Monday, September 21, 2009

SuperStar Moments in Africa

Here are just some of the moments where I have felt  famous in Africa:

  1. One day after we went to church in Rwanda I decided to play football (soccer) with our translaters. We walked to their school to play, I was the only girl and one of three white people. As we began to walk through the school all the students followed us to the field and lined the field to watch us play. I felt really awkward as I do most of the Phil was the first to kick the ball and the crowd ooh'ed, next Brian kicked the ball and the crowed ah'ed. I gained confidence and stole the ball from Brian and kicked it...the Crowd cheered as if I was David Beckham...hahaha I know right? Our translaters decided to take us somewhere where there would be less of a crowd so we went to a different field where we continued to play and I continued to dominate... basically the Africans were inpressed and said I had power and I felt like a super star.
  2. When walking down the street everyone yells your name... Muzungu (white person)
  3. Mothers point you out to their babies so you can be their first muzungu
  4. Children try to touch you and walk beside you
  5. I got asked to M.C. the Ugandan Independence day party at my brother's school.

Big Girl You Are BEAUTIFUL

Calling all fat girls to Africa

Here in Africa the ideal body type is a girl that is bigger... I have the ideal body type which is so contrary to America and the West...

Also, in Africa it is not taboo as it is in America to talk about someone's body... people are very blunt... I am so used to people saying I am a beautiful girl and avoiding the issue of my body all together. Here I get told that I am fat or big at least once a day, Africans mean it as a complement...and the first couple of times it was just a funny cultural difference, but the novelty has now run out. I cannot help but innerly in my Western mindset take it as negative and I am beginning to have a complex. I am ready to just start to avoid the issue all together again.

But if you are a big girl and you relish in your body...Come to Africa... they will appreciate just as much!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Everything is Harder in Africa

The name says it all...everything is harder in Africa. I am not complaining- these are just the facts of my life here...
1. The dirt here is red and coats everything within 10 minutes. It gives me a new appreciation for foot washing since we walk everywhere.
2. I bathe in a bucket- at night we go outside and unlock our tank that holds our water (from the rain) and fill up multiple buckets and jerry cans with water (which is sometimes already brownish red) and bring them in the house. In the morning I wake up at 6, bring my bathing supplies, towel, and basin into the bathroom. I stick all the supplies in the tub and begin to pour water from a small drinking glass into my hair as I am bent over the tub. I then shampoo and rinse; by then the water is completely brownish red (the color of the dirt). I then proceed to get into the tub and try to clean the dirt off using a washcloth, cup, and basin-knowing that as soon as I walk outside I will be dirty again.
3. I was my clothes by hand- we separate colors- then you wash similar colors in the same bucket. You stick all the clothes in one bucket of water; add detergent and let sit for about ten minutes. You then scrub each individual item with your knuckles and put it into another bucket with soapy water where you will wash it a second time. The clothes will them be rinsed twice in some times dirty sometimes clean rinse water (in two different buckets). The clothes will then hang on the line until they are dry (can take 5-26 hours). The final step is to iron them to kill the eggs the bugs have lain and make sure you look "smart".
4. We cook by fire. I have not done too much of it but everything takes longer and is harder. Most thinks take a few hours to cook, and a lot of preparation to do so.
5. The roads are potholed and gravel- for me this means you fall a lot more and get some wicked bruises, scrapes, and scars while everyone is saying "oh, soury" in a Ugandan accent.
6. The TOILETS! Some do not have seats so you squat and some are just porcelain basins in the ground so you have to squat... I have even been in one that was a floor-tilted with a hole in the corner...I sanitized my feet after that one. Luckily at home we have a toilet with a seat...we just flush it by throwing a bucket of water down it.
7. There are germs everywhere! That’s true about any country but I got a parasite so I am saying it is especially true here. If a Muzungu even touched Lake Victoria they would get one.
8. Homework- only because I do not want to try, and I don't want to take time that I could be spending with my family to do it.
9. Not getting have the right of way!
There are others but I don't want to overwhelm you all...ha-ha it’s truly great here though...

My Ugandan Family

So, I guess I will just begin at the beginning with the Blogs. I am and will be living with a family for almost my entire stay in Mukono. My family is as follows:

Mamma Rohbina (60's though she doesn't look a day over 45) - she is the matriarch of the family. She is a big, jovial woman that loves and thanks God with all of her being. So far we have both bonded in our Love of God and of laughing. She calls me "cheeky", but it’s a good thing.

Henry (25) - is Mamma's late brother's youngest son. He cannot find work so he spends his days helping Mamma and doing odd jobs around town. He is really nice...and I believe that he is slightly afraid of me,

William (22) - He studies law in Kampala. He is not Mamma's biological son but is her late husband's son. He likes American's and the fact that American Girls talk back. He was the first brother to open up to us. The first night we were in the house he helped us hang our mosquito nets and set up our room. He also helped teach us the Buganda tribal dance; and in turn me and my roommate taught him and Geoffrey how to swing and ballroom dance.

Geoffrey (20) - he is away at boarding school and was really shy around us at first. He is amazing at the Buganda dance. He is also Mamma's late husband's son.

Sage (20) - is also away at boarding school-he didn't really talk to us when he was around. I don't really know how he fits in.

Sylvia (19 or 20) - She is the only sister and I think she is Mamma's niece? She was quiet at first but she is really starting to open up. We talk about life and politics and I cannot wait to know her more. She taught us how to do our laundry...which takes FOREVER. She likes to dance... I think we will be good friends.

Peter (20?)- Peter is a nephew? He looks sixteen though and it is one of our inside jokes. I also think he is the naughty brother which I continually tell him and he continually tells me he is not (though he really is). He loves hip-hop, rap and R&B, just music in general...he also loves to dance and we have fun times with that.

Robert (20?)- He is a neighbor's son whose mother has passed away. He is so wonderful. He talks quiet and stutters sometimes...he wants to be a doctor and he love Jesus. Sometimes I will walk into his room and he will be reading a biology book and singing along to gospel music. He is just quiet and funny and a little quirky.

Julie (19) - is also in the USP program and is the only other muzungu (white person) in the family. Her father is a preacher and she is from Kansas. She is this tall, beautiful, American blonde-that is just as excited about this experience as me.

That is the entire family, so far... and there will be more stories to come but that is a break down so you all know who I am talking about in the posts to follow.