The fruit here is terrific! The pineapple are much sweeter than back home. There are tons of bananas, and I’m going to have some more types of fruit soon.
Devotions was good. Lisa asked me before we started if I was a Brethren. Oscar (one of the teachers) asked me just afterwards if I was a nun. I told both of them that I wasn’t. Lisa then told Oscar off for asking in such a blunt way. I told them that my mother had said far worse things about my head-covering.
Britt spent the morning vomiting, and Andrew spent it on the loo. I’d say that they have the same thing, but Britt’s is just her malaria pills.
School was much the same as yesterday, except that I am getting more able to tell who the different children are. It’s difficult because all the children look the same – they all even have the same haircut – very, very short (shaved through to buzz cut). Girls too!
I doing fine with interacting with them. I’m a lot quicker to notice misbehaviour than their regular teachers. Lisa said that as a rule, the teachers have difficulty doing more than one thing at the same time, so helping children with their work and watching out for misbehaviour is tricky for them.
The children are both extraordinarily compliant and extremely badly behaved. In some ways it’s like Frankston children: they’ll punch each other up the second the teacher isn’t looking.
Most of the Baby Class are 4 years old. However, several are older, as children start school when they can pay their school fees – and if they drop out and restart later, even years later, they continue where they left off.
One of the children, Elijah, is 6. He’s tiny, and hunchbacked. Apparently he only started walking 5 months ago – and now he is running about, slightly unsteadily, along with the rest of the children.
The class is slightly bigger – 32 children in each of the two classes. There are two teachers. The thing that most Westerners would notice early on is just how much the rooms smell like wee. Luckily for me, I’m used to worse smells!
I think the thing that most surprises me is just how ordinary everything is. It is what always strikes me about being overseas; it just doesn’t FEEL different. I think it will feel like I’m upside down, and it just doesn’t. It’s also hard that I don’t know how useful I am being here. I know that this trip is more about visiting for the first time, seeing how my health can handle being, and just experiencing it a bit. I also know that first time short-term missionaries are more a hindrance than people realise, but I expected… well, to feel more useful.
Primary school was pretty much the same as yesterday. I walked up by myself. Lots of people waved to the Mzungu on the way up. While at school it rained, and the rain here is like our summer showers – heavy, thunderous, but over pretty soon. It turned the tracks by the road to mud.
On the way back a bunch of Hope Primary children walked alongside me, asking me a ton of questions, including am I a nun, if not, why do you have that head-covering, am I married, and finally my name and other personal details. They were aghast at my name (pronounce SAHM here). “That’s a boy’s name,” I was told. I might have to change my name when I move here. I know Em from Em on a mission goes by Emmarie in Uganda, because Em is short for Emmanuel here.
Before dinner I went out for a walk. I went to the top of the street and turned the opposite way from the Primary School. The houses were terrible and there were little market stalls. A boda stopped and asked if I wanted to hop on, but I said no. Maybe I will catch one the weekend. Lots of people said, “How are you?” or waved at the mzungu, There was only 1 western style shop, a small supermarket / convenience store. I will probably go there for food treats once I have changed my money. Aside from that, there is a limited amount I want to buy from the local shops. I hope to go into Kampala proper to go shopping. I want a shirt that says mzungu, and some paper-bead necklaces for presents. Another book to read would definitely not go amiss either.
In terms of adapting, I’m not really homesick. I miss being around the people who ‘get’ me – Kallie especially – but I’m going ok. I think being a bit of a loner means that I’ve found things a bit easier in that way. As I don’t have a TV I’m not missing that, and am managing ok only having had the internet once. I’m glad I’ve scheduled posts in advance for that.
Time zone wise I’m fine. I’m getting up at 6-6:30 here (compared to 6:30-7 at home) and am going to bed earlier (between 8-9, compared with 9-10:30 at home), but I’m sleeping most of the night and am not too tired during the day.
My list of Luganda words has grown to 13, with a correction being made. I took my notebook with me to Primary school and was able to get the children to tell me a few words. Some I couldn’t even copy down, but small steps add up!
I was just thinking about what I miss from back home, when God sent a lizard into my room! Reminded me of my pet lizard, Robespierre. God is so good!