Monday, March 12, 2012
Joshua and I finished our Hand-washing Station Project and I wanted to share the pictures with you. The stations were given to Kayunga District Youth Center, Mukono District Youth Center, Kayunga District Hospital and other smaller Health Centers around the District. We distributed 12 in total. It was a small project, but hopefully it will have a large impact in the health and hygiene of health care professionals and clients at the health centers.
I'm happy Josh got to see his idea come to fruition and have such a great impact.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
The past three weeks have been filled with lots of birthday wishes in the Kayunga/Jinja area. My PCV friend Lisa celebrated her 24th birthday in style at a lovely pool in Jinja while my friend Maggie had a visitor from the States who celebrated her 24th birthday in Jinja as well. Work has been so busy for me lately that these birthday days have been a breath of fresh air not to mention a whole truck load of fun.
Pool day for Lisa
Natalie's Birthday - NRE Sunset Cruise
The third birthday we celebrate was mine! Birthdays were always very special in my family growing up and my parents always put a lot of effort into making them into amazing birthday seasons for my brother and me. Last year it felt strange being away from my family and friends back home for my birthday, but this year all I felt was love from my friends and family here in Uganda and from everyone back home near and far. On my birthday my PCV friends and I had a wonderful pool day on Bujigali Falls overlooking the Nile and had a fabulous lunch. After traveling back to Kayunga that night (with a delicious pizza in hand from Jinja Town) I got to Skype with my family and best friend for hours. Needless to say I feel very blessed to have had such a wonderful birthday.
Birthday lunch at The Black Lantern on Bujigali Falls
I even got to have a birthday sundae with real ice cream (real ice cream is hard to find here)!
Mom even sent me cake - yummy! They were almost to good to eat, but you can't keep a Maine girl away from mini whoopie pies!
Then a couple days after my real birthday I got to have a second party with my Ugandan family. We celebrated at their favorite spot, which is the local pork joint in town. I love it there too - it has the most beautiful field to watch the sun set. All the people I love in Kayunga were there to celebrate with me and filled my night with fun and love. [Sorry for the blurry pictures - my camera is old and doesn't shoot well in the dark...oops.]
Monday, March 5, 2012
"He gave me more than a bracelet. He gave me HIV."
When I got back to Uganda after a holiday home I felt out of place assimilating back into my community. So as most PCV's do I started spending my nights watching many tv episodes, movies and surfing the internet to try and stay connected to the world at home that we are so distant from. I found this PCV blog entitled No Going Back. There Is Only Forward while I was surfing one night and have been following closely since then.
This blog is written by the last PCV who was medically separated from her service. To be medically separated by the Peace Corps a PCV must have a condition that cannot be corrected by treatment within 45 days. This treatment can take place in the host country, the medical evacuation of that geographical area (for Uganda it is South Africa) or the United States. This PCV was medically separated in December 2011 when she acquired HIV during her service in Zambia.
I strongly urge people to read her blog. Her story is sad, but provoking. She is a strong, resilient and articulate woman who has been through a life changing event and decided to share her story with anyone who will listen. Her blog talks about her infection and treatment, as well as sharing information on HIV/AIDS that everyone should either know or have access to.
Please take the time to read her blog and send her positivity. She is an inspiring young woman who speaks for so many people who cannot.
I have the habit of giving sweeties to the children in my village neighborhood of Nakarilo on a regular basis. For the most part the children are respectful and thankful for the time I spend with them so it makes me bend to their constant asking for candy. However, one thing that has started because of my candy dealings is the children are coming to my windows and doors all the time if the curtains are pulled back asking for me to come to them. I love seeing their little faces every day, but sometimes they are relentless with their asking and I just have to laugh ... and give in to their requests.
On Valentine's Day we celebrated my girlfriend Lisa's birthday at a beautiful pool in Jinja. While hanging around the pool Lisa and I decided it would be great fun to shave a heart in honor of Valentine's Day in our friend's absurd amount of chest hair. Success is sweet.