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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

the blind side

I am sure everyone, including myself, believed my ridiculous traveling stories would be over…after all I have been in this country for over a year, so by now I must be used to the madness that is transport, right? Wrong.
So I went into Kyotera, the big town near me where I can get most of the things I need that I cannot get from my own town. The transport to Kyotera was uneventful but the transport back was nothing short of note-worthy. As I was walking to the stage (that is what the stops are called here) for Rakai Town, a car drove by and asked if I was going to Rakai (by now most drivers who are going to Rakai know me and know that I stay at the nursing school so it wasn’t a real surprise). I said yes and got into the front seat, where another man was already sitting. As I got into the car, I noticed a faint scent of urine…this was only the beginning.

When I crammed into the front seat, I noticed that the door didn’t close properly and the locking mechanism didn’t even work. As we were doing the standard rounds through town, there were times when I have a distinct fear the door would pop open, throwing me out in the process. During one of the turn-abouts, I also had the distinct feeling that the car was going to flip. This brought on many images of flipped buses I have seen while traveling around various parts of the country. In order to try and stop the door from popping open (because I figured that was the most I could do), I literally held onto the door through the open window. Honestly, it made me feel a lot safer. Throughout the journey, there were points where I felt like if I weren’t holding the door it would have opened and at other points when the car stalled I thought I should just jump out and walk because that would guarantee I would make it back alive.

All this in a mere 40 minute drive…

On a more positive note, during this ride from hell one of the Ugandans sitting in the back started playing Bollywood hits from his phone…in fact his ring tone was from a Bollywood movie.

Always take time to appreciate the little things…

Sometimes you also have to stop and take time to appreciate the hilarity in life…
The other night, I was walking back from the library after my night shift had finished, it was approximately 10:30 pm. Clearly, the sun had set by then. I was walking in the dark while chatting on the phone with another volunteer (yes, I did have a torch). I turned a corner, going from a well-lit area to a very not, practically unlit area. As soon as I climbed a few steps, and before I could switch on my torch, I was startled by a very large movement. I screamed quite loudly (it probably sounded like a girl screaming bloody murder) and yelled out some obscenities I am not proud of. In the instant of sheer terror I felt, and having not fully recognized what this animal was, my mind immediately thought it was a lion (I know, I know, that sounds pretty ridiculous, but come on, I live in Africa). So after I pass the phase of fearing for my life and realize the animal is running away from me, not towards me to eat me, I am able to see what it actually is. Drumroll please…

A goat.

At this point, after realizing how ridiculous I was, I could not stop laughing, to the point where I was in tears and hyperventilating (all this while still on the phone with my PCV friend). All in all my life was spared and I got a hilarious story to tell.

On a more professional note, I recently got the opportunity to train some of the students who are out doing their community placements on nutrition counseling and intervention for people living with HIV. I did the first four sessions in one because most of the information in the first three sessions was refresher (the basics of HIV, Nutrition, and how they are related). I focused mostly on the management of HIV-related symptoms related to nutrition. I hope it was useful to the students and I look forward to going back and seeing their assessments and training them further on management for specific populations living with HIV. 

Side note: I am still trying to figure out how I got pegged as a well versed person in nutrition…

With all these experiences it was hard for me to think I’d have a story to top this…but I do, thanks to the 50th Anniversary of Uganda’s Independence which they themed “Carnival 2012”. I was lucky enough to be in Kampala, the country’s capital, for some of the festivities (having been invited to a Global Health Corps Alumni event) and let me tell you, Kampala did not disappoint (not that I have ever been disappointed in Kampala, the few times I’ve been). On the day I was planning on leaving, I decided to stop by Brood (the best bakery in the WORLD, seriously…) for breakfast. Unbeknownst to me, I was going to be there for a while. As I was eating I noticed some commotion on the main road (I instantly became vigilant, Fred the safety and security advisor would be so proud) and I decided to try and eat a bit faster so I could leave before the crowds started forming. As I was finishing up, I noticed more and more people coming to the main road. I gathered my things and started walking towards the taxi park where I would be able to get in a taxi and hopefully leave within an hour…unfortunately this did not happen because I got stuck in a crowd and had to slowly maneuver my way to the taxi park. While doing this I was able to catch a glimpse of the commotion…apparently there was a parade slated for that day. This parade included camels, horses, bands, school dance teams, motorcycle gangs, women dressed like Carnival inspired angels (I decided to call one “the Angel of Independence”), someone dressed like a faux Mickey Mouse, a float filled with Carnival-esque dancers, another float filled with traditional African dancers, an in-line skate dance troupe, and finally a Ugandan flash mob (it was kind of awesome). Lucky for me it didn’t take me too much longer to get to the taxi park, but because of all this commotion and because the main road was basically shut down, it took me two hours to leave the capital…oh well, at least I got some fun memories out of it!

1 comment:

  1. I love your story about the goat! can totally see you doing that!

    I miss you!!! <3