homestay

My weekend at homestay consisted of my laugh bought of pee butt, morning thunderstorms, more pee butt after breakfast (which I ate mostly alone), my sisters running around taking care of business, my mother going to her catering gig, a goat running amok in the kitchen, Jason Mraz playing at the bar next door, Carol (my sister) going to study but not really going to study because she decided to sleep instead, pills, pills, and more pills, and a leaky roof. I think that was as adequate as I hope to capture the weekend. Well, Saturday at least. They play some awesome music here though. Sometimes its really good reggae and sometimes its really bad pop music, but they have some great mixes (my sarcasm doesn’t translate well online). Saturday also consisted of washing dishes, reading A LOT, little girls running past my room door, talking to the neighbor (who is now my best friend, I think) and watching Spanish soaps (in English).

Sunday consisted of a breakfast omelet, my sisters going to church, my mother telling me about church, watching dragon tales, Lugandan music videos, English music videos, missing a PCT gathering, staring at TV shows I could not understanding, Ugandan wedding shows, and finally getting out of the house and exploring the town. Carol and I walking down to the main square and took a look at things, went to the market, bought some avocados and ran into some PCTs. We explored where other PCTs were staying and I have to say, some of these pads are swanky! I’m almost jealous, though my amazing host family makes up for anything I feel I am missing out of this experience. They make me feel like I really belong in their family and they laugh at all my stupid jokes and let me ramble on and on (much like I am doing now). They let me get into heated discussions about the harm foreign aid is doing, the fact that Barcelona is a better football team than Man U, and let me tell them all about my home in Florida. I am lucky, I have to say, that I got such a great homestay family. They let me do my own thing when I want, but they also include me in everything as well. I feel loved and special, in a good way.

August 15, 2011: first day of REAL training

Today started off with a mild panic attack. I was meant to wake up Carol (though I didn’t want to) so I could get some warm water to bath with in the morning. I tried knocking on her door three times, but it seems that her sleep is a lot deeper than even she imagined. Finally after a few more tries I got her up. The water was still kind of cold, but it was better than the normal temperature of freezing. I had an omelet for breakfast, which I thought would make me late so I rushed and ate it. I pooped twice after, which was probably due to the speed at which I ate the omelet. I’m on my regular pooping schedule though, yippee! Sorry to those who do not really want to know or care about my pooping schedule, but that’s a big part of being a functional PCT. We learned more language this morning; I think I may be starting to get the hang of this Luganda thing. When I tried practicing in town, however, it seemed to fail me. At tea time I raided the storage room to get my computer so I could attempt to keep up better with this blog thing (although that is proving harder than I thought). I was happy to note that people missed me this weekend. The PCTs had gone out to the bars and it seems that they actually missed me. After training today we went to the bar and I caught up with a lot of people, especially people I’ve been wanting to catch up with for a while. I had good conversations with my fellow PCTs and I’m happy to say that I really do enjoy all their company. I hope we keep contact when we separate to our individual sites.

Wow, that was just full of cheese and happiness.

August 16, 2011:

Quote of the day: “You’re like my top up sauce, Andrew. You make everything better.”

So I woke up this morning to rain and lots of mud. I have to walk to my training location, about 40 to 50 minutes away. It isn’t so bad under normal circumstances, but when it has rained all night it definitely puts a damper on the morning walk. I also found that I lost a sock somewhere in the night. It wasn’t so much that I lost a sock, but that I didn’t understand how I couldn’t find it. I looked all over my room and somehow my sock has completely disappeared. Not sure what to make of this, but its ok. I guess I can get over it.

Today in training I learned about water safety and proper techniques to have safe drinking water. Apparently when I get my house for Peace Corps, I get a completely empty house. This made me kind of nervous. I haven’t actually completely furnished a home before. I hope the people in my community or the people who are working with me in my organization can help me find things to furnish my place with. I have to keep remembering that people have done it in the past and continue to do it, so it shouldn’t be as big of an issue as I am making it out to be. I guess it is just that unknown aspect that is making me nervous.

Also in training we spoke a lot about poop and what it can tell you about your health. This comforted me because it made me realize I wasn’t the only one who was putting a lot of focus on my digestion. Your poop can say a great deal about your health and your dietary intake. It can tell you if you are eating nutritious foods and if you are having a stable diet. I have to say, your excretion is really the thing that says the most about you, not your trash!

In other news, my zipper broke on my bag, but I fixed it (although I pretty much ignored the rest of the water and sanitation session to do so). We also did a ridiculous human likert scale exercise which I always loathe doing. I guess it was nice to see where people stood, but at the same time I just don’t enjoy creating division and conflict between people in the group.

August 17, 2011:

Today was somewhat uneventful. It was raining pretty much all day. I showered in the rain and walked to school (training, but it feels more like school every day) in the rain. It is interesting to notice the dynamics between people in our training class. I can already see relationships forming between people. I also helped make dinner. That was fun. I always try and help make dinner but I didn’t even have the “trust” of my family, but I guess now I do, or at least they are willing to take the risk. All I really did was roll out the chapattis but at least I got to do something. I also got to cut the greens.

August 18, 2011:

Another uneventful day. I had a really nice HOT bath this morning. Carol, my host sister, made me something resembling a rolex for breakfast this morning. *Just a note: a rolex is not the watch, it is a chapatti rolled up with eggs, cabbage, and tomatoes.* I took some cheese for Andrew which he loved. Now EVERYONE wants me to bring cheese for them. I guess its lucky I got placed with a family in which the father worked at a dairy plant.

We had a stupid peer support session today. I guess I shouldn’t call it stupid because it is there to support our mental health, but it really bothered me. The first and the last activities were fine, talking about our feelings and doing a huge cinnamon bun hugging thing. The activity that bothered me was the “touching” activity where people in the center of the circle touched people who either helped them, supported them, they wanted to get to know better, or that they wanted to support. I only got touched on the last one, twice, and it really bothered me that no one wanted to get to know me and no one felt that I have helped them but they felt that I NEEDED help and support. I just rubbed me the wrong way.

I guess today wasn’t as uneventful after all.

August 19, 2011:

IT’S FRIDAY, FRIDAY, FRIDAY! After a nice rant to Donny, my neighbor, last night, I got over yesterday and had a pretty good Friday. We did a community assessment which went well and helped me get some real exposure to what I might be doing in the field. After the day of training many of us went to the orange bar. Warning, taking malaria medication and drinking is a BAD combination.

August 20, 2011:

Language lesson in the morning. I miss having Saturdays off.

I kind of made my host mom a little mad. I guess I didn’t inform her I wasn’t planning on bathing in the morning so when she had already fixed my hot water she was a little upset, but I caved and took a bath to make her happy. I was a little late for language class, but it was fine. I got a bounty (although I wish it were a snickers) and ended the day with a monsoon.

I love rainy season.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Aditi! I am glad to hear that you are learning the lay of the land and getting settled in nicely. I am also happy to hear that poop is a big topic...awesome. Be safe and have a blast. And I also had the same thought a few years ago, cannot or can not hmmm.

    - M