I've spent my last couple weeks in country winding up and saying good bye. I made the trip down to Rakai to visit everyone one last time and was welcomed with a potluck style lunch and some very happy faces. We shared a meal, exchanged farwells, and with one last group picture we parted ways. I can't even begin to express how satisfying it was to get that closure. Rakai changed my life and when I look back on my time spent in Uganda, it will always be home to me and the people there will always be my family.
I've also been traveling around the country a bit as an opportunity to spend time with my fellow PCVs, who have also become family to me over the past 2 years. We climbed a volcano and experienced being in 3 places at one time: the borders of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda all met at the peak. We had one last killer holiday party for St. Patrick's day and stumbled upon a Bobi Wine (famous Ugandan singer) concert, front row of course.
St. Patrick's Day 2012, Peace Corps style
I took part in an ajon (local brew common in Eastern Uganda) circle with another PCV and his neighbor, Miriam. She cooked a simple local meal for us and we sat in her kitchen and enjoyed it with our hands. I'm really going to miss the simple way of life here. Sitting outside, no power, with thousands of stars above our heads and just enjoying each others' company. No obligations, just living in the here and now. I've loved the sense of community and being welcomed into homes and invited to share meals. When we left Miriam's house she embraced me with a genuine hug and wished me a safe trip back to America and told me she'd be sending me positive thoughts. I felt so much pure and honest emotion from this woman, whom I've met maybe 3 times. I am thankful for these experiences and so many more.
I have a little over a week left in Uganda. There will be a silent disco, aka, headphone party where everyone is given a headset and literally dances to their own beat. I'll have a send off meal out East, with both American and Ugandan food, with an amazing parish that has considered me a part of them for the past year and a half. I'll finish up with a week in Kampala full of admin meetings, medical, and paperwork. Then it's off to Nairobi next Friday. From Nairobi there are 4 of us traveling together in SE Asia.
Here's what we have so far for our next adventure...
April 3 arrive in Bangkok, Thailand
We'll have a night or 2 to explore the city and get our visas in order before heading South.
April 5-7 full moon party in Kho Pha Ngan
On a Southern island, the full moon party is famous worldwide. I've been told people start pre-partying up to 3 days before the and on the night of the full moon the party goes until 11am. There are notorious buckets of vodka and redbull, glowsticks, battling djs, thousands of people. We'll have a day or 2 to recover before we get PADI certified.
April 13-17 Chang Mai for Songkran, Thai New Years
The biggest water fight in the world. The entire country shuts down for the festival and it is celebrated nation wide. We're making the trek North to experience the main location where the celebration takes place. Squirt guns, water balloons, buckets of water...bring it on!
From Thailand we're heading to Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. We'll do a little more time in S. Thailand before flying out of Vietnam and into Chicago, to meet up with another volunteer. After a few days in Chicago I'll be back in Texas on May 20th.
Can't wait to see everyone in person and to catch up on all the hugs I've been missing over the past 2 years. That's it on my end right now. What's been going on with you? Email me firstname.lastname@example.org