Well, I officially have one week left in Uganda. This time next Tuesday, I’ll already be flying through the air, headed to Dubai. It’s so hard to believe how fast the time has gone by! I still can’t quite wrap my head around it. It simultaneously feels like I’ve been here forever, since I’ve gotten so used to the way of life here and for hardly any time at all, since each day seems to fly by so quickly! Today was my last day of work, tomorrow will be my last day with FSD, and I leave my host family and Kakira on Thursday morning! I’m so excited for the new adventures that await, and of course to come home and see everyone I’ve been missing so much, but of course, it’s also very difficult to say goodbye to Uganda and everyone I’ve grown close to, here!
Ok, I promised a day in the life blog entry, so here it is!
First of all, here’s where I live. My house is on a dirt road that runs perpendicular to the ones that lead to the marketplace and the bottom of the town (you’ll see pictures of those later). It’s definitely one of the nicer ones in town. It’ pretty big, and it’s within a compound, so there are walls and a gate behind the house that fence in the rest of the structure.
Here’s what the inside looks like!
Now, I spend the majority of my time at home in the bedroom I share with Emma. It’s pretty big, but there’s not a lot of space to move around, because of the two large beds (another thing I won’t miss—foam mattresses and pillows! They are not very comfortable.) and our suitcases, which we have to live out of because we don’t have shelves or a closet. I do my best to keep things neat and organized, but it’s pretty difficult given the circumstances. We’re also lucky enough to have a fan in our room—it’s not very strong, but it definitely makes a big difference to have it on!
The first thing I do after I wake up in the morning is head to the bathroom, where I take one of those infamous bucket showers (only 1 or 2 more left!).
Here’s the basin that I use. That yellow pitcher thing is called a gerry can. That contains the hot water. I pour the water into the basin and then pour the basin over my body, so that I can better control the direction of the water and how much I use at any given moment.
Usually, once I’m done showering and getting dressed and whatnot, my breakfast is waiting for me on the table. There’s always tea, but the food varied from day to day. This morning, I had an omelette, chapatti, and tiny bananas (they’re the best kind, they’re sweeter than the bigger ones!). I forgot to mention that I also really like the eggs here. They always put good stuff like peppers and tomatoes in them. And normally, the fact that Ugandans overcook food and make it very dry is something I really don’t appreciate, but for eggs, it’s perfect! As you know, if you’ve ever seen me make or order eggs anywhere, I like my eggs to be REALLY WELL DONE, almost burned. Some of the other interns don’t feel the same way as I do, though, so they have to wait until we’re home for their fluffy eggs (ew). The one problem that occurs with breakfast is that often the food won’t be served to us right away and will have been sitting out and gotten cold by the time we start to eat. Today, though, I got lucky, and it was still pretty warm!
Now, it’s time for me to walk to work. Care to join me?
Here we are, at St. Elizabeth! This is the side entrance to the building, where our office is. I’m sure you recognize it from some of my other pictures. Joseph’s is there, too!
Right next door to our office, in the same building is a small store. They sell some basic things like sodas, toothpicks, and toilet paper (all essentials!) as well as access to a computer and the internet. The four of us interns spend a lot of time there. The owner is named Charles. He and his wife Mary take turns working in the store. I’m pretty sure I’ve already mentioned her and her adorable baby daughter (we actually like her better than Charles…shh!). Only Charles was there today, though, so I’ve got a picture of him. Hopefully I can get one of Mary before we leave!
Now, at work today, of course we did the usual sitting around and waiting for Joseph, but the morning was actually far more productive than most! I had taken a bunch of photos (some of which you’ve seen) from the days where we were constructing the goat structures and when the representative from the town council came to visit and we had that odd little ceremony. I wanted to print out copies and give them to the community members—which was no small feat with the outdated equipment (including an incredibly frustrating broken mouse) in Joseph’s office. Eventually I did it, but the quality was pretty poor because there was some kind of problem with the printer and the ink in it. Instead, I had to create a folder on Joseph’s desk top and put the photos from the USB drive in it (once again, no small feat because of that stupid mouse! I may or may not have thrown it on the floor in frustration at one point). In the end, though, it all worked out. And Joseph had the finished constitutions for us to give to the villagers today! He called a meeting for after lunch at St. Eliza so that we could give them the constitution, discuss some future plans, and say goodbye.
Speaking of lunch, here’s what I had today: matooke, beans, rice, and avocado! I’m getting pretty sick of all of the above, since I eat them so often, but they’re still good! It’s best to mix the beans in really thoroughly with the matooke and rice, because they’re pretty bland tasting on their own. This is a typical serving size that I’d eat, but a typical Ugandan portion would be about double the size.
