Friday, December 29, 2006


Nothing about my lifestyle indicates an addictive personality. I’m never interested in anything long enough to let it consume me or interfere with normal goings-on in my life—whatever they might be. I’ve attempted to pick up some new habits like sudoku, early morning jogs and weekly self-inflicted manis and pedis. I’m good for a while, but the new ideas soon fall by the wayside. I cannot stick to one genre of literature, there is no particular type of food that I will claim to “love” without crossing my fingers behind my back and there is no form of entertainment that I cannot live without. However, addiction terrifies me. (I think) I have an irrational fear of becoming addicted to something, so sub-consciously I do not allow myself to get too attached to anything like Diet Coke, a particular body lotion, tandoori chicken (which I’ve been out to eat three times in the last week), or that dynamite person who deserves more.

Despite the status quo, I’m still afraid of getting hooked.


LGW Cover.jpgLet me take a moment and recommend Frank Beddor’s The Looking Glass Wars. I loved this book. From page one, I had to find what was going to happen next. It is a retelling of the story of Alice in Wonderland, her true story. I’d been eying it for a while at Aristoc’s bookstore, but I finally took the plunge. It is not the type of book that I would normally choose, but, as you know from the above entry, I do not stick to one genre of books. It is in the same vein as Wicked by Gregory McGuire, but not targeted so much for an adult audience. (As a matter of fact, I went out and bought a copy of Wicked after finishing The Looking Glass Wars. I read it a few years ago, but LGW sparked my interest again.) I loved Frank Beddor’s book so much that I ordered three more copies of it from and sent them a Christmas gifts.

EragonThanks to Pink is the New Blog I picked up a copy of Eragon recently. The film was about to arrive in Kampala, so I decided to read it before going to the movie. Again, fantasy is a genre that I am reluctant of pick up. A friend recommended Terry Brooks to me once, I read a couple of his books and really did not care to read anymore. I’ll admit to liking The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but I’ve not read any others by Tolkien. Overall, I enjoyed Eragon; I mailed a copy of it to my brother in Florida who is a huge fantasy fan. I will probably end up getting Eldest,the second book in the trilogy, as well. However, I must say that the book annoyed me in many ways. I did not like the relationships between the characters. They griped at each other too much and too easily. The relationship between boy and dragon was also disturbing. Eragon telling Saphira, the dragon, that he loved her was just weird to me.

I went to see the film version yesterday. It has an amazing cast: John Malkovich, Rachel Weisz, Jeremy Irons and Djimon Hounsou. That was all that was amazing about the film. It jumped way too much and left too many gaps. Will there be a sequel? I have no idea how well this film did in the states.

At present, I have a thing for Sex and the City. I could not get into it when it was such a popular his for HBO. I just bought the first season on dvd, and I’m reading Candice Bushnell’s book. What does that say about me?

Sex and the City


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Veronica Mars:

Keeping it Real

So the first half of the third season of Veronica Mars is over and, thanks to file sharing, I’ve been able enjoy the investigations our young sleuth here, in Uganda. To allay my sense of piracy guilt, I’ve put in an order for the first season of V on dvd, totally legit; people are getting paid. (Speaking of the fist season of Veronica Mars, I found a video store in downtown Kampala that actually has the entire first and second seasons of Veronica Mars on dvd for rent. I feel a New Year’s marathon blowin’ in the wind. After my catastrophic Christmas, I’m apprehensive. I know it sounds like a lame idea, but maybe ringin’ in the new year alone would be the wisest decision for me to make. But do I really possess that much wisdom?)

The rapist was revealed, but the first half of season three ended with several questions:

• Are Veronica and Logan dunzo?

• Will Wallace pass his engineering class?

• Who shot the dean?

Season three captivated my attention and left me with lingering questions throughout:

• When does Veronica find the time to put all those curls in her hair?

• Where did Parker get her wig? It looks just like real hair;

• When VM moved to The CW, did they get a larger production budget so they are now able to pay closer attention to details and have the make-up team working overtime extending the actors’ adolescence? There have been some major acne breakouts this season.

I’m really feeling Logan. I also suffered from body acne during my 20’s. Those on the back can be quite uncomfortable.

