Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hello hello! I hope you are well! As I’m writing this, it is Easter Sunday, midday, and I am hearing all of the village churches and their preaching, singing and drumming. I hope all of you reading this have enjoyed your Easter holiday, whether or not you choose to celebrate Easter as Christians do. I also hear that spring is slow in coming, that days still can chill one to the bone. I can’t overstate how strange it is for me to miss my first winter, as the equator has a way of keeping us nice and warm. Despite the seasons, or perhaps because of them, I have found myself daydreaming quite often lately of life back home. Thinking to myself that I still have more than 18 months remaining here can be hard to understand. It has already felt like a really long time away from home, but I still have two thirds of my time here remaining. I’m really beginning to adjust to life here in Uganda, and from that I can get a lot done, but I also realize that the adjustment back to life in America will be a difficult process. It seems easy for me to work here in part because I am an American and people here will listen to me just because of that. Also, Ugandan village standards of getting a lot done is a bit different from American standards. Simply having a computer and a little money to travel also enables me to be extremely productive in some regards. All of these things are different in America, so to continue to be highly productive and valuable, I’ll need to go through another adjustment period. This has got me thinking a lot about what to plan for upon my return, whether that be graduate school or some form of employment.
Alright, so for an update on work related stuff, here goes. I’ve been teaching the permaculture course at Kyera Farm, and that’s going well enough. I’m not entirely comfortable with the material I’m teaching, so it would have been nice to go through a permaculture teacher training course to help prepare. But I didn’t, so I’ll have to do the best I can as is. The HIV Post Test Club has been doing well. We just finished writing our club’s constitution, our garden is growing fast, and we’ve been practicing our songs and dances. We are going to be training by a highly renowned drummer soon, so we’re all excited about that, including yours truly! I’m also busy putting together the grant proposal for the brick making machine that will be an income generating activity for my organization. We’re all very excited about this project, and eager to complete the proposal. This requires gathering lots of information from local villages on water usage, so very soon I’ll be moving around to more remote areas for this purpose. I do really enjoy these adventures, as I get to see people and places that very few white people ever see, and the people are always glad to receive me. I’ve taken a break from teaching Life Skills classes, since the children are on break for the next few weeks. Overall, work has been very enjoyable lately.
Some of my extra time lately has been spent planting more and more things on my compound, like Aloe Vera, moringa trees, mulberry trees, strawberries, and lots more. I’ve been playing the guitar a lot, reading some, watching lots of movies on my laptop in the evenings, and trying to improve in the local language, Runyankore. On a very sad note, my dearest dog Oliver has died from an unknown cause. Some think he was beaten or poisoned in town, the vet thought it might have been a tick-borne disease, and another volunteer thinks it may have been a disease called Parvo. Whatever the cause, he is now in doggie heaven and I miss him very much. He was only five months old, and really becoming an overly friendly, playful, well-behaved, and lovable dog. In other news, this week I’m having my 30th birthday pass, and I’ll celebrate it with my friend Britt, who shares the same birthday, and some other volunteers in Mbarara next weekend. There is also World Malaria Day that I will attend nearby in Kashongi with some fellow volunteers. So, some travel is ahead, and that is always good for the mind and soul of PCVs. I hope you all stay well, and I will be in touch. Take care. -Jesse

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