Hope this message finds you well. I have finally found an internet cafe in Kampala with reliable electricity and a FAST hook up! I have so much to tell you!
I am now going through training at Raco training center in Wakiso. Training is 6 days a week and includes language training (my language is Luganda which means I will be posted in the Baganda region after training), culture training, Ugandan history, school curriculum, safety and security, health, and necessary life skills. As far as life skills go this past weekend we went into a nearby village and learned all about gardening and composting. We built several different types of gardens for the community and were even able to plant some vegetables for them as well. Next weekend we will be learning all about cooking and I think I will even learn to cook a meal for my host family. My host family has hosted 3 volunteers before me and they are awesome. I have 3 brothers, Steven, Ezra, and Alfred and a sister Miriam. They teach me so much and also help me to practice my language. Miriam even gave me a local Ugandan name, Nakiganda (pronounced Nah-chi-gahn-dah). I try to use it whenever I go into town because the vendors tend to give me a lower price when I don't have a muzungu name. Muzungu means "white person" and whenever we walk into town, or anywhere for that matter, locals and kids especially shout it at you.
A little about Africa...the food actually isn't that bad. The fruit here is so fresh and sweet, it is by far my favorite thing to eat. I have pineapples, bananas, watermelon, papyaya, and jackfruit all the time. Jackfruit is the most amazing thing ever...look it up to find out what it is! I don't like matoke or posho but I love the cooked cabbage that my host my makes for me. I'm definitely starting to miss American food, which surprised me because it's only been a few weeks! Today in Kampala we were able to get pizza and it was so good! Cheese is hard to come by locally and it was awesome to be able to have some on my pizza for lunch.
My only luxury at homestay is electricity, when it is working. I use a pit latrine and take a bath using a bucket of water and a cup. I've adjusted pretty quickly and really have no issues with either. I sleep under a mosquito net and take anti-malaria pills daily. I've also gotten so many shots! Medical comes once a week and so far we've gotten a different shot, if not multiple shots, every week.
The country is beautiful and the weather is just like home. It's rained almost every day since I've been here and were about to go into the rainy season which means it will continue to rain. It gets dark about 7-7:30 every night and the sun comes up about 7 each morning.
In the evenings my host family watches the "soaps" which are awful TV programs originally in Spanish and dubbed over in English. I could go on and on about them but the bottom line is they are awful. Think of telenovellas times 10 and it still can't even compare to how awful these are! And they're one almost every night...my family loves them!
That's all I have for now. I will try and update as soon as I can. Email me! I love reading email and seeing what's going on back home. Be patient if I don't respond right away. The electricity is unreliable in Wakiso and I can't make it to Kampala very often. As often as I can I will read and respond to emails. Updating my blog will take a little longer and be expecting pictures soon! I love and miss you all very much and look forward to hearing from you!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
First I want to thank everyone for being so incredibly supportive this past week. I felt truly blessed to be surrounded by so much love at the going away party and it was awesome to be able to see everyone one last time for a while. Thank you for making it such a success!
So far staging has been crazy! My plane was delayed going in to Philly because of the snow and we had to leave early to avoid the snow storm coming in tonight. We're now in New York and are scheduled to fly out on time, at 10:30 tomorrow morning from JFK. If everything goes according to plan, we'll arrive in South Africa around 9 in the morning then have about a 5 hour lay over. I should arrive to Entebbe, Uganda by about 7:00pm Thursday evening (local time). I want everyone to know that I don't know when I'll have access to phone or internet to let you guys know that I made it in safely so don't panic if you don't hear from me for a few weeks.
That's all for now! I'm so excited that everything is finally happening and I will be working with a wonderful group of people for the next two years. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers and don't forget to write me letters!
I love you all,