Monday, November 9, 2009

Girls Empowerment at My School

This past weekend we had girls empowerment activities at my school. The activities included making paper beads, HIV/AIDS, self defense, goal setting and self-esteem. Out of about 200 hundred girls, we were able to have 80-100 actually come and participate in the day's fun. I had four fellow volunteers come and teach the activities with me. We were all able to squeeze into my teeny tiny house for the weekend. It was truly a great time for the girls and they can't wait till we have another one. The boys were super jealous of the girls and now get their very own boys empowerment day next term;)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The monkey and the boys

So this past week I saw another monkey by my house. I was walking back from the school down toward my house and here is this monkey in broad daylight eating the white ants. For those who don't know about white ants, they are a particular breed of ant that flies out of the hill. White ants are considered a delicacy here in Uganda. Anyway, so I am getting closer to this monkey and he is paying no attention to me at all, he is just trying to catch these ants. While I am debating whether or not to dash to my house and get my camera, a few of the primary school boys finally notices this monkey. When they realize this monkey is eating white ants, the boys come running and screaming at the monkey to scare it away. Once the monkey has fled back into the jungle, the boys set about catching and eating these white ants. this sort of scene is something that is quintessential Uganda.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Girls Empowerment

Last week I had the pleasure of going up north to a fellow pcv's site and participating in a day of Girls Empowerment. WE had eighty girls attend and participate in the workshop style activities. The day consisted of four different sessions all led by different female pcvs. The sessions included HIV/AIDS, goal setting, paper bead making, and how to make a re-usable menstrual pad. I taught the re-usable menstrual pads to the girls and each girl made their own. This is second time I have worked at this type of workshop and I really enjoy it. I hope to be performing the re-usable menstrual pad workshop at my site very soon. It is truly amazing to see how much more confident these girls become when they are armed with information they believe. I feel that my biggest contribution during my service here in Uganda will be the work I perform with young girls and women. Encouraging them to seek higher goals other than the culturally expected norms. As well as empowering them to choose their own future and giving them the hope that they can actually achieve their dreams;)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Riots and Safari Ants

So a few weeks ago, Uganda finally made it into the news although not for anything positive. The day the riots started I happened to be in the capital, Kampala, to do my weekly grocery shopping. I had been downtown all day and nothing seemed amiss. Around one I went to grab a bite to eat at the Ethiopian place by the taxi parks. I happened to be the only one in the place and as I was eating my lunch, the lovely Ethiopian woman comes into the room and locks the door. She turns and says to me, " something is going on outside. we are both foreigners, we must be careful." I found this somewhat odd but just thought she was paranoid. I finished my lunch and headed out to meet my friend Amanda. The Ethiopian lady told me to go safely and may god be with me. When I got back onto the street nothing seemed out of the ordinary but as I headed to the taxi park I started to notice people standing around which was unusual for this area and time of day. Next thing I know Amanda is calling me and yelling at me to get out and head for the PC office. So I decided to cut through the old park to get a taxi to the office. As I am walking through the park, I see this mass flood of people pouring down the steps into the park. I am standing there thinking of what I should do when a policeman starts to wail on this guy in the park. Once that little fight passed me I headed for the stairs to get out. Once I exited the park, I saw a police vehicle with many men armed with tear gas guns headed to the park I had just left. I made it to the last taxi leaving for the office and ended up being sequestered with 20 some volunteers for the next five days.

