Wednesday, August 29, 2012

jigger what?

Being on the equator and having little to no change in seasons (other than the god awful dry season that was surely meant as a punishment from someone up above) it can feel like time doesn't really advance in the way it does in the states, where days lengthen and shorten and the weather changes cyclically.  I have to stop sometimes to think about the date, and then what time of year that makes it, and what it might feel like in Florida. Summer is slowly fading into fall, but here it feels the same as it did in April, and the same as it will feel three months from now.

Term two finished a few weeks ago and I wrapped it up by painting a dorm, turning 29, and saying goodbye to the Irish teachers who were here.  They were generous and left me with some tupperware, a jar of nutella, a bottle of soy sauce, and a kitten. Yep, seven months left and I got a kitten. She is super cute and friendly and I rechristened her Tia (for This Is Africa, thanks Nora and Emmy!) However, promptly upon adopting her, I had to leave her with some neighbors to go work at Camp GLOW East.  The woman I left her with speaks zero English and my Lango is puttering out, but somehow I managed to communicate that I'd return in two (hours? weeks? days? who knows) and that the bag of fish was for the cat to eat. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.


Camp GLOW was fabulous. Maggie and Bethany really did a wonderful job organizing everything and making the week flow without any major hiccups. I was in charge of media and photos, and it was fun having a legit excuse to just walk in and out of sessions and take pictures. I also taught friendship bracelets, literacy hour (where I successfully introduced Scattergories to Uganda), banana bread baking, and wrangled the campers to paint a world map, which turned out beautifully but all the head teacher had to say was "Eh! There is no compass rose!" Sorry dude. In other, fun, somehow camp related news, I got my first jigger! Apparently the Busoga region is rife with chigoe fleas that like to burrow into one's toes and lay eggs. Lovely. After my post-camp shower I noticed a little bump on one toe and knew instantly what it was, having cringed over pictures of them in training. I dug it out with my leatherman (totally safe, right?). Out popped a split-pea-sized white egg sac and I think the mama jigger. So so gross. I wasn't in the mindset to take pictures of the process, but if I get another one I'll get some snaps.


James on the porch of our tent

I'd been looking forward to this week since about February when one of my best friends from home, Jamie, began making her plans to come see me.  I finished up camp and headed to the airport with a wonderful driver named Jjuuko (PCVs let me know if you want his number, he actually called ME to confirm picking us up!!!). As soon as I knew her plane had touched down my heart was all aflutter and I was so anxious to see her! This was her first trip out of the US (Canada and Tijuana don't count?) and I can't say enough how impressed I was with how chill she was about all of the absurdity Uganda can throw our way. Bus rides with a child clinging to her? No problem. Bring pulled four different ways in the taxi park? Hakuna matata! Haggling for a better price in the craft market? Madame, you reduce!  We had a wonderful trip and it was neat to see Uganda through fresh eyes again. I feel like I took in more details than I usually do on transportation just because I was looking out for things to show Jamie. The names of businesses ("Praise Be To God Butchery and Bookshop") and the absurdly wide-hipped dress models will always be images I associate with here, and now one of my "real life friends" has those images in her mind, too. It was also great for her to meet some of my Peace Corps friends, without whom I can't honestly say I'd still be in country.  The support volunteers give one another is priceless and these are friendships that I truly cherish and am looking forward to a lifetime of looking back, laughing, and traveling to new places with :)

No words :)

We were able to pull off a couple different activities despite her short time here and the Ebola outbreak that limited travel to certain areas of the country. (Note: everything is a-ok here, it's not like a zombie movie or anything, no worries!) She saw the mountain gorillas in Bwindi and said afterwards that her life was complete. We went to the source of the Nile and watched incredible sunsets, punctuated by monkeys traipsing up and down the roof of our dorm. We drank Nile beer, shopped for purses, lamented over long taxi rides and bad roads, and winded our way across this little country in East Africa. I can't say how glad I am she came.

Sunset on the Nile

Saying goodbye sucked, but I know I only have about seven months left and how quickly that time will go by.  It was strange being sans Jamie again, I'd grown accustomed to her being here.  The next morning I made the drive back up to Lira in record time (thank you post bus, I was in town by 1:30 pm!) grabbed some items from the supermarket and made my way out to the village where I promptly began cleaning out the spiderwebs and dust that had accumulated in my absence. I went to collect the cat and found her dirty but in good health. I thanked the woman with a chocolate bar and took my purring bundle back home.  I'd like to say that's where my story ends, but kitty went hunting yesterday afternoon and never came back. Who knows where she is. I felt like an awful human being going to sleep with her still outside last night and slept poorly for it.  I'm hoping she prances out of the maize fields today, happy to see me and meowing for some fish. But if she doesn't, c'est la vie. I'd adopted her with the intention of leaving her here to be a village kitty when I'm done, so maybe she'll just get that title a few months early.

1 comment:

Tango said...

3 points for "Baking Banana Bread" after mentioning scategories. Also...ew about your toe. I hope it heals. I cant wait to plan my trip!