Ely’s pimples are a bit over done. They almost look like hives. Poor guy.


in the KLA

It’s the 26th December, the day after Christmas, Boxing Day, a time to reflect on what the heck went on over the past few days. Well, I was in bed by 10:45 last night watching the Dixie Chick’s dvd Top of the World Tour: Live I borrowed from a friend yesterday. Last night was supposed to be a fun night out with friends, and it began that way, but it evolved into me being in a very bad mood (pissed off, if you will) and home alone. I have no interesting or humorous stories to share with you that would paint a picture of the events that lead up to a disappointing Christmas that would not make me look like a villain, so I’ll just tell you the best part of the past two days: making pizza with the Peace Corps Volunteers. I met many of the new PCVs at a house in Naguru; my friend Kristina invited them over. Kristina’s parents sent her a slab of German bacon for Christmas. (I know what you’re thinking: BACON: The best gift, EVER!) We chopped it up, fried it, topped a pizza with it and… Uhmmmm! Christmas night went downhill from there.

Kinda sucks.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The truth...

Geek Test Results

You are 60% geeky.

Not bad. Maybe you spend a little too much time with your computer, but at least you have friends. You do have friends, right?

The current average score is: 31.89%

Fact: 8.36% of people who took this test wear a bum-bag on holiday.


How about you?
A real runner up

Ok, so I finished reading The Front Runner some time ago, but I've not gotten around to commenting on it. It was fast and enjoyable, but I cannot say I loved it. Maybe I'm a bit too much of a cynic or too hard-hearted to go for the romantic story. I found myself feeling embarassed by the characters emotions for each other and I threw-up in the back of my mouth more than twice while reading the book (once because of the disgusting description of the olympics event).

I'm looking forward to seeing it translated onto the big screen.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Sunday was the third annual MTN Marathon in Kampala, and I did not run the 42km; I'm savin' it for next year. (You can hold me to it.) Fortunately, for those of us not up for the long haul, they also held a 10k race in which I participated…barely. I missed the registration deadline, and I was told that it would be impossible to register: even if I were a government minister, I would not be able to register after the deadline. Well I’m no minister of anything, but I did find a way to register and officially join the race.

One of the finer qualities that I inherited from my dear mother in a stubbornness that does not allow me to accept ‘no’ as an option when I don’t think it is the correct answer. People who know me know that I’m very respectful and not a pushy person; however, I’m no push over either. I really wanted to be in the race, and I missed a deadline that I was misinformed about to begin with. I talked to whom I knew that I felt could pull some strings, I made phone calls to strangers, and I almost gave up hope until around 7:30pm Saturday evening when I got the phone call that I was in and could pick up my ‘runner’s kit’ before the race, around 6:30am, Sunday.

At the race, security did not want to allow me back to the tents where I was supposed to pick up my kit. My explanations and eventual arguments got my nowhere, so I had to take the long way around (literally). I just made the block and went in the back way. I picked up my kit with my jersey. I got a number and a tracking chip. My skills in burlesque came in handy and I stripped down in front of the parliament building and changed into my running gear. The race was on.

I have no idea how well I did. I’m going to be generous and say that I performed well. I ran the entire time, never stopping to walk. I also feel like I was in the front part of the middle portion of runners; I was not in the back. My watch band broke a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve not replaced it, so I could not time myself. My tracking chip was supposed to record my time when I passed the finish line, but it didn’t (just my luck). I sent someone with my number tag to pick up my certificate verifying my time, but he came back empty-handed and said my time was not in the computer. I used to run 10k’s for fun with my friend Susan, and I always finished at just under an hour. The area I ran today was not nearly as hilly as where Susan and I ran, so I hope that I improved my time a bit. Although, I am not quite as fit now as I was then, so who knows?


Friday, November 17, 2006

No brown paper bag...


Now I have one for home and one for on the go.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hoot was a hoot!

Teaching children to think for themselves; coming to their own conclusions about what is ethical or right; allowing them to engage in civil disobedience; adding in alligators in toilets, water moccasins with glittery tails and Florida's tropical setting: What's not to love?

Now reading:

Run, baby! Run

I got this book from my friend, David. He brought it to my house wrapped in newspaper. It's a crazy, crazy world when one has to hide the book he is reading for fear of having someone see it's title. Come on! Because of the homophobic attitude of many, I'm even hesitant to take the book to read at the little cafe I love so much. What can you do?

