I woke up about an hour ago, after my first night in my new home. It wasn't as traumatic as it had the potential to be, my first night in the middle of Uganda, pretty much all alone. At training Rachelle told us that it might be a night to lock ourselves and just cry, something it seemed like she did two years ago when she first got to site. I locked myself in when it got dark, but no crying, amazingly (I'm a crier).
I went to Lira yesterday afternoon, after what felt like one of the 4 longest days of my life, and bought two basins, a jerrycan, two cooking pots, toilet paper, peanut butter, rolls, two bowls, ramen noodles, a big ladle, a mattress, a bigger mosquito net (double bed, what what), and four screw hooks to set up said mosquito net. I did not manage to buy a gas can for my stove, but will try again today. I made it home about 3 minutes before a huge storm and really had to pee. I tried to brave my latrine for the first time but there were spiders and a gecko and a moth that kept ambushing me, so I called uncle and went inside and peed in a basin (not the weirdest thing I've peed in while in Uganda).
I rearranged my room, set up my bed, and hung a map of Uganda on the wall. It's probably right where the new door between the bedroom and the sitting room will go, so it's definitely not permanent, I just wanted something up. As I was moving things around, I discovered a leak in my ceiling, great. My principal came over and invited me for dinner and I let him know about it. I declined the dinner offer because I'd bought a couple things to eat in town, and was so tired that all I wanted to do was finish up and lay down. I didn't feel like being "on" and social again. I had to explain that I'm not going to church tomorrow, or ever really, and I hope I did it tactfully. Sometimes (read: a lot of the times) Ugandans can be very persistent when you give an answer they don't want to hear. I haven't gone to church regularly since I was in high school, and don't really plan on it while I'm here. It's such a religious culture though that the concept of not being religious, or even not having a religion doesn't make sense to them sometimes. I would probably be more relaxed about it and willing to go once in a while if I knew that it would be understood when I didn't want to go. Maybe I'm just being way too stubborn.
I'm super pumped that I have power at my site, however, I have this nifty little gadget called a powermatic that monitors the current coming through and shuts it off if there is a surge or fluctuation that would damage my electronics. When the power is unstable, the light is red, when it calms down, the light changes to yellow while it monitors it for a bit, and then if the power is stable it changes to green to let it through. In the 15 hours that I have been here, the light has only changed to green three times, for a total of about five minutes. Fuck. I can totally plug things in, but I'm knowingly taking a risk of blowing everything up and rendering them useless. Gotta solve this, because what's the use in having electricity if I can't use it?
It's going to take a while to arrange my house, there are so many things that I'm going to have to improvise and make up as I go along. For instance, I don't have a kitchen sink, but I do know that somehow I can put a tap in the bottom of a jerrycan and put it over a basin. But I have no idea how to do that and my limited Lango mixed with Lira residents' limited English = we have no idea what we're talking about. There should be a door soonish between my bedroom and sitting room that will let me move about my house at night, but it's not there yet, so ALL of my things are in my bedroom for now. Water pools on the floor of my latrine and soaked a roll of toilet paper last night. My walls are cement and the pushpins I brought are useless. This is going to be a fun few months. I'll post pictures today or tomorrow hopefully.
Love & miss you!