After we returned to work, all the villagers showed up. We went over the basic stuff—showing them the constitution and discussing future plans (they ended up with extra wood, so they’re going to start building two new goat structures!), and they thanked us for our help. We, in turn, of course thanked them for accepting our program and us into their community so enthusiastically, and for affording us the privilege of working with them and getting to know them. Then, of course, we had to say goodbye to everyone. That was really sad for me, but it was so lovely that I got to see everyone one last time. The villagers were so sweet, and I’m really going to miss them! I attempted to have a conversation with one of the older women, who neither speaks not understands much English (and of course, as we know, I’m good at Ugandan greetings, but that’s pretty much it). So we’re both trying to communicate with one another in two completely different languages, basically conveying our meaning merely with the inflections in the tones of our voices in order to convey the emotions behind our words, which, at least in my case were things like: “I’m so glad to have worked with you,” “Thank you for everything,” and “I will miss you!” It was such a cool and beautiful moment. It was then that it really hit me that I’m going to be leaving Kakira and the program behind, and that my time in Uganda is almost over. This has become such a part of me, this program has been my life for the past two months, and now it’s ending. It’s affecting me more than I’d been anticipating it woud for the past few weeks, considering all the challenges and frustrations that have gone along with this project. I’m going to miss Joseph a lot, too. Despite his faults, he really is an incredible kind, sweet man, who shows such devotion to the program and really believes in the power of sustainable development. We gave him our contact information, which he promised to pass on to the villagers, so that we can continue to communicate and they can send us updates on the project as it progresses, which is something I’m really looking forward to doing.
After work, the other interns and I often walk around town, and wandered through the markets, which look a little something like this.
Sometimes, we even walk down to the supermarket, where I go to buy chocolate, biscuits (cookies…I’m probably going to call them that when I get home, because I’ve been conditioned to, here, don’t get mad. Fries may also be chips and chips may be crisps on occasion.), chocolate bars, and these really good crunchy, Indian-spiced g nuts (they’re like peanuts except smaller, rounder, and more purple).
The supermarket is at the bottom of a long hill, just outside the gates of the part of town where I live and work.
It’s right by the post office. For those of you who received post cards from me, this is where I went to mail them!
If you turn right at the gates (or let one of the boda drivers clamoring for you in the queue drive you that way), you’ll be going down me main road, right next to the sugar cane fields, the one I talked about in my list blog, with the gorgeous view. This, of course, leads to the mataatus, which take people into Jinja (or “Kampala! Kampala!” as the drivers and conductors always yell).
Anyway, today when we went into the market, we were searching for snacks. Greg and Emma wanted to buy samosas (they’re not anywhere near as good as Indian ones, in my opinion, and I don’t care for them), but the usual vendor we go to wasn’t there, so instead we all visited our favorite chapatti stand.
The guy standing in front is the owner of the stand. The other is his friend or brother, who sometimes works for him. He sells chapatti to earn money that he wants to use to pay for University. He hopes to someday become an engineer.
We always go back to St. Eliza to eat our snacks, because it’s impolite to eat while walking in Uganda. This is usually a daily routine, and we all felt a little sad realizing that it would be our last time doing it, though most of the conversation still centered upon excitement for the days to come and for returning home and the foods we wanted to eat (though there was also some scintillating discussion about politics and prostitutes)!
After the snack, we parted ways and went home, where I proceeded to sit on my bed, laptop in tow, and begin writing this blog entry, while simultaneously talking to some friends on facebook, answering e-mails, and listening to music, as I typically do. I took a break when we were served tea at about 6:30 (I didn’t take pictures because you saw the tea at breakfast). To my chagrin, it turned out that we also had chapatti for a tea snack, and I was still pretty full from the one I ate earlier. But hey, this could be my last chapatti, at least in Kakira, so I figured I might as well take some of it (oh, there’s another one! You’ll probably catch me saying “take” instead of “eat” or “drink” sometimes), and I watched a bit of a Spanish soap opera, which had been dubbed over in English and then dubbed over AGAIN in Lugandan…which frankly just pisses me off.
This picture was actually taken at dinner time last night, but this felt like a good spot to include it. because I’m talking about the TV. Watching TV is a typical evening pastime in which most of the family participates.
I then returned to my previous activities until dinner time. We had beans, matooke, and rice again, but with a new addition—pork! This is something I haven’t been served before by my host family. I think it’s fairly expensive and they wanted to serve it since it’s one of our last days and in honor of Mama Fina’s daughter’s birthday…though she lives in Nigeria and wasn’t at the house. I also was given a beer for the occasion, which was very nice. They wanted to get me another one, which was really sweet, but I really wasn’t feeling so great so I tried my best to politely decline (something I probably would never have done under any other circumstance). In the end, I think they ended up buying another one, but I really wasn’t feeling well at all, so I went to go lie down before they could give it to me. Pepto Bismol is my friend.
And here I am! Writing this blog entry. Which is now finished. Oh, except I wanted to show you guys some pictures of my host family.
Here are my host sisters. Left to right: Desire, Zahara, and Cecelia
Steven (And Desire)
Mama Fina’s son Goffrey and his wife, Ruth. They don’t live here but they visit often.
Our old maid, Weeman. She left a few weeks ago and is now living in her own place in the village.
She’s been replaced by Fina, our new maid. Here she is cooking dinner!
And, of course, Emma and me with Mama Fina.
One big family.
Oh, and of course, I had to include a few of these:
So yeah, that’s basically an average day for me in Kakira. It just so happened to be my last full one. I hope you all enjoyed reading about it! I’ll have some new blog entries soon about my last day with FSD and my post-program adventures (SAFARI! GET EXCITED!)