Thursday, September 23, 2010

The end (of training) is in sight...

The last few weeks have brought some exciting (and not as exciting) things. Everyone is starting to get pretty tired of training, so the next few weeks will probably be tough to push through. But soon we'll be swearing in as real Peace Corps Volunteers!

I had some talks with the trainers about my concerns over being placed under economic development (which is where they place people with animal husbandry backgrounds), but we had only been talking about business management and crop agriculture during the training sessions, neither of which I know anything about or am interested in. They took my concerns, as well as my preferences, and have officially switched me to being a Community Health volunteer. I still don't have the details of my site (we find out in ONE WEEK!) but they gave me a vague description when they switched me that I'd probably be working with an organization that has a broad focus on community health and food security, and that the organization partners/staff are interested in starting animal husbandry work. If that's the case, it sounds ideal - a great blend between health, agriculture, animal husbandry, etc. So glad I said something and that they aren't placing me as a primarily business/econ volunteer - ask and ye shall receive! Even if animal husbandry becomes a secondary project, it sounds completely feasible. Just about every household keeps some animals for subsistence, so there's plenty of opportunities, especially since my organization is apparently interested in doing more work in that area. BUT I don't have any solid details about my organization at all yet, so I shouldn't count my chickens before they hatch. Getting so anxious to hear about it!

In other news, spent last week staying with 2 Peace Corps Volunteers in Kyotera in southern Uganda. It's actually two girls - one community health volunteer, one education - who share a duplex. They each have their own "house" on either side of a dividing wall (which is very nice - bedroom, bathroom, guest bedroom, living/dining room, and kitchen, electricity most of the time, and limited running water that comes from a tank on their roof). It was so great to cook American-style food (pan-fried noodles, spaghetti and garlic bread, eggs and toast, etc.), have girls nights, watch movies, take naps, etc. We did do some work too, but unfortunately the interpreter who usually works with her to teach nutrition at the health center wasn't around, so we mostly taught English at the local vocational school. On the way back to Wakiso (where I live now), a few of us stopped in Kampala for shopping and delicious food, including iced lattes. Yummmm!

Other events recently: one of my friends got a puppy from the neighbor and I helped him get dewormer/tick and flea bath, I've been doing a project about Community Animal Health Workers (which I did research for in college and now I'm looking at how to implement a program here in Uganda - very cool), we're having weekly trivia nights at a local bar with our fellow trainees which are really fun, finding an amazing bootleg DVD store in Kampala where you can buy movies or even entire TV seasons for 1,200 shillings (50 cents), learning our way around Kampala and using public transport, trying to diagnose the neighbor's goat (I think it has footrot, it won't put weight on it and its hoof is super hot to the touch but I don't want to try to fix it on my own)... pretty good times! It's not all fun and games - I'll be honest and say I'm getting tired of homestay curfews and having to explain why I want to just read in my room by myself, monotonous training periods, etc. - but in general things are good. Already looking forward to people visiting from the States... if you're not thinking about coming to Uganda, you should be!

These last few days we've had intensive language practice for a mock-LPI (language proficiency interview). The real LPI is at the end of training, and we must be at an Intermediate Low level to "pass" training. I felt like I was struggling a bit during the practice with native speakers, but everyone is saying I'm doing great, speaking Runyankore-Rukiga "like a parrot". Glad to hear! Romance languages will be a piece of cake after this (and I want to work on Spanish and French when I'm out at my site). I'm excited to actually practice the language when I finally go to the southwest, as people here in central Uganda don't really speak Runyankore-Rukiga.

I'll post again in a week when I get my official site placement, which will include where I'll be, my organization/job, what amenities I may or may not have, etc. Sooo excited! All my love to everyone at home.

1 comment:

Nate Bloss said...

Im a Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia. Im about to finish my service here and we wanna do some traveling. We plan to be in Uganda some time after mid January. Were wondering if you could answer a few questions for us.

We dont really know many people who have traveled up to Uganda, so we dont really have any leads.

What are the best things to do in Uganda?

How much are Visas? Is there any special process we need to know about when buying them?

Generally how much do food and travel cost?

Can you free hike, or is that too dangerous? If not what are the general forms of travel, combi, bus, trains, something else?

Where are the best places to stay?

What else should we know?

How many volunteers are there?

We would appreciate any help you could give us. Please write me back at if you have time.