Patty and I went to see Ann Onley, a lady that served in the Peace Corps in Uganda for two years in the 1960s. She has very fond memories of Uganda. She was a teacher at Iganga Secondary School. Currently, she resides at a home for the Elderly at Wesley Ridge. She doesn’t have very close family and she lit up when Patty and I arrived. Ann is a bubbly person and as far as I could tell, she is at home in this place. She is good friends with most of the folks there and she dressed up in a Kanzu(long robe usually worn by men at traditional wedding ceremonies) and hat for our visit. Bless her! I cannot imagine sending my mum or my grandfather to a home for the Elderly. It would break my heart. That’s something I treasure about where I come from; that we still take care of old people and have them in our homes even when they are sick. Ann lost her busuuti (gomesi), traditional Ugandan garb for women in a house fire over three decades ago. She has never recovered from that loss. When I get back to Kampala, I will get a tailor to sew her a new gomesi and post it to her. I hope to see her soon when the weather gets nicer.
I went bowling with my colleagues from work on Monday afternoon(I am surely blessed!). My first bowling experience turned out to be so much fun. I came last twice and second in the last game. Not bad for a first timer I guess.
I was at Ohio Public Radio on Friday job shadowing with Andy Chow. It was exhilarating; one of the best shadow experiences I’ve had so far. I’ve never given radio a second thought as a career but I was greatly inspired to look into it. The thrill of getting news scoops, doing voice overs for news stories was palpable. Also, I met an interesting intern called Caleigh who is way fun! Did I mention that I met a South African girl called Nana that goes to a Christian University in Canton? I was in the shop at the State House with Neva and we were waiting for Andy to come pick me up. I saw her braids and told Neva I thought the black girl in the shop was African. Neva nudged me to go over and say hi to her(I am way too shy so I stalled!). The object of our interest(Nana) then received a phone call. That sold her! Her accent was very faint- she has an Americanized South African accent but it was just enough to confirm to me that she is from the mother-land. So I went over and said hello and told her I am from Uganda. She squealed in absolute delight. She told me she doesn’t often meet people from Africa in Columbus. She is a Political Science major and is doing her Internship at the State House. We chatted a bit and exchanged numbers. We’re supposed to meet again this week.
So Mike, Patty and I had a quiet weekend indoors. The weather was so much nicer. The first day I got here, I fell in love with the snow. The second day, after experiencing bone chilling cold, I was pretty much DONE with the winter! It’s not as warm as Uganda( I’ll never complain about the heat in Kampala or Mukono again by the way!) but 11 degrees Celsius is certainly a delightful improvement from -8 degrees. I got to walk on the streets in Downtown Columbus without a sweater(It was so cool! I felt like one of those tourists they show in the movies crossing New York streets ! 🙂 ) Speaking of movies, I watched Dallas Buyers Club this weekend. Jared Leto, you have me hooked now!
When the weather warmed up yesterday, we went over to Shaw and Sandy’s farm. They have a chicken called Henrietta 🙂 And they love her too much to kill her for dinner. I volunteered to do the evil deed(kill the kitchen and pluck the feathers off if need arose!) PS: I am not evil. I still have a heart(Just trying to help out in a complicated situation!)! Also, I got to taste maple syrup. It’s a cross between honey and vanilla. And it’s got from sap tapped from Maple trees. In Mike’s words, Sandy and Shaw are tree vampires(there were tubes on almost the trees in the yard to collect the sap).
Talking about culture shock, initially, I was baffled that people here have lunch and dinner much earlier than people in Uganda do. Lunch is at 11 a.m, dinner(supper) is usually between 4.30-6 p.m. At home, we have lunch at 1 p.m and dinner(supper) usually between 7-9 p.m. I’ve adjusted pretty well though and I must admit that I actually prefer eating much earlier. Also, it’s pretty normal for people here to have conversations in the restrooms(while doing their business!). The first time somebody attempted to have a conversation with me(we were in adjacent toilets meanwhile), I was baffled. My jaw literally dropped to the floor and I giggled nervously as I thought of the quickest way to run out of the rest rooms and avoid further discomfort. A few months down the road, it’s become pretty normal. I will try not to do it when I get back home though. My mother would be horrified!
Meanwhile, it’s so hard having braids on for months. I hate long hair; I hate having to grow my hair or to braid it for that matter. My mum will not hear any of that. My girlfriends think I am ridiculous for wanting short hair(I had a bald head a year ago and I loved it!Okay, it wasn’t plain bald. I tinted my head with permanent gold hair dye )My brother was so embarrassed to be seen with me during that hair episode of mine. But I loved it and the freedom that came with not having to comb it into a neat afro or sit in a salon for hours to have it braided. I am suffering with braids(yes, suffering!).Some of the braids are falling off(WITH MY HAIR!!) The horror! My forehead has inched in because of this miserable hair loss.I cannot go to have them removed at a salon around here because it’s so expensive. So I will stick it out for the next few weeks until I get to Kampala and get permanent dreadlocks(Sorry mum, I can’t take it anymore. The dreadlocks are going up!). I feel like a chicken that has had a few feathers plucked off. So when you see me with a scarf wrapped around my head don’t think I am making a fashion statement. That could not be further from the truth. This girl is simply hiding hair loss and a receding hairline. African girl hair problems!
I have been going through my brother’s Facebook wall a lot(I think it’s really creepy when your sister stalks you on Facebook!). I actually miss him. 🙂 Usually, we bicker a lot. We’re not at all mushy about each other though I know that within that 6 foot humongous frame of his he has a huge soft spot for me( 😉 I am too far away for you to kill me bro!) My cousin is getting married this year. I am so excited for her. I cannot miss that for the world. Even if I had to swim across the Atlantic to get there,I would!(Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that because I can’t swim and I would surely drown or get eaten by a shark!)
Yesterday, “Daylight Savings” began. It is something that I think is only done in the U.S. of A(our friends who still use miles, Fahrenheit, pounds e.t.c)- and now Daylight Savings!The rationale is that there will be an extra hour of daylight and an hour is reduced from night-time!(I am still confused about this and I am trying to figure out what it’s relevance is!) . So instead of an eight hour difference with Kampala, it’s now down to seven hours.(Thanks for confusing me good people! 😦 ). I am going to try and make peace with this distortion of time. In the meantime, I wish you all a blessed week.