29 March 2008

Lots of Random Little Notes

Shout Out: Amy Nicholas & Jack are getting married in August!0


  • Brandi (about 3 weeks ago)
  • Grandpa Dick (about 3 weeks ago)

On the subject of letters, it turns out that Peace Corps doesn't want anything sent to their P.O. Box in Kampala unless you're in training, so everything should be sent to my personal P.O. Box.


I got one. He is named Katogo2. He's a good little kitty when he's not being bad. Here are some pics:


0 There is a possibility of me coming back, nothing for sure yet though (hint hint, Mom, offer still stands?).

1 I just wanted to start mentioning when I've sent out a letter, just to double check that people are getting them. I have a suspicion that some never arrived.

2 This the name of a mixed bean & cassava dish I like, it also means little papyrus or swamp. It also sounds a bit like the spanish "gato" and like "cat go."

22 March 2008


(internet is being a bit crappy, sorry if the formatting's messed up

So, I'm not usually much of one for anniversaries and dates and
things, but one year seems like a bit of a milestone I can't ignore.
And, to be perfectly honest can't help celebrating a little. Instead
of a long eloquent expose on my current state of consciousness (I
kinda did that in the last entry) I decided that I'd revisit my
exact1 first impressions of Uganda
recorded in my journal:

7th March 2007

So far it's been pretty awesome here in Uganda. We've gone through
a lot of seminars (i.e. been talked at), but this country is beautiful
and the
Ugandans I've met so far are extremely nice. They tend to be
somewhat shy and polite, but this may be because much of them are
workers at this "retreat," Banana Village.

When we were driving here around midnight right after stepping off
the plane I remember feeling so elated, with such a sense of wonder
coursing through me. My nose was twitchinghref="#2">2 and my eyes roamed from my
at the very front of the bus. [...] I really marveled at the
beauty of the full moon, hanging in the sky with whisps of cloud to
keep it company.
[...] My eyes roamed in wonder, but this was
interrupted for a time by the thought that this elation would not
last.3 That at some point I would undoubtedly be frustrated abnd depressed in this country. It kinda brought me down a bit and then I realized I was being dumb and should strive to enjoy the feeling while it lasted.

On the first night I couldn't sleep. There were so many new
noises: crickets, frogs, owls(?), monkeys(?). Their short calls or
incessant droning rhythm came into my dormitory in stereo and tickled
my excited ears under my mosquito net. With the comforter bunched up at the baseboard 4and my lumpy pillow at the head forced me ito curl up on my bowl-shaped cot. I tapped my feet and vibrated a little, at times trying futilely to fall asleep, at others just zenning out on the night sounds or the colors5 of the darkness around me.

At about 5 o'clock, two hours before breakfast, I decided to give up trying to sleep and walk around the Banana Village compound to take in as much as I could in the darkness. I slipped on some pants and my faux-Teva sandals6 and slipped out the door. I moved slowly without a light, strolling and stopping for noises in the bush and once to look at the moon. Not more than a couple minutes into my stroll I gelt a prick on my foot--and then another. I was confused at first and suddenly the prospect of chiggers in the grass hit me as the pains came more frequently. I ran down to the porch of my dormitory, flopping along and hoping not to wake anybody up. I sat down quickly throwing off my sandals and hurriedly brushing off the little bastards. I crushed a few of the stragglers and went to take one of the colder showers of my life before laying back down to wait for the others to wake up. Back in bed, I chuckled to myself about my first little adventure with the local wildlife.

So, that was my first night in Uganda. Loves and misses you all. Weeraba.


1 Well, actually, I corrected grammar a bit and
changed a couple words, but you can tell if you look at the
formatting. And, added the ever-popular footnotes.

2 It's interesting how much your state of mind
can influence the way that you remember things, especially your
sense-memory of it. I said "my nose twitching," which is a bit inane,
but I was just trying to stress that what I remembered most from my
first impressions were specific senses rather than huge thoughts, like
  1. how the air of Uganda felt -- like Arkansas, warm and close
  2. how clear and bright the moon and stars were -- bright blue while below in Uganda most was dark or lit by dim orange light
  3. how Uganda smelled -- like something burning, sometimes plastic, sometimes brush, it brought me back to my time in Brazil when we saw people burning things on the side of the road (garbage cans, let alone garbage collection are about as rare here as ice)

3 Echo Metallica -- "Sad but True"

4 I almost always go to sleep without a blanket at first -- it's just too damn hot. But around 4am or so it gets cold enough (Dad & Jason would probably say, "It finally gets to a tolerable level of 'hot'.") that covering up is necessary now that I've adapted. I'm officially a cold-weather-wuss and put on long sleeves in 70 degree weather. I guess it makes sense considering that in 90+ heat I'm used to wearing pants because that's the culture.

5 No need to worry, I'm not writing about how I went crazy the first night in Uganda. I'm just talking about the colors and patterns you see when you close your eyes. If I try hard I can usually see neon green, red, and purple, but only one at a time. I believe this is called an entoptic phenomenon, which I think are really neat. Another one that you can look up is called blue field entoptic phenomenon -- if you look at the sky in a certain way you can see these bright little motes whizzing around, which are appparently the white blood cells whizzing around in the veins of your retina. Pretty sweet, huh! I'm pretty sure these are the "stars" you see when you stand up to quick or your brother-in-law gives you a good one-two to the dome. I've seen some other things like this, but barring research or corroboration I plead the 5th in order to not be labeled loony (alliteration, lules!).

6 These are my staple-shoes. They are often dirty, a little ragged, a little too big, and not exactly what you'd call "prfessional." Beyond that they are beautiful, wonderous, and superb in this damn hot country. I put on a polo shirt, tuck in my shirt, and wear a belt, but damnit the shoes are mine! Adaptation is never absolute, sometimes you gotta make a stand for comfort and sanity.