WOW!!!!! I knew what I was getting myself into, but I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I think that this is first time that I have ever experienced culture shock. Everything is so different here that it has definitely taken me the last week to get acclimated. After having some time to get used to my new living conditions, however, I am starting to get comfortable. My landlord is Mama Gertrude and she is awesome. I would guess that she is in her 60s and her English is a little rough around the edges, but she is wonderful. I understand why everyone calls her “Mama” Gertrude. She makes sure that Leslie and I are ok 24/7 and she has really made us feel at home. We have also been shown all of the ins and outs of the village by a local named Raymond. He also boards/lives in Mama Gertrude’s house and he has been an amazing guide and friend as Leslie and I figure everything out. So in spite of my initial shock, this experience is really becoming positive. There is also a Peace Core Volunteer named Heidi and she arrived today after being at a meeting all week. She showed us around the local school today and we were introduced to all of the students. Leslie and I also sat in on a few classes and it was decided that in addition to attending and helping run the school’s sanitation club on Thursdays, we are also going to help teach at least once a week. I am teaching English and Leslie is teaching Math. I am glad to finally get started and I can’t wait to contribute to some other schools as well. Heidi says that Katosi, the school we went to today, is one of thirteen in the area, but it is the only school that really benefits from foreigners, so she asked us to work at some of the other schools too. So starting Monday, Leslie and I are going to begin exploring some of the other schools to address sanitation issues as well as to decide which schools are in the most need of bio sand water filters.
I am very excited to get started and make my small difference. I am also extremely nervous. Heidi, the Peace Core volunteer, has been here for almost two years and she has done a lot like help the school get new latrines, started composting at the school, as well as taught the Katosi Women Development Trust how to make and sell yogurt. Yet there is so much to be done and I don’t know how we will do much in 8 weeks. It is a little overwhelming and discouraging so I guess I just have to continue with my specific project (water sanitation) and hope for the best. I am also skeptical about my teaching skills. I hope that I can get the hang of teaching children who DO NOT speak English. It is a little scary, but I guess all I can do is jump and in and see how it goes. Other than that I am just thankful for this experience and I hope that I can live up to my potential here in order to help others live up to their potential even after I am gone. Until next time.