Friday, July 20, 2007

Random Stuff

Ok, after pleading for help with the nets (which we still need a lot more help if we are to receive any) and describing the troubles of been insanely different then everyone else, I'll talk a little about some of the fun stuff I've been doing. First of all, I got to raft the Nile river which was fun/intense/scary. We rafted 30km up the Nile and went through 12 rapids. My boat flipped 3 times but the first time, when i was pushed under for about 5-10 seconds not knowing which way was up, was the scariest. That may be the only time I get to do it because they are building a dam which will shut down rafting. Anyways, good times.

Last weekend, I traveled out to literally the middle of nowhere to visit my buddy Derek who may win for "most remote site" at least among the volunteer group that came with me. He lives about an hour north of Pallisa town and you can't reach there by car, only bike. Once we got there, it was quite an experience. The people there are so not used to white people that they went crazy with the arrival of us. It was a huge deal and the kids where absolutely blown away. They didn't know what to make of us. However, everyone was extremely friendly and "forced" us to partake in the local custom, which is drinking home-made millet beer in a circle out of a clay pot. It really wasn't too bad. You drink out of a super long straw and sometimes they bring out the bowl that you slurp out of. Needless to say, you can get in a lot of trouble doing this! We had to duck out after a while to avoid ending up sleeping in a random ditch somewhere. In a way, I envy his site, because it is so remote and he has become really integrated into his community. He speaks the language (Ateso) really well and the community really has his back. My location is on a main road and much of my business is done during the day in Mbale and not in my trading center. However, i'm a rock star of the taxi system and enjoy the isolation that my house grants me when I want it.

Oh, and I don't think I've talked about my local Lugwere name yet! It is quite amusing and everyone either laughes and says how great it is or laughes and askes me who gave that name to me. My name is Kampanya (com-pong-ya) and means....wait for it...small he-goat! My language teacher gave it to me during training and it happens to be his family name too. I of course was a little put off at first because most people's local names mean strength or hope or something to do with crops and life. What killed me was the "small" part of the goat reference. However, it was explained to me that small he-goats are tough and stubborn, so it's a compliment. Oh well, it is memorable and it serves me well. Everytime I tell someone, they really open up to me and declare that I am one of them. This is what I want blend in as much as possible.

This weekend, I'm staying in and relaxing. Traveling out to no-man's land, while exciting and fun, takes a lot out of you. I'll clean my house and do a lot of reading.

Thanks for all the packages I've gotten, they have really helped me get through some tough days. I'll try to update soon.