I've read in more than one location that because of the success of Brokeback Mountain, they are in the process of turning this book into a major motion picture. I'm only 60 pages in, and I'm hooked.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I'm reading

I finished The Schools Our Children Deserve two days ago. The most applicable command I acquired from the book is "Prove it!" This can really stimulate great classroom discussion. However the most valuable lesson that I learned that I'm trying to pass on to my students is: "Mistakes are our friends." Yep.

Giving non-fiction a rest, I selected Hoot from my classroom library because the author, Carl Hiaasen, was recommended to me by my South African co-teacher. Hiaasen is a fellow Floridian, but I can honestly say that I did not know who he was. Apparently, he's written some quite popular books for adults, but he's also had success in the realm of children's literature. I remember seeing advertisements for the movie version of the book earlier this year. I remember reading or hearing somewhere (correct me if I'm wrong) that Jimmy Buffet did the music for the soundtrack. This week Jimmy has been on heavy rotation on my iTunes. Cheeseburger in Paradise, Margaritaville, and (my personal favorite song at the moment because it is very relevant to events in my life) The Asshole Song. I think it was Hoot's connection with Jimmy that finally drew me to it. So far I'm lovin' it. It's gonna be a quick read, so I'll let you know more of my thoughts in a couple of days.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Hipidy Hop!

Sunday has been a fun-filled day of lesson planning (Yea!), meeting a friend at café for a slice of cake, making corn tortillas for the first time, and reading from Alfie Kohn’s book: The Schools Our Children Deserve. I mentioned in a previous posting that I was reading this book. I love it. It justifies much of what I’ve tried to do as a teacher for the past several years. My style of teaching is very organic. Despite my lesson plans, I find myself to do what feels right at the moment. I looked over some of my planned lessons from just last month and did not recognize them; I did not do them. Yet, I believe that my students are much better off for that. They learned what they wanted/needed to know. If only I’d discovered this book before my demoralizing experience in Samoa, I could’ve explained myself better, defended my methods and had more confidence in what I was trying to accomplish with my class. I am very happy that people like Mara Ashley, Kate Moran and Peggy Halek gave me the guidance and support that I needed. They rank up there with Kato Erisama and Isaac Munnu as my mentors in education. I learned so much last year. My Samoan experience will always be important to me. It was my trial by fire and helped me to define who I am as a teacher. If anyone reading this blog has kids and is moving to Tutuila, American Samoa, let me recommend Pacific Horizons School. It is a little slice of educational heaven on that hell of an island paradise.

Back to Sunday… While at Pap Café (a complete misnomer: pap being a bland soft or semiliquid food such as that suitable for babies or invalid), a street vendor came around selling fried grasshoppers. Yes, it is that time of year: grasshopper/ensenene season! Anyone who has spoken to me about my Peace Corps experience in Uganda knows how I savour these little insects. Words of wisdom: Don’t knock it till you try it. I bought a paper cone full and enjoyed a couple with my friend, David. It was a pleasant afternoon.

What are you looking at?

We're looking at you!
I had a little itch on Saturday
that I decided to scratch.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Just Say No
(to the love of a dirty man...
Unless you are over 18, and he's Christina Aguilera Dirrty)

I went to an art exhibition at my favorite neighborhood restaurant/bar/coffee shop/art gallery, Katch the Sun. It's in Bugolobi, so it's walking distance from my house. I love the place. The atmosphere is so cool and laidback. I often go there in the evening to relax and read a bit. Anyway, back to the exhibition... It was put on by an American artist, Hilary Wallis (who, by the way, is originally from Atlanta, Georgia. GOOOO! GEORGIA!!!) She's been in Uganda for four months working with Plan, an international NGO. She's been working in Tororo District with youth and post test clubs. (These are groups of people who've gone to be tested for HIV. Members include those who postive and those who tested negative. The criteria for joining is that you know you status.) Together they have been using art as a way to express one's emotions and share one's experieces with others. I guess "art therapy" sums up the project. On display were pieces of art created by the people of Tororo and some of Wallis's (yes, apostrophe s is correct here) work. A short documentary of the work Wallis and Plan were doing in Tororo was shown. It was ok. My hard heart was not moved, but I do think that the work she and Plan did in Tororo is important, and I'm glad that they began it. I hope that it does not die when she flies out on Wednesday.

Word to all my hoes in the Boston area! The exhibition is going on an international tour and will be stopping at the Boston Museum of Fine Art on the 6th November 2006 at 6:00pm. Be there or be square!

