Friday, August 28, 2009

I am in Uganda!?!!

Hello All! I arrived to campus on Tuesday around 11:30 pm (3:30 pm in Ohio) after traveling for 35 LONG hours. I traveled with a friend, Jill, from the Akron-Canton airport until we met up with the rest of the group in DC. It was a little overwhelming meeting everyone and trying to remember names at first because we are such a large group (45 students) but everyone seems great so far. Everything really has been quite a whirlwind experience and I am still trying to grasp the idea that I am actually here in Uganda! CRAZY!
It really hit me on Wednesday when they were dropping us off at our host families. We had a van load of people and were trekking up the winding, bumpy, dirt roads and would randomly stop, help someone unload their bags, wave, and leave them behind with total strangers. I was like “This is happening so fast!” Soon I was the only one left in the van and as my driver, Vincent, our USP intern, Boniface, and I continued up the hill (more like a mountain) I realized the great adventure I was on. It was an awesome moment of realization about what I am about to experience in the next 16 weeks. I was filled at that moment with such excitement and peace as I watched the beautiful scenery and people out my window.
When I arrived to my host family I received many hugs and I felt so welcome. They are all wonderful people and I am having a lot of fun getting to know them. In my family I have Maama Joyce, two sisters Sarah (21) and Joanna (29), a cousin Dennis, and a “house keeper” Ida. I MUST mention that we happen to live on a chicken farm. We have three chicken coops packed from wall to wall with what they say is hundreds of chickens. We also have two cows that a neighbor man, Francis, helps take care of. I share my room with my two sisters and we have a lot of fun teaching each other about our cultures and talking about music. They also enjoy watching soaps. We get a good laugh out of them because they are the Mexican soaps with English voiceovers… hilarious! My walk from home to school is about twenty minutes. I walk five minutes to my friend/fellow USPer Abigail’s house and we make the rest of the uphill/mountain walk together. We are both very glad to have each other on the walk. Many of the kids along the way yell out to us, “Muzungu,” meaning white person, and wave frantically. The past two days a group of children have come to my house to see the “Muzungu” but I have missed them because I am still at the University.
Our USP group will be leaving tomorrow morning at 5am for our 10 day trip to Rwanda. We are going there to learn about the genocide, and also so that we can experience and recognize the cultural differences that there are across Africa. It will also be a time for us USP students to bond with one another before we officially start classes on September 7th.
Everything is going so good and I will try to keep everyone updated as much as possible. Once classes start and I am set in a schedule I hope I will be able to have more access to internet time. Please bear with me until then! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ask me questions! It will help me so I know what to write about because there is so much to say! For now though, know that I am safe, having fun, and wishing you all were with me!