Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Internet Indeed

We have achieved a great level of civilization! We now have the internet at my Compassion site! We are now ready to conquer the world! More and more messages that are sent from my site to the Compassion regional offices in Mbarara and Kampala are sent via email. The modem, which is an interesting little device about the size of a small cell phone and which inserts directly into a usb port, cost around $200 and it will cost $70 a month. $70 a month sounds pricy, and it is, but it’s really all that’s available here and the Compassion head offices are trying to get as many of their projects (there are currently 155 in Uganda) on board as they can. It operates using a small chip that is typically in a cell phone called a SIM card and thus uses a cell phone signal to transmit information. I only tried it out this morning. It’s not fast, but it does what it’s supposed to do. The only limitation is that with this package you can only transmit 600 MB of information a month. The unlimited internet package was $120 a month.

Why my dad would have made a great Peace Corps Volunteer

I was thinking about my dad for some reason the other day. And I was thinking that he would have made a great Peace Corps volunteer if they would have had it back in the 50’s. My dad turned 80 last week. It seems like I’ve been bragging to my friends for some years now that my father was 80 and that he mowed 30 yards every summer (though he’s cut back recently). I find a lot of correlations to what my father taught me, by the way he lived, and what it takes to be a PCV. Allow me to indulge:

-Frugal. I live on a very modest salary. I have to budget and think about what I spend. My father raised 5 kids on a teacher’s salary and grew up in the depression era. I can’t remember how many times my brother and I would split a large order of fries from McDonlads. “One large Coke and 2 courtesy coups, please.”

-Greeting everyone. I can’t wait to get home where I can blend into the thread of society again. I’m the type of guy who likes to slip into the back of the room and sit unnoticed and observe. Here, I am given the seat up front, I am stared at daily and greeted by everyone… My father seems to know everyone in my home town and greets them often. How he has managed to thus avoid a job as a Wal-Mart greeter is beyond me. Maybe he’s saving that for his 90’s.

-Exercise. My father was a great basketball player in his day. My mode of transportation through these hills is a bicycle… you do the math.

-Helper. I think the reason my father went into education is because he is naturally gifted at helping others. He just has a heart for it. And he does it without expecting anything in return. If that’s not Peace Corps material, I don’t know what is.

-Patience …he’s getting there.

-Reading. I’ve read more books in my one and a half years here than I’ve read in my life. And that’s a good thing. Although I don’t remember seeing him reading too many books, if you count newspapers he’s far ahead of the curve.

12 Days of Christmas. How to save money for Christmas by living like a Uganda.

#4. Don’t buy toilet paper, just use scraps of regular paper or leaves. Seriously. Even people who earn a decent living do this.


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