Sunday, May 18, 2008

Getting used to life in Uganda :)


I want to let you all know that I am doing great! I am loving life here in Uganda. While the capitol city (Kampala) is CRAZY to say the least, life here in the village of Bulenga is nice and relaxing.

Kampala is INSANE. Karoline and Stuart took me out on Thursday night to do some shopping for the cutest puppy we got at KACCAD. Yes, I said a puppy for all of you non-believers. It is so cute and small. While out, we grabbed some spicy dinner at this local Indian place. On the way there, I rode my first "boda-boda"....which is where you sit on the back of a motorcycle thing and hold on for dear life while the driver weaves in and out of traffic. Oh and by the way of the THREE traffic lights in the city, one was stolen and two are imagine me on the back of a boda :) It was actually quite fun and I can't wait to go again! Karoline and I both road on the same one the first time!

Anyways, what is more scary than the boda-bodas are the taxis. There is the location called the New Taxi park where there are hundreds and hundreds of taxis waiting to take people to the surrouding villages and they are ALL jampacked and trying to maneuver inside the space of two tennis was INSANE. I am going to have to get used to that.

On Friday, I got to help with two HIV/AIDS presentations. In the morning we presented it to five local teenagers who are currently attending a seamstress school in Bulenga. They were really interactive and knew a lot. But in the afternoon, we walked about an HOUR down this red soil road (that can be found everywhere here) to this local boarding school. We actually gave our presentation under a tree to about 60 boys and girls...isn't that so cool? Some of the boys wanted my cell number, but I gave them my e-mail instead hahaha :)

This weekend, Karoline, Stu and I have been working with the Peace Corps Volunteer here (Amanda) for this HUGE Teacher Training Workshop we are hosting in Wakiso District all next week! I am so excited because we will be empowering the local teachers with knowledge about HIV/AIDS and how to prepare lesson plans, as well as encouraging them to lead lessons and activities that they can then take back into their classrooms! Neat, no?
I actually get to help run the program, so that will be great experience and an awesome way to kick off the summer. :)

Last night, it was fun because I was able to hang out with THREE Peace Corps volunteers (they all came over to visit Amanda). Erin and Sarah are really neat girls and are working with HIV/AIDS and children orphanages respectively. We actually made something like American food (tofu & veggie pasta) and for dessert "no bake cookies" which were pretty good even though they were made on the stove...we got imaginative!

However, it is so weird to get adjusted. The shower is basically a hose on the wall and while even though we have electricity the power goes out ALL THE TIME. It is hard at night that is hard. But, our flashlights are really handy! Well, going to go prepare and make more posters for our first day of teacher training!

Fun Facts:

*Ugandans are highly unemployed but they all get up at 5:00 a.m. and dress nice anyways even though they have no where to be (so they crowd the streets and it is very confusing).
*Ugandans LOVE to take their time (no one is in a hurry. if something is supposed to happen at won't happen until 3:00 p.m.) The only rush is when they get behind the wheel of a car (then all hell breaks loose!)
*The Uganda infrastructure is really poor (hard to keep everything updated and repair stuff like traffic lights).
*Whenever you see a group of local kids they run after you and scream..."See You Muzungu (white person). Then, I say back, "See You Muganda (Ugandan) gets quite old since it happens whenever I am out! Also, people stare like NO ELSE at white/non-Africans. Some think I am Japanese :)
*When Ugandans say you look "smart", it means "nice".

Before I forget, I was in the Bulenga Trading Center with Amanda (the Peace Corps Volunteer) and she was showing me around and an old woman who was selling matooke (this gross yellow eggplant like thing) asked Amanda, "How much" and pointed to me. She liked my skin color and wanted to keep me as a daughter...ha ha ha :) I got a good laugh out of that.

I am excited for the Teacher Training next week and also the HIV/AIDS home well as establishing the leadership seminars. I get to meet with a group of local political leaders as well as with youth in Bulenga. It is so neat that all the work we do at KACCAD is community outreach work.

That is all for now,

Beth :)


Sarah said...

dog? dog! nuhuh. no way. you must be lying. :( that is so totally exciting for you! i hope you have fun playing with it and feeding it and and and having a really cute puppy around :( you are so incredibly lucky to have a puppy!!! take pictures!!!! how old is it? what does it look like?!
good luck with the projects you're working on! i'm sure they are going to turn out amazing!!! i'm so happy that you're getting along with everyone so well and having so much fun!!! i love you!

Stephanie said...

Oh my goodness, Beth! What and adventure youve already had! I cant believe that about throwing up on the airplane. you poor thing! :(

I cant believe how acclimated and happy you sound. This is going to be an amazing trip, my friend! Please keep writing...I'll keep reading!


Alissa! said...

BETH! Can I just say one thing? Ehem, okay here goes: you are SO COOL. Can't believe you're actually in Africa, you are going to do such good things there! The presentations sound excellent - just you talking and using posters, eh? What's your "mission" so to speak - ? What are you trying to accomplish by the end of all this is what I'm wondering. I know it's got to be something good! Btw - you should have sold yourself to that lady, then you could have had the real Ugandan experience and lived with a Ugandan family. Small price to pay, selling yourself and all that. ;) You'll do great! Keep on-a-writin' sister.

quotesnguitars said...

Beth!! I will be the second to say this: you are SO cool! It sounds like you are adjusting really well and I think it's awesome that you are doing HIV/AIDS presentations to the local teenagers. What kind of format do you do for the presentations? Is it just facts and then you leave? Is there question and answer? It sounds more like it was q&a since you mentioned one of the presentations was interactive. Aww!! a puppy! what kind is it? take pictures!! I'm really happy for you to be adjusting to Uganda so well and you really seem to be just taking things as they come and you just seem to be having so much FUN. =D I'm so proud of you! Keep writing!