There’s a nice bicycle shop owner in town (also named John; there isn’t a large diversity in names here) who I’ve been taking my new bike to. I bought it in Kumi last week and it has been giving me all sorts of grief ever since. Its front tire was completely flat when I got home, the back wheel is mis-aligned (and also spins funny), and all of the little nuts and bolts are slowly undoing themselves because, apparently, locking nuts don’t exist in this country. But anyway, John has been taking decent care of me, told me to bring the bike in some morning or early afternoon to get the wheel lined up right.
I headed down to Mbale this yesterday with the two nearby PCVs from my group. We met two more there, plus a few from another training class, and had a great day of eating Indian food, buying things for our houses that aren’t available at site, and otherwise just chillaxing. I came back today, though there was no particular reason for me to do so. I feel like I should be forcing myself to stay at site so that I adjust more quickly, even though I would prefer to be associating with my fellow PCVs. I just need time, but I feel like I have too much of it!
Just a warning: This post is a little on the obese side. I think you’ll get what I mean.
I want to discuss a little the guy that I am trying to help, and why I’m having difficulty figuring out how best to do it. He is 17 and has been out of school for some time, but wants to go back. He would be in Primary 6 (something like 5th grade). His father died, then his mother committed suicide, then his grandmother was poisoned, and, finally, his uncles stole the land that he and his brothers were supposed to inherit. He doesn’t even know where that land is. I don’t yet have a timeline on these events, and I certainly don’t want to prod.
I’m in the computer lab, after meeting with my counterpart to discuss our goals and ambitions for the next term. And under a pile of newspapers in the corner is a large skink. He’s just hanging out down there. There are tons of lizards here, and they are generally fairly large (6 inches or more), which makes my life just a little bit better. Things have settled down since my last post and I am back on an upswing. A kid peaked in the door and told me to give him money and I just glared at him and told him to leave. He did. I’m gaining the upper hand.
But hopefully not. Here’s the deal:
There is a well known cycle that all PCVs go through over their time at site. They start out very excited, elated, happy, and any other mood that implies extreme happiness. Everything is new and interesting. Then after some time, the exact length depending on the individual, PCVs get depressed as they wonder if they are achieving anything, find that they miss home, family, and their fellows PCVs at other sites, etc. Then mood goes up and down a few more times, eventually, hopefully, ending with contentment or happiness with the random ups and downs of life.
I started with a negative slope. I was gung ho (sp?) and ready to go on Wednesday, but then left on Thursday. When I arrived I was very excited to meet everyone, but then there was a teachers’ meeting (which I attended) and there were too many people for me to remember names and my mosquito net was too small for the bed etc. BTW, this is going to be a pretty negative post, so (especially you, mother) keep things in perspective and remember that my situation is likely to change rapidly. That said, on we go.
So I got dropped off at site on Thursday, not having any idea what to expect. I called my counterpart when I arrived, and he met me at a shop near to where I got off. I chatted a bit with the shopkeeper and some gentlemen seated outside who were all very nice and welcomed me into their town. They assured me that it is a great place.
Instead of a PCT. “T” for Trainee, “V” for Volunteer (or Vendetta). Anyway, we had our ceremony today, in which I gave a speech without writing it first. Good times. Most new Volunteers went to site today, but the Ateso and Lango language groups (mine being the former) are leaving tomorrow morning because we wouldn’t have gotten to site today before dark. And we absolutely need to be there during the day because I will not have electricity (the Peace Corps dream, right?) and need to be able to move into my new house.