Pull 'em up!

Pull 'em up!

Pull 'em up!

Friday, October 27, 2006




I used to have a booklist of all the books that I’d read from the summer before my senior year in high school through a couple of years after I graduated from university. That would make it roughly summer 1993-spring 2002. I lost the disk the list was saved on just before I left for Peace Corps. Heartbreaking.

The list was very personal to me because it was almost like a diary of my life. The books I read were a reflection of my life at the time—my interests, demands made on me, expectations I was to fulfill. After each title and author, I wrote a brief comment of what I thought of the book, what it meant to me at the time or just a summary of the book. I shared the list with only a few friends who were in the inner circle.

I’ve decided to begin a new list. This one will not be so private since I am posting it on the internet. No more inner circle. I'll be listing the books I've read since I left for Uganda in July 2006. I’m not an avid reader, nothing like a book a week. Nor am I a snob. I’m more like a book slut; I'll read anything. Anytime. Anyplace. I don't care who's around. (Don’t judge.) Fiction. Non-fiction. Biographies. Thriller. Mysteries. Children’s literature. I went through a Babysitters Club phase a couple of years ago. I’ve even stooped as low as reading Kirt Cameron: Dream Guy (Thanks Beth! Loved it. Passed it on. I saw it two days ago in the Peace Corps library. We’ve created a legacy). Books are like crack, but I can discriminate. I don’t care much for sci-fi, and I only like good (a very general and subjective modifier) fantasy. Right now I’m a primary school teacher, and that will influence the books I choose to read.


The Wright 3 by Blue Balliett: A sequel to my favorite book, Chasing Vermeer, that continues with the themes of learning what is relevant through exploration and following your intuition.

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger: A fun read.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis: How many times is this now?

Goodnight Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian: An excellent book about a young boy who was evacuated from London during WWII.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan: It’s all about moving on, not letting go and others standing in our way. Decisions are the worst.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine: This book was so much fun. I love the movie, but the book is a very different adventure. Loved it!

The Second Mrs. Giaconda by E.L. Konigsburg: I really liked this book. Where did DaVinci get his inspiration?

Hitler Youth by Susan Campbell Bartoletti: A great read. Non-fiction. I learned a lot.

The Overseer by Jonathan Rabb: I was not too impressed. Some parts were interesting, but I’m not rushing out to buy other titles by Rabb.

Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom by Rae Bains and Joanne Mattern: A tiny bio about a remarkable American hero.

Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson: Beautifully written story of a young girl living on the Amazon.

The Shackled Continent by Robert Guest: A look at why Africa is poor. His truths are blunt. (I liked that.) Some examples are too general. The solutions he proposes are very simple but not easily accomplished.

Nzima and Njunju: A Story of Two Friends by Natasha Museveni Karugire: Children’s story from Western Uganda. Beautiful illustrations.

AK by Peter Dickinson: This is a remarkable book about a child soldier in a fictitious African country that could be any of several African countries today, in the recent past or in the near future.

Presently Reading:

The Schools Our Children Deserve
Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and “Tougher Standards”

by Alfie Kohn

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Gabba or Ggaba?

I’ve made it half-way through the term! We are at our mid-term break of one week, and let me tell you, I really need the time off to recharge my batteries. It has been a long time since I’ve worked so much, using my creativity and exhausting my organizational skills at the same time. I work very well under positive pressure, and the past month has been like a sugar coated vice squeezing me to my most productive self. Did I mention that I’m happy? All this fun, but I need to take a break and rest my weary muscles.

Two weeks ago, my sixth graders completed their culminating activity for our “Children and World War II” unit. As a class we decided to convert our classroom into a WWII museum. Fun times. First, we had to dismantle Narnia (no easy task), then we built an Anderson shelter, labeled maps, painted Battle of Britain backdrops, designed model weapons and toys and a constructed a half dozen other exhibits. We also put on an assembly for the whole school where we musically presented what we’d learned about propaganda, rationing and resistance. My unhealthy obsession with Cabaret finally paid off. (A pineapple for me!!!) May I say we were a smashing success. Well, we were. I am so proud of my kids and amazed at their talent.

