Molly in Africa

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Part Two: Eastern Excursion and this past week in Kampala

After Mbale, we traveled for another hour east to Busia, which is a rural area. We were dropped off in pairs at different homestays in different villages where we would stay for three days. We had an assignment to use research methods in the villages that we’ve learned about in our lectures to learn about a topic of our choice (which we would later have to write a 10-12 page paper on). I chose to look into education, which was kind of interesting. My partner and I met the local council chairwoman, the local council secretary, interviewed a total of five teachers from primary and secondary schools in the area and were given tours of the two schools. The fascinating and amazing part about the three days was just living in the village. I stayed in a hut with a grass thatched roof which was wonderful! There was no power there and no running water so we went to the local water sources one day and saw those and we used a lantern all the time- which of course I loved. The family we stayed with was comprised on a man who we called “the old man” and then his wife who was not nearly as old as he was. Then their youngest children who are six and eight- John and Peter- lived there and then the old man’s grandchildren lived there as well (although the daughter who was the grandchildren’s mother doesn’t live there).
I was so happy to be around kids again and I got to play their funny game of dodge ball where there are three people who stand in a line about twenty feet away from each other. The person in the middle has to dodge the ball as it is being thrown at him or her. If the middle person can dodge the ball ten times in a row then they win. If they get hit then they switch places with the person who threw the ball. I think that they thought I was going to be really bad at it because I’m a girl and a muzungu, so I won four times in row and then decided to switch to give someone else a chance. The next time I went in the middle, I didn’t win so I think they learned not to go easy on me. The frustrating part about being around all these wonderful kids was that they didn’t speak English I don’t speak Kisameer (sp?).
Our host cousin, Godfrey, was 20 years old, so the old man basically told him that we were his responsibility for the next three days. Godfrey then became our live-in friend. He never let us sit in the hut alone- met us early in the morning and stayed with us until after dark. It was nice in some ways because he was our age, was great at English and was fun to talk to. It was frustrating in the obvious way of feeling like we were being babysat and also he had a full “muzungus are weak” mentality which was frustrating to us. On the last night, my homestay partner, Marcy was so fed up with Godfrey calling us weak that she went over and picked him up. It was pretty funny. Overall Godfrey was a great host though and helped us do everything we wanted to do.
When we came back to Busia after the rural homestay experience, we had one night in a hotel there and it was great to be there. It was fun to be back with the rest of the students and just hang out. I sang for a couple of them and that was the first time I had sung in front of anyone in the group (other than Krista) and so that was really nice for me. Since coming to Uganda, I ahven’t had any Molly-only-space. While at my homestay house in Kampala, I shared a room, everytime we went on trips through my study abroad program I shared a room and there are no quiet places that I could claim as my own in Kampala. So I hadn’t been doing a lot of singing and it was really nice that I got the chance to there.
When we came back from Busia we had the week from hell. I had four papers due, one large Luganda test, it was the last week with my homestay family, it was my last week in Kampala with my friends and I had to try to figure out all of the details of my practicum out. Well, as you probably noticed in my last blog update, I was a little frustrated with CRO’s lack of communication, but that’s just how it is done here. So, I am now in Mbale and I have a meeting with my CRO contact person in a little while and hopefully she’ll say good things like, “yes, I would like you to work with us and here’s what you can do…” So, I’ll update you more on that and what it’s like to be in Mbale alone in my next update which should be later this week.


At 9:30 AM, October 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Molly -
Your experiences have been so varied and vast - I am loving reading about them. I print them off for my parents too so G'ma Nancy and G'pa Harry are really enjoying reading about your adventures as well.
Colleen is also sharing with some of the folks at LJH - she shared the picture of you at the equator -very timely because they were doing a unit on geography... Thanks!
I am hoping that this finds you feeling good about your practicum work and comfortable being in Mbale alone. Keep up the good work!!
Anne Persaud


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