28 March 2010

Before i press my luck

Im gonna send this short short entry now cause the computer might rebel against me and un-load everything. again.

I'll write about Life Skills in Gulu and a 5K in Lira soon as i find internet. It was a great trip north though I've missed banana trees and the ability to communicate in local language.

09 March 2010


I'm gonna try uploading one at a time. This is Try #3 of "Upload Pictures to My Blog." To get a feel for the internet speed try this 10 Step Test of Patience:

1. Open the internet
2. Wait 20 minutes
3. Open your email
4. Wait 20 minutes
5. Write the email
6. Wait 20 minutes then delete the email that just took you 30 minutes to write
7. Rewrite the email
8. Wait 20 minutes
9. This time send the email
10. But first turn off your computer


I feel better.

07 March 2010

This is a long one

Thank you all for the birthday wishes. It was a good day. I taught, had lunch with the brothers and my friend Emma took me out for ice cream. (ugandan style, none of this blue bell business.)In the evening the sisters had cake and pizza for me. They know i love anything American.

This week's lifeskills sessions were on Gender Roles and HIV Transmission. In the Gender Roles class i was surprised to hear many of the traditional roles being supported.

In Uganda, men "appreciate" the women they are going to marry by giving her family many gifts; Like sugar, salt, cooking oil, cases of drinks, material to make clothes, cows and chickens. The gifts are given at the Introduction Ceremony, which is when the man is formally introduced to the woman's parents and the parents give their permission for him to take their daughter. People were surprised when i told them we don't have these ceremonies in the U.S. I told them the man sometimes asks the women's father/parents for permission and thats about it. They raised their eyebrows and said "banange." (Banange = the everything word. Means all kinds of emotions: surprise, sadness, condolence, irritation, happiness)

It costs lots of money for the men to gather all these items to give to the bride's family and many times they request help from their friends and family. When talking about Gender Roles, it was suggested that this ceremony entitles men to many services later on during the marriage. And since the woman wanted to leave her family to become a part of his, she should be respectful, obedient and in fact subservient to the husband.

I've discussed the role of the Ugandan women with many here and whether male or female we always end up with the idea that the sexes are equal and should be treated with respect in a marriage. But when preferences and real life are discussed, i find out that no one practices that "theory." The women are the ones that cook, clean and raise children. They aren't consulted on family matters. They aren't allowed access to family money. Some aren't allowed to wear trousers. And many aren't given permission to work outside the home. Men are the ones to sit on a chair and at the table for meals. Men work. Men make and spend money. Men discipline their wives by beating them; Beating is also a way to show your wife you care enough to discipline her. Men ride bicycles. Men don't wash their clothes or dishes. Men don't cook. Both men and women go to church. Both work in the gardens. Both like dancing. Both drink tea at tea time. Both eat lots and lots of matooke.

Not all of Uganda falls into this pattern. The cultural climate is changing and their idea of Gender Roles is becoming more relaxed. More Ugandans are embracing the "theory" of equality and sharing marital responsibilities. Thats something.

In our HIV Transmission class we went over the basics. Students around here are over loaded with HIV information. So much information is floating around and i think now many are desensitized to the issue. I enjoy the life skills approach because its focused on dispelling myths and playing games. We talked about ways to keep HIV information clear and concise for kids. We talked about the most common myths around here:

-> traditional healers have cured HIV/AIDS
-> Africa is the only place with an increase in new HIV/AIDS infections
-> Mosquitoes can trasmit HIV
-> HIV can be transmitted by bewitching
-> HIV/AIDS can be cured by eating certain leaves from the forest

At the end of our session we played a game to show kids how HIV is spread and how it can be treated. One person plays the body. One person plays HIV. About 9 people play white blood cells and they surround the body. Then we have people playing the opportunistic infections: Diarrhea, Malaria, TB and the Flu. These o.infections try to pelt the body with paper balls. The white blood cells defend. Then repeat after HIV infects the body. Later in the game, Positive Living comes in. This is a group consisting of Seeking Treatment, Septrin, Good Nutrition, Social Support, and ARVs.


Watched the beginning of Finding Nemo with Valentino. I tried to translate as best I could.
"Those are fish."
"Those are baby fish."
"That's Nemo and his dad."

Since my translation wasn’t accurate or comprehensible, Vale just kept asking questions with a confused look on his face. So I stopped translating and tried dramatic faces and sounds. Gasp! Shriek! Oh No! Ha Ha Ha!

That worked. He started watching and talking to himself.
"Shats, Bagenda kubalya." (Sharks, they're gonna eat them)
"Nemo ali wa? (Where's Nemo?)
"Ono ye tata we ne oyo ye mama we" (That one's his dad and the other one's his mom.)

Then he started laughing at the funny parts! He thought it was so funny when the sharks were being sarcastic and said that Marlin was "in denial" of having any problems.

Later I heard him telling the ladies about watching the fish in the water.

01 March 2010


Its winter here when i wear socks to bed (or want to wear them during the day with my sandals but don't cause they will get dirty too fast and anyways i wont be smart.)

I took Pauline and Vale with me to guitar class today. We brought along books for them to read while i played. That lasted for about one minute. Then, "Baba Cele, Whats this?" "Baba Cele, look at me." "Baba Cele, he's not sharing." "Baba Cele, what are you doing?" "Baba Cele, who is that?" etc. Except in real life etc. can go on forever. And it did!

I forgot in the last entry to say some overdue thankyous. Thank you Maria, Alex, Gabs n Chesca for sending me candy. yum! Thanks Nate for the harmonicas, its been fun practicing, maybe not for my neighbors though =) Thank you Karina Canales for the musica en espanol. I love the mix of old with new. Thanks Juanita, Matt, Daniel and john john for delicious candies and great books! Just in time too, i was needing something to read. =) Thanks Byron for the great music and mac n cheese! I can't believe it's lasted this long, but i'm saving it for my birthday. Thank you tia, tio vicente and lucas for sending me pictures, i love the one of lucas and i when we were both little. That was quite the purple shirt i was rockin. And tuna! yes!

Thank you for thinking of me and sending me things. I hope to send something your way soon! Lots of love!