Thursday, June 4, 2009

M... Musketeers, Three!

When we bathe the water is not warmed, but it gets to be room-temperature before we use it and that usually feels fabulous. My host family has four volunteers (three currently, the fourth is arriving tonight) and there are some others with a few other families. I feel bad because we kicked the adults out of their rooms and all 19 people are squished into three other rooms, including what used to be a chicken house, but I guess their entire yearly income is what they make from hosting volunteers! I'm not sure what they get per day, but there's no way we're costing them more than maybe $5 so I guess they get a good profit. The family is really nice and the money helps get the kids through school so I don't feel bad about them profiting off of us. In any case, they seem very aware that we're their income, they won't let us do ANYTHING for ourselves. If I get up to grab my water bottle out of the room, someone does it for me. If I get up to take care of my dishes, the grandmother yells at one of the kids and they come grab them out of my hands. It's kind of weird.

We should be getting more information tomorrow, but it looks like we're going to be helping them start up a community composting program. Most of the waste here is organic, so if they can compost it it takes care of the solid waste problem and also gives them eco-friendly fertilizer.
If we're just going into the office or town, we walk. It's only a five minute walk into the office, and ten minutes into town. Yesterday, Michael (the program coordinator) took us to his home village which involved riding dirt-bikes to another house to pick up another volunteer, more dirt-bikes to a van-taxi, and then more dirt-bikes to his house and a school he helps sponsor. The dirt-biking in the towns isn't too bad because the roads are paved, so mostly I just try not to think about the fact that I'm not wearing a helmet. When you get out into the villages though it's just dirt roads, and out by Michael's house they were clearly dirtbike trails that were maybe one foot wide, maximum. And one part was washed out so we did some off-roading. And it's not socially acceptable to hold onto the driver for balance, the way you would riding the back of a dirt bike or motorcycle back home, so you kind of cling to the bar behind you. I got good enough at balancing that I could hold on with one hand! Of course, the Ugandans and Brin and Serina (the other volunteer) don't hold on at all so I think I need more practice... or better balance.

The weather is quite warm, usually around 80 degrees during the day and not much cooler at night (mostly because our rooms have to be completely shut up to keep out the mosquitos- when we get up in the morning it's cooler outside than in). It's not as humid as home usually is though. Last night we heard thunder and got a little sprinkling, but the storm passed to the north of us (I've figured out the cardinal directions using shadows, haha). It cooled off to around 60 degrees or so and immediately out came the long sleeves! The family grandma even put on a grandma sweater... I'm glad some things are universal.

Tonight we are going to watch Brin wrestle Serina, which should be a good time, especially since Serina apparently wrestled in high school. Also, Brin is from Atlanta, and wanted me to inform everyone that stereotypes about the South are not true! We are having a lot of fun talking about each other's "cultures." She is very amused that Chelsea and I are called trolls. She also exposed me to putting baby powder on my hair to soak up excess oil on non-bath days (apparently that's common practice in the South). She's been completely awesome.

Also no one here worries about malaria. Half the family has it right now, and Brin had it a couple weeks ago. But I still don't want it. =]

Amazingly enough I am not sunburned and have only two mosquito bites so I would say I'm doing pretty well!



1 comment:

  1. Hi Lauen, We sure are enjying your narrative on your experiences in Uganda. Life sure is different there than it is in America, makes you appreciate home all that much more. Hope you bring home a lot of pictures and memories, we can share. Back hme here, we went to Alans graduation last night. Had a really good time. We miss you and hope you don't get malara either. Take care honey. We love you.,,,Connie