Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Immersion Week & Miscellaneous

As other PCT's can attest to, it's unreal that training is more than halfway over. It seems like yesterday that 45 Americans flew 24 hours from Phili-Johannesburg-Entebbe. Now that immersion week is in our rear-view mirror, things are really starting to pick up. We are expected to begin fluently speaking our respective languages. We are also in the midst of planning and developing sustainable, self-exploration projects that will be presented to our trainers next week. We receive our official site placements next Thursday; I could end up anywhere as far southeast as Busia, as North as Gulu, or anywhere in-between (Sororti, Tororo, etc). The following week, we visit our sites to begin integrating into the community, scope out our new homes, visit our work sites, and get a feel for what our next two years will be like. These are exciting times for PCT's in Uganda!

Immersion week was everything I expected and more. It was great to finally do something practical, in the field, and away from the training site. Along with Becca, I visited Laura out west in the village of Kakabura, about an hour east of Fort Portal. Laura works at the Miryanta Orphanage Home. Not only did we meet and talk with the orphans, but within an hour of our arrival, they performed a 2-hour dance/song show for us. It earnestly was one of the most incredible things I have ever experienced. Becca and I also sat in on a staff meeting, visited a local health clinic, cooked pizza, and met up with other PCT's in Fort Portal for a pool party/clubbing. It was hands down the best week I've had here in Uganda! Pictures are on facebook.


1. As a result of Mefloquin, anti-malarial pills we have to take every week, I am starting to experience some of the medication's side-effects, for instance having 'vivid dreams' (most volunteers experience this). Coming from somebody who rarely remembers his dreams, I view Mefloquin as just something else that I have to adapt to as part of the Peace Corps experience.

2. If there's one thing that has not yet won me over in Uganda, it's the food. I have, at times, found myself craving American food. It's not that I dislike Ugandan food (except for matooke and posho), but rather that I need some variation in my diet.

3. I've been more-than-ready to move to site since week 2 of training. I think most trainees would agree with me on this.

4. I'm still trying to ascertain the best way to send mail out to the states. There is a local post office here in Wakiso, but I don't think it mails internationally. All PCT's who have mailed things out have done so from Kampala.

5. If you would like to send me something, here is a brief list of things I could use (thanks in advance!):
- AA/AAA/D batteries
- Pictures to hang up at site
- Maps (you can never have too many) to hang up at site
- Sports/news magazines
- Drink mix (lemonade, gatorade, fruit punch)
- Snack food
- Shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, bar soap

6. I have officially given up on the Red Sox chances of making the playoffs. Yes, I have been following. No, I am not distraught....yet.

More updates to come soon.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A List of Numbers

After reflecting upon my first four weeks in Uganda, I realized that I have been thinking more and more in terms of numbers. Here is a running list of my numeric experiences to date.

Number of bananas I eat per day: 3

Number of times I hear "See you, mzungu" per week: At least 40

Number of times I say "Webale" (thank you) in Lugandan: At least 30

Number of hours I sleep per night: 6

Number of days I have slept past 8:00AM: 2

Number of mornings I have awoken to the sounds of a rooster: Every morning since I have been in Uganda

Number of pounds (estimated) I have lost so far: 5

Number of miles I walk per day (to/from the training site): 4

Number of days it took me to use up all of the data on my internet modem: 1

Number of Manchester United soccer games I have watched: 2

Number of local Ugandan beers I have tasted: 3

Number of dinners I have eaten at least one starch food: Every dinner since I have been in Uganda

Number of days I play soccer per week: 3

Number of new languages in which I can understand a basic conversation: 2 (Lugandan, Ateso)

Number of times I have been to church with my host family: 1

Number of days I am grateful to be living in Uganda: Every day since I have been here

Number of seconds I have regretted joining the Peace Corps: 0