Achoma bai! That means good morning. I realize its afternoon here BUT I can’t pronounce that yet so this will have to do.
Just like that my first week at the clinic is finished! It has definitely been chaotic at times but I honestly love what I am doing here and I really think this could have a major impact on the lives of many people.
I decided I would dedicate this post to what living here has been like.
It is literally hotter than hell in the summer time here although I seem to be the only one phased by the heat. During the day it is around 85 but it feels so much hotter. When I walk to work around 7:30 in the morning, most people are wearing long sleeves or even light jackets. Meanwhile I show up to work looking like a just ran 7 miles to get there. This afternoon on the way home one of the volunteers goes “hopefully you’ll leave here a lot darker.” I’m just going to go ahead and take that as a compliment. Rainy season is supposed to start in March and it honestly can’t come soon enough. Yesterday it looked like it was going to rain and I honestly felt like it was from the movie Holes when all the boys’ hopes and dreams are crushed when it looks like it will but never rains.
I have come to find that there really isn’t a Ugandan staple food. Everything varies from area to area. I am slowly moving away from rice, which I stuck to the first couple of days, and starting to try new things. I had dinner with Twalib on Tuesday and he let me try his Malakwang. It is essentially a jar of peanut butter heated up with some butter and leafy vegetables (definitely a lighter options for any of you watching your *~cals~*). It was essentially peanut butter soup. They also have about 5 different kinds of bananas here and I absolutely love every one. They are so fresh and you can also get one for about $0.05. For lunch at the clinic we have chipatis, which are basically a wheat tortilla with egg. They are sweetened and definitely very good. Last night I went to an Ethiopian restaurant with my two 30 year old pals (Lars included, so Nancy tell my dad he can stand down). I’ve included the picture from this dinner below but I honestly have no idea what I was eating (which is probably a good thing). Not going to lie, I really don’t feel the need to ever eat there again.
Gulu town is set up on a grid system which has made it very easy to get around and not get lost. Here is a picture of the road that I am staying on.
I am staying in a guest house (up on the left) which has a proper bed and bathroom however most people live on the outskirts of the town in small huts and shacks down roads like these.
The “motorcycle bikes” that you see in some of these pictures are called boda bodas and they are the taxis of Gulu. No matter where you are going you can get there for 1,000 shillings (30cents) as long as it is within the district. I’m not supposed to take them (hey mom) because they definitely are very dangerous so I can’t attest to how a ride on one of them is. I do have to say that if I don’t get hit by one by the end of this trip I will consider myself lucky.
Although the cost of living is much less here, the poverty is also extreme. When I was talking to one of the waitresses that works at my guest house, she told me she earns around150,000 shillings, which is roughly $50 a month and she says that this is a great salary for here. Definitely helps put everything in perspective and makes me realize how fortunate we all are.
Not exactly sure what I have in store for my first weekend here but I’ll keep you posted.
PS- Happy Birthday Anthony and Connor!