I hope you all are having a wonderful day. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog!
So, where did I last leave off?
Wednesday June 18th:
Today was a pretty fun day. Before I taught my lesson at Kikaaya College, the new volunteers and I went classroom to classroom and put up our 12 posters that we created to remind students about the amazing and crazy competition for the HIV/AIDS mural design contest. It was fun putting them up and knowing that the students are excited to participate!
Then, I had the two new volunteers (Eri and Kylie) come with me to see how teaching lessons goes. They were both pretty nervous when we first arrived. But, I had them help lead my lesson, which was on HIV Transmission (the four body fluids that transmit HIV: blood, semen, vaginal fluid and breast milk as well as the portals of entry for how HIV enters the body: cuts, sores, mucous membranes, etc.) Then, I had the students put their new found knowledge to the test by having them do an activity where they were given different activities such as "breastfeeding" or "playing sports with someone who has HIV" and they had to decided which category to place the activities under "Yes, it transmits HIV" or "No, it does not transmit HIV". It went really well.
After the lesson, we took some time to take pictures with some of the students. It was CRAZY. They love to be in pictures and I can't wait to show them to you all when I return and upload them all for you to see! I absolutely love teaching and learning from my students! Yeah!
Thursday June 19th:
Today, we did our Home Visit program. This was a pretty intense experience today. We walked all the way to Ssumbwe (a nearby village that takes about a 1 hour insane hike to get to) where we met with a woman who is living with HIV but is having a very challenging life. Her husband is a polygamist (which is legal here) and he refuses to get tested. So, because she is getting sick recently, her husband keeps spending more time with his other wife and she has been quite lonely lately. However, I was amazed at how clean her compound and pit latrine were and that she was still living positively. She is a very strong woman and it was hard for me to see her in such a terrible situation where she didn't have the power to stand up to her husband and be the independent woman that she is capable of being.
After we visited her, we walked to another village called Bbira. To get there, Nick and Sam said we should take a "short cut"...which really meant walking through a huge swamp with cows roaming around! It was so fun and dirty at the same time! I got to jump rivers and watch out for cow dung all in the same journey...who could ask for more? :)
The other client that we had the chance to meet (many times, we arrive at the clients houses but they are not there: some are at the hospital, others are looking for work, etc.) was a man who had been living with HIV for the past 21 years. Yeah, that is a LONG time. But, unfortunately this man was not doing so good. He was very sick when we met him and I don't know how much longer he had to live. But, he was the sweetest old man on earth and I was sad to hear about his past. He let us know that about 15 years ago his wife died. At the time, he was bedridden and he was relying on the help of friends and neighbors to prepare for the funeral. But, it turns out that their help was actually not so great. They actually stole all of his belongings and possessions while he was bedridden and was left with nothing. So, since then he has been living with his mother, who takes care of him. It was very sad and upsetting to hear.
After home visits, I prepared for my two lessons on Friday. I even got some help from the new volunteers who wanted to practice the fun and creative art of lesson planning!
Friday June 20th:
While most of the KACCAD staff was at our huge FREE HIV/AIDS community testing event, I was teaching at the women's school bright and early at 9:00 a.m. Today's lesson was on diversity, more specifically how it ties in to Leadership and Understanding Others.
I focused on gender diversity the most, as it is a woman's school. So, we discussed gender roles here in Uganda and what the culture has done to determine gender in society. It was absolutely fascinating. I learned so much at this lesson. We were making a list of how gender roles are changing in society today and I was impressed to learn that in the past, woman were not allowed to eat chicken, ride bicycles, drive cars, wear trousers, and more. It was very neat to see how they were able to recognize the changes in their community and to hear from them what changes they want to see in the future (how they want more men to recognize women's rights and to empower women in the community)!
After the lesson, I stopped by Adjit's office and had her take measurements for a skirt that I am getting made! It is going to be so nice! I am even getting one made for my sister...I can't wait to see how it turns out!
Then, I came back for lunch...it was so yummy (matooke and g-nut sauce). It is a purple and yellow configuration that is not bad, but it doesn't make me want to beg for seconds. :) Anyways, after lunch I was about to head out to my second school in Bbira when the heavens opened up and it began to POUR with rain. Well....if you ever visit Uganda this is one of the first things that you learn. When it rains, life stops. So, it was no use to trek the 30 minute walk to the school in the rain to find no students when I arrived. So, sadly class was canceled and I will have to wait another week to see my students there. I really like the students at this school because most of them are from the North of Uganda or are international students (for instance, there are 5 boys who are all orphans from Sudan).
Anyways, on Friday it was fun because we all had dinner together and watched a movie on the office laptop (Dirty Dancing)....it was quite fun and a good way to end the week!
Saturday & Sunday June 21 and 22:
This weekend we decided to take it easy and rest from the week. I haven't done that much to be honest...I have started reading The Kite Runner again (Amanda Gonzalez: that is so crazy that you know someone who knows the author....just got your message this morning!) and we have been hanging out with some local Ugandans talking about random things. Like yesterday, we were talking about the equator and how it works. Have to pass the time somehow!
Anyways, this morning I got up early to use the internet. I just finished writing this very long e-mail for about ONE hour and by the time I went to send it...it got deleted and lost in cyber space. I was so upset and frustrated that I seriously considered throwing it out the window. But...this IS Uganda and it is just another challenge that I had to face. YIKES.
Oh...and the power has been out almost every day here. So...there have been a lot of candles used and cold showers taken. It has been annoying but realistically, people in Uganda deal with this all the time so it is kind of fun to appreciate it all and to remind myself where I am!
One more thing....we ran out of propane lately too. So, we have been doing ALL of our cooking on a sigeri (I don't think that I spelled that right)...it is a pot thing with charcoal on the bottom. It is pretty cool but it takes a very, very long time to cook or heat anything. Just one more thing about Uganda that I am learning to do! I made eggs yesterday for everyone and it was quite an endeavor!
I miss you all and hope to see you in about three weeks when I return to the United States! It seems like time has passed by here so quickly...it almost seems to be a blur!
Peace & Love,