Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving and Malua

So Thanksgiving was last week and (of course), I was sucked into going to Mud Town, Kayunga.  And as usual, I left exhausted, covered in mud and mosquito bites but with no regrets.  My amazing PCV friends put together such a magical and extravagant Thanksgiving feast.  Three turkeys, 3 stuffings, 5 casseroles, about 100 lbs of mashed potatoes and 22 thankful people, both American and Ugandan.  They Ugandans were blown away by the food.  It was really cool to see everyone get together to plan out an execute this amazing evening despite the challenges of being in such a little town.  Peace Corps pretty much took over the kitchen of Hotel Katukomu for about 10 hours or so.  Everyone contributed in one way or another to the food and we all went around and gave short speeches on what we were thankful for.  It was a really amazing night!   On Thanksgiving Eve, we played beer pong at Rebecca's place which was awesome!  On that Kayunga journey, I also had some time to go visit Maria Gorete Primary School (my secondary project) to get some video footage for the fund raising video I'm working on.  I really do love the people in that place and I have made some amazing memories there.  I should be more thankful that I get to go back to my awesome little city that I love instead of bitching about having to visit my awesome friends in Kayunga.

I returned to Mukono on Friday, a haggard mess but with social obligations yet to be met.  It was Alisat's birthday (she's one of Alanas counterparts at the Youth Center and a really awesome lady), so we had to do some celebrating.   My good buddy Keith (PCV) and another volunteer at his org are from Western Uganda and had come out for Thanksgiving and wanted to see the night life of Mukono.  Several of my closest artivist bros had just finished a full day of screen printing shirts for the World AIDS Day event and were also ready to live it up in Mukono.  The night was ripe for mischief and adventure!  So we got the bro team together and hit the Malua circle.  I don't know if I've described the Malua in my blog yet, but it's a big clay pot of this sloppy millet beer mixed with hot water.  It's usually found in a really tucked away, hole in the wall place that is combined with a pork joint.  Everyone sits around in a circle it with big, long reed straws and drinks this warm alcoholic slop out of the pot in the middle.  It can be up to like 20 people in the circle and they upgrade the size of your pot as more people join the circle.  I hated the taste at first, but now it's totally grown on me.  You spend about $1 and you can sit there for as long as you like (we did 4 hours the first time I went there) and drink as much as your belly will hold.  It's definitely my favorite cultural experience here so far.  Everyone is super excited when there is a Muzungu (white person) there.  The conversation usually turns to politics and bad jokes and general merriment is experienced by all.  By the time it was getting dark, we were all singing church hymns at the top of our lungs, eating pork and enjoying each others company.

After drinking Malua to our hearts content (it's actually pretty low alcohol %, so you never get too drunk), we proceeded to hit up this art exhibition where we met up with other artivists and checked out their awesome crafts.  These guys are really talented craft makers!  Then we hit Casablanca (Alana and my regular hangout) for a night of hookah and dancing and mayhem.  It ended up being one of the best nights I've had in Uganda so far.

And then the next morning I went back to Mabira Forest with this really awesome Canadian girl that Alana introduced me to.  Zoey and I spent all day cruising around through the jungle and enjoying the complete chaos that is the public transit in Uganda.  It was an awesome end to my Thanksgiving vacation.  So here I sit on Sunday morning, reflecting on the awesomeness of the past 4 days and realizing that the vacation is over and I've gotta get my shit together and get back to work.  My apartment is filthy and I have tons of preparing to do for the World AIDS Day Event at the end of the week as well as a million other little projects I need to check in on.

Life is really good right now.

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