Friday, September 9, 2011

Two Catholic Priests and...me.








It has been done! The terrible saga is complete! The mold vanishes like wisps of cotton candy far into my past! My days of full bladders and dirty hair are no more! Fare thee well rotting cassava on my front stoop! Village drunks who sleep outside my window, get thee behind me! Quit my sight, thee uncomely mouse turds!

I think the solution to all my bizarre housing problems was always right in front of us all. Put this girl in a tiny green dorm room in the priest's quarters of the Catholic Mission. AND WHY NOT??? THEE UNBELIEVERS?? WHO IS TO SAY THAT A YOUNG UNITARIAN (?) WOMAN FROM AMERICA CANNOT HAPPILY BUNK UP WITH SEVERAL CATHOLIC LUGBARA PRIESTS? I happen to LOVE green walls. AND small spaces. I'm like a vole. Or an otter. Besides, what honest person would leave me in charge of an entire HOUSE? A small room, I can manage.

In all seriousness, I am really happy with my new place. It is quiet, peaceful, and almost a little retreat from the rest of my village. There are flowers, kind people, and shade. The fathers are incredible; they are the community leaders here, and are very progressive. I think I'll be able to work well with them. It is a rather unlikely situation, but I am really glad with how it turned out. Plus, I'm like a 5 minute walk from Tom now. I have spent my last few days settling in, getting to know the priests more, and trying to explain what a unitarian is. My room is adorable and I am starting to become a bit of a clean freak, or at least balancing myself out more. Because of my last house, I am completely determined to not share my space with any of the local wildlife (including mold), and so I"m keeping everything very clean.

Here are some pictures!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

In between homes

I haven't written a blog in a long time, partially because of very limited internet access, but also because I didn't want to blog anything negative. That's what journals are for in the Peace Corps. The good news is that my housing situation is almost certainly fixed. I won't, indeed, be continuing to live in the house without a latrine, bathing area, and with a copious mold problem. I count this as a victory. I have never really seen it as home, and was having a hard time with the idea of living there for two years. I think that positivity can only go so far, sometimes, and although i was convinced that PC could place me in a cave for all I cared, I now know that having a home that I like is incredibly important. I think that my counterpart has found me a place close to the mission in my community, which should be great because I love the fathers and nuns there. Although I haven't seen the house yet, I do know that I will have my own bathing area/latrine area, and that I am a lot closer to Tom now (and also the Congo...whoops!) I hope that being in a decent place will aid my productivity and creativity this upcoming school term, because I found it difficult to work effectively the last 4 months with all the uncertainty I was facing (and also all the biking to go bathe at Tom's place).

I just got back from training yesterday. We had about two weeks of IST and then a few days of the all volunteer conference, which takes place at a relatively nice hotel in Kampala. It's sort of like a conference meets spring break-Cancun. Think 180 20-somethings getting together at a hotel with a pool. It was kind of a magical disaster and definitely didn't feel like Peace Corps, but it was fun all the same. I also learned a lot about possible secondary projects that I could do, potentially. Until I move to my new place, I'm staying with my friend La Toya in town, which is great because I can go to the internet cafe and eat Ethiopian until my fingers turn into injera. I recently put up some new pictures on my facebook, but they are mostly of Arua-town and also Jinja-Town, where we went inbetween IST and Al-Vol, to do a booze-cruise and just hang out. Jinja is nothing like west nile; it's full of foreigners, both NGo's and missionaries, and so is stocked with "mzungu" food. I may or may not have spent a small fortune on lattes and veggie burgers. It's okay.

I think I'll feel more comfortable in my community, especially with a more stable place to live, so hopefully I'll get the camera out more. My plans for when I get back to site (tomorrow??!!) include setting up my house, starting to run again, and trying to start up a tutoring program and a lifeskills program at a few of my schools. THings move REALLY slowly here, so I'll be happy if I even make baby steps for some of my projects. It's still too early on to tell what will work and what won't.

I miss all of you and hopefully I'll start posting more regularly again!

love and lattes,
ilse