Saturday, March 24, 2007


hi all,
i just have a short while on the computer so i thought i'd just give you a short update. i am currently close to kable, a town in the far southwest of the country. i am visiting a fellow pcv for a couple of days before returning to luwero for 7 more weeks of training. everything is going prettty well. my homestay family is very nice. i've got a great room and am very comfortable there. i'm eating lots of matoke (banana mush), potatos, casava, rice, chicken, beef, beans, chipatis etc. i am learning luganda, which is the most widely spoken language here (except for english). it's a very difficult language for me to learn, but i hope to be able to hold simple conversations in a year or so.

my days are spent in training. they put me in the econonomic development sector. i'll probably be working with an ngo that focuses on water in a district capital somewhere in central uganda. my role will be to strenghten them both economically and structurally. we spend about 2 hours a day on language and the rest of the day on technical training, medical, culture ect. it's really borning and i can't wait to get done and get to my site!

i haven't had any culture shock or anything like that except for the gender roles which are very difficult to deal with. children also are very respectful here. they kneel everytime they come into the room, it's a little strange... my host father owns a row of shops that he rents out and is a small scale farmer. my host mother is a shopkeeper. they are solidly upper middle class and all their kids are in secondary school or in college. as is typical in africa, we have many relatives that stay with us. we have some grandkids who live with us. the house is very nice. it has a nice concrete base and a solid tin roof. there is a main house with 3 bedrooms and an annex with 2. there is a pit latrine and a tap stand in the front yard. since the mom doesn't get home 'til 10pm everyday, the teenage kids are responsible for doing everything from cleaning to cooking. even the little things like laundry take a whole day. last sunday i started washing my clothes (by hand of course) and they all started laughing at me! apparently i wasn't doing it right although my clothes came out just as clean as their's. they also got a kick out of me peeling the bananas, apparently i don't do it fast enough either.

as a whole the country is a little bit richer than either tanzania or malawi. they have a decent infastructure and many people have concrete homes. they have one of the highest birthrates in the world at 7 kids per woman. they also have one of the highest deforestation rates in the world at 2% a year. unemployment is very high, and so even those with a university education can't get work. HIV is a huge problem here, although it is considered an african "success" story since "only" 7% of the population is infected. it is very difficult seeing kids who are hiv positive. yesterday i met one. she was 10, but looked 6. she was very unhealthy looking and i fear that she will not live for long...

anyway, i've got to go now, but please give me a call or text sometime. it's difficult to get through, but keep trying. the best time to reach me is 11am-2:30pm eastern time. text messages are the best way to reach me. i'll have very limited access to email during training, the internet is very expensive and unreliable in luwero.


The views expressed here are mine and in no way reflect those of the U.S. Peace Corps, any agency of the U.S. Government or the government of Uganda.