I would like to preface my story by briefly describing my physique. For those of you who know me, you know I am a small person. I like to say I am 5’4” but in reality, I am a mere 5’2”. My weight fluctuates somewhere between 110 and 115 pounds. I have no upper body strength whatsoever. You can ask my fellow volunteers who came on tech immersion with me; I couldn’t carry a full jerry can a short distance without nearly dying. Of course, this made for a great joke to all Ugandans (and some of my fellow volunteers). In order to rectify this, I have been doing push-ups every night. I am now up to 48 push-ups a night (yeah, I know, awesome, right?).
Keeping all the above information in mind, I would like to say that I, Aditi Desai, have successfully carried a FULL jerry can of water from my rain tank to my house (granted, this is a mere 10 feet or less, but keep in mind it is a fairly steep slope which makes it all the more epic). I had previously been asking one of the groundskeepers or staff members to help me carry my jerry can, or simply filled it halfway and carried it up. However, today I can say that I have come one step closer to integrating into this Ugandan lifestyle. No longer do I need to ask for help when carrying my jerry can.
This is one small step for me, one giant leap for my water accessibility (yeah, yeah, I know it’s not that funny, but hey, I was trying to go with the flow).
In celebration of this epic win, I decided to try and make the no-bake peanut butter cookies from the Peace Corps Uganda cookbook. All the happiness I felt from my prior achievement was washed down the drain. Sadly, even though I followed the directions completely, the cookies did not turn out, at least they didn’t turn out like cookies. They didn’t harden, although the instructions don’t really give a time frame for how long it would take the cookies to harden. I let them cool for a long time, enough that when I touched them they were cold, not just cool. However, they never solidified into cookie form. I’m not sure where I went wrong, I boiled the first mixture of ingredients for exactly 3 minutes, I even timed it on my phone. I took the mixture off the heat, as per the instructions, and mixed in the last ingredients. Somehow, I did something wrong. I even tried to heat the completed mixture again, just in case I wasn’t supposed to take the whole thing off heat (even though the instructions said to) and it only served to burn the mixture a little. In the end, it tasted good but it’s not really a batch of cookies. I scooped the mush into a Tupperware container. Maybe it will harden in the container and I will have one giant cookie (dare to dream).
I decided to finish my strawberry cream Oreos in anticipation. The peanut butter and chocolate cream Oreos are much better, however (just in case anyone cares).
While cleaning up, I pour some of the water outside (as per usual here in Uganda). Later, when I went outside to pour some more water out, I noticed an abundance of ants. They formed a giant mound (of ants, not like a normal ant hill made of sand) where I had poured my first basin of water. Apparently the sugar from the “baking” attracted a massive amount of ants. I tried pouring the water I used to wash my dishes on them to potentially kill them (or at least move them away via the current of the poured water) but they keep coming back. They haven’t crossed the line into my house yet, so hopefully they stay where the water was.
My supervisor came back to site after almost two weeks without neither seeing nor talking to him. We had an information conversation about what I would be doing when the students returned (on November 29th, right after my big trip to Jinja to go rafting on the Nile). Get ready for job description number three. Now my supervisor wants me to organize with the student Red Cross group to assist in the outreach and projects they do. This means I will be working closely with the Rakai Red Cross officer, where Aaron is working at. This also means I will be going to Jinja to visit the Jinja Nursing School and meet with their student Red Cross group to exchange project and outreach ideas. My supervisor also wants me to assist in teaching the socio-psychology and community health courses and another staff member wants me to help teach computers (more specifically, Excel and PowerPoint). During the first week of December I will be working with the Rakai Red Cross office helping with a youth camp they are organizing. Things are getting a little more interesting.
And guess who upgraded their netbook to Windows 7 Ultimate….for FREE!