Once I returned to site the following Monday, I started to get back into my groove. I taught extra lessons to make up for my absence in Monday and was looking forward to relaxing Thursday and Friday. However, the Ugandan ecosystem had other plans. I had just woken up to a light rain Friday morning. I began to fix my breakfast when I noticed some large ants crawling on my wall. Then I noticed there were thousands of them crawling through my window. I was under attack by safari ants (aka army ants). They had invaded our school and were coming in a mass movement through my house since it appears my house was in their way. My headmistress sent a student down to help me and we ended up drenching my house in paraffin(kerosene). Apparently these ants abhor the smell and since they are blind they move away from it as fast as they can. Once the attack lessened and the ants moved on to some other village, I began to clean all their dead corpses out of my house. It was a great way to end my week;)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Monkeys and Rain Buckets and Screaming Children

This past week I have had a few adventures. Early this week I decided to go into my backyard which is adjacent to the jungle to cut a jackfruit off a tree. If you don't know what a jackfruit is you should google it. It basically is a large basketball sized green prickly fruit. In order to pick it, you must climb up a tree and cut it and carry it down although it weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 10lbs. As I was walking to the jackfruit tree, a large monkey jumped out of the tree and ran into the adjacent jungle. Thus confirming that I do in fact live in the African bush;)

Another night this week, I was woken by the rain and thunder pounding on my roof at 4am. Now you must understand life is very different when you lack running water. You must rely on rain tanks and bore holes which means I have to rely on some one to fetch my water in two 20L jerrycans. So when we are lucky enough to have a rainstorm in the dry season, we must ac on it. So I dragged myself out of bed at 4 in the morning to put out my three wash basins to catch rain. As I waited for them to fill, I realized how much I have adapted to the culture here. In the end I was able to fill my 10L jerrycan and my 60L bathing bucket. After I put everything back, I crawled into bed to get some sleep before class in the morning. However, when I went to my 8am class I had whopping 2 students because Ugandans do not do anything in the rain. Oh Uganda:)

Last night I stayed with my dear friend, Amanda. Amanda lives about two hours from me at a primary school in the teacher housing. In the night at around 3:30am, we were awoken by a child next door screaming at the top of her lungs "Maama, Maama, (some luganda) Yesu(Jesus in luganda), my friend come help me..." (Clapping, more clapping). As I lay there wondering what in the world is happening next door...Amanda rolls over and says " Lizzie, do you hear that?" my response, "Yea, what is going on?" Amanda responds " My neighbor girl next door has been having nightmares about people living in the corners of her room trying to steal her..." Now I am thinking when in the world will this poor little girl stop screaming, and it didn't stop for an hour. A neighbor went and prayed with them and the screaming continued to wake the entire school. Finally, an hour passed and the screaming stopped but started again at 6am. So it was just another fun filled night in Uganda.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Living at site

I am officially a Peace Corps Volunteer. I have been living at my new home for about a month now. I live in a very small village north of Kampala. My village is located in the African bush. Thankfully electricity which has been my saving grace. I get my water from the local watering hole not too far from my house. I will be living at the secondary school where I am teaching. It looks like I will be teaching physics and math. Everyone in my village has been very warm and welcoming. I think everyone already knows my name. When I am coming and going from my village I greet everyone and always receive a "Bye Madame Liz" from the local children. I have really enjoyed cooking for myself this last month although food can be quite difficult to get. I begin teaching in about a week and will be very busy with lesson plans and schemes. So far I have had no bug incidents except for the monstrous spider that decided to join me for dinner the other night. Soon I will post some pics of my new house. I also listed my address so feel free to send letters and whatnot.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Flying termites and tuna jerky

so i am pretty sure that i will continue to be plagued by bugs my entire stay in africa. some people get sick, i guess i just get bugs. I woke up earlier this week to my floor being covered in flying termites. they are pretty good size bug and i guess loose their wings quickly, so i had wings and termites crawling all over my floor. it was great to wake up to. thank god I duck tape my mosquito net to the floor or else i would have had termites in my bed this time. in other news i had dried fish for the first time this week and the only thing i can think to compare it to would be if some one made tuna jerky. it was quite a nice change of pace. i think i like tuna jerky. I officially find out my site on wednesday and will be sworn in as a volunteer a week from this wednesday!!!!!! only a few more days of training and host fams and not being able to cook for myself!!!!!