Where to begin... Life is moving along quite quickly as wings begin to take dream (that's a George Bush quote by the way "where wings take dream"). So, it sounds like I'm going to be able to help out this school that my bro, Maurice, started for orphans who lost their parents to HIV. I'm planning to get their new school house built and filled with school stuff through various fund raising and grants and my awesome mentor, Rebecca Workman, just gave me the idea of having this other PCVs organization build them a water tank so they have clean water to drink through another grant. And then there's yet another grant that I can apply for to get them a truck full of school books. So I'm getting pretty excited about my secondary project.
Rebecca is my mentor through the PC Peer Support Network and she's a really good friend and resource for getting shit done in this country. She's dating Craig McIntosh who was my room mate when we staged for departure in Philadelphia and was in my language training group, so we've gone through this whole crazy adventure together. I take the shitty taxi ride to hang out in Rebecca's mud town, Kayunga, pretty often both because her and Craig are normally there to chill with and one of the artivists 4 life branches is there. I hate the town, but I love the people. I'll be heading there for Thanksgiving to have some awesome food with some awesome friends. I'll be rocking my stars and stripes bandanna and starting as many U.S.A chants as I can.
Yesterday Alana and I met with this other really cool organization that works with teenagers that are pregnant or have been pregnant. They approach it in a really holistic way that keeps these young mothers out of the cycle of dropping out of school and having a bunch more kids. They've got a psychologist and a social worker and they do crafts and life skills lessons and all kinds of awesome confidence building stuff. So they are going to start making use of the youth center for some of their activities and Alana and I might do some talks for them on various life skills things. I wonder if any of my blog readers have any material on being a new mother and being pregnant and all that stuff that they might want to send me? (AaronRBlanchard@gmail.com)
The youth center is pretty slow right now, but there are a bunch of awesome things that are going to be happening soon. Due to Alana's planning and persistence, we are having a big World AIDS Day Event that the US Ambassador and Peace Corps officials are going to attend. Artivists 4 life is going to be performing some traditional dances and some skits about HIV issues. We're also going to be doing face painting and having a big drum circle (which I'm super excited for). Other artivists 4 life stuff is just business of preparing our annual report and proposal for next years activities. That stuff's not terribly exciting, but necessary.
Alana and I have met these great muzungus from Uganda Christian University (a couple Americans and a Canadian) that who made us dinner last night and went out on the town. It was really fun and will probably happen again soon. We went to Casablanca, which is a hookah bar that Alana and I frequent which is equidistant from both of our houses. It's a college crowd, but it's really fun and we meet a lot of interesting people there. It's a good place to have a few beers and get down on some politics and philosophy with some well educated Ugandans.
In the scheme of things, I think my service and my life are moving in a pretty positive direction. However, always looming in the back of my mind is the Peace Corps Guilt (read the article I posted) and the uncertainty of whether we're just creating a foreign aid dependent society and digging them deeper. Those things are impossible to ignore, but only weigh on you as much as you let them. You just power through and remind yourself that you knew this wasn't going to be easy. In the most narcissistic chambers of my mind, I remind myself that no matter what, this experience is only going to leave me more enlightened and a better person both professionally and personally so... positive net gain.
That last paragraph sounded a little gloomy. The reality is that the majority of my time is spent happy and excited and still freaking out about being here and actually doing this! Tomorrow I'm going back into Mabira National Forest with my new friends and it's going to be awesome!