Friday, April 27, 2007

mbale lady ladia ooohoooooh

so, i'm in mbale right now, a city in the eastern part of uganda. this is about an hour south of my future site (which i can't name for security purposes). i do have a new address though, which i can name!

rishi desai 400
kumi, uganda

and that'll get right to my site.

the site is sweet. according to peace corps policy, i'm not allowed to write any funny anecdotes that might in any way be critical of ugandan culture, so i can't really talk about the quirky things that strangers say to me. this sucks, but at the same time, it makes sense. i think ugandans have a great sense of humor though, so the policy is kind of lame.

i joined the local soccer team i think. i tried to tell my counterpart that i'm not very good, but he didn't seem to think that would be an issue.

my counterpart is good people. we get along well, and he laughs at all of my jokes. or maybe we get along well because he laughs at all my jokes.

the college i'm going to work at kicks ass. when i had asked my trainers to tell me about the Teso region, specifically if they had mountains or not, they told me that it's flat, and there's a bunch of rocks. i was pretty disappointed, expecting a wasteland. instead, by rocks, they didn't mean a few small rocks, or even a few small boulders, they meant beginning-of-lion-king-hold-simba-up-to-the-light type rocks. massive rock piles that you can scale. at the top of these you can see for miles. it's gorgeous. also, out east there's a few mountains, the king of which is the towering mount elgon. i'm going to try to climb it this winter.

i added amy's blog to the list on the right ( check all of them out, and leave them comments. in fact, if you want to send them letters in stead of me, i won't take offense. they're all good people. mostly.

if you get a letter from me, let me know. i'm not sure if the ones i'm sending are actually going through. at the same time, i don't want to take away from the surprise of getting mail, so i don't want to ask anyone specifically.

if you want to call me, call me in the afternoon wherever you live. except ben, you need to figure something else out.

okay, i've gotta peace out. thanks for the comments, and i'll try and post again soon.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Que onda luwero

okay, usual prepost apologies: internet is slow, i don't have much time, i'm not exactly at my most eloquent, etc.

things here are awesome. right now at least. i know where my site is, i met my counterpart, and i had macaroni and cheese on tuesday. i'm pretty krafty.

my site's near a town called kumi in the kumi district in eastern uganda. i'm right off the main road, so transport shouldn't be too big of a problem.

language is stalling a bit, since i feel like i'm reaching my capacity for learning ateso words and not getting a chance to use them. next week when i'm visiting my site i'll get a chance to practice.

ah yes, i'll get to see my site next week. oh blissful release. i finally see where i will live. i've already seen a picture, and it looks lovely. no electricity or running water, and it's not done being built, but it's brand new, so it'll be clean and nice.

i talked about how things are going awesome, and they are, but they are right now. a lot of volunteers and i have talked about this, and emotions fluxuate instantaneously here. i think the reason is that we all only have one thing going on: peace corps. at home, there's family, school, work, friends at home, friends in chicago, friends abroad, camp, etc. even when some things are going tough, the rest are okay, so they temper each other. here, it's all or nothing: either peace corps is going well, or it's not.

i realize that my last post contained a lot of complaining. i don't want it to sound like i was criticizing ugandan culture, or the way that they do things. it's just really different, and it takes some getting used to. i'm pretty sure i've figured out the whole pit latrine thing, and i've more or less found a way around the matooke issue (it's called a rolex - an omelette rolled in a chapati. sweet baby ray's it's delicious.)

thanks to all who have sent letters (zach (2), george, and parents), and thanks to those of you who have send some and i have yet to receive them (the rest of you i'm sure). it's hard to describe how great it is to hear from everyone back at home.

to touch on that fact, despite the fact that i really like it here, it's hard to maintain an identity. i'm constantly an american in the peace corps training in uganda. there's so much to deal with there, that other parts of who i am get obscured, and i don't get to visit them. i haven't drawn so much as a smiley face since i've been here. so when i get to reconnect with who i am (playing guitar, listening to my ipod, talking about movies, writing), it's exhilerrating(sp?). this isn't embellishment, exhillerating is the only way to describe it. thus, getting a letter is more than just pleasant. it's one of the few moments when i get to reconnect with the most defining aspect of my personality: my friends and family.

okay, enough of this lovie-dubie shit (cursing for extra man points). on to the anecdotes:

i am now completely immune to the sound of crying children. i have 8 host sibblings, and chances are, someone is crying at any given moment. at first i was concerned, and wanted to know why they were crying, then i started faking concern, and trying to awkwardly get back to what i was doing. now i don't even bother, since no one else really does. and it isn't cold hearted either. they're really never crying about anything important, and if no one pays attention, they stop. i think we might spoon-feed our kids too much.

we visited this awesome organization last saturday called Aidchild. it was started by an american 6 years ago and provides care for orphaned children with AIDS. there are two aidchild centers, one of which is self-funded by an income generating activity (a cool cafe on the equator), and each one houses 35 kids. it was unbelievable. i can't talk about it too much without being cheezy, and that would cheapen the whole enterprise. i'm sure they have a website, and if the internet was a bit faster, i'd direct you to it.

a pcv in country (who i won't name for his/her security) was kind enough to give me a half-bottle of tobasco sauce a couple of weeks ago. being quite resourceful, i've been able to stretch it for quite some time. last night, for the first time, i broke it out in front of my host family. my brothers and sisters were curious, so i told them they could each have one drop, only one. i dilligently obliged them, and they each took a tiny bit. for my host-mom and i, it was comedy gold. i have never seen such writhing demolition of hubris. spicy food isn't exactly common in these parts.

to those who are concerned about what happened in kampala a few days ago, don't worry, i'm fine, and i'll continue to be fine. it was an isolated incident, and i've got a strong head on my shoulders. you may remember me as someone who often does risky things, but i hope you don't remember me as someone who does stupid things.

okay, i'm out of time. please send packages/letters, and e-mails as well (although the first two are much more gratifying). i'll have extended access to the internet sometime next week, so i'll make another post, and i'll respond to the e-mails that people have sent me with long gratifying treatises on life, the universe, and everything in between.

until then, keep it classy rest of the world.