23 February 2011

18th Feb has come and gone...

and Museveni has won his fourth term in office as Uganda's president!

Most people believe it was a fair election(for everyone whose name and correct photo were on the voter registration) and thankfully it was a safe process (apart from some violence in the east.)

Sunday night, I watched the election results on t.v with my neigh

bors. I was surprised when Pauline started naming the presidential candidates as they appeared on the screen. I don’t remember a 4 year old in America who knew the names of all the presidential candidates.

Many people in my community voted for peace. Understandable since Uganda's recent history includes so many atrocious acts of violence. Museveni was part of both rebel movements that brought Uganda out of the violent regimes of Idi Amin Dada and Milton Obote.

Uganda Statehouse Info on Museveni

BBC News Profile on Museveni

Seeing the turmoil that's reached so many Arab states and being so close to people who have lived through civil wars in their countries makes it easier for me

to see how years of clear-as-day corruption looks better than taking a chance on a new leader.

Go peace.


Yesterday evening, I walked home from the university with my friend Piggy, the university's lovable dog that terrorizes the neighborhood (occasionally.) I was happily singing an improvised tune to welcome what I thought were incoming rain clouds.

The sky darkened and the wind picked up, adding a sense of urgency to everyone's movements. Electricity was out and I gaily lit my house full of candles, ready to wait out the blackout in a rain-filled peace. I even got extra towels to prep my front door for the deluge that usually floods my house with each rainstorm.

A few drops began sprinkling the roof of my house, and then, sadly and quite suddenly, the rainstorm was over.


Valentino lost a tooth! The rat fairy came and gave him a kikumi.:)

09 February 2011

Family Visit: Photos!!

We gave mom and martin approximately 11 hours to rest and recoup before whisking them off to the hot-spot tourist destination of Jinja. (Home of the Source of the Nile and Bujjagali Falls)

Sr. Valentine graciously acted as our
tour guide for the day, explaining the history and pointing out all the insider details of our journey.

It was a large, but interesting, caravan of people including: Father Henry, Amber, Michael, Sr. Valentine, Mama Tony, Dan, Sr. Emma, Mom, myself and Martin. The motley crew of friends and family gave a unique perspective of Uganda, from the attitudes of citizens, visitors, volunteers, Americans, Canadians, British, young and old-er.

Before mom and martin came, i had big dreams of all the things we would do together. One of those dreams was to get up early every day to take a walk to the lake as the sun was rising.

Some people, i won't name names, thought they were on some kind of vacation.... So getting up before the sunrise wasn't exactly on their itinerary.

Here's a picture of the one time we walked to Lake Victoria.

Since blizzards and shut-down airports delayed the family visit by 2 weeks, we had a Christmas celebration in January. They may look like they're shy and quiet kids...but a few minutes later Pauline was dancing "Stamina" and Vale was working with Martin to build his Lego house.

Lugandan, Laundry, Leisure, and Love

Osiibye otyano?

Had to look that one up because I would have spelled it Osibiatiano? (Good afternoon, which they really understand as How was your day?) For me, Bulungi! (Good!) This, by far, was the longest phrase I memorized…making it the ‘greeting of choice’, morning, noon, or night! No one seemed to mind, all seemed pleased to hear me trying…or maybe I misread the laughter~ I think Celeste thought I should have at least gotten the sir, or madam down(after 3 weeks) to add to my phrase. The absolutely wonderful fact is, the Ugandan people are so pleased, and let you know it, if you even speak one word of their language. The smiles, laughter, and praise leave you wanting to learn more.

So, I did not take too many clothes, but when you have to do your laundry by hand 2 blouses is 1 too many! In the past I have done my share of hand washing those stubborn stains in my children’s clothes, but, I was not bent over for an hour with clothes which seem to weigh 40lbs when wet…My first ‘battle’ with doing laundry went great!! No one was watching, it was mainly socks, tshirts… and they were hung outside, dried, folded and put up by nightfall…I was a little smug when I started my ‘second load’ a few days later when I heard the familiar tapping on the front iron door. “Who is it”?, I said. “Me, Pauline”! “Come in Pauline”. Pauline and Vale were always ready to help with ANYTHING you were doing. After our greetings/hugs I told her I was washing clothes(I thought I saw a dubious look on her face, quickly thinking I had misread it, she’s only 4).

Okay, so at least I can show my skills(show off) to Pauline…it took maybe all of two minutes before Pauline was giggling at me~ “No, mama cele, like this”! at which point she took the little bar of soap and quickly showed me the correct way to launder the clothes. I looked on, truly impressed! Did I mention she’s 4 years old? Ugh. She stuck it out with me, the slow learner…a muzungu…I can’t be sure, but, I think she spent the rest of the afternoon with me to make sure there was not something else I had no idea how to do…So as I hung out the clothes and heard the choruses of “Webale!” (Thank you!) I made sure to tell Pauline “Gyebale Pauline!” (Well done Pauline!) and she was beaming~

Leisure is another wonderful skill you will pick up in Uganda, a trait many of us North Americans fear will be misinterpreted for laziness. Even in my relaxed gait, people wondered where I was going in such a hurry, and why. Walking ANYwhere you could stop every two feet, to greet strangers, friends, friends of friends…because there is no reason to hurry, or worry about being late, no one else is… and walking with food is not acceptable…,I thought a cup of coffee should be exempt, but Celeste kindly let me know, NOT. Again, everyone accepts your stopping your day, to relax, no questions asked. It’s your time for Leisure/Tranquility on that day, that hour, that moment, so, be happy!

It seemed as if I had been a part of Uganda longer than the 3 weeks I was there. Maybe partly because of all the stories Celeste has shared with me these past two years she has been living there~ Maybe reading the PCV’s blogs…Maybe it is more because of the Love they so freely give by opening their homes, sharing their food, providing support, devoting their time, ~all of it welcoming you into their lives… As Pauline told me the morning before I left to America, “Mama Cele, I love you SOOO much!” me too Pauline, I love you all SOOO much! WEBALE!