Saturday, March 18, 2006

Greetings from Uganda!!!!

Well, I made it!!! So much to say and so little time to say it. Uganda is much more green than I expected. At times I forget that I'm in Africa except for the exeptionally dark poeople all over the place staring and calling me "Muzungu" (White traveler, but it's much more of a description than a deragatory term). The weather is of course warm, but not unbearable. I'm living in a house made of cement with no celings and a tin roof. There are 5 brothers in my host family and one sister. The food is good, better than when I was in Mexico, for sure. Many of the things we eat are very starchy - rice, 'irish' potatoes, 'matoke' which is a mashed banana they eat EVERY MEAL, etc. I've also had fish, pork, beef, and chicken. The electricity in the city I'm in is on one day and off the next day, which is common. They ration it out to conserve. Most people here walk or ride bicycles to get around. There are many bike taxis and car taxis. We recently went on a trip out of town in a 'taxi' that should have sat 9 people and I counted 17 people in side. they just make room and sit on each others laps... it's funny, and somewhat safe i guess. I did manage to get sick on thursday and had a fever as high as 103 and diareaha for about 3 days but i'm better now. I just call it an adjustment period. Well, I should run. Please write me at the address I've posted in the Rt hand collumn! Love you all, miss you and look forward to writing more soon...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

We Leave Tomorrow!!

So this is it. If there ever is a chance to turn back, the time is now. Not that I would or am even considering it, but tomorrow it all begins. We leave for Uganda and will arrive there around 3pm on Monday (Indiana Time). The 'spirit' of Peace Corps is an amazing thing. This handful of people from all walks of life and of different ethnicities and backgrounds, races and religions, ages and places in life are all gathered together and have 'given up' 2 years of their lives for the good of helping others, for amazingly similar reasons. 2 in the group are over 50. 2 in the group are over 60. 6 are married (2 doing PC w/o their spouses). 4 are divorced. We're all so excited to get there, to begin. Tonight was very encouraging. We went to the JFK library and museum in Boston where they had a receptoin for the RPCVs in the New England area. It was fulfilling seeing the work of JFK and to hear his idealism played on various TV screens throughout the museum. We met some of the original volunteers from 1961 and heard them talk about JFK at 2am in Ann Arbor Michigan giving his impromptu speech to Ten Thousand UM students who had turned out to await his arrival long after the press had already left. They told the story with excitement as if it had just happened. And through the evening we met returned PCVs who were excited to tell their expierence and you could thell that they had this envious gleam in their eyes to knowt that we were just beginning our PC experience. A torch was passed of sorts from the originals to us to carry on a tradition that is STILL alive and moving and changing the lives of not only the people we are serving but also the lives of the volunteers and their friends and families as well. So tomorrow we embark. And so it begins.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

My Uganda Address

I do have my address if you're interested in writing. I put it under my profile on your right. It wil change in 3 months so check it before you send me anything. And please do send me anything. Literally anything, just remember it could take a month before I get it. Otherwise, I've found a couple of fellow PCV's blogs who are also going to Uganda: Today we spent the entier day in training. Just basic stuff, "what does 'development' mean?" "how do you stay safe?" Case studies, etc. They did give us about $175 of 'walking around' money to spend at our leisure for food, cab fares, drinks, etc. I was advised to keep some of it as it will come in handy in Uganda. It is an interesting makeup of our group. There are 2 married couples going and 2 married women who are with us. It's difficult for me to imagine being separated from a spouse for the 2 years, but their kids are grown and this is something that they really really want to do, and I deeply admire them for taking it on. Truly. Tomorrow it's more training in the morning and then we have a Peace Corps 45 Years Event we have to dress up for and go to in Boston. And then Sunday, we leave for Uganda!!!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Packing and Boston

125-2592_IMG, originally uploaded by dunnbrian.

Well, I have arrived. At least for staging in Boston. The pictures shows my 'stuff' laid out before I packed it. Note the parmasean cheese and the non stick frying pan, just to name a few items. There are 37 of us in all. One married couple and one lady who is from Lafayette and worked at Purdue. How random is that??? It still feels very surreal, this whole thing. I mean it's all happening for sure, but I still feel like I'm going to be flying home soon and sleep in a bed in a house, neither of which I own anymore. There's a lot of excitement thus far. Most of us want to skip staging and go right to Uganda. I guess there will be a time for that. We ate Thai food tonight and chatted about what we all brought for the 2 years. I'll blog more when I get a chance.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

"Excuse me, sir. The movie's over."

That was what I heard last night after I had fallen asleep watching Walk the Line at the $1 theater on washington square. Apparently I had fallen asleep (not uncommon for me). It was the last showing of the night and who knows how long I had been there before the usher brought me back to consciousness. That phrase, however, stayed with me. "Excuse me, sir. The movie's over." On the eve of my Peace Corps service, in a great way, the movie is over. And another is beginning. The movie of trying to find myself in corporate America, the movie of figuring out what greater thing i'm supposed to do with my life, the movie of living life without regrets. It's coming to a close. This PC thing has sparked something new in me. It has brought excitement, purpose, wishfullness into an ordinarily mundane life. Yesterday my packing list of 2 years of stuff was strewn across the livingroom. What does one need to servive for 2 years. Now it's all packed and waiting to go. Thanks to everyone who diligently prayed for me to even get me to this point. A sincere and heart felt 'Thank You'. Many, many people have told me that it 'takes a special person' to do what I'm doing. Eh... I don't know about that. If it were 'easier' and then maybe more would. I said a tearful goodbye to my sisters on Sunday. Had several friends and family over that day as well. 2 years is a long time, and it will go by all too quickly as well. It all starts tomorrow.