Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Portion Control

Today yet another visitor to my compound asked if my cat, Scout, was pregnant. Now I know for certain that she cannot be (as I literally watched a vet disconnect her lady parts on my front patio last year). Perhaps it is a sign, then, that Kitty Weight Watchers time should begin. Sorry, cat, you're being rationed.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In the words of Sarah, "We live in different worlds!"

Sunday I got a knock at about eight pm. It was my night guard, Jaqueen. He shared with me that Harriet and her daughter were trapped in their house (on my property). Thus began the four-hour attempt to free the two from their virtual prison. Their only door had closed rapidly with curtains jammed in the springs and somehow the release mechanism malfunctioned. The result? Two humans trapped in a cement block with metal barred windows and doors and no way out. Talk about things that I never expected having to deal with!?! Several sets of benevolent friends and a gamut of broken tools later, my friend's dad succeeded in sawing through metal to release the cheaply constructed (yet somehow highly indestructible) door.

Monday, I had school as usual and then my first soccer practice of the season. One of the girls on the team is coincidently the owner of one of the puppies I raised last spring. She showed me a picture that proved that the puppy did in fact grow into a normal-looking and apparently quite sweet dog (quite exciting stuff). Then I went home to watch the sky and the Ugandan internet news sites for signs of the moon (and the resulting declaration of Eid). The first task was aided by the complete lack of power (courtesy of regular load-shedding), the second impeded by it. In the end, I discovered through text messages from friends in town that I would get a holiday on Tuesday and that the Muslim population in Uganda would join the rest of the world in celebrating the end of their fasting.

Today, during my holiday, I walked my dog through the nearby fields with Lindsay. As usual, half-naked children greeted us with smiles and bubbling enthusiasm. Then I did a bit of grocery shopping and considered buying a giant oversized hat from a boutique to wear with my stilettos and cocktail dress for the weekend's upcoming charity goat races (picture Kentucky Derby style attire while goats are prodded around a ring by a mattress). Finally, I spent the evening grading papers on my porch. That is, until I discovered a swarm of termites flying from a mound that had gone unnoticed in my yard. Thousands of bugs were flying free as my dog and cat swatted and consumed. Harriet explained that these ones were too small to be pleasingly edible. A bit bigger, she explained, a bit bigger.

Tonight, a new night guard begins patrolling my house. The security company my school employs sent him. His name is Godfry and he has a kind smile. However, I am really going to miss having Jaqueen around for his nightly stories, his fatherlike presence for Harriet's daughter, and his amazing ability to catch my cat for her nighttime house arrest. Jaqueen has a new, better job; I am happy for him. I am going to have to get better at this cat-catching business, though.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Semi-Familiar Territory

I still do not know all the back roads to dodge traffic or how to convince my landlord to actually bring me a key to my back door. It might take me three days and five trips to maintenance to get 8 nails in my cement classroom wall. I may still get scammed by muzungu prices. And yet, life is so much more familiar.

I have a house with animals and people who welcome me home every day. I know the neighborhood guards and the patterns of the birds. I am well versed in my inverter's capacities. At school, rapport is no longer work: students know me along with my passions. I have watched momentum build for both global issues and soccer. Most of my classes are familiar and I have a classroom of my own. I have friends who know my stories.

I am especially struck that all the novelty of a new school year is so much more fun when the work of starting afresh is past!

And with that, my new kids:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Photo journey of North America visit part 2

"Moment of magic" (Hawaii)

"One might note a distinct genetic likeness" (Hawaii)

""Moderately strenuous," they say" (Hawaii)

"Taking Artistic Measures" (Seattle)

"The Curious Incident of the Gum in the Ally Way" (Seattle style)