Seven weeks of training down! Only two full weeks of training left and only 1 week until I find out the organization that I will be working with! Training has been really helpful but I am eager to get to site. I'm ready to live on my own again, to begin integrating into my future community and to start work in the field. While I am momentarily in the dark as to what kind of work I will be doing, I am at least comforted to know that I will be living in a beautiful part of Uganda. During week four of training, I was able to visit the Lumasaaba-speaking region of Uganda and was struck by the contrast between central Uganda (where I am currently training) and Eastern Uganda (where I am going). While it took only 4.5 hours to get from training to the site I visited in Eastern Uganda, the weather and the climate were completely different. The region I am going to is tropical, and much cooler and wetter than where I am now - but seeing as I am from Washington, I should feel right at home with all the rain.
Though I am anxious to get to site, I am enjoying what time I have left in training. I love spending time with the other PCVs (and I know soon enough I will be seeing a lot less of them) and enjoy the fact that I am able to do many of my hobbies here. Most mornings I go running with a PCV that lives next door to me. Those of you who know me know that I am not a morning person, but as it gets dark here by 7:30, I tend to fall asleep pretty early and can get up to go running at 6:00 a.m. without a hitch. It also helps that the PCV that I run with also doesn't seem to be much of a morning person either - So we both just put in our ipods and run for thirty minutes, generally without saying more than a few words to each other. Works for me.
I'm fortunate in that not only is there a PCV that lives next door to me that is willing to go running with me at ungodly hours of the morning, but there is also a huge hill behind my house (when you get to the top of it you have a terrific view of the town of Wakiso), which I have gotten in the habit of hiking a couple of times a week as well.
Boredom is a real issue here. Seeing as I've spent a significant amount of time in the last couple of weeks under house arrest due to the riots in Kampala (30 min. from where I live) and that I struggle paying attention during training, much of my energy lately has gone to finding ways to kill time. Sometimes I write creative stories (my most recent work was about the mouse I saw in my room this week) or letters home. Or I help my friend Krissi with the important task of keeping and maintaining the PCV quotation list.
A related quotation:
Ashley: Will, do you ever find yourself doing things simply for the sake of killing time?
Will: Huh? Oh ya, well I stare out my window everyday for an hour and a half, and there's nothing to look at.
Case and point.
While there are many things I struggle with (learning a difficult African language, my food options here, the sexism in this culture), there are many things that perk me up as well...things that I look forward to. My morning run, for one. I also enjoy seeing my favorite farmer on the way to school, reading my horoscope and the other volunteers horoscopes during tea time everyday, tea time itself, phone calls from friends and family, and getting into bed at night, completely exhausted and falling asleep to the soothing music radiated from my iPod (maybe the best part of the day).
As you might have gathered, nothing especially important is happening at the moment (Life here seems to fluctuate between being really boring and extremely exciting) The biggest news right now is the furry friend in my room...
How did I discover it? What furry friend, you might ask? Well...
I was sitting in my room on Monday, getting ready for school, when I heard something clawing up my drapes. My stomach tightened at the realization that this could not just be a large insect - they tend not to have claws, as far as I know. In a rare moment, I hoped to only find a giant cockroach in my room - and not what I knew was laying right behind my currents - a rodent. But, wishful thinking did nothing and the mouse exposed itself, running out from behind my curtains and under a chair in the corner of the room. Not only was I helpless to do anything because there was no way I was going to touch the mouse or try to kill it, but I had to leave for training. All through training, I was distraught by the thought of the mouse in my room and immediately after training went and bought rodent glue to try to trap the mouse if it was, in fact, still inside my room. Then I went home and scrubbed my floor with bleach and reorganized my entire room so my clothes would not be available to the mouse to burrow and reproduce in. One of my PC friends said I am OCD, there may be some truth to that, but one thing I do know is that I don't do rodents. I haven't caught him yet....but it's war.
Reading about the mouse in my room may or may not have been a total waste of your time....but the only other news with me is that I have begun working on my qualifying project for Peace Corps. All of the trainees must do a qualify project at the end of training, which is basically a proposal for a project that you would be interested in doing at your future site. So basically, the first part of my project is to write a book of songs for youth that are educational (mostly health oriented messages) over the course of my PC service and make my book available to other volunteers to use in their communities. The second part of what I want to do is help children to perform such music and thus enable them to be peer educators. I am collaborating in the presentation of my project with another PCV who is working on something similar. While we have separate project ideas, we are presenting together because we have teamed up to build musical instruments out of found and/or cheap, locally available materials. We both want to make make music with youth, so our projects share a common thread of trying to make instruments accessible to them. So basically, building the instruments in the fun part of the project. This week, I built and decorated a maraca, we'll see what else I cook up by next Friday....