Friday, April 27, 2007

New Site, new adventures...

I'm in Mbale now after spending 4 days at my future site...exciting! My house is located in Kakoro sub-county, Pallisa district. It was previously occupied by a married couple who left me many things to get going, ie. cooking supplies, some furniture, skittles and twinkies and unfortunately, some trash! Overall, I am very happy with the house. I still need to get a few things, but I am well ahead of other volunteers who do not have a house ready or have just the bare minimum furniture (ie, a bed and some chairs). I have a bore-hole very close that has really clean water. No electricity, but plenty of candles and lamps. I have an indoor bathing area and a private, locked latrine. The area is extremely beautiful with views of Mt. Elgon and Kakoro rocks. My nearest volunteer, also from Seattle, is only 10 minutes by car and 30 by bike.

I look forward to working with my organization who is a small community based organization that has only been around for a few years. They have a nurses college that holds classes next door and are looking to expand to having a medical clinic for AIDS patients, a micro-finance office, and what I'm looking forward to the most, support for a group of AIDS orphans and widows who are in exteme poverty right now. We visited them yesterday and it was overwhelming. They had so little, but were so positive and hopeful. I gave a short speech (on the fly as I'm getting used to here) where I told them that they were strong and that the future was bright for them because people cared. The response was a high shrill from a woman in the back. It suprised me, but I was told that the scream meant joy. Those people are a large part of why I am here. If I can help them in any way, I will. I think most of my work with the org. will be in grant writing and securing funding. The previous volunteers, though they didn't work directly for my org, helped them secure funding from the embassy for a new school building. My supervisor, who is only 28, is looking for me to pick up right where they left off. I tried to explain to him that I need a few weeks to settle in and assess what is going on before I can really start working. He wants me to train his students on HIV/AIDS the first day I move in (which is May 10, right after swearing in)! I told him slowly by slowly, I will be there for 2 years and will be able to do plenty of work.

I would like to thank all those who have commented. I haven't figured out how to respond, but you can send me an email and I'll be able to respond that way. Take it easy and until next time....

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

closer to the next 2 years

Ok, found an internet place in the town of Luwero that is pretty consistent. All is well, I'm plodding along in training. We are in week 6 with 4 more to go. I find out on friday exactly where i will be. I have a wild guest based on the fact that I am the only health volunteer in the language group and I know, based on talking to current volunteers, about a site opening up in my language area. If it is said site, it sounds like it is a great opportunity. i'll keep everyone posted.

On saturday, we went on a tour of some falls (don't remember the name...starts with 2 ss's) and a national forest that might be torn down for sugar cane fields and a tour of Jinja. We saw the source of the nile, wear the nile river flows from lake victoria and flows north up to
Egypt. Very beautiful.

As part of our training as health volunteers, we have been touring different health facilities and traditional healers and birth attendants. Every experience has been educational, heartbreaking, and hopeful, all at once.

After riding several cramped, fast driving taxis, I have decided that I am, as my 6'2" friend Derrick says, "not travel-sized." I think the taxis or matatus (spelling?) are made for people under 5'8'. It is not fun to travel in this country, i have the knee and head bruises to prove it! The roads are insane here, there are so many close calls, that i just fall asleep so I don't have to watch what's going on.

that's it for now, i don't know when i'll get on again. once i get to site, I will have more time to use internet. hope all is well...