Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Touch Football, A Strike

I think I ate more this Thanksgiving than in all the years past! Despite not having the luxury of a conventional oven, consistent power, or a nearby grocery store, we were still able to successfully have a superb Thanksgiving dinner this year including Turkey Bowl II, a rowdy game of touch football. Instead of the usual turkey, we instead had fried chicken (of sorts), stuffing, mashed potatoes, potato salad, beef stew, along with no-bake cookies and apple pie for dessert. The chicken prepareation was especially interesting as Lonnie put a broom handle over the head of the chicken and then yanked up on it’s feet to, in effect, de-head the thing. I wanted him to put it down in order to see a chicken run around without it’s head, but it was to no avail. The chicken just flapped while he held it instead. The blood did squirt onto Marcus’ face though. All in all it was a great time of feasting and being thankful with a number of friends, some new, some old.

On Strike

I went on a school visit this past week. We visited a Catholic secondary school way out in the bush. This particular school has a female head teacher. 3 years ago when she first arrived, the students protested to having a female as their head teacher. They organized a strike for when she arrived. She arrived, however, during the Easter break, so the students organized their strike 3 weeks after her arrival. Later I asked what it meant to have a strike here and Japheth informed me that it wasn’t pretty. The students, 600-700 of them form a wall in front of the school and won’t let the teachers enter. If this particular female teacher would try to enter by way of a car, the students would light the car on fire, break out the windows and remove the teacher, stone and kill her!

What about the police? I asked. In the deep bush, there may be only about 5 police men stationed at a post and they would be essentially powerless to stop a group of 700. They cannot use lethal force and they don’t have the luxury of tear gas or non lethal crowd control.

Eventually, somehow, this female teacher was able to enter the school peacefully and she’s been there for the past 3 years. She now has a night watchman guard her house and the staff quarters. Women’s rights have come a long way in Uganda, but you can see that there are still problems. There are currently 2 women head teachers at the 6 secondary schools around my village.

12 Days of Christmas. How to save money for Christmas while living like a Ugandan.

#5. Own only 3-4 outfits. When I bought my first house I was surprised by the tiny closets. A hanger wouldn’t even fit in there without tuning sideways. I was told that, back in the day, there were only pegs on a board in the back for the clothes. That’s how it is here. Kids have only a few clothes. A school uniform, an outfit for church and travel and play clothes. Adults may even have fewer depending on their income level.


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