Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pictures. Really!

Well Hello!

Back so soon? Yes. Yes you are. Why? For starters, I told you to come here on my Facebook page... And second, you love me. But why the second post so soon (after all, it took me a month to get around to posting this last update)? Well, (a.) I am in Kampala, and the internet is BLAZING fast here, so it is the perfect time to get the pictures up. And (b.) I was reading another PCVs blog, and I was inspired. I feel like I've let a few people down by not including more pics and more updates about my weekly activities. Granted, interesting things don't happen every day. But what I am realizing is that *WHAT* I consider interesting is changing. As I stated in the last post, the *newness* is wearing off, and that is disturbing. I don't want to become complacent. I want to remain the excited puppy, ripping around, checking things out, peeing on new trees. So, less journal, more blog. Cool? Cool.

PICTURES!!! Hope you like 'em.

Bikes aren't just for riding in Uganda. You see guys pushing around thousands of pounds of metal sheeting, hundreds of chickens, 10 jerry cans of water... or in this case a bunch of furniture.

Yes, there are bugs more terrifying than spiders...These are called Scrickets (spider + cricket... credit: Lizzie).

At a school in Gayaza. That's a whole lot of eyes on the muzungu. The girl in the middle of it all is haunting...

This is Nakasero Market in Kampala. The market actually extends back under some roofing to the left of this parking lot, and it is probably the best most beautiful farmers market I have ever been to. I just fully explored it all yesterday, and you can buy EVERYTHING there. Everyone kept offering to sell me Vanilla, which left me stumped until my friend Renee pointed out that vanilla was the priciest item sold at there. Wiley farmers.

Our language group developed a good method of dealing with the One-Too-Many Devon's. This was a sign up for MOCK LPI's (Language Proficiency Interviews) which we all failed even though we all walked out with shit-eating grins feeling confident. Turns out not a single PCT passed a mock. Their failing us was their way of MOTIVATING. Fantastic. At the actual LPIs our group DESTROYED the test with two of us (including yours truly) passing a level higher than the necessary Intermediate-Low. We were the only language group with a 100% passing rate.

During the construction of a Rocket Stove at Joe's house we had to mix saw-dust into clay to make it a better insulator. A dance party ensued. I love this picture.

PCTs after a mud wrestling match.

The finished rocket stove. I hear they are about 60+% more efficient than normal stoves, and, when made properly you can boil two pots of water with the same raging flame.

Fun with leaves.

Ugandan Lightening. Colorful.

Sunrise. Breathtaking.

A few of us walked by these kids on our way to dinner. I hear "tssssssssssss... tssssssss... tsss!" Stopping, I looked over and sure enough, they were spray-painting "God is Gud" on the wall. They began to dance and celebrate as we looked on in wonder.

Seeing this, I was taken back to a moment when Fey kept trying to buy two Carlos Rossi bottles of wine instead of one Concha y Torro bottle (because it was a better deal: 2 for $8 or 1 for $8). Well, Fey, in Uganda, you're better off drinking plastic-bag gin than pay 27 dollars for the wine.

Our trainers after white elephant. Shirley (in charge of the entire PCT program) laughed for 2 hours after the event. She couldn't get over the whole "stealing" from others part of the gifting process.

My language group and I singing "The 10 Weeks of Homestay" (to the tune of 12 days of Christmas) at the homestay thank you. The final lines, translated from the Rutooro we had to sing it in are as follows:

By the very end of homestay, I had received
Two thumbs up for style,
A fair price for pineapple,
Mud-covered legs,
Eighty power outages,
Flu and rabies shots,
Frightening mefloquine dreams,
Tons of dirty laundry,
Broken mountain bike,
"How are you, muzungu?!"
And matooke, matooke, MATOOOOOKKEEEEE.

Discussing cross-culture at the thank-you. This is us pretending to ride in a taxi. (In reality, there would have been a few more people stacked on).

Me with my little brother. This is one of my favorite pictures of PC yet.

MK the harpest. Girl has skills. But I think Sniper could take her.

Traditional dancing straight out of the north. In this picture, Cowboy Dave and his sister.

More dancing.

Me with my family (sans sisters) and Shirley and Jolie.

Me with my friend Rebecca. She sells construction supplies at the bottom of Kisimbiri, and became one of my favorite people in the Wakiso area.

My sister, Esther, decided that she was going with me to Kyenjojo on my last day home.

The enemy. From what I hear, PCVs have more trouble with these little bastards than any other pest.

The girls at the ambassadors house before swearing in.

The fella's.

The ambassador.

Me and Charlene representing VA!! She lives about 8 miles from my dad's house in Roanoke. When I left Roanoke for staging, she was in line just in front of me. Nervous and a bit sad, buzzing with nerves, it was her face and the word, "Devon?!" that made PC real... here in Uganda, she is basically my sister. Oddly, we have about 8 or 10 mutual friends back in Roanoke. This world is eerily small.


YEAH PEACE CORPS!! I am perfectly blocked (all but my right hand) by Grace (tall girl, second from left). This was during the final swear in when we took "the oath":

"I, Devon Murphy, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Just dropped off by this taxi as it heads on to Fort Portal with Devon and Chris. Bye bye training. Hello real world Uganda. The 4 hour trip from Kampala took about 8 hours because the people driving forgot their bosses daughter in Kampala (the point of driving down there in the first place), so to keep from losing the money they had charged us (the gas was actually free, paid for by the school), we had to wait in a town an hour out of Kampala until the girls bus arrived. And then we almost left two more people behind. Cluster.

The fact that I posted this just goes to show you that at the age of 27, I have acquired the maturity level of a 7 year old. Or a terrible 2.

(Peanut Butter. Duh.)

Beautiful rolling tea fields around Kyenjojo. You haven't seen green until you've seen tea and mango leaves.

Learning to weave baskets!

Sunset over the Rwenzoris. Gorgeous.

Passion Fruit Flower? Or Tree Jelly Fish?


Afternoon sun from my quiet spot.

Went to the Minister of Finance's Daughter's "Introduction". Big money. Big fun (not really). Too much time spent there. It was almost a 12 hour day. Thank god I had the Power of One to read. In this scene, there had been about 30 minutes in which different groups of woman came out dancing. In each group, the groom was supposed to determine if his wife was in it (it was playful). In the final group, he went through, scrutinizing each girl, and finally he stopped in front of his bride, tapped her, and they embraced for the first time in the ceremony. It was touching. The cool thing about these ceremonies is that the groom does not speak the entire time. Instead, his family sits on one side, and he has his best friend (chosen for his speaking abilities presumably) deal with the brides father (who in this case was one of the top lawyers in Uganda... I did NOT envy him for his job). Over the course of the day, the grooms family pays the bride price, converses with the other family, eats, dances, etc... it was worth seeing.

THIS is Peace Corps. Same pic. Flip it. Desaturate it. Sew them together. Bright, warm. Black/white Drab. It's the "ups" and it's the "downs." And when you put it all together, it's a beautiful view... sunrise on the horizon. The beginning of a truly unique day.

I'm sitting now in a surprisingly nice hotel (and cheap!) in KLA. A few more of "my kind" walked up to say hi, so I'm headed with them to grab a beer, shoot the shit, and then, I've got to get on the bus and head home. Class tomorrow. MATH!

I love you all (Especially you, Michelle!)


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