Thursday, April 9, 2015

Finalizing Our Journey

I, Noel, was able to return to Mbarara in early March while Kaye remained at home. My time here is rapidly coming to an end, and I scurry to finish my remaining tasks that I hope to complete. The Ugandan people will be missed, as they have always been welcoming and friendly.

In a few weeks I will head to Kampala, to the Peace Corps office, to endure the medical and dental examinations in order to be given a clean bill of health allowing me to leave. I should be home on/around May 1.

Thanks for reading our travelogue.

Noel & Kaye

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A shortened experience

Kaye and Noel had to return home from Uganda a few months earlier than planned due to a personal issue that developed. It is hoped that one, or both, of us can return to complete or originally planned assignment.
Peace to all. Happy New Year.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

September 7, 2014 - Nest building by the storks

A very large tree is immediately outside of our apartment.  We watch as from 6-11 LARGE Marabou storks are building nests and preparing for new additions to their families.  These birds must weigh 20 pounds and when they take off in flight it sounds like an airplane taking off.  They are a very unattractive bird and local lore says they cannot be eaten as they will “kill or at least bewitch” you.  Consequently they tend to live and rule the area with no fear of humans it seems. They are somewhat "protected" by local authorities as they clean the trash on the streets by eating it!

September 6, 2014 - Teaching and Work

Noel and I have been teaching for a few weeks now.  So much work and preparation to be ready for the classes.  To say the first week went well would be a gross exaggeration.  The class timetable did not come out until the night before the classes were to begin.  No one knew where or when they would teach.  This was equally, or more difficult for the students.  For us we had no idea where the classes would be held, how many students or what would be available in the classrooms.  A rough and humbling week.

 We just finished our third week and things have settled into a rhythm.  So different to have to find and take your projector, your chalk, writing paper, masking tape, and absolutely everything you will need for the class with you to every building.  We are getting better but I forget at least one item every time.  The students are respectful and serious.  Engagement and trust takes time and we must be patient. Resources are so different and sparse.  We still struggle with power outages all day on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.  This makes for an entirely different type of preparation for class.  Some buildings have a generator which helps greatly.  Interestingly the classroom may have a generator but the hospital does not.  Rationale is that it is a different pool of government money (department of health vs. department of education).

August 7, 2014 - Arrival at our new home in Mbarara

We packed all of our stuff for the third and last time before our work begins.  The apartment is nice, no real sheets or other essentials the first night but so good to be in the place we will call home.  The weather here in Mbarara is absolutely beautiful, in the low 70s with a nice breeze, and with many less mosquitos than in Kampala.  We still sleep under the mosquito net each night but somehow if feels less threatening.

Swearing in officially at the US Ambassador’s house in Kampala

We finally finished our pre-service training and had an absolutely beautiful ceremony at the Ambassador’s home.  Interestingly, many of the Ugandan’s thought that Noel was the Ambassador (as they felt the resemblance was uncanny), and took their picture beside him.  The Ambassador was out of the country and so the assistant presided and did an excellent job.  We joined 39 Peace Corps volunteers that were sworn in the same day.  They were so excited and almost all of them wore clothing that was of traditional fabric.  They also played the Ugandan drums and did a traditional dance.  The speeches were brief but inspiring and Noel and I could not help but feel proud and excited about our impending experience. 

Time will tell for all of us.

July 2014-A visit with the “bonesetter” and the “traditional healer”

A truly amazing day as we visited a very respected family of “bonesetters”.  They offer an alternative to the public health system and it was absolutely fascinating.  We all agreed that the facility and the care given surpassed what we typically have seen in the national hospitals.  The bonesetter had his own small facility that the clients could, and do, live in for many days.  He was extremely knowledgeable, very willing to answer questions, and very proud of his lineage as a bonesetter.  We have an orthopedic surgeon in our group and he too said if he broke a bone he would trust the bonesetter over the standard hospital care.

The “traditional Healer” was a woman of 82 who sat on her reed mat and had an assortment of plastic containers with herbs in front of her.  She had inherited the practice from her grandmother. We were all were asked to remove our shoes before entering her little room as she said she wanted to avoid infections. She talked about being able to treat: syphilis, infertility, uterine fibroids, pneumonia, and other common ailments.  Herbs that she spoke about included: garlic, ginger, onions, nutmeg, and several roots and flowers. She had been a healer for over 40 years and states she cares for between 40 and 50 people per day.  We have so much to learn from the innate knowing of these healers.