Sunday, December 11, 2011

Life Update

As of today I have been living in Uganda for 16 months. At times it has flown by and during others the time has seemed to drag on at a snails pace. Overall I have loved my time here in Uganda, with Peace Corps and most importantly with Walter Reed here in Kayunga. I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while - I've been extremely busy with work, going to an Introduction and dealing with the ups and downs of life here in Uganda.

About a month ago we celebrated Sheila's sixth birthday with her other sisters, mom Cathy and playmates.
Cathy and Sheila

Her party was a blast. Sheila had never had a cake for her birthday before so I made sure to bring one over. We sang Happy Birthday and Sheila made a wish while blowing out her candles. I feel so blessed to have these three little girls in my life as well as the wonderful friendship I have with their mother.

Recently we had a huge scare with the girls. Shemila, Comfort and Sheila were riding on a boda-boda (motorcycle taxi) from Kayunga Town to Bukoloto which is about 3 Kms through a papyrus field. The boda-boda rider was driving too fast for the road and traffic and did not signal his turn so when he turned he got in a major collision with another boda-boda. The girls went flying. Shemila received the least serious injuries: she broke her radius and had minor bruises and scrapes. Comfort had serious road rash on her legs with much of her flesh (down to her bone) missing on her right quadricep/knee area. Sheila received the most serious injuries: she had serious road rash and flesh missing from both of her legs, but due to being thrown from the bike and skidding across the road she almost lost her right foot. Luckily it held on by a thin thread, but she lost so much blood that while she was in the hospital she had to receive two blood transfusions. Luckily the girls just recently got health insurance and Cathy was able to take them to the private hospital in Kampala where they received very good medical care. After a month in the hospital they just returned to Kayunga this week. They are (very luckily) happy and healthy. Comfort and Sheila came to see me and were walking and laughing with me while teasing me. They were also very happy to show me that they could still run though it was for a very short distance. I helped Cathy clean and re-bandage their healing wounds as well - they are looking much better, but will the girls will have major scarring. Throughout all of this Cathy was on leave because she was having exams (finals) for University - bless her for not only taking wonderful care of her girls, but also finishing the semester well in school.

The girls add so much love and life to my time here in Kayunga. I love getting visits from them on their way home from school or after school. Once day Comfort wanted to go for a ride in my backpack and how could I say no to her adorable face?

There has been a chapati war going on in Kayunga Town between two chapati men. Chapatis are delicious street food that are similar to a tortilla. A couple of months ago a chapati man built a stall that was called "Obama Chapatis". My counterpart Josh loves his chapatis and always tells me to buy from him because his are the best. I would agree that they are good, but they aren't my favorite. However, after I spent some time away from site I walked down to the chapati section of town to find another stand booming with business located right next to "Obama Chapaits" called "Gadahfi Chapatis". Now this tactfully named chapati stand hit the streets shortly after Gadahfi's death and was trying to put "Obama Chapatis" out of business according to my Ugandan friends. After the battle of chapatis "Obama Chapatis" came out victorious - history does repeat itself.

My girlfriend Lisa who lives near by came to my house one weekend. We were making dinner and wanted to open a bottle of wine, but I don't have a wine screw. We looked up online ways to open bottles of wine without a screw and found a way that required to wrap the bottle in a towel and essentially bang the cork out. She went outside to bang it out on a telephone poll. When I came outside to see how she was doing there were three girls around her pulling the cork out with their teeth. These three girls frequent my house for sweeties and also have started to write me letters. When they saw Lisa struggling they came over to add their Ugandan ingenuity to the situation. Needless to say they were successful.

At the beginning of December the Kayunga District Health Officials had an "Information Sharing Party" for the health officials throughout the District as well as Mukono and Bavuma Districts where Walter Reed is also located. The party was held at the Youth Center again this year and everyone had a blast. After the awards and food were over we all danced and drank together til the end of the night. My staff and I had a blast goofing around together and celebrating another successful year at the Youth Center.

Local children also came to dance and drink sodas

Chris - he's been a wonderful Youth Center Leader for the past year and great friend. He just got promoted to be a Youth Center Co-Coordinator for the new Youth Center we are opening in Mukono in February.

This is a taxi conductor for one of the taxis that brought service providers down from northern Kayunga District. He had taken far to many beers and was dancing by himself in a dress that he found at the Youth Center (I don't know where it came from). Thank the lord he wasn't the driver.

Due to the ridiculous nature of his character we all decided it was a must to go dance with him.

O.J.! Couldn't have the 3 in 1 Art Project without him

Youth Center Coordinators and Leaders

We have been having team building sport events for the Mukono/Kayunga Walter Reed staffs since October. Myself and the head MMC counselor Idi have been putting them together. This month we had a football and mweso competition for the red, blue and yellow teams. Almost half the staff from both Districts came to participate in the games. It was so much fun - my team yellow did well in football and we won the mweso tournament! I can't wait for more games next year.
Go team yellow!

The positive HIV/AIDS message laden jerseys finally got some use as well! They were one of my PCV projects last year. Four different colors - four different messages.