First of all, I just hired a bodaboda (motorcycle), haggled for the price in Luganda, became friends with the driver (Peter), and made it into town all by myself. I think I’m now technically a Ugandan citizen.
Second, SOS I’m already out of bug spray.
Third, a couple things I miss: falling asleep to the sound of a ceiling fan and not a swarm of mosquitoes buzzing around me, and big glasses of ice cold milk.
My second week in Uganda flew by. Thankfully I still have eight more weeks here.
A few things from the week:
Walking to a from school is my favorite. By the time I’m halfway to school, I have most of the village’s children walking with me. Nothing is better than when one of the kids adjusts my hand so we’re holding hands more comfortably. I’ll also never get tired of surprising people by greeting them in Luganda.
Another one of my favorite things are the stars. The lack of light pollution allows for an unreal amount of stars to be seen. On dark, clear nights, the stars are especially beautiful. The other night, Cornelius and I stood and pondered life’s many mysteries together while looking at the sky, and every night I spend a substantial amount of time staring at the stars.
Cornelius founded that school that ARCOS runs, where I teach, but to earn money to support his organization, he postponed his retirement and took a job as principal at another school. I’ve accompanied him there a few times. The school is situated on top of a hill in the middle of a valley. The view is simply incredible.
I gave my first test this week on cells. One of my students thought he could cheat on it. He was copying answers from his notes. I made eye contact with him and walked near his desk as warnings. The next time I looked away, he took his notes out again, so I walked up and took his notebook away. He put his head down and the rest of the class laughed. I said to the class, “You guys know I’m a student too, right? I took an exam 3 weeks ago. I know all these tricks!” In his notes that I took away, I wrote, “Studying and learning pay off much more in the long term, I promise! PLEASE see me if you need help.” I found it very amusing, as just another reminder of how alike we are, no matter our location.
I have made a very good friend at school. He is a student named Abert. One day after school, I was grading papers, and he came up to me. I knew we’d be friends when I said “what’s up?” and he responded, “oh nothing much, just the sky.” He asked me if I’d coach his class’s football (soccer) team, and I said that I would. Talking more, we realized we both like basketball, which is not very popular in Uganda. Now we have plans to build a basketball court at the school. Abert is from Rwanda, and apparently some people speak French there, so he speaks English, French, Luganda, and the language of Rwanda. I told him it was impressive, he said it was even interesting. He asked me to teach him Spanish, so I said only if he teaches me French. He also gave me an avocado, and it was delicious.
Finally, we went to see the ostriches. We planned on getting there around 3, but, classic Uganda, we arrived at sunset. I at least got to see the ostriches before it got too dark, and we will go back next Sunday so I can ride one. I’m very excited because they are much bigger and faster than I expected.
After another full week, I really feel at home here. I’m learning and practicing Luganda and adjusting to the culture. My new family has been nothing but welcoming. I love the villagers, especially the children. I’m building many relationships, and I hope the work that I’m doing will make a positive impact. I’m teaching and visiting schools, working on a basketball court, and preparing for community health outreach. I’m really looking forward to beginning the health program, as that is my passion. I’ll teach different communities and schools about necessary health practices, and provide care and counseling for those who are afflicted.
Until next week, weeraba!