After all of the energy we invested in the museum, I thought we’d have an easy following week and celebrate our success. No rest for the weary! No, the following week turned out to be UN Week at school. I knew that. I was on the planning committee, but I’d never experienced a UN Week so I had no idea how much work would be involved. OMG. The UN’s Convention on Children’s Rights was our theme, and my class explored a child’s right to security through a study of the civil war in Sudan. [Did you know that the US never ratified the UN Convention on Children’s Rights? Madeline Albright, when she was ambassador to the UN, signed it, but congress did not ratify it. Why? One reason is that the US wants to maintain capital punishment for people under that age of 18. Yes, we like to try children as adults. This means that in states that still have capital punishment (Florida, I’m talkin’ ‘bout you), children can be sentenced to death. This violates children’s rights as established by the United Nations.] We were visited by people from UNDP who are working to de-mine northern Uganda, and I invited a guest speaker to talk to my class about education in southern Sudan. The year sixers also had to come up with some kind of performance for the UN Day celebrations on Friday. Our creative juices were practically zapped from the week before, but we pulled a rabbit out of our hats. I work my kids to death: last week they also had to complete an 8 paragraph essay on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and they had their mid-term math exam. They love me.

Friday I was the walking dead. I stayed in Friday night, read and rested. Saturday I went with my friend Charles to Ggaba (or Gabba) Beach and ate fried tilapia and drank Fanta Citris. Ggaba is a very interesting area. It’s a fishing community, and it’s very busy—unlike what I’m used to in Uganda. At GB, I ran into an old Peace Corps colleague, Gordon. He told me that PC is interested in me assisting with some life skills trainings in December. That would be wonderful if we can coordinate our schedules.

Peace, love, and understanding.

Fishy Desires.png

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Don’t stop.

Do it ‘til ya drop.

I finally officially reported to work on 23rd August. (Ages ago now.) Busy, busy, busy. The kids reported to school on the 30th. (Also ages ago) We’ve had an amazing first six weeks; it’s been a journey, but I’m glad I’m here.

I’ve had to reinvent myself in many areas over the past few months. First, I had to begin writing in cursive again. I’ve not done that since sixth grade. So much emphasis was put on it in elementary school, but then in high school, the teachers did not care, and word processing became the norm for writing papers. Once I got the hang of connecting my letters again, I was informed that I was using the incorrect style of handwriting. The school adopted Cripps Handwriting. (No blue bandanas and nightly drive-bys.) It is almost like a combination of print letters and cursive writing. I’m still getting the hang of it, but I guess I can add this skill to my resume.

I’m also having to relearn how to do math. We follow a British scheme called Collins Math. There is a huge emphasis on mental math, so the children are taught to think through problems in a very different way than I’ve ever known. I’ve been confused and frustrated with having to teach math this way because it is so against what I’d normally do; however the results are pretty impressive. The kids can figure out math problems in their heads faster than I can do it on paper. I admit that I’ve learned a few tricks myself, and they come in handy when totalling up restaurant bills.

Other changes include spelling color colour, mold mould and tire tyre. People are also very funny with commas. Placement of commas is often an issue of style. They are used to politely clarify the meaning of what you are writing. However, the Oxford (also known as serial or Harvard) comma is never used and viewed as a sign of ignorance. I’ve cut back on using it over the years, but now I’m a bit paranoid when I write.

I finally began French lessons at Alliance Française. I go every night of the week from 7 until 8. Traffic is horrendous. It was taking an hour and a half to two hours to get there by vehicle, so I’ve resorted to walking most of the way. I take a taxi from Bugolobi to a roundabout just before town, and I walk a little over two miles to the language school. This saves me at least a half and hour, and it kind of makes up for not running in the afternoons. Traffic has cleared up a bit by the time class is out, so I just take public transportation home in the evenings.

Today is Ugandan Independence Day (9th October) so I have the day off from school. It is nice to have an extra day to relax and try to prepare myself for the coming week. I just finished reading a book this morning about a young girl’s experience on the Amazon River, Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson. I loved it and I’m mentally planning my next trip to Brazil. It’s been nine year since I left and time to return…MONEY!!!

