Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Avoid bad touches, lonely places, and gifts

Hello friends!

I'm sorry tis been so long. I also apologize in advance for bad grammar/spelling. I have 15 minutes to write this blog and the kyboard is terrible.

I have been in Uganda for almost 3 weeks now. The first two weeks my fellow (44 or us) Peace COrps Trainees and I lived ina very secure and beautiful training conference facility near the capital, because of the elections here in mid-february. We lived in dormitory style houseing and enjoyed getting to know each other. A typical day included a full day of training (8-6 pm) followed by playing pick-up soccer, dinner, adn then maybe just hangign out with guitars and conversation. There were indeed monkeys everywhere and we had guard dogs at night and men with AK 47s that kept us safe (although I never felt in danger). Now that elections are over and things have gone smoothly, we were recently moved out to our hometay families on Saturday. I am living with a very nice family in a village. They have 3 sons and 1 daughter who is 18 and wishes to be a doctor. She shows me around a lot and speaks to me in beautiful english. I am very lucky because my homestay family speakxs the language that I need to learn over the next 2 months of training: lugbara. Teh lugbara are a people from the extreme northwest of Uganda, close to sudan and congo. I am in the pioneering group of volunteers that will be going to the West Nile region. It is the most impoverished in Uganda. I am very excited about this and am busy learning lugbara!

Today I had my first day of actual teaching at a local school here. My friend La Toya and I co-taught a primary school class about adjectives. The name of my blog today is an example of one of the many awkward signs hung around the school. THe signs are supposed to promote youth health and safety. In the dorm where I lived there were signs that said, "Avoid cross-generational sex", and "Don't share sharp objects." The class went pretty well. There were about 70 students crammed into a lhot little room and mostly just stared at us because we are "Muzungus" (white people). I get called "Muzungu" everyday by children, and osmetimes adults. Basically, I am a spectacle. My host sister told me that she had never met anyoen as white as me. My family thinks I am very delicate becaue I do not eat as much as they do, becayue my skin burns and is bitten by misquitos, and becaue I cannot haul as much water as they can from the valley. I'm going to work on these things.

In other news, I am busy learning how to successfully use a pit- latrine, hand wash my clothes, and bucket-shower. My host family essentially laughs at me all day, because I do everything wrong. It's hysterical. THe cross cultural interactions here are solid gold. (In all honesty, the people here are among the friendliest that I have ever met. The motto in Uganda is "YOU ARE MOST WELCOME")

I love it here and I am very excited to actually start my service, in April. I have a lot more to learn along the way.

I miss all of you and I will try to update this blog as muich as possible. My internet situation will improve once I move out to my site. Also, I should be getting a phone within the next few days, which people can skype/call me at.

Love and Lions,


  1. AHHH!! I am just eating all of this up! Everytime I hear a bit more about where you are, what you are doing, who you are with, etc. I just feel that much more connected to you and I can get such a better picture in my head.

    It sounds like things are off to an amazing start. What an awesome adventure to wake up everyday and not really know what every step is going to be like.

    I am sure you will improve your shortcomings in bathing and language in no time :) ...and no matter what you do, you will always stand out, so embrace it!

    LOVE you!!!

  2. This is lovely, Ilse! I'm so glad that you're enjoying your time thus far!!

    I agree with Kristin, sounds like you're off to an amazing start!

    love you heaps.


  3. So exciting - what an awesome adventure! I loved talking with your host sister - sweet and smart. You are brave and flexible - enjoy every minute. Love, Mumsy

  4. Ilse,

    I check this page multiple times a day, thinking of you and hoping your well. It is the first link on my "bookmarks toolbar" as mr. firefox calls it. I certainly support cross generational abstinence, as well as avoidance of sharpened objects. Good lessons for the youths you know. Wishing you well my Muzungu, and know that I care for you most dearly. Looking forward to more posts.

    Have fun,

  5. Love it Ilse! Can't wait to hear more. Thinking of you!

    Love Kat

  6. Ilsey,

    It was great to read about a bit of your life so far. Just the day-to-day stuff sounds fascinating...I must say I'm a bit jealous! Really cool about your family and the good interactions that you're already having. Like everyone else, I'm really excited to hear more (when you have a chance!). I miss you, but am really happy for you.


    Thought about you at the Joanna Newsome concert a few days ago!