Saturday, June 6, 2009

First Week on site in Katosi

Hi everyone! We don't have internet in my village so this weekend Rhea and I are visiting some friends in the town of Mukono (about an hour away) to visit an internet cafe. I want to try and describe my life in Katosi as best I can but there's way too much I want to tell everyone, so I'll do my best but I'll have TONS of stories, and hopefully pictures when I get back!

As far as life in the village goes, it was pretty shocking and overwhelming at first but I'm adjusting well and its definitely and experience. The power is really sporadic and there is no running water or inside toilets. We are also cooking all our own food which means the dishes have to be done by hand immediately so the mosquitoes don't come.

Katosi is a bigger village than I thought, theres a ton of produce stands and little food stores with the basics, theres also one gas station, a “post office”, a few restaurants and like 500 schools since theres literally a million kids. Lining the street are storefronts and then the housing compounds are behind the stores and believe me, they are the real deal…some are just like TV: mud huts with thatched roofs, etc. That’s been the most shocking thing…we are definitely in real Africa—the kids with bloated bellies, no shoes, tattered clothes and I want to do so much to help them but I know it will be tough.

So the village is right on Lake Victoria which is GORGEOUS…it’s a fish trading post so theres always boats coming in and out. That also means that there is always a breeze so its really not that hot. Its way hotter in Raleigh or even Sherwood but its just incredibly really dusty here. The “apartment” that Rhea and I are staying in is in a little courtyard thing behind the office and dairy store that are on the street front. There’s a gate that they lock at night so we feel really safe. Also in the courtyard is a nurse’s clinic, a kitchen, 4 latrines, and 3 rain water cisterns. There’s one other apartment where the nurse Esther lives nextdoor…she is the NICEST lady ever. I don’t know what we would do with out her…she’s helped us cook, buy things from town, introduce us to the women… everything! In return, I want to teach her how to use a computer because she's never used one and is really eager to learn before she goes to get her official nursing license in the fall. Also in the courtyard is Gertrude’s house. Gertrude is the mother of the founder of the organization so she’s pretty much everyone’s boss but they all call her mama and we do too because she treats us like her daughters. Unfortunately, she is pretty sick right now so she’s in Kampala for treatment but she’s left her house open for us to go in during the day which is nice because its a lot bigger and cooler than our little apartment. Where we’re living there are 2 rooms and a “bathroom” which is literally a cement closet with a drain where we do our bucket baths (which I’ve become pro at by the way). In one room are our mosquito nets and beds and in the other is a sofa, 2 chairs, and a gas stove. basically a bunson burner for us to cook on. Theres also a fridge which we pretty much use just to keep the ants away from food instead of keeping things cold since the power is so sporadic.

The village is really loud at all times. Theres a loudspeaker across the street that does death announcements and soccer scores like 3 times a day and there are so many animals EVERYWHERE. There’s like 5 chickens and roosters and a goat that live in the courtyard. Deborah also adopted a cat named Maria that keeps trying to get in…I hate cats and Rheas allergic, and all the Ugandan’s think its weird that she had a pet anyway so we’re trying really hard to get rid of it :)

As far as work goes, its still pretty slow to really take off but that’s just how things are in Uganda. I’ve started visiting some schools to introduce myself so I can’t wait to go back and help them with specific projects.. I’ll keep you updated with that as it comes along. Right now we’re working mainly with 2 guys named Fred and Leonard who are in charge of the Katosi field office—they are both really nice and would do anything to keep us happy. There’s also another intern who is here for the same time from the University in Kampala named Musisi.

Its been really neat getting to see all of the projects that KWDT runs and I'm excited to help out in as many of them as possible. Right now I'm working on school sanitation and hygiene which should take most of the 2 months but I definitely want help in other areas as well.

My internet time is almost up! if there's anything you want to know just ask and I'll try to mention it next time..that was mostly a description but more stories to follow.

Love and miss you all,

No comments: