Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Kigandan Happenings

I wish I could say that I have been looking at the beautiful fall foliage of New England these past few weeks, but alas I have been drenched in sweat or rain depending if Kayunga wants to be ridiculously hot or pouring down rain with a vengeance. Nonetheless, things at site have been going well. Work is busy and springs up new challenges daily, but is rewarding almost every day. I have been spending my time for the past month mostly in Kayunga and it feels good to not be traveling.

This morning I waked into work and one of my Youth Staff came up to me singing. Morgan was singing a line from a song I thought I knew so being the 'Goal 2' conscious PCV that I am I decided to finish the lyric for him or should I say what I thought was the lyric. I belted out the lyrics from a Lonely Island song and that definitely was not what Morgan was singing. Needless to say I have now opened Morgan's musical comedy world by showing him a video or two on YouTube. I think I'm going to Peace Corps hell...

During the evenings and weekends I usually have a gaggle of children outside my house playing and sitting on my porch. I enjoy their presence and hearing their laughter, but sometimes the lack of privacy when they peer through my windows is a little much. One Sunday morning I was out back in my compound listening to music while I was doing my laundry. The kids were out front playing - apparently they decided to have a rock fight similar to the Dodgeball quote: "If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball." When I came back from inside all the children had vanished. I looked out my front door to see if their parents had sent them to fetch water from the bore hole, but they were no where to be seen or heard. I thought it was strange, but shrugged my shoulders and went to clean the rest of the house. Upon enter my bedroom there was glass everywhere. Apparently my bedroom window as an innocent victim to their rock fight. It got fixed the next day, but all I could do was laugh at the fact that they thought a rock fight was a fun idea.

We hired nine new staff members for the Youth Center. They start their first year of their three years at the Youth Center as volunteers and they are more than excited about starting. They have to be trained as counselors/testers before they can start work so two weeks ago they started their training from the Ugandan Ministry of Health. I have my reserved opinions about the people leading the training, but overall they receive a great knowledge base and the practical skills they need to work at the Youth Center, Hospital and go to the field. They finish their training at the end of this week and I'm excited to finally get them on the schedule. With MUWRP expanding their SMC projects more and more youth staff are being given advanced contracts to work in that department. I'm always excited for an advancement opportunity for one of our youth, but it definitely gives strain to our scheduling day to day activities.

One thing I find interesting here in Uganda is the choice/style of dress that is chosen. So much emphasis is put on being 'smart' or well dressed and pressed every day. One way to gain respect in a working environment is to be clean and smart - not necessarily to do your job well. However, 'smart' dress here is completely different to what one would think looks good in America. There are people walking around in shirts that have wordings on them without knowing what the words mean, the short tie fad is alive and well in the work place along with wearing clothes for winter in an equatorial climate.

One of my co-workers made me laugh so hard when he came to visit Josh, Cathy and me at the Youth Center the other day. He fit the description above of looking 'smart' on an Ugandan standard. Now I have always loved the Christmas sweater parties where you would find the most obnoxious knitted sweaters to wear and the craziest one at the party always gets a prize. I explained this to him so he would understand my laughter and I told him he would have an epic appearance wearing his sweater at one of those parties. Luckily I didn't offend him and he asked me to take his picture - he was proud of his gaudy Christmas sweater. He also asked me to have a Christmas sweater party at some point - not a problem.

The basketball court is seeing a lot of action this past month. It has been amazing to watch how many kids come play after they get out of school and then the adults come after work. I have been able to play at least two on two any night of the week minus Sundays. Evan, the other PCV that works for MUWRP, came out and taught the younger kids how to play Knock-out and now that is all they play! He also had a senior in secondary school come up to him and ask him the procedures of dunking in a very Steve Urkle like voice. The kid couldn't touch the rim, but here's to dreaming.

I am lucky to have three little girls in my life who I cherish greatly. They are Cathy's daughters: Shelila who is 6, Comfort who is 4 and Shemila who is 3. These girls are Cathy's brothers biological children, but the brothers do not want to take care of them. So Cathy has taken them in as her own. Every day after they get done at nursery school they come by to say hello to me, give me a huge and usually play a little bit. Then they run home to see their mom who's eating lunch.

They really like the idea of taking pictures, but don't want to sit still for them!

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