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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard

I recently went to a Red Cross general meeting, which was hilarious and a complete waste of my time (because it was all in Luganda, not because the meeting content were useless). Unfortunately, I fell asleep 5 minutes in and woke up to one of my students staring at me and smiling. I apologized and made sure to keep awake for the rest of the meeting. I made it through the rest of the four hours without falling asleep but I didn’t have anything to contribute. I’m glad I stayed awake for the rest of the meeting though, because it was interrupted (rudely, but still hilariously) by a potentially drunk and homeless fellow. He sneaked in and just sat down, unbeknownst to anyone until he started talking to himself rather loudly. Once this was ignorable no longer, everyone (and I mean everyone, even Prima, the Mayor of Rakai Town Council) just stared at him. Apparently that is the trick to getting an unwanted guest to leave. After the rude interruption, the meeting continued with general elections of the Youth Executive Board. This took far longer than necessary, probably because they made every candidate give a speech, then had to verify the candidate’s age (which proved difficult since none of the candidates had birth certificates, which apparently is required for verification). Finally I was excused to eat lunch (which by this time ended up being more time-appropriate for an early supper) which consisted of rice and peas (big day). I wasn’t complaining though, I hadn’t really eaten anything all day so I was open to anything (as long as it wasn’t meat, but at some point I feel like I may even cross that line). After the meeting, while finding our way back to the nursing school, I discussed possible future events with the two members who attended the meeting with me. This proved interesting, as the chairperson for the school’s LINK group suggested a Red Cross Day in Rakai Town. This would be pretty amazing, hopefully it comes to fruition. 

All in all, the day ended up being okay…I just hope this means I’ll be a little more active in regards to community outreach projects in the future.

In unrelated news, I am getting more and more frustrated with the lack of organization and communication at my site. I was recently asked to proctor an exam for one of the classes, which I happily agreed to. I was told the exams were in the secretary’s office (which sometimes I think should be my office since I am nothing more than a glorified secretary) ready to be distributed. When I got to the office to request the exams, they weren’t organized at all, they were not put together as exams but all separated as if they were freshly printed. So I had to spend a good part of the morning putting together the exams (luckily I got some help from the secretary…big day, he was doing his job). Once I got them together I went to the classroom to distribute and proctor the exam only to find out the exam time was in the afternoon, not in the morning as I had been told the day before. So I woke up, got ready and organized for an exam I wasn’t to proctor until later. On top of all that I just finished type 157 pages of abnormal midwifery which was not only exhausting but it makes me never want to birth children. 

Not only do I feel my skills are underutilized (what skills I’m referring to, your guess is as good as mine) but I’m definitely being over worked in a very monotonous capacity. I am doing secretarial work during the day and babysitting in the library at night (okay, a little harsh with the use of “babysitting”, but seriously, I sit in the office in the library and read until a student wants to check out a book, otherwise I’m just sitting there making sure they don’t run off with the books, stools, or tables). 

So, as you all know, I recently received a rather large package from my family when they went to India. You are also aware of the uproar this package caused not only for me, but for the Peace Corps office, the Embassy, and even more people I probably don’t know about. When I finally got my package, I decided to keep the box (having gone through so much trouble to get it, it didn’t seem right to throw it away, at least not right away) and figure out some use for it, if I could. After a few weeks of the box just sitting around, taking up space, I thought it might be time to just cut my loses and throw it onto the trash pile (where one of the other staff or grounds men would probably take it and use it for something). After pretty much settling on this decision, I went along with my day when I suddenly had a Eureka moment (you know, when you suddenly get the answer you have been wanting for some time). 

The Eureka moment came when I was staring at the pictures of my friends and family I have taped on my wall, with duct tape. As you all know, duct tape is very strong, so I suddenly realized that when I took the tape off upon leaving Uganda the tape would ruin the pictures (I probably realized this before but I didn’t really put that much thought into it). Upon recognizing this dilemma, I noticed the giant box, just sitting there. Suddenly, it clicked! I could cut up the box and use the side panels as a makeshift pushpin/cork-board type thing, where I could pin up all my pictures, letters, notes, and other items that I wanted to keep visible. BIG DAY! So over the next hour I took down pictures, cut up the box, used the amazing invention that is double sided duct tape (seriously, I cannot convey how amazing this product really is), and created very crude looking, but very functional pushpin/cork-board panels! I have to say, I’m very proud of myself.

And now, for your viewing pleasure…

Before I had my Eureka moment. You can see the duct tape frame previously used.

After my Eureka moment...messages of love from family and friends.

Pictures of my family and friends.

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