Friday, May 20, 2011

Update + new pictures!

Hi Everyone!

We haven't written in a while, mostly because life in the last couple weeks has been more or less the same as when we last wrote. We've done a lot of cooking and gardening, and we've started running! (I know, right?!) For those who don't know me super well, I've hated running for as long as I can remember! But we decided now is the perfect time to try to start liking running, so we're giving it a go! Where else can you run through meadows past cows and incredible green hills. We've been at it two weeks now and I haven't failed yet, so there may be hope for me yet! We have a goal of being able to run a 5k before the next term of school is out....I'll keep you posted!

We've also branched into sigeeri cooking. A sigeeri is a super common cooking method here in Uganda. It consists of a clay or metal pot-like stand that you fill with charcoal. Then, you can put pots and pans on top to cook with. Our host family had at least 4 sigeeri's going at any given time, and cooking dinner on them usually took no less than 3 hours! Not surprisingly, it takes a great deal longer than cooking on a stove top, so we use it rarely. (We bought a two burner gas stove top before we left Kampala that is our primary method of cooking - thank goodness!!) So, mostly we use our sigeeri for a dutch oven. So far we've baked sourdough bread, deep dish chicago style pizza, chocolate cake, and brownies! It works really well and expands our choices of what we can make!

We've still not been able to get any mail at our new site, which is disappointing. Here in Uganda everything comes to PO boxes and nothing is delivered to actual houses or businesses. We are grateful to be able to use the PO box at our college, and yet we aren't exactly sure of the system yet. So, much of this week we've been trying to get a hold of the single PO box key so we can walk into Bushenyi and see if we have any mail. Since Monday, nobody has been able to find the key. Just this morning, someone told Ryan that the person who kept the key left their job here and took the key with them (What?!). Which means, the college has not gotten any mail since said person left. I have no idea how long it's been, but it's been at least a month since no mail has arrived since we came to the school. But, they are sending for the key keeper and with any luck we might have access to the mail in the next week or so! One of those situations that would never happen at home, but here in Uganda you just have to laugh!

Monday the students return and we begin teaching shortly thereafter - the actual start of class is still yet TBD (Ugandan time, of course). We are starting to panic mildly because we still don't have much of a sense of what we are going to be teaching and it's beginning to feel quite real now that we are only a few days from standing in front of students. Yet, this is just the Ugandan way - everything in due time. So, hopefully by next Friday I will have been given some idea of my teaching load, and maybe will have even gotten in front of some students! I'm ready to get going, but a little anxious at the same time since I still don't have a great sense of exactly what it is that I'm getting into! But I've been missing teaching and working with students, so I really look forward to getting back into it! Ryan has fortunately been able to work somewhat regularly in the computer lab with his counterpart over the holiday, so he at least has some idea of what's coming. But, I'm sure we will both be learning a lot and having some interesting and potentially awkward moments in the next week or so as the term gets started. We'll keep you posted! are a couple of links to some new photo albums I just uploaded on facebook. I tried to avoid looking like a tourist the first few weeks of being here, but decided yesterday it was safe to break out my camera! I think it gives a decent sense of where we are and what we've been up to. Enjoy!

This one is mostly just views around the landscape of our village : click here

And this one is specifically our college and our house at the college: click here

All right, I'm out. We think of everyone all the time and miss home a lot! Thanks for the emails and letters and keeping posted! We hope you all are well and love and miss you all!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Friends & Cheese

We've been at site now for a little over a week, and things are going well, but slowly. Because of the timing of things, we have arrived at site just as most people are leaving. This has its advantages and disadvantages. It's nice to have some time to get settled and begin to get to know our community without the stress of figuring out teaching on top of it, but it's also a lot of down time! Most of the tutors (professors) at the college have gone home for the holiday, and classes are out. Unfortunately, we don't know what we are going to be teaching next term so we can't even work on preparing lesson plans. It's a little hard to get here, all geared up to do good work, and find 4 weeks of downtime waiting for you at site!

But, we're trying to make the best of it and enjoy a little relaxation in the mean time. It's a good time to get to know our new community, and spend some quality time together! So, we've started our garden, gone on walks, experimented cooking things from the market (Cassava! I got an individual lesson from one of the women in the market), practiced our Runyankore with some of the community members, and read a lot of Harry Potter out loud to each other! I've felt a bit homesick, but I know that as relationships start to develop and our work here starts to feel more significant it will help me feel like our time here is being well spent. Also, I watched "Singing in the Rain" and plastered our living room walls with pictures of people and places from home, so that helps bring some cheer too! :-)

Tonight we had some of our PCV neighbors & friends over for dinner. We made garlic naan and a coconut milk curry...delicious! We loved hanging out and chatting - so nice to be with friends! Also, they were in town today so they picked us up some real, live cheese! Gouda! I'd never had gouda at home, but I'm pretty psyched to have some cheese in our pantry and a great excuse to eat it all in one sitting! (no refrigerator!) So...Friends and cheese, who can ask for more? ;-)

Keep in touch,