I'm sitting on a bed, with what has been the most comfortable mattress I've slept on in over two months. I must find one just like it when I go to site. I'm in a hotel outside of Kampala, getting ready to swear in as a PCV tomorrow afternoon. FINALLY. I'm pumped. I'm so proud that all 44 of us made it through and will swear in together. I love us.
We arrived at the hotel on Monday morning, after a hurried goodbye to my homestay family who, for some reason, waited until 20 minutes before I was leaving to decide they want a family picture with me, and all needed to bathe and get ready. The picture did not happen. Sorry. We had a huge week of Peace Corps office tours, Embassy tours, shopping for site, etc., planned, but that was all thrown off by a political/social demonstration that has been going on for a week and a half now. Basically food prices and oil prices are out of control here (Nutella went from 3500/= to 11,200/=. I mean come on.) and the opposition parties have decided to walk to work on Mondays and Thursdays to protest the rising cost of living. The only problem is that, in an effort to curtail any possibly violent protests, the police have preemptively shut down the demonstrations, arrested the leaders, shot at people, and fired tear gas into the crowds. Effective, no? Peace Corps is all about keeping us safe, so at the first sign of anything going on, we were put on standfast at the hotel, meaning we weren't allowed to leave the property. Shopping at the mall-that-is-like-America was out. (Sorry.) We spent the rest of the day laying by the pool, drinking beer, and feeling like we were on spring break. My thighs may or may not have gotten sunburned. (It's ok.)
Tuesday we were able to go to the embassy, find out more about the foreign service than I ever thought I would, and then go to the PC office and eat some delicious sandwiches. (Salami, garlic lettuce tomato and CHEESE!) We went shopping at Garden City, where I bought coffee, a milkshake, and a lot of airtime for my phones and computer. Super successful trip, if you ask me. I guess I also bought a gas stove and a hammock that looks like the Ugandan flag, so my house will have a few things in it :) We have been eating the most amazing food while we're at the hotel - I had REAL Heinz ketchup tonight with my potatoes, I gorged myself on bread pudding at lunch, and there are made to order omelets every morning. There is also flan. Apparently this is where we have our In Service Training conference in July or August of this year, so we are all incredibly psyched to come back here after three months.
Tomorrow we're leaving the hotel by seven so that we can avoid the protests and get to where we need to be before any shit goes down. We have more workshops with our supervisors, kind of just to let them know what's expected of them, what's expected of us, what we are like as Americans, and what Peace Corps expects from our time working with them. We swear in tomorrow afternoon, and then hopefully come back to the hotel to celebrate. Friday I'm traveling up to Lira, gonna buy a sweet mattress and some paint, and spend the weekend making my house a home! (That's what I'm anticipating anyway, I have some new movies, a jar of nutella, and some nail polish if things go south.)
I realized the other day that I kind of maybe have less than two years at this point, a thought which I found oddly comforting. I've been counting down from 27, but in reality I think it's less than that. I don't know why one or two months makes such a difference in my mind, but knowing that I'm on this side of "two years" makes me feel better. Maybe a career in the foreign service isn't realistic for me... so sad. The power has gone out a couple times tonight, and every time it does I just stare up at the sky and see all the stars that I never have before. In relation to the US, there is very little light pollution here, and we're up pretty high (I think about 3,000 feet?) so the stars are much more impressive here, I can't wait to take pictures of them!
I'm so excited to take a shower and lay in bed and read tonight. I'm such a nerd, but I'm really looking forward to it. I'm freaking exhausted, this has been a long ten weeks. Oh, and of course my stuff is strewn EVERYWHERE and I'm doubting my ability to fit it all back into my bags. Sorry.