November 24th, 2013
The training days here on this organic farm are getting shorter and the sessions are getting longer. We are starting our descent from the honeymoon phase into the reality phase. After a lengthy bidding process, I discovered that I would be placed into both a PTC and a Primary School near Luwero, which is a town north of Kampala. It is an exciting time, because now the lessons that we are learning can actually be applied to what we signed up for. All 45 of us have divided into our respective language groups of Luganda, Lugbara, Runyoro/Rutooro, and Runyankore/Rukiga. We have all been assigned different areas of the country and it’s finally starting to hit us that we are going our separate ways in not too long a time.
Today we split into 2-4 person groups and were each assigned a PCT (Peace Corps Trainer) or employee. We then were dropped in front of the main post office in Kampala and had a small tour throughout the city where we learned about where to buy cell phones (Orange or MTN), a Powermatic adaptor, and a USB modem. We then made our way through the Old Taxi Park and the New Taxi Park. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many matatus and cars squeezed into a muddy area. Matatus are the infamous Ugandan taxis that can seat around 15 people legally and about 30 people, a few chickens, and several babies normally. They’re the main way Ugandans can get to any point in the country as long as the destination lies somewhere along the one of Uganda’s roads that are maintained by the UNRA (Uganda National Road Authority). At points my group would literally have to squeeze through between two matatus that were separated by a foot and a half in order to get to the matatu that would take us home.
We’ve been eased into the country, and times are definitely going to get harder and more challenging, but it’s beautiful. We have been working on creating a 8 page children’s book story on large grain sacks so that bugs won’t eat through them when we put them in storage in the classrooms. It’s tedious work, but it’s worth it knowing that the students will have someone to read to them, which is a very innovative concept for them. The next week will involve us learning about lesson planning for our respective roles in our respective schools as well as language training. It’s going to be a stressful series of weeks, but I am looking forward to it and life is good.
The other day I was riding in a bus coming back from Lugogo, which is a small shopping center in Kampala and felt the fresh African air blowing across my face as the bus zoomed past boda bodas, matatus, and Ugandans walking on the narrow road back to the organic farm. I looked out across the villages, trading centers, and fields of green jungle and thought that despite the hardships ahead that I was where I needed to be in life and that was good.