Ramadan Prayer.jpg


Friday, August 18, 2006


Coming Up


Bahai Temple Kampala.jpg

Africa's Bahá'í temple is located in Uganda on the outskirts of Kampala on top of Kikaya Hill. I'd seen photos of the structure and heard that the gardens surrounding it were beautiful, and I always wanted to make a visit to the temple (all Bahá'í Temples are open to the public), but for three years, I could never drag myself up to it. I decided that yesterday was the day. I kinda knew where it was, but I really did not know how to get there. It ended up being further away that I anticipated, and the road to get there was quite dusty. My friend, Charles, and I reached there just after 5:00pm, and the gates were to close at 5:30pm. We did a whirlwind tour of the grounds, and one of the guides allowed us to go into the temple. I wish we could've stayed longer; it was a very peaceful spot, and I would've loved to explore the gardens a bit more, but time. We were invited to come back for services on Sunday. My response was, "Perhaps." I know I will not be there on Sunday. Maybe I'll show up one day.

I'd never heard of the Bahá'í faith until I moved to Hoima, Uganda in 2002. I became friends with a tailor (actually, he became my stalker) who was Bahá'í, and he used to give me literature about his faith. I read a little about the persecution of people of the Bahá'í faith in the book Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. Then in American Samoa, I taught a student whose family were Bahá'í. He would miss school for Bahá'í holidays, and his mother would always send me information explaining the holiday, so I learned a little about their faith as the year went on. I was even invited to their home one evening to celebrate one of their special days before their fasting began in March.

There are only seven Bahá'í temples in the world: Wilmette, Illinois USA; Kampala, Uganda; Sydney, Australia; Langenhain, Germany; Panama City, Panama; Tiapapata, Samoa; and New Delhi, India. All temples have nine sides and are topped with domes. For more information click the link: Bahá'í Temples

Outside of the Kampala temple was a display board which highlighted some of the main beliefs of Bahá'í. One of the cards on the display summarized their belief about the position of women in society.
The world of humanity has two wings; one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of women becomes equal to the world of men in the acquisition of virtues and perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be.
(Selections from the Writings of Abdul-Bahaá, sec. 227, p. 302) [13]


Monday, August 14, 2006

2006 is all about



That’s right, folks! You heard it here first. I’m all about the lesbians…I think. I won’t reveal much about the woman who won over my heart last night because I’m in Uganda, and, well, homosexuality is illegal here. Even though it is rare for legal action to be taken out, there is quite a bit of mud slinging that goes on:

Gay Shock

is more easily said than done in some places than others. The above segment ran in one of Uganda’s newspapers last week. (I use the term “newspaper” loosely. It ran in The Red Pepper, more of a tabloid than a legitimate newspaper. Reading the Pepper was a guilt pleasure of mine when I was in Uganda before. I never felt comfortable reading it in the public’s view. Maybe that was an indicator that I should’ve put it down.) Not only is the feature mean spirited, it’s just tacky, and the writer has not corrected his bad habit (which is oh so common in Uganda) of writing “leaving” when he really means “living”. If nothing else, the article has people talking about the issue. That’s good. Isn’t it?

Back to my new GIRLFRIEND… Who has no clue that she’s my GIRLFRIEND… Because she, herself, has a GIRLFRIEND… GIRLFRIEND!

This woman is a celebrity of sorts in Uganda. She’s been written about numerous times in the tabloids because she was a popular woman in Kampala, and her private affairs were not hidden from the public. I bumped into her for the first time on Saturday night and was won over by her dynamic smile. We happened to be in the same place at the same time on Sunday evening, too. (Yes, a sign.) This time, she introduced me to her girlfriend, who is not completely unfortunate looking. In fact, her girlfriend is beautiful, and she was wearing an extremely sexy ensemble.

Two strikes against me:
1. She’s not attracted to men.
2. She has a sexy, beautiful girlfriend.

That’s only two strikes. I’m entitled to one more. I still have a chance, right? It’s my own, personal Chasing Amy.

My new crush and I had a long conversation about nothing in particular, but I did not want it to end.

Grace Adler said it best to Nadine, Vince’s hag who hated Will because she was secretly in love with Vince: “You will never have him.”

In the end, we exchanged phone numbers, and she promised to give me a call.

You Will Never

”You will never have [her]”

Saturday, August 05, 2006

High Flyin’,


Bugolobi Flat

I have spent three whole nights in my new flat in Bugolobi. The place is empty, so it does not quite feel like home; however, the place is comfortable, and I will soon carve it into my own little space. I have a huge canvas to work with. The flat has two bedrooms, two toilets, a bathroom, a huge sitting room, a dining room, a kitchen, laundry area and balcony. It was recently renovated so there are screens in the windows to keep out the mosquitoes (Just say “No!” to malaria!) and new tiles on the floors, which keep the place quite cool. When there is power (which seems to be every other day), I even get hot water! My flat is walking distance from the school where I teach (I begin in three weeks.), which is a big plus. All of this for the whopping price of about $250 a month.

