30 June 2007


Hey all, just a quick note that I've decided to start sharing a post office box with another volunteer so that I can get letters a little quicker. Usually I have to take a 2-3 hour taxi into Kampala to get mail (well, I usually go for another reason and get mail then), but it's not unusual for me to not go to Kampala for 3 weeks at a time (it's so expensive), so if you have a letter you can send it to:

H. Ryan Jones, PCV
c.o. Allison Muehe
P.O. Box 201

Note that if it's an important package it should probably be sent to the normal Peace Corps Address (copied here for your convenience) :

H. Ryan Jones, PCV
U.S. Peace Corps
P.O. Box 29348
Kampala, Uganda

27 June 2007

Pictures: Bugs, Brakes, and Ball (Football, a.k.a. soccer)

WARNING: There are large pictures of insects below - the squimish take note.


* Here’s a cool red moth I found.

* So this one’s a bit gross, but it instills an intense feeling of pride in me like a hunting trophy. Last night there was no power, so it was by the dim orange glow of a single candle that I noticed a significant dark spot on the wall near one of the more familiar holes. Upon closer inspection I noticed that it was one of the larger cockroaches I’ve seen here. So, I diligently went to the other room to select my weapon of choice – a broom (which is really more like a bundle of straw, almost no brooms have the long handle, so when you sweep you actually have to bend almost all the way to the ground – as Lizzy let me know in India they also have short brooms, but they squat down to sweep).
Returning to my quarry, I leapt into the air and hurtled with deadly accuracy a blow to destroy any foe. In the chaotic aftermath I saw the shadow whiz into the darkness by the door. Thinking I must have dealt a mortal wound, but not satisfied to have the creature still lurking, I picked up my candle and carefully searched in cracks and within the towel hanging from the door. It’s amazing how difficult it is to shed light on something with a candle. The brightness of the candle blinds you in the dim light it sheds. Anyway, I couldn’t find the bastard.
But, that didn’t stop him from finding me with a daring fly-in-attack to my shoulder. A “Gad!” and a lightning brush reflex sent him spiraling over near my bed. Now it was serious. Time to pull out the big guns. I got out my lantern (can’t hit what you can’t see), and the ultimate weapon - a flip flop of raging doom. Thusly armed to the teeth, I set out with a red hunting diode (the small light on my watch – my flashlight has gone missing). Bathed in a blood red glow, my quarry cowered behind my bedframe, and scurried away after another blow – yes, direct hit number two and it kept going. For some reason the pictures I took don’t seem to do it justice. Maybe it’s because of the sound it made when walking, like a crab, loud clicking and scratching.
Jumping out of the way of the charging insect, I then chased it out from under my bookcase and dealt another blow flipping over and immobilizing the then powerless invertebrate. Finally after taking some trophy shots, I dealt a final smack and called it a night, battle-weary.


These are for Biff Dad so he can send me stuff (others take note : ). Here's two pictures of my brake pads:

* I think I was wrong that they're Shimano, but I’m pretty sure it’s a common type (as that’s what the ones on my bike in Seattle look like). Here’s what should be on the post of the brake pad: a bullet shaped top nut, a washer, and then 4 thick washers (two with bowl depressions and two that fit into these).

*My electric plug to help you find the correct one for a battery charger.
* P.S. A headlamp would be really nice too ; ).

BALL (football)

These are three good action shots from a sports day at Kayonza (hope you like them Larry Dad and Uncle Ken). It turned out that I was signed up to play as well. Didn't do that well, but had fun. As a side note, there was a deaf teacher from the visiting school that spent most of the day teaching me sign language, which was awesome! Sign language is so much easier to learn than spoken - it's so visual and "words" make sense.

22 June 2007

A Scattered Update

Yo Yo, Jones is back on the air!

