It is time for a blog about me feeling awesome in Africa...
I finally know how to walk home 3 different ways. I know how to catch a boda boda and distinguish good ones from bad ones. I also have a boda my family knows that I can call for late night outings. He takes me to school everyday and for the first time today and talked to me! I got him a coffee and we chatted for a bit. He lives in Laro just like my family. I actually didn't chat much, but he is nice. It just feels good to have his number and make some connections. Everyone in Laro now knows me. They call me Lamaro if they are older than me. Lamaro is my Ugandan name that my Ugandan mother Daisy gave me. It means "loved one". The market place by my house knows me and when I am in town I often run into fellow Laro"ions" and they always come over and say hi. I honestly just feel very loved and accepted. I am even becoming comfortable with being called a daughter and calling my family mego, wego, omera, or even mother father or brother. I even said I love you to them today. They smiled so much. My mother always tells me how happy I make her, and she is always so appreciative of when I help her cook or clean or iron or whatever else I do around the house. My father talks a lot... but it is good. He has been through a lot, like most people, and he has this unrealistic optimism that I cannot even begin to understand. He thinks America is the greatest country ever and does no wrong. I do not argue because I don't want to crush his spirits (The Acholi Culture Institute (his work) gets funding from USAID). I figure part of it must be coping... and who can argue with that.
Here are the things I like...
My host family
Hot bucket baths in the morning
The whole no electricity thing is making my sleep schedule incredibly healthy and I feel pretty great about it. (I go to bed around 830 or 9 and wake up at 630 or 7)
I really like my classmates
I like what I am learning and how I am learning (not test based)
I like that I am picking up Acholi and can speak with my Laro Forest"ians"
I like tea time... so much tea time.
I like that I have a phone... it makes me feel legit
I like that my bed is like a princess bed with the mosquito net. I am safe from all creepy crawlers at night
I like that I go to bed and it is in the 60s and during the day it gets up to 85
I like that since I have no electricity I don't have a toilet that doesn't work when there is not electricity.
I like that I don't think the pit latrine is as gross as I used to
I like being part of this community.
I like how friendly people are and how genuine most of them are
I like that I can walk alone during the day and do my own thing and know what I am doing
I like how inexpensive everything is here
I love that my mother is taking me to a tailer to make me an African dress
I love that she is going to teach me how to wash clothes here and cook chicken
I love that I am starting to love how natural it all is.
I like that I am not focusing on negatives anymore
I like that I am not looking forward to my plane ride home as much, and instead I am excited about what will happen today or tomorrow
I am falling in love with Africa.
A class in language. However, Acholi is also a tribe here in Africa. They are rich in culture.. I will write more about it later. All you need to know is today was Acholi culture day and we all danced. It was hilarious.
A little thing that was thought about today...
Somebody was very disturbed by how there is no system of garbage disposal here in Gulu/Uganda. Well... let's think about this.
You miraculously get the funding for a waste management facility and all the trucks and workers and whatnot. The trucks take countless hours to get around because of the potholes and flooding of the dirt roads. They also slow down traffic an immense amount. You have to educate the citizens on how to dispose of trash. How do you do this? TV? No, very few people have TVs. Newspaper? A lot of people read it, but what about the rather large population who cannot read...
Which brings me to education. You want better education? We get the funds for that too, miraculously. How do you transport the students (on the shitty potholey roads)? How do you learn when electricity is off 50-60% of the time? How do you get people in school who need to work for money and survival. How do you get everyone vaccinated for school?
Hospitals... Ambulances don't really work on such shitty roads. There is also a lack of medical staff... Partly because of all of the reasons listed above. Why live somewhere like that when you can live somewhere nicer. How can a hospital run when they need to use generators half of the time? How can you deal with the overflow of people suffering from diarrhea because... there isn't a proper waste management system.
One more thing.
Joseph Kony is not a good man... but in order for a man like Kony to gain power, there had to be a powerful negative force at hand. Yes... you Ugandan government (Musevini). The LRA and the war in Northern Uganda isn't as black and white as so many people think. I could argue the Ugandan government committed just as many crimes against humanity as Kony and the LRA. It is important people know this so we can learn from it.