Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Life continues...

So, the school term is well underway and everything's going well. updates on life...

firstly, things are the same in the schools. i'm doing the same support and supervision etc. and talking to headteachers in my catchment area. i'm thinking of doing a couple of small workshops with other volunteers, one with headteachers about HIV/AIDS, and another with headteachers and teachers about nutrition. if these go well, maybe i'll expand and do more.

second, the VSL project is getting off the ground. i've got a meeting set up with local leaders to start to form groups, so hopefully next time i post we'll actually be having meetings. the only issue is that the entire kit to get a VSL started is going to cost aroudn 40,000 shillings (roughly $25) and we want to start 5 groups (200,000 shillings). grubbing up the money might be difficult, so we need to clear that last hurdle before we start getting things done.

finally, the newest development in my life is that i want to run the kampala marathon in december. i started training already, and am going to keep a good record (hopefully) of all my training woes and victories. so far so good, but it's a long way to go. in addition, i'm going to try and couple the marathon with a fund-raising effort for a project in my village. i'm still seeing if it's feasible and looking for partners, so i won't stop hounding you for money yet (but it's coming).

i haven't posted an anecdote in a while, and i wish i had a funnier one off hand, but this will have to do:

before i started running, i decided to take the ole GPS out for a spin with my bike to mark out miles on the road near my house. as soon as i got 5 miles out (the end of what i was marking) my rear bike tire popped and went completely flat.

now, this ordinarily is not a big deal at all, but here, any little snag often complicates everything you're doing.

firstly, it was about 6:00 in the evening and it would be dark in an hour and a half. i stupidly hadn't brought my headlamp with me, so i was just planning on booking it back home (on the equator the sun sets incredibly fast, so visibility would still be fine at 7:15, completely dark by 7:45). Luckily, biking is one of the main forms of transportations in uganda, leaving the roads littered with bike mechanics willing to patch a tire.

the bike guy took about an hour to patch the tire, leaving me with very little time to get back. one very good note to this story is that since i had been out without my wallet, i only had 700 shillings on me. it was 300 shillings per puncture and there were two other small punctures in the tube, so the charge was 900 shillings. now i often bargain to the last 100 shillings (about 8 cents) but this time i felt pretty bad. but for once, he said 900, i said i only had 700, and perhaps seeing that i was in need, he put up no fuss, said it'd be fine, and sent me on my way. some people are awesome.

anyways, i barrelled home just after dark, and that was that. but TIA, so the smallest inconvenience has a myriad of consequences.

first, i was planning on running the next day, and flying home took a lot of energy out of me, making the next day's run significantly more difficult. also, i had been planning on making pasta that night to get some carbs in me (i make pasta from scratch because it's cheap and packaged stuff isn't anywhere near my village). i got home after dark, and couldn't spend 2 hours making and drying pasta, so that was out of the question. so i just had to eat porridge, which has almost no nutritional value aside from not making me hungry anymore. also, i only had about 8 liters of water left, 2 of which i would need to drink that night, another one in the next morning, and a bit more for making breakfast. i was planning on going to the borehole to fetch water after my bike ride, but it was now dark and it would have to wait til morning. i had a meetin the next morning, so i needed to bathe, which meant that i had to delay my trip for water to either the morning before my run, tiring me out a bit, or immediately after the run, when i would be in no mood to fetch water (i ended up doing the latter). this made me late for my meeting the next day (thankfully i was the least late of everyone as usual, so i actually arrived early, but didn't get to take the moral high ground that i relish from being on time).

basically, the point of this story is how little things here can snowball quickly into large issues. if i hadn't been able to get my tire fixed, i would've been in a much worse pinch. if i was in chicago, i would've hopped on the el, or a cab, or called matt, or even walked home under streetlights.

eh, that's life.