Tally of Illnesses Experienced to Date:
-mango fly (It was actually pretty awesome. At first I thought it was a pimple, so I popped it and it bled, as normally pimples do, and I didn’t think anything of it until a couple of days later when it had a black head on it. I thought it was a scab, so while bathing I picked it off and noticed it had a white head under the black head, so I tried to pop it, when to my surprise a worm came out. Awesome, no?)
So I have survived my first week at site. Boredom has set in (though I feel this occurred somewhat prematurely). My days have passed somehow slowly, waking up to the hustle of staff members and students going to the morning prayer. I usually drink tea alone, if I even decide to emerge from my apartment to get tea, then I read. Since I have been to site I have finished three books and am well on my way to finishing a fourth. With the new addition of the internet at my disposal, I have curved this speed reading, however I still read much more than I have in probably my whole life (sad, but true). I usually emerge out of my apartment for lunch (from Monday to Friday) where most of the staff question where I have been and what I have been doing. They also like to comment on how little I eat (and as of recent, like to comment on my lack of physical activity). After lunch, I usually go back to my apartment and read some more or check the news online. Dinner is usually on my own and I go to bed without really interacting with anyone anymore. Now, granted, some days I actually go into town and interact with people and see other volunteers, but I find that my days are spent mostly around the campus. It’s not bad, though I do get lonely. I would call the other volunteers more often, but I do not want to get too clingy too soon.
I live a fairly simple life. I haven’t used my stove yet, though I plan on breaking it in this weekend. I have only bathed three times since I got to site (I know, disgusting) in an effort to save water. Also, this is a result of my shower not working. It seems that running water is a once a week occurrence here at the Rakai Community School of Nursing. I have vowed (some may say this is a poor choice) to only bathe when my shower works. Of course, it is a cold shower, but I feel this is a good attempt to decrease my environmental impact. Today my running water seems to be functional, so I may have the opportunity to bathe tomorrow, which would be great since I definitely need to wash my hair within the next couple of days. The only problem I foresee (and I apologize to all male readers) is when I am on my monthly cycle. Lucky for me, it only lasts four days (thank you oral contraceptive) but I am still debating whether my intermittent bathing plan will be affected by Mother Nature’s gift.
Now don’t worry people, I’m not completely disgusting. I do brush my teeth and wash my face every day. In fact, I wash my face twice a day. It’s just the thought of using a bucket full of water every day that bothers me. I just don’t see the point in bathing everyday anymore, especially when I’m not making the 45 minute trek to RACO every day. The most I walk is to town and back (which does cause me to break in sweat) but I never feel as dirty as I did in Wakiso (nor is it nearly as muddy after it rains).
Hopefully, when work picks up (and by “picks up” I mean I actually have something to do) I won’t feel as useless to this place. The boredom has led to many thoughts of “what the hell was I thinking, signing up for two years of this?” and whenever pee butt makes his ugly appearance, the thoughts return tenfold. In my heart, though, I do know I made the right decision and when I am interacting with people I know that in two years’ time I may not even want to leave (dare to dream).
So far I’ve swept my floor a couple times, ordered a set of drawers and my room is to be repainted, hopefully soon. I also ordered a mural to be painted of the Peace Corps logo with the American and Ugandan flags. Hopefully that gets done soon too. I also gave my supervisor (who is acting as the middle man for the carpenter which hopefully means I’m getting good prices) a list of other furniture I want made, including a book shelf, a couch, a table, and a smaller set of shelves to keep in my patio (and by “patio” I mean a screened in area where my own bathroom is located) to keep my cleaning supplies. I’m just hoping all these things get done before IST so I can actually feel like I am at home rather than in a temporary housing situation. It would also be really nice to not be living out of my bags anymore. Just saying.