Tuesday, January 13, 2009

God Bless the Cow, the Joys of Squatting

On the way home yesterday I had to walk alone for the first time and I got really lost. My home is maybe 1-2 miles away (or more? it's hard to judge distance here) and about a 30 minute walk. I made it all the way to the village where I live (which is a village on lots of dirt roads that wind up and down this hill called Upper Nabuuti), and to the path/road I live on, and then couldn't recognize my home because everything is so different from the US and it all looks the same to me. So I went up and down the road, asked directions, then tried another road and went up and down it, then I began to cry because it was so scary--it's not really dangerous here, it's just scary not to know where you are and we can receive calls on our cellphones right now but don't have minutes to make calls (I should by friday, though), so I didn't know what to do. I finally went back to the original road I had tried first, and I walked down it again, very slowly, and then I saw our cow--Mama Joyce has a cow, and she came close to the road so I recognized the cow and then home. God bless that cow!! It was a trying experience, but I found out today that almost every student who had to walk home got really lost last night, so I wasn't the only one. One other girl was by herself too, and it was scary for her as well. Mama Joyce was a bit worried. She walked me to school again this morning so I wouldn't be lost. I don't think I will ever be lost again after last night, though, because now I pretty much know the entire village surrounding our house.

All of that being said, I have been tired and maybe a bit depressed today. I think it is taking a lot of energy to adjust to so many changes and that is probably why I am feeling a bit down. The first several weeks will probably be an emotional roller coaster for me. But I am still happy to be here and enjoying most of the people. Mama Joyce is incredible and I am having the opportunity to develop a very special relationship with her. We are learning a lot from each other. Pray for me also with school work--I have way more than expected. After my first couple of days it is shocking to know all of my assignments--and because I don't live on campus, I will have less time to do them. Really, I just need to relax and take in the experience. Making all As isn't really the point of being here. So I am going to do my best on everything I can, but I don't want my four months here to be nothing but studying, because there is so much more than college credit to this experience. The classes I am now taking (after some schedule shifts, which is common here) are Missions, Faith and Action, Reading the New Testament in Uganda, African Traditional Religions/Islam/Christianity in Uganda, and African Literature. So far my lit class and religion class have not met, but will be meeting tomorrow. Most classes here only meet twice a week, once for two hours and once for one hour, and the meetings are at different times. Memorizing my schedule is going to take work!!

On a humorous side, I got asked to marry someone for the first time today. A guy asked me and another white girl after chapel to "come back to Uganda, stay, and be married"--it was kind of funny. Just like Americans have all kinds of preconceptions about Africans, they also have preconceptions about us, mainly that we are extremely wealthy (which we might be by their standards, but their class system is different than ours)--many of the men will try to marry american white women so they can have money and move to the US. And they aren't afraid to propose. So it's kind of funny. I guess I need to make up an imaginary husband! :) I'm certainly not here to find one.

I am getting used to the toilets now also. I actually prefer the hole in the ground to the toilet here, because if there is a toilet here, there is no toilet seat, so you have to half-squat over the really dirty toilet...or you can just use the hole in the ground, and it takes a lot less effort to squat all the way down. And I am getting to be a fairly good aim and it doesn't bother my knees as much as I though it would. I might come back with extremely huge squatting muscles...because every time I have to pee, I have to walk forever to find a toilet (on campus, anyway) and then I have to do squats. haha.

Last night at home the power was out and I was in the dark from around 7:30pm on. Mama Joyce, Ida, and I had dinner in the dark--the only light we had was candles and a couple of flashlights. They think the crank light I brought is very neat because there are no batteries with it. It's probably something I'll leave with them at the end of the semester.

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