This week has been filled with firsts and also subtle reminders of why I love East Africa. Uganda is similar to Kenya, which I believe is one reason why it has been somewhat easy to transition. Yet, I am still waiting for the moment where I just completely break down into culture shock. So far, so good though!
On to the firsts. I rode my first boda-boda this week. For those of you who don't know, boda-bodas are motorcycles you hire. They are everywhere in Uganda! You flag a man down, hop on the back of his boda and he will take you wherever you want to go (for a small fee of course). Thankfully Lori, my supervisor, started me on a small route from our home into town. After my first ride, I got off and was shaking. Mind you, this was my first time on a motorcycle ever! With my practicality constantly in my head, I have always thought of them as one of the most dangerous modes of transportation and therefore have avoided them like the plague. I will apologize now for those who read this and absolutely love motorcycles. Now that taking a boda is a practical mode of transportation, I think I will grow to enjoy it. The next thing I conquered with bodas this week was to ride side-saddle. What is a woman to do when she is wearing a skirt and has to ride a boda?
I also met two of the three organizations I will predominately work with. Both are a little out of town in nearby villages. Both I am excited to work with for varying reasons. More to come on these I am sure. For now, lets just say that I am incredibly honored to be part of their work. One thing I quickly realized during these visits is that I need to learn some of the language. While English is commonly spoken, not everyone has a strong command of my language. Hopefully language lessons will start in the next few weeks. I'm still debating if I will just take lessons to learn the basics or move beyond that. Any suggestions?
Besides meeting the organizations, taking bodas and getting a feel of the town, I have also immersed myself in Ugandan curriculum for grades one through four. I've read a fair amount, asked questions, and am ready to dive in with the teachers and students. To give some background, Uganda has a new curriculum which is focused more on problem-solving and creative thinking that the rote method of teaching. I am working with a few schools to help them transition to this new style of teaching.
Well, off to make dinner with Lori and most likely watch a bit of the t.v. show Chuck.