Back atcha/Settling in

What it is home pieces.

Out here holding it down at my site. Bought me a modem so it is internet city out’cheer. So what’s been going down since the last time I posted? Here we go!

Left the homestay with good ole Tata (she’s called a couple times since then ;)), headed to a city called Mbale where we had technical immersion. It was mega tight! We had a killer group (see picture of a couple friends below), killer current volunteers that toured us around and showed us their sites, and stayed in a ballin ass hotel (running water luls). Highlights – playing with over 100 screaming kids on top of a mountain, watching Titanic, and making a music video about RUMPS (re-usuable menstrual pads) to the tune of My Humps ©. Yee-haw!

After this week, we had a killer bit of relaxing in a place called Jinja, which is the ‘Source of the Nile.’ You can see the view from our hotel place over the river below, yay! They had a dope ass zipline that went into the river (although we’re not supposed to go into the water to avoid Schisto, but YOLO and shit), some groovy dance clubs where we got to break it down with some Ugandans, and running water! haha

Next headed to Lweza, a town outside of the capital. We met up with all of the cohort (45 now, we had one person do an Early Termination, which is a bummer but she had to make the right choice for herself) and got down! There was plenty of love shared over the few days we had together, I’m so happy with how awesome the group is. Our supervisors and counterparts (essentially work partner for the next two years) showed up and we had some cultural training alongside an outlining of expectations from each other.

Then the big day, swearing in! Yipee and stuff. We all had gotten some fresh ass clothes tailored (amazingly cheap here) with our language groups and showed up to the Ugandan Ambassador’s crib last week. He has such a balling ass house, with pictures of him and Obama and two ply toilet paper <3. We had all kinds of officials speak, thanking everyone. We had our Peace Corps leaders speak, which was super compelling and emotional. We had a few of the peeps in our cohort speak (including me ;)) and a couple of groups held down some crazy traditional Ugandan dances. It was amazing. He also had crazy horderves (first time I’ve written that word) out the wazzoo, and probably more than 400 people there.

So what’s next? Dance party at a place called Bubbles Express and there was revelry, Ugandan men creeping on the females of the cohort, and all kinds of emotions yay. We all parted ways the next day and shipped to different corners of the country for our sites.

It’s pretty great here. Very hot, very full of vegetation, hella animals being reared (baby goats are cuter than Michelle Tanner), amazing skies where you can see every star ever, great kids all around that want to help but also ask for everything that I own and it’s hard to say no. I have a balling ass bed, gas stove to cook on, and a mountain bike! I’ve been making trips to the nearest town Soroti (like right now) to use internets and buy foods and goods and services and stuff. It’s killer exercise (26 km) and my butt hurts.

More to come soon! Can’t be on this internets 4ever.

Much love, thinking about all of you

Milez

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Holding it down with Beatrice (my language teacher), Lucine (our country director) speaking her heart out, one of my favorite people Mackenzie, the Nile <3, Becca and Mackenzie being awesome, and my new crib! (I’ll post more detailed piks on it later)

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Back atcha/Settling in

Home stay, güey

Greetings dudes!

Finally on my Wi-Fi game today, staying at a hotel with a current volunteer in Mbale. Plenty of things been popping off, and I hope everyone is staying trill back in the States.

We headed out to Kumi three weeks ago and have been living with homestay families trying to get out language skillz down. It’s been pretty dank getting to learn the culture with some real ass Teso people. It’s two other volunteers, Anita and Shreya and myself in the Ateso language group, so we’ve been getting our bond on pretty hard the past few weeks. I stay with Tata (grandma in Ateso, peep the picture below) and four sisters. They are some of the most amazing, lighthearted, hardworking people I’ve met.

We’ve been living without electricity or running water, pooping in pit latrines, and sleeping under mosquito nets! All the essentials <3. I’ve really enjoyed the simplicity and manual part of the lifestyle. Outside of my comfort zone initially, but I feel that I’ve adjusted pretty solid (outside of the roosters always going ham at 4:30am). Learning to wash clothes, dishes and cook food without machines is neato.

We’ve gotten to go on some dope outings fa sho. Nyero rock paintings were super awesome, some of them were apparenly 2000 years old and we got to see some wild monkies! I dropped a banana around where they were tromping around and snapped it scooping it up :). We went out to a huge lake in Kumi and paddled out on these small fishermen’s boats to see them catching some Nile Perch and Mudfish. They butchered up a huge ass Mudfish while we were there and that was pretty wild, it’s like an even goofier Catfish.

We also got to go out to my Tata’s village where she grew up (her clan still lives there, so a huge amount of property is held down by her family). It was basically huge beautiful fields of gardens and thatched-roof houses. We walked the grounds and saw all of the naked kids and got to see how they harvest peanuts, cassava and millet. They rub cow dung on the floors and surrounding of the thatched roof houses to keep them flat and hard haha. We went to a traditional marriage a couple of weeks ago, it was pretty gnarly. They had the most elaborate set-up and they had this really long ceremony of the husband’s best men of sorts sorting through women to find who the real wife is, with hella dancing and dressed up folks doing their thang.

One more week here at homestay and then we’ll get to visit our future sites (I’ll be living in a duplex kind of situation with the doctor that I’ll be partnered up with) and getting some more training in Kampala before we start the projectz. I hope you’re all well, love hearing from you!

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Got dat monkey, Tata!, my language teacher Beatrice at the lake, and the traditional marriage ceremony going down. ❤

God speed!

Home stay, güey

Leaving dat compound

What it be friends. It’s been wild around here winding down with the training at this compound in the American bubble we’ve had going on. Haven’t had much opportunity for contacting folks back home, but hopefully this can be sufficient to keep some of my favorite peeps in the loop. It’s been a great few weeks getting to know all of the other trainees, current volunteers that come back to give some insight on service so far, and the Ugandan staff around the compound. It’ll be weird to separate from all of these friends tomorrow when we leave for our homestays, which will allow us to practice the language for our sites (I’ll be learning Ateso <3). I’m super amped on the project I got assigned. I’ll be working at a Health Center IV in a rural setting. I’ll be pretty out in the country, but the center should be pretty large (the rankings go Health Center I to IV and the next step up is hospital) with plenty of resources to make some things happen. I’ll have opportunities for empowering women using nutrition and agriculture. We learned a good bit about permagardening, which is out of this world. It basically makes extremely efficient use of land and allows for minimal maintenance, along with harvesting during tougher times like the dry season here by capturing the water and keeping it available. I’ll also have the chance to work with some youth groups and hopefully be a good role model for them. I’m looking forward to bringing a different perspective about equality from a gender standpoint. The views aren’t quite what I’m used to in the US, with women being submissive. I think it will be difficult to deal with that reality for a while here, but hopefully I can inject a bit of perspective switching within the community I’ll be in. Thanks for tuning in! Here are some pictures of the compound, one teaching a Ugandan friend some break dancing, and a view of the city Mukono: FullSizeRender[3] FullSizeRender[2] FullSizeRender[1] FullSizeRender

Leaving dat compound

Getting it poppin’

What it do dudes! Out here at the training site in Uganda. Been holding it down with all of the fellow trainee folks, getting to know some dope people. Stepping up with some malaria medz today and trying not to get diarrhea

Ugandan cooking has been solid, plenty of bananas, potatoes, rice and beans all up in this. Been busy all over the place getting immunizations, learning how to not die over the next few years and team building it up. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been around a group of such like-minded folks, really easy to integrate with. We’ll be picking this week from a pretty hefty list of potential sites to serve at for the remainder of our time. Super jazzy. Yee haw!

Getting it poppin’