The wildlife in the area is quite frightening.

Room With A View

If I were a scientist doing research on the marabou stork, I’d have quite a view from my bedroom window. If I were Mary Poppins, I'd stick my finger out the window and let one land on it as I sing while the children I watch tidy up the nursery. It's scenes like the above that make me glad I'm not a British nanny.
(Marabou, pronounced MAR uh boo, is one of the largest birds in the stork family. The marabou lives throughout Africa. Two closely related species, the greater adjutant and the lesser adjutant, are found in India and Southeast Asia.
The marabou has long legs and stands up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall. The wings and upper body are slate-gray or black, and the underparts are white. The bird has beautiful, soft, white tail feathers, which are also called marabou. Manufacturers once used these feathers to make scarves and to trim hats and gowns. The head and neck of the marabou are almost featherless. A long pouch of reddish skin hangs down from the neck. A marabou can inflate this pouch with air, which may help it attract other marabous as mates.
Marabous feed largely on the remains of dead animals. They also eat live prey, including frogs, fish, reptiles, and locusts. Marabous nest in colonies. They build platformlike nests high in trees or on rocks and lay two or three white eggs.
Scientific classification. The marabou belongs to the stork family, Ciconiidae. Its scientific name is Leptoptilos crumeniferus.)

This has the be the most disgusting creature on the face of the planet. They eat rubbish, so if there are dumpsters (skips) around, you’ll find a flock of birds. I saw one of these beasts chasing a poor dog yesterday. A couple of years ago, I even saw one chase a woman down the street. As a bystander, I found it quite hilarious, but if I were the one being chased, I would’ve been terrified. They are HUGE (About 5 feet!), and they have a horrendous stench. People used to tell me that the meat of the bird was poisonous. While I find that hard to believe, I still wonder how drunk someone must’ve been to sample a taste of the marabou’s meat to make this discovery. My friend, Charles, and I saw a dead stork beneath a tree yesterday and noticed there were no flies around. Charles commented, “Even the flies refuse to eat these birds.”

I have an idea, remake Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, but replace all the birds with marabou storks.

The Birds

That would be one scary film.

Who says you can’t go


Bwikya Koran Dawn

(Sharon, it’s Bwikya Koran in the foreground.)

I made the journey to Hoima, Bulera Primary Teachers’ College and Bulindi, earlier this week. This is the area I called home for three years, and I left what feels like family there. For the most part, I found everyone well. Murngi has grown. He was a hyperactive three-year-old when I first arrived in Bulindi. He’s now seven years old, lost a lot of his baby fat and mellowed out just a touch, but he’s as cute as ever. Sadly, the principal of Bulera College, Mr. Isaac Munnu, passed away in June. He’d been sick for about two years. He was someone I held a lot of respect for, he was a mentor and a friend to me. In some ways he served as a father figure to me while I was in Uganda. His son died shortly after my father did, so he kind of adopted me. He was a progressive educator and made things happene for the college. I could always count on his support and wisdom. I hate that I did not get to see him again, and he is sorely missed.

The seasons are really messed up in Uganda this year. There was no rain in the rainy season, and now is supposed to be the dry season, and it rains almost daily. A side effect of the late rain is a late season for enswa (white ants or termites). Walking home from the college on Tuesday evening, Jaime (the Peace Corps Volunteer at Bwikya Coordinating Center who is leaving this month) and I walked by a cloud of these insects leaving their nest.

Boys with enswa

Check out the orb in this photo.

Enswa and Orb

Yes, I’ve eaten them: raw, fried, in ground nut stew, and in a sauce with tomatoes and mushrooms. I’m not a huge fan of them, but they are not that bad.

Nicole, I think Harriet got tired of Samoa and stowed away in my baggage. I feel a presence in my flat.


