Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Latest Update

Sorry that it’s taken me a while to update. A few reasons for that. #1 is that the NGO I was going to for Internet… doesn’t have it anymore. At least for now. Apparently the bill wasn’t paid so it was disconnected. They say it’ll be back soon, so that typically means between 1-6 months. #2 reason is that my computer has broken down now 3x in the past 2 months! First the mechanism that holds the screen up broke, next Microsoft XP froze up and refused to load. That required a re-loading of XP which of course means that my entire hard drive was erased. Fortunately I had a significant amount of my files backed up on the computers at Compassion, but I still lost a few things including my address book. But pictures, music, blog info, that was all saved either on the internet or elsewhere. As it stands now I’ll only be able to update my blog every other week as the $5 to get too and from Mbarara is a little steep on a Peace Corps Volunteer’s salary.

Muzungu Central

It seems like my village has become a Mecca for white people lately. There was an Australian who cane to visit a Compassion child (more on that later) another Australian who is looking for agriculture projects to sponsor, 2 girls from Sweeden who were here promoting reading to village schools and a group of 6 missionaries from America (1 was from Poland) who were scouting the place out to place a missionary couple here. It was crazy and it was all happening at once. Of course when Jacob and I see white people we are compelled to investigate who has intruded onto our territory and we’re more than happy to share stories and a meal with them.

Sponsor Visit

A sponsor for one of the children came for a visit this past week. It was really cool. I haven’t been here when a sponsor visits a child. This person (we’ll call him Jay) wasn’t the child’s sponsor, but a friend of the family who sponsored the child. When Jay arrived Moses, the sponsored child, was there waiting for him. Moses was quiet and looked a little nervous. Imagine what it must feel like for your sponsor to visit you. The one who pays for your school fees, uniform, mosquito net, health care, etc. The one who you write letters to and receive marvelous post cards and pictures and stickers from. The one you pray for each night before going to bed. It must be somewhat overwhelming as it seemed to be for Moses. Immediately, Jay pulled out a shiny new soccer ball for him and his eyes lit up! I asked Moses jokingly if he even played soccer and he assured me that he did. We then loaded up the vehicle and went to Moses’ house. He lived with his father and mother and his grandmother lived across the path. The grandmother’s house was one of the nicest houses I’ve seen in my time here, but the father’s house was a simple mud structure. We spent the afternoon enjoying African tea (milk tea) and peanuts and watching as Moses opened gift after gift that Jay had brought. It was an awesome thing. Just like Christmas. The gifts were perfect too. Stickers, markers, a ball to throw around, a model house to build, a cool neon pencil pouch. Each gift was so appropriate for an African child. We eventually went outside and kicked the soccer ball around for a while. It was really nice to visit with Jay. He told me that he works with World Vision in Australia, a Christian development organization that tries to develop entire communities.

Running Club

Jacob and I have started a running club with the nearby secondary school. We figured that as long as we’re running in the mornings anyway, we might as well have company. The first day was Monday and there were around 25 kids that turned up. Mostly boys but about 7 girls. They don’t have shoes to run in so they mostly go bare footed (which I’ve done before and it kills my arches). The girls don’t have athletic attire to run in so they ran in skirts or slacks and their nice shirts. I’m working on a program where I can get some second hand shoes collected in some high schools in the US and I’ll bring them back here for them. There’s a program called Shoes for Africa that does a similar program and that’s where I got the idea. We had a good first run. I arrived at 6:15am, the sun hadn’t even begun to come up yet. I heard people running around in a group, like an army or something. They were blowing a whistle. As they ran by me I thought that maybe they had already had a running club. They stopped when they saw the white guy (I’m even white if it’s pitch black out… trust me). I asked if they had been running before this week and they said this was their first time. So we began with some talks about the benefits of running and exercise (mostly just me flapping my gums) and then did some stretches. We went up to run around Compassion where there’s a nice ¼ mile track (sort of). The girls were to do 8 laps and the boys 12. I ran with them, encouraging them along the way and getting passed by the really fast guys. It was funny because I came up behind what I thought was a boy and a girl running. They were running close together and the boy had his shirt off. When I got closer what I thought was the boy put his shirt back on and I quickly discovered that it wasn’t a boy, it was one of the girls. As frequently and often as women breast feed in this country it’s not unusually for girls to not be as discreet about nakedness here, but it still took me off guard a little. Yikes! Keep your cloths on ladies! Otherwise it was a good first run. We’ll see how the turnout is tomorrow.

Otherwise, thanks so much to Karen and to St Paul’s UMC for the care packages!! They arrived just in time for Valentine’s Day or as Karen put it in her card “Singles Awareness Day”!



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