Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Paint by Numbers

This weekend we attended a service project event to celebrate Peace Corps's 50th anniversary. We painted 6 or 7 student-created health-themed murals at a PTC and nearby health center. It was a lot of fun to be a part of! Check out the pics from the event here!

By far, one of the best parts of the experience was the chance to connect with our fellow PCVs! It's amazing how close everyone gets during PST and how awesome it is to see them all again, even if it's only been a couple of months! It was great to hear stories of everyone's sites. Some of our favorite stories:
  • One PCV was recently having what she affectionately referred to as a "poop attack." (We've all been there!) Anyhow, she desperately needed to find a latrine. When she did, however, she realized that she had no toilet paper! So, being creative, she remembered the paperback book in her backpack (Incidentally, The Bourne Identity). She proceeded to remove every page that was not the actual story - dedication page, publishing info, etc. Problem solved! (Who reads those pages anyways?)
  • Another PCV shared with us her favorite past time while bored at site - she kills mosquitos and places them in a pile. Within minutes, hoards of ants appear to carry away the mosquito carcasses! Discovery channel right in your living room, baby!
  • Lots of our friend's houses are not yet completed. So, some are living in guest houses (hotels), some with other PCVs, and one in a convent! Who knew living with nuns could be a part of the Peace Corps experience?
  • On the subject of houses - one PCV moved into her house to find she wasn't alone. She had an infestation of bats!!!! She ultimately moved out, but in the mean time ate dinner under her mosquito net while bats swooped around her room! (Did we mention that we are SO THANKFUL for our wonderful house?!)
  • One of our PCV friends with little work at her actual site has found some ways to get involved at the local primary schools. So, on top of continuing a literacy club that was started by a previous volunteer, she attends Ugandan Sign Language class with the p2 students (1st graders!) At the end of each lesson, the PCV (and all of the children) have to demonstrate what they have learned. Whenever she makes a mistake, the students love to laugh at her!
All in all, it seems like people are doing quite well. Everyone has experienced challenges, yet seems to be making the best of them and finding great ways to get involved in their communities as well.

Also, on the way home we added yet another fun experience to our repertoire of crazy Ugandan travel. We (along with 3 other PCV friends from the West/Southwest) were ushered on board a bus at Masaka and, once it had already taken off, we realized that there were absolutely no open seats! We assumed this meant that some passengers would be vacating the bus somehow soon. It wasn't until over an hour in that we finally got seats! Bear in mind, standing up while riding a bus in Uganda is something like standing up on a crowded, old wooden roller coaster! An adventure for sure!!!

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