Thursday, August 26, 2010

Top 5 moments of the day:

1) When I realized that my boxes did indeed arrive and that the contents were by and large intact! (only 4+ months of transit later)
2) When I played soccer for the first time in Uganda... in my own cleats (they were in the box I was afraid would never make it)!
3) When I discovered that BOTH my power AND my water were running tonight! Meaning I could use my new microwave to heat leftovers AND wash my feet :) Ah, the small things I am learning to appreciate!
4) When I hung a few things on my walls (again, from my shipment) and realized that my place finally has a tiny semblance of being settled!
5) When I watched my group of grade 9 students debate definitions of multiculturalism and identity. Call me a nerdy teacher if you like, but it is fun to observe kids' minds at work. Especially when they are grappling with big issues!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Some things I am thankful for:

This has been one of the most challenging weeks of my life for many reasons, but it has also given me many things and people to be thankful for:
Amber and Aura for acting as advocates and ceaselessly seeking solutions,
Mark and Tina for giving me rides and letting me use their washing machine,
Rob for making me laugh always,
Lynda for giving big hugs,
Elizabeth and Cathie for calming me down when I lost my keys,
Bryn for giving pep talks,
a teacher whose name I can't remember for thinking I was British (I am prone to accents? She has a British one...),
Jamie and Lindsey for being my neighbors and so much more,
Tony and Gracious for working so many hours to keep my compound safe,
all the kids today for reminding me why I teach,
Casey and Nicki for inviting me to social events,
all 20 people who showed up to my first attempt to gather for making me feel like I might have friends,
Emily and Bre for Skyping and reminding me I do have friends,
Sue for explaining many many IB things to me,
Mom for encouragement,
dozens of people for taking the time to remind me through Facebook that they care,
TCIS students who sent me sweet messages and made me smile,
the people who restored the power long enough to charge my computer (and do my laundry),
Sara for attempting to resolve many issues,
the mosquito that snuck into my net last night but resisted biting me for giving me a few moments of peace,
Kathleen for her constant optimism,
Stella for letting me keep my classroom key,
the guards at the school gate for always greeting me so warmly,
the children selling sugar cane on my walk home for never giving up and inspiring perseverance,
the colored birds everywhere that remind me that nature is pretty sweet,
and of course... God for seeing beyond today.

Tonight, I am going to bed exhausted but grateful. Thanks to everyone who helped my fluctuating attitude swing back towards the positive side.

Monday, August 16, 2010


This is just to say that I hate power outages. Yes, already. I have had power for all of about 6 hours in the last 4 days... combined! I need to do tons of work, but my computer dies every couple hours because I can't charge it (courtesy of the power outages). And I have not gotten strong lanterns yet, alas I am stuck with a few candles that can only cast their meager beams so far. The dark was a good excuse not to do anything and sleep early one night... but four nights in a row?!?

I guess I just need to shake it off and adopt the acronym everyone at school recites with a laugh when things don't go as planned (which seems to be often): TIA... this is Africa!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Adjustments Round 1

I have now been in Uganda for exactly one week. I can’t believe how long/short this week has been! I really had no idea what to expect, but life here has still managed to surprise me immensely!

I am adjusting to so many things: applying bug repellant every few hours, endlessly killing flies/mosquitoes/ants, talking to every single person I meet on the road and asking them how they are in Luganda (it is considered rude not to exchange this question and appropriate responses), turning on the lights at night (when the power is working) to scare any large bugs/lizards, and similarly, not pouring anything in the dark (I have heard horror stories of frogs/bugs in unexamined glasses). I now assume it will take 20 minutes to walk to school and another 5-10 to make it across the sprawling school campus, sleep through the daily song beaconing devout Muslims to 4:30 am prayer, ignore the honks of every vehicle passing by (they honk to signal a free seat), and anticipate obscene traffic going back/forth to Kampala. I am more accustomed to having my compound patrolled by both a day guard and a night guard (complete with a gun), watching birds of every shape and color dart about, sleeping under a mosquito net, boiling water to do my dishes, locating candles every time the power goes out (usually at least once a day), and waiting about 5 times longer than I would anywhere else in the world to do anything (a 4 person line at the bank might take an hour).

These are a few of the adjustments I have been making this week. Not to mention all the new things that come with working in a new school, interacting with a new community, making new friends…

Honestly, I am exhausted. But, I am also really excited for things to come. Each day life feels more natural here. I am excited for the day when things really start to feel like home!

A few snapshots of my new life (there is a full album with many more on my facebook page if you are interested):
My house (the smaller one):

My school: