Friday, June 14, 2013

One Year in Uganda!

Well it is good to see that some things never change. My procrastination abilities have remained the same if not have become a little worse. I have had every intention of writing in this blog monthly and still hope to become better for my last year in Uganda but lets’ not get too crazy. One Year! What can I say... it has been one of the most challenging and rewarding  years of my life. I am living in one of the most beautiful countries in Africa but it is also a country that is about 50 years or more behind the United States in terms of infrastructure, technology, education, politics and ideals but progress can be seen mpora mpora (slowly slowly). For instance, my village now has electricity poles and the road to my village is almost halfway paved. Things are changing and will continue to change but it is not going to happen fast because nothing happens fast or on time in this country but like many things it will take time. I just hope as Uganda becomes more developed that it doesn’t lose its culture and history. I know the history of this country has not been a pretty one but I think it is important to know how you got to where you are and to appreciate how you got there. Ugandans are extremely strong people and proud to be where they are from so I don’t think it will be much of an issue at least not anytime soon.

So I spent my one year anniversary in this country with some amazing people in the Southwest region of Uganda. (Southwest is da Best!) Around 15 of us PCV’s traveled to Kabale Town on May 24th 2013, the very day one year ago we landed at night into Uganda. We all got our party on at the Match & Mix bar for a night of intense boneshaking (aka dancing!!) I especially, danced so much that when I dropped it like it’s hot I ripped my jeans! Granted I have basically been wearing these jeans almost every day for a year. It was bound to happen sooner or later but I was in the middle of a dance circle when it did. I’m almost positive that no one noticed but I was also a few beers in at the time. Anyway, it was a fabulous evening and a great way to start the weekend.

Next we headed to Lake Bunyoni for some relaxation. One of my fellow PCV’s lives on an island so we took a boat ride on the beautiful lake to his island and once we arrived there we began to boil some fresh crayfish for a little one year snack!! They were amazing!! Then a few of us took a hike around the island and off again on a boat to another island for dinner at Bunyoni Amagara. After we arrived on this island a few of us took a dip in the freezing cold lake and were searching for hippos the entire time since we had recently been informed that there have been sightings of three hippos in the lake. No worries we didn’t see anything. Then, we had an amazing dinner with muzungu food, took another night boat ride back to the island and ended the night roasting marshmallows over a bonfire. Also, I was shown that when you wear a head lamp on your head and look straight at the grass, at night, you can see teal twinkling little specks on the grass and these twinkling pretty little specks are spiders’ eyes. This discovery totally just changed my life and the way I walk through the grass at night.
Our last day on the island was very chill. Many PCVs had planned to leave at 7 am but due to Ugandan way of life and that it was a Sunday (church) the boat driver didn’t arrive until 11 going 12 pm. When we all got back into Kabale Town we got into a Matatu (mini bus as they call it or basically a big van with a lot of seats) we headed back towards Mbarara. I thought it was only fitting that the ride back was a pretty torturous one.  The windows in the back wouldn’t open, two children vomited on the bus, we got a flat tire, and the road was extremely bumpy and dusty. You would think after a year this would be nothing but I think I have begun to hit a point where I’m a bit over it and would be willing to pay for a private so I don’t have to deal with rides like this one.  Once we reached Mbarara a nice standing shower and a cold Club beer seemed to rejuvenate me.

This next year I think will be a lot more productive in that my big projects will finally be underway and yet it will also be full of new challenges as well as amazing new experiences. Already, I can tell you that I will be off to the land of the Pharaohs in July!!!!! I am beyond excited for this little adventure! Another PCV, Meish, and I are going to be in Egypt for 8 days! We have plans to ride camels, make sand angels, touch some pyramids, take a cruise on the Nile, and just enjoy the cities of Cairo, Luxor, and Alexandria.  Also, my big tank project is finally underway!!! The masons have already finished making the bricks for the three 20,000 liter tanks to be placed at a health center in Biguli (Kyemwenge District). By the end of this month construction on these tanks should have begun! I think this year is going to be quite epic!