Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Speaking Engagements Wanted

Speaking Engagements

I’ll be coming home in April, a much anticipated trip, believe me! I think the first thing I’m going to want to eat is Applebee’s Chicken Quesadillas! I’ve been craving those since I got here. Unfortunately, mom and dad can’t ship THAT to Africa, eh? I’ll be home from April 18th until May 5th and I’m looking for some opportunities to share my experiences of the Peace Corps, Compassion International and Africa in general. If you know of any schools, clubs, churches (though not on Sundays), or organizations, big or small, that would be interested, please feel free to contact me. I’m trying to book some speaking engagements before I leave.

African Well Fund

Some people came and put together a video in the district. The video is here and the website is here

The Colts are going to the Super Bowl!

I watched the AFC Championship game live and it was AWESOME! Nail biting, but awesome! Fortunately they’ve shown all of the Colts games here. It seems like they only picked some of the games to show. Jacob, a Saints fan, didn’t see any of their games, for example. They show the games live (this past one was at 2:30 am) and then they replay it the next day at 5pm. Good thing I am a die-hard fan and watched the live showing because in 2 of the 3 cases the power was out for the replayed game!! I watch the games at Sky Blue where they have a ‘conference hall’ with a 21” TV set up, mostly to show European Football (soccer) games. Because Jacob and I are there almost every day and we are good friends with all of them they let us watch games in the middle of the night. It works out well! So, good luck Colts in Miami for the Super Bowl! I’ll be with you in spirit!

The ‘Criminal Hour’

The past few Colts playoff games have ended around 3:30am. I live only 1km from Sky Blue where I watch the game but EVERYBODY has told me NOT to ride my bike home at that hour. I thought that the first person I asked was just being cautious but everyone I asked after that said the same thing, “That’s a time when criminals are out, from 3am-4am.” There’s such a thing as a real danger and perceived danger. I have a feeling that this is a perceived danger. Do criminals know that they’re only supposed to be out between 3-4am? One of the waitresses was robbed recently and she said it was around 11pm. Did the criminals not know that they were about 4 hours early?? Regardless, I have either stayed at Sky Blue for the night ($7.50), hired a taxi to take me home at 3:30am ($5.00), or slept at Bruno’s (free).


I had a scary moment as I was once again trying to be the nurse for Compasison. Japheth, the director was disciplining the children by lightly caning them for various reasons including showing up hours late to not demonstrating proper hygene. (I’ll talk about the caning thing in a moment). One of the older girls became upset at the caning and started to hyperventilate, like someone would do if they were crying hard. They had to assist her into the nurses quarters and I got out my Where There Is No Doctor book and read up on Hyperventilation. It said to just keep the person calm and have them breathe into a paper bag. Remind them that they aren’t in any danger and that the hyperventilating will stop in 2-3 minutes. But it didn’t stop in 2-3 minutes. 10 minutes went by and she was still doing it. 15 minutes. I was a little paniced. I know the book said she wasn’t in danger but she wasn’t stopping. Maybe this was something else, something different. Maybe it involved her heart or who knows what. I called for a taxi to come and he showed up maybe 4 minutes later. We got her into the car and were going to take her to the doctor in town. When we arrived the receptionist told me that the doctor wasn’t in. I told her that I had a girl in the car who was in trouble and she just looked at me. Even though we all speak English, they still don’t get my Midwest English sometimes and I wondered if she had even understood me at all. “I have an emergency,” I tried to explain. “There is a girl from Compasison in the car who is breathing heavy. Hy-per-ven-ti-lating,” I slowly spoke so she could hopefully understand. Still she just looked at me like I was a big, dumb white guy who was speaking a language native to chimpanzees. Finally I shouted, “there’s a girl in the car who needs help.” “Where?” she finally said. “OUT IN THE CAR!” and I threw my hat out the door in frustration! Finally we got her inside, the doctor looked at her and began to calm her down. She wasn’t in danger and it seems like it was mostly stubbornness about being an older girl and being disciplined that got her upset, but still, it really freaked me out and made me remember that I’m not a nurse and I don’t know what I’m doing…

They eventually took her home where she continued to hyperventilate and then they brought her back to the doctor. She finally did settle down later that evening.


I hate to see kids get beaten, but they do it here. It’s done with a stick between ¼ and ½ inches thick and they’re usually hit in the buttocks or the back of the legs. Some PCVs have really problems with kids getting beaten. I’ve come to grips with the fact that it’s part of their culture and it’s one of those difficult things that I watch and tolerate only because it’s their way. The kids aren’t beaten in inappropriate places (like the head) and it isn’t done out of anger. I rationalize to myself that beatings have been a part of human history since the dawn of time for discipline reasons. The Bible is full of proverbs directing parents to use the rod on their children. I was ‘beaten’ as a child but always in appropriate places and always when I diserved it. There are instances where children have been beaten and suffer major casualties including disfiguration and paralysis in Uganda, and of course those stories circulate widely when they happen. But again, I just have to turn my head a little and accept it as part of the culture, knowing that it has it’s place, it’s not ‘harming’ the child and that it’s just their way.


There has been reported that there is a Cholera breakout in the district. A few people have died because of it. I was reading up on it and if someone gets Cholera then you are to treat the symptoms like dehydration. The local authorities have closed down the street vendors who grill and sell meat and they have also closed down some restaurants. The safest thing is to eat in well established restaurants and to always make sure the food is hot. There haven’t been any cases reported in town yet, so everything is just precautionary right now.

Random Factoid – Eating with Hands

Ugandans prefer to eat with their hands rather than use knives, forks and spoons. They eat soupy, saucy things this way too. They dip posho or matooke in the sauce. They say it tastes better this way. They end up getting food and grease all over their hands and faces while doing this. For me, this is extremely uncomfortable. I like to be clean when I eat (for the most part). Then afterwards they wash up but they rarely use a towel. They just air dry. I think that part of all of this has to do with the general cost of silverware and having a towel around (do you really need a towel?), but I think it’s also mostly a cultural thing. That’s just the way they’ve always done it.

GO COLTS!! Win Super Bowl XLI!!


At 24 January, 2007, Blogger Snyder said...

Great to know you're coming home for a bit. Can you hold Tues, April 24 and May 1 from noon to 1 pm for Rushville Rotary. Will know after Jan. 30 which date will be available. Kevin would love to have you speak at Rotary.
Thanks for offering.

At 25 January, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Traders Point would like to have you speak too for chapel. Friday or Weds. would be great. All classes sponsor children with Compassion Int. Let me know. The contact would be Nathan Branhan, if he e-mails you.


At 25 January, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You know you can come to speak at my class just about anytime when you are home. No need to schedule a time really -- You can just work it in around your other speaking engagements. GO HORSE!!!!!!!!


At 25 January, 2007, Anonymous Jennifer Noble said...

Picturing you throwing your hat makes me laugh.

That Colts game was amazing!


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