Friday, September 25, 2009

The Family

Ok. I am really not doing so well at keeping this up-to-date. It seems like there is so much to sayand I just get overwhelmed. However, I will try to fill you in a little. Mostly about things concerning my family.

I am beginning to really enjoy spending time with my family. It is getting less and less awkward. My mom is a teacher at the local primary school. She has many students and it seems as though she is overworked. This week she was even more overworked because many of her colleagues were gone to a conference. She had 250 students and had to grade all of their books every night. I am hoping that maybe some day I can go to the school with her and see how the system operates here.

My father is a Reverend with the Anglican church (which is the dominant denomination around here, so it seems). He is at church all day most every day. Today he is teaching about 1,000 students about conservation and stressing the planting of trees. He also is taking a class at UCU. He has field work to do and a 30 page paper to write. So he is quite busy the majority of the time. But he will take time to sit and talk with me in the evenings. We have discussed politics multiple times due to the tense circumstances. For those of you who have not heard, there were some riots throughout Uganda a couple weeks ago having to deal with a clash between the national government and the Baganda (tribe). It was pretty intense. Not to worry, though. The program was very over-protective of us and our safety is definitely the priority.

Back to the family. Isaac (7) and Deborah (6) are still very shy around me. I haven't had much of an opportunity to interact with them because by the time I get home they are tired and falling asleep on the couch. We have been traveling on all the weekends but one thus far, so I haven't been able to spend time with them then. The situation is further complicated by the fact that the two don't speak English. They are learning in school, but Luganda is the only language they can really speak and understand. And I obviously do not know Luganda (although I am learning a few words).

Dokas (9 months) is finally starting to warm up to me. She does not cry every time she sees me as she did the first few weeks. Josephine told me that I was the first white person that Dokas had seen. She will finally let me hold her and she treats me as she does the rest of the family. It is so great. However, she has been not feeling well the past couple of days. Mother is supposed to be taking her to the hospital today. Hopefully they will be able to figure out what is disturbing her.

Josephine is an 'auntie' that lives with us. I am not quite sure whether she is related or not. She is closer to my age, so I enjoy talking to her and can be more myself around her. The other day I came home and she was preparing chapati. I was able to help fry them. That was a great experience (especially because I love chapati and plan to make them upon my return home). We were talking the other day in class about how this is a hierarchical society. The people who are not actually family members do not have all the privileges of the family. Josephine and Agnes (the housekeeper), do the majority of the work, do not bathe in the inside bathroom, and do not eat dinner in the living room. Coming from an egalitarian society, I tend to think that this is unfair, but no one here seems to have a problem with it, so I guess it is alright.

In the evenings, we sometimes have prayers as a family. They always begin with a song or two. Then we sometimes have a devotional-type thing. Finally, we kneel and pray for a great multitude of things. I always find it interesting what they pray for (when it is in English and I can understand). My mother always prays for 'everyone'. One of her prayer requests last night was for the students in primary 7 because they have exams coming November. I love hearing their prayers. At the end, we usually wrap up with yet another song. I think this time is so beautiful.

Saturdays are washing days. I have only washed my own clothes once so far. And I didn't even really wash them. I just rinsed. It is such a labor intensive process. I would have never thought it would be that difficult. There are 5 buckets lined up. The first is for washing. Then there are about 3 for rinsing and the buckets rotate as the water in them gets more and more soapy. I would try to wring out the clothes and my mother would usually come over and do it for me because "you must have energy". The spin cycle is a wondrous invention. However, I made it through my first time and will have many more opportunities to improve my skills.

I am getting so much more used to the food here. I actually quite enjoy many of the things that I once despised. My favorite is obviously chapati. I also get quite excited when we have fish. Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and cabbage are all also at the top of my list. I have begun to really enjoy g-nut sauce. Matoke is not so bad. Neither is rice. Although the meals do get quite monotonous. I still really do not enjoy posho. No flavor. And I cannot eat bitter berries. We are also getting to eat quite a bit of American food. We went to Jinja last weekend and were treated very well. We had pizza, chips, chicken tenders, etc. Today we are having enchiladas and brownies. There is much more access to these things than I would have thought.

Ok. I'm really tired of writing. I will attempt to update soon. I still haven't discussed classes or our Jinja trip (apart from the awesome food). Things are going well. Love you all!

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