29 September 2009

Thanks Lucas

For the delicious coke gummy candy. Yum!

on saturday i went to a graduation celebration with my friend Amanda. we arrived when the speeches had already begun. the master of ceremonies interrupted his speech and introduced us saying "they have been sent by the queen." We got to sit up front with the guests of honor. Typical day in the life...

on monday i walked to five schools in five hours. i was pretty proud. i may not have accomplished much in the way of teaching, but i did get some good excercise and got to walk deeper into the villages. It made me wish i lived in a more rural, quiet place. The red dirt roads, quiet walks with the sounds of banana leaves, barefeet, etc.

26 September 2009

Good Morning September Sunday


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Yesterday I had a busy and wonderful day. It was full of friends, talking and celebrations. At the end of the day I made potato soup. And it was delicious. But it was more than the potato-y, starch-y flavor, it was spiced full of memories. Of sitting at la Madeleine, watching people walk by at Northpark, or getting into the jeep on a cold day in December and going for a drive near SMU looking at Christmas lights. That place was only in north dallas then, but maybe by now one’s been built between the trinity and cedar hill. An oak cliff gal can hope.

I wish I had more to write about work, but as you probably know, it just isn’t there yet. I’m hoping and working and hoping some more that I’ll make some steady/good work soon. I’m going to start giving tippy-tap demonstrations after this next week. They’re hand washing stations made outta wood, jerry cans, and string. Mainly.

Have I told you guys that I miss you?

I’m doing well and enjoying the good Ugandan life. Of course there are days when I am quite frustrated/annoyed/anxious/exhausted and just plain grouchy. (I try to stay away from writing on this online journal those days, since I feel like even a positive attitude is slightly jaded at this point.)

The only things I am in “need” of are letters, emails and photos from ya’ll. I have most everything readily available since Kampala is only a hop, skip, n’ a jump away. And thank you for all of the letters and care packages you’ve sent. They are pieces of pure joy and I sing a happy tune all the way home from the post office.

All my love~

22 September 2009

21 September 2009

Feliz Cumpleanos (Manana)



Estas son las mañanitas, que cantaba el Rey David,
Hoy por ser día de tu santo, te las cantamos a ti,
Despierta, mi bien, despierta, mira que ya amaneció,
Ya los pajarillos cantan, la luna ya se metió.

Que linda está la mañana en que vengo a saludarte,
Venimos todos con gusto y placer a felicitarte,
Ya viene amaneciendo, ya la luz del día nos dio,
Levántate de mañana, mira que ya amaneció.

19 September 2009

17 September 2009

Warm September


PIASCY Workshop, Teachers playing "Pat On the Back" game
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Shout out to my Ugandan amigos. I hope your job and your day are going fairly if not very well. You are doing Great things! And I’m glad we’re friends.
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Last week I helped give a teacher’s workshop on The Presidential Initiative for Aids Strategy and Communication to the Youth (PIASCY.) It’s a program that began a few years ago to educate primary and secondary students on HIV/AIDS. There are PIASCY clubs that perform dramas about peer pressure, how to say no and reducing stigmatization against anyone who is positive. The program encourages schools to have signs and murals around the campus that warn of the dangers of HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Infections. PIASCY also promotes Life Skills education alongside the usual curriculum. Life Skills is an education program that Peace Corps volunteers also work with in most every country they work in. Life Skills education is based on the idea that we all have the knowledge to make good decisions. But how do we use the knowledge that we already have to get to a positive and healthy lifestyle?

That’s where Life Skills come in handy; we all need to learn how to be assertive, confident, critical thinkers, goal setters, responsible, and possess self esteem, self respect etc. Peace Corps has a comprehensive and detailed program outline that can be tailored to meet the age group or specific need of a Life Skills group. These clubs play games, role play, debate and discuss to learn more about themselves and the options they have in life.

I’m in the very beginning stages of Life Skills clubs at different primary schools. We’re trying to figure out how and when to run them, how teachers and I will share responsibility and what the students are most at risk for. The more I learn about Life Skills, the more I think we should have them in America or in my neighborhood in Dallas anyway. I think the teachers i‘ve had are great motivators and advocates for our individual personalities and talents. But the amount of “poor decisions(like the high STI rate)” seems to say that’s something’s missing and maybe that’s more of a focus on life skills.
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I am doing well and am safe and sound here in my small, quiet community. Have I ever told you guys that I live in a community of schools? I live next to a great University that specializes in education (meaning access to resources on pedagogy in Africa!) 3 technical schools (art, catering, electrical and building), two secondary schools, 4 primary schools and a seminary.
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Early Happy Birthday wishes go to my dear mom and my dear friend sandrita. I wish I could be there to sing las mananitas and shower you with hugs and kisses. You are in my thoughts and prayers and I love you a lot, even though I’m 14 inches away.
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Thank you for writing about guilt. It’s changed the way I think about myself and my “job” in Uganda and anywhere else. I’m going to try to do my best (hard enough without adding complicated emotions to it) and be loving to people I know and to people I meet. Easier said than done right? I’ll keep looking up and out!

01 September 2009

Guilt

Lots of time i struggle with feeling guilty. Some struggles are more lighthearted than others, like feeling guilty for being 120-something lbs when i'm getting a ride on someone's bike. But other days, usually as i'm walking around dusty Kampala, i see sleeping babies sitting on the streets with their little hands held out for anything. Or less heartbreaking but still an issue: when i'm at a ceremony or huge celebration and i'm one of the first (out of hundreds) to get served lunch cause i'm foreign. Then even as a volunteer here, i get a living allowance that exceeds most of my friends yearly pay.

Any suggestions my friends out there?

To end on a happier note, for the past few days (for more language training) we're in a gorgeous part of Uganda. Northwest of Kampala, its just green for days and days!

Thanks Welita for your letter! I was so happy to get it. Thanks Nate for the gummy bears~ they were just what the doctor ordered.