A short Luganda lesson (generally pronounced like Spanish)

Zondo – slang for crazy
Mulalu – Actual term for crazy (not to be used lightly)
Kitufu (chih-too-foo) – Truly? / Truly (question or statement)
Osaga! – You’re joking
Omubbi! – Thief!

I found out that it costs about 13 cents to send a text message back to America and sent a few.
Here’s a list of people that I sent one, but I’m not sure if you got it:

* Arya

* James

* Amy G.

* Larry – Dad (I sent one on Father’s day, but I know you didn’t get it because it was the 7009 number, which no longer exists : )

* Biff – Dad (I sent one on Father’s day, but I wasn’t sure if you got it)

I could only send a few because I don’t have very many phone numbers, and if I heard back from you I didn’t put you up there.

So, what’s new?

- I’m currently attempting to take over teaching 4 physics classes at the local secondary school, because their teacher has not showed up this term and it’s unlikely that he will show up. My first real day as teacher was yesterday, and even though I prepared some pre-tests it went a bit rocky. I tried to write up the pre-test on the chalk board (which is a challenge with these high-quality boards) and only got halfway done after going through 3 pieces of chalk and then switched to a different method which left most of the students idle, and they still didn’t finish just copying the thing. I think I was a little over-ambitious. So, I toned it down a bit for the next few classes putting up 3 fast questions and then talking about the answers at the end. It wasn’t a complete waste though because I did learn a lot about what they already know, which was my original intention.

- I got a sweet, large bookshelf, but I don’t have many books to put on it (about 4), because I had to dump weight when I was packing. If you’re bored and want to send me a book, here’s a quick list of ones I would like:

--Siddhartha (Herman Hesse): I’ve been talking a lot with my neighbor Yeko, who is about the nicest guy you could meet, about religion. He’s a Born Again Christian and I’m a …. I guess “agnostic.” Anyway, we promised to trade “scriptures” and so the best book I could think to give him would be this one.

--The Illustrated World’s Religions: Although I’ve already started reading this one, it seemed really neat, and since Ugandan’s are very into religion I think it’d be cool to share.

--Guns, Germs, and Steal (Jared Diamond): Ugandans are very focused on development and also on “how things got to be this way” kind of questions and this book would be a perfect reference.

--The Protestant Ethic (Max Weber): A classic of political economy to counterpoint an interesting article I read called “The Problem of Africa” (Donahue) that attempts to do the same thing in African terms (you might want to check that one out Jay – I’d like to see what you think).

--Ender’s Game: I’m sure I would enjoy reading this one again, but I’d really like to share it with some Ugandans too – I think it would have universal appeal.

--A book of logic puzzles – because sometimes I’m bored and need some brain teasing to while away the time.

Well that’s about all I have time for (gotta love how half of this post is requests for stuff : ), I should figure out a method for making more though-provoking posts.

Loves ya’ll,


03 June 2007

A few Pictures


* This one's for Arya - and everybody else out there that like Apocalypse. This is the most post-apocalyptic motorcycle I've ever seen in reality, enjoy.

* This is my room - The main sitting room that I'm currently sleeping in because it is the only one that has an electric light (I know! ELECTRICITY!). Supposedly an electrician will come to put in a security light out in the back and fix the light in the bedroom. The bed is mine, but the rest of the furniture is on loan from my counterpart, John

* This is my ride - I bartered for it in Kampala, had it strapped to the back of a mini-bus to get it home and am currently fiddling wit the back gears and the chain length. Next big project is mudguards.

* This is my faucet - I get water from the borehole, which is a big metal pump that's not too far away. Shoulders are going to be awesome when I come back from carrying these jerry cans across the soccer field. BTW: That bucket looks all dirty because I'm still washing my walls (haven't got to the one behind these yet), and a lot of the water-based paint comes off when I do it. Another BTW: Anybody have some creative ideas for what I can put on my walls, I'm thinking of painting in installments and doing cool things like quotes and stuff and maybe some drawings (and definitely pictures that I get sent from home!).