Monday, February 20, 2012

A (work)day in the life...


(Posts like these are mostly for me cause I'm afraid I'm gonna forget what all of this was like within a couple of months... Sorry if it's boring to you!)

I haven’t felt like writing in about two months. I can’t believe I left home 51 days ago. Feels like forever and feels like no time at all. What’s changed since I’ve been gone? What hasn’t changed?

I am certain that nothing’s changed in Uganda in the last 100 years. I’m reading The Last King of Scotland while I’m here. It’s a trip to read a depiction of a westerner’s view of Uganda from 1975 and find myself thinking “that’s EXACTLY what it looks like now!!!” The country hasn’t changed in the last 25 years! But then, I look around and realize that the people I live around are still inhabiting mud huts and I realize… it’s been a LONG time since they’ve seen any change in these parts. All of that being said – I appreciate its simplicity.

Little things pop into my mind during my daily activities and I realize that I NEED to write them down, but they always plop into my head at the worst possible moment! While I have far fewer responsibilities here than I did at home, I am feeling like I have SO much less time. So strange. It’s probably because 1) life revolves around when I have electricity, and 2) life revolves around when it’s raining, or when it’s rained. Both will alter the course of my day. For example, I was supposed to go to Jinja today (I’ve run out of water…) but it rained, POURED this afternoon. When you live in a village of dirt and it POURS, you end up in a village of MUD. Boda’s can’t drive in mud (as I learned on Saturday night when I took one home from town, got stuck, had to jump off the boda in about a FOOT of SUPER SLIMY MUD - didn’t fall!!!-  and help push the thing out. All in the dark, in a skirt, in flip-flops!!! J) Bodas are cheap – it’ll cost me $2.40 to go to town on a boda, whereas taking an actual cab will cost me almost $9!!! I can’t justify spending 20 bucks to go to town and back. So I didn’t. I walked to Bujagali in some AMAZING “wellies” (giant, plastic boots… serious fashion statement) as to avoid an incredibly sticky mud situation on the bottom half of my body.

So, to illustrate “no responsibility” but “super busy," here is what the last 36 hours of my life looked like.


8:00 AM: Wake up, eat breakfast with all of the kids, in my room. Teach them about hot chocolate. Make them hot chocolate. Enjoy (FUN!!! They like the milk better than the chocolate, weirdoes.)

9:30 AM: Clean room and wash clothes for two hours (only get 1/3 of the clothes washed… oh, well…)

11:45 AM: Cold, dark shower.

12:30 PM: Take a cab to meet Lydia, the family’s second oldest daughter who is away at boarding school between Jinja and Kampala. Stop at the taxi driver’s home for him to “change clothes” (for 30 minutes). Sit, uncomfortably in the car as he piles family members (FIVE of them!) into the car with the four of us who were already there (yes, this is a TAXI, i.e., 1985 Toyota Tercel, no joke - not a bus). Drive around Jinja four 45 minutes while he drops them in their respective destinations. Fume in the back seat with a 7 year old on my lap.

3:00 PM: Get to the school for “visiting day.” Feel awkward as thousands of Ugandan families look at me and wonder what the hell I’m doing there. Meet Lydia who is absolutely FANTASTIC. See the school (sorta), meet some of Lydia’s friends. Fun fun fun.
That storm in the background DID get us about 5 minutes later...  Oh, and that "chicken on a stick" was bought from some dude selling them on the street, from the car window. I didn't even have to open the door. It was SO GOOD!

4:30 PM: Drive home. Stop at the gas station in the middle of nowhere because they owe the cab driver 20 USD. (So odd…)

4:45 PM: Upon arrival at home, see a football match going on at the school. Go watch it with Maureen. Again, the entire village is there – enjoy being the spectacle as the Ugandans wonder why in the world the mzungu is there. (No joke, 1,000 Africans, and me!!! I swear, I GLOW!!!)

5:30 PM: Go home. Walk in my room, see two villagers walk by with a teeny baby. RUN OUT. Hold baby. Fall in love. Find out that her father is dead and her mother is mad (crazy). Feel the weight of the world as I realize that I cannot save this sweet girl. Give her all the love I have in me for two hours as she sleeps on my chest. When I’m forced to give her back, I walk with the heavy heart back to my room and contemplate how to get her to the US. Sadness.
Don't even get me started... 


8:15 PM: Eat dinner in my room with Daniel, listening to music. The 7 year old and I talk and laugh about nothing. Love him.

9:30 PM: Close my door to the outside world, allow myself to try to process the day. (Feel a little sad, honestly.) Jump online... blah blah blah...

10:30 PM: Do some yoga and sit-ups on the cement floor.

11:30 PM: Sleep.

6:30 AM: Wake up. Pig outside. Cold, dark shower.  Check email.

7:30 AM: Breakfast, COFFEE, ask again about my orphan baby… try not to cry. 

8:15 AM: Walk to school. PE with the mass of 7 year olds (120 of them!) Teach them how to relay race. LAUGH A LOT!

10:30 AM: Break time! Porridge, MMMMM…
Yes, porridge in the cup. I love it. Africans are shocked. So am I.

 11:15 AM: Teach the parts of the car in English to 150 11 year olds. Show off my AWFUL art skills.

12:50 PM: Lunch time, eat with the teachers (sweet potatoes and beans). Usually I walk home for lunch, today was an exception. Teach the teachers the art of the “mocha” – laugh inside at the fact that every single African I’ve introduced the mocha to HATES it, but pretends they like it.

2:00 PM: Finish art project with Majid – the flag of the East African Community (I’m not sure WHY they think I’m an artist! I AM NOT!!!) Laugh inside again (hysterically) when he tells me that there is no glue, but that we can use the porridge!!! (Yes, the porridge I just poured into my body…)
"Porridging" the white stripes to the flag. It worked!

No scissors either - pocket-knife to the rescue!

3:00 PM: Help with installing the new TV/DVD player that one of the Brits donated. Pretty fancy!

3:30 PM: Realize I might be settling into this place as I try to sneak out of school early – forgetting that I’m GLOWING WHITE. Get caught. Stay till it’s time to leave. Ha! Dangit!

4:30 PM: Walk to Bujagali with 7 children attached to my arm. Tell those that ask for money that they are “RUDE!” Feel better even though they don’t understand what I’m saying. Enjoy having them hold onto me, no matter how dirty their hands are or what their motive is. 

5:00 PM: Arrive at Bujagali. 

PS - Upon arrival at home tonight I was greeted by a few of the fam in the "kitchen." When I asked how their day was, John (12 years old) responded "Not good." When I asked why he said "It was Danny's birthday today!!!" Yep, today was Dan's 7th birthday and EVERYONE (including the KID and his parents) forgot!!! Dan wasn't bummed, he sat there giggling. I told him I would do a proper birthday song and dance for him tomorrow (when we have some light). I freakin' LOVE Uganda!!!

1 comment:

  1. NOT BORING! Don't stop posting these. I love them!