Monday, July 24, 2006

Movin’ Right Along

Ok, where should I begin? For starters, I bought a phone last week, so I now have a number at which I can be reached. For those of you who are in the circle, you’ll be getting my number soon. I purchased a sexy Samsung E 360-E, a little black number. It cost way more than I should’ve spent, but I have a weakness for sexy electronic devices. Yes, I must admit that it was the sexiness factor that ultimately converted me to Macs. (Macs are so darn sexy. There I said it.) I chose my little Cannon Elph because, once again, its sexiness stood out from the rest. I cannot own a piece of unsexy equipment. We’d clash.

(I can feel so unsexy for someone so beautiful…)

Not only do I have a new phone, but I have a new flat! I signed the lease agreement today and paid the deposit (Saturday). For those of you familiar with Kampala, I’ll be living in Bugolobi Flats, which is very convenient because I’ll be working in Bugolobi and can walk to school. It is also very convenient to the supermarket and the food market. The taxi stand is also near. Bugolobi also has a decent selection of restaurants, both local and international. Café/art galleries have also sprung up all over the place. I’ll rarely have need to go into the city.

Downtown KLA

However, I do love the city.

I went to my regular barber to get my hair cut this week. He was so surprise to see that I’d returned to Uganda. He remembered exactly how I like my hair to be cut, and he even asked if I’d brought the gel that I used to put in my hair. (Used to put… I got out of the habit of wearing gel in Samoa. I got out of the habit of doing many things while in Samoa. Depression. God, it’s great to see the Sun again.)

I went to the supermarket today, and guess what I found. Olive loaf! I confess, I enjoy me some olive loaf. Some of you are throwing up in the back of your mouths a little bit reading this, but I want to keep it real. I’m an olive loaf lover, and I almost danced in the aisle of the supermarket when I saw it. Ok, I did do a little dance. (Keepin’ it real.) If having olive loaf at the supermarket is not a sign of development, I don’t know what is.

Olive loaf

I look forward to decorating my new flat. I’ll post photos of my new domicile next week. I won’t actually move in until Wednesday or Thursday. They were wrapping up a few more renovations.

Killin’ ‘Em

Killin em

Celeste! I made my way back onto the karyoke stage. I must say I was a hit. Don’t they just look enthralled.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

(Imagine BMAC hangin' from the side door of a Toyota Hiace)




After what seemed like an eternity, I am back in Uganda: land that I love; home of matooke and g-nut sauce, good friends, and impossible to understand rules when exchanging money. ($100 bills printed before 1999 have a significantly lower exchange rate than those printed in1999 and after, as do all bills smaller than a $50. Can someone please explain to me why?)

So how have I spend the first few days? Well, I’m staying with my friend Bethany for a little while. We know each other from Peace Corps. She worked in the East while I worked in the West, so we were never able to spend much time together, but we always enjoyed each other’s company when our paths crossed. She has been a real lifesaver, opening her house to me like this. It is a very comfortable house, and I’ve already made myself at home.

I’m cooking again! That was a significant indicator to me that I was not happy in Samoa: I stopped cooking. Anyone who knows me, knows that I enjoy being in the kitchen. I love mix it up a bit and put my stamp on classics. This might sound a bit lame, but one of my favorite foods to cook (as well as eat) is beans. My aim is to cook the perfect pot of beans. Cooking beans reminds me of my father. He, too, liked to cook. I wish he’d found his way to the kitchen a little more often. He cooked a mean pot of lima beans. He’d always begin them on Saturday, cook them on low head, and by Sunday afternoon, we’d have a fantastic lunch after church. He’d always use meat to flavor the beans: ham hocks and sausage. This became inconvenient during the vegetarian years. Sometimes he’d add a can of Rotel to them to add an extra zing. Try as she might, my mother could never match my father’s lima bean-cooking skills. There. I said it. I miss my dad.

I really love to bake. I was always that goofy person that showed up to meetings with a plate of brownies or fresh apple cake. At school, I’d bake a cake on Saturdays and leave it on the counter top for my roommates and their friends to enjoy. My conversations with friends sometimes covered the pros and cons of cooking with butter over margarine. Yes, they also thought it was funny. Butter versus margarine became a running joke between us. While living in Uganda, in the village with no electricity, I had to be creative and patient when attempting to bake. I built a makeshift over and actually got pretty good at baking on a charcoal stove. I introduced cornbread to my village, and it was a huge hit. I taught my neighbor to bake birthday cakes (We’d decorate the cake using plastic bags as icing bags. Duct tape was used to reinforce a corner to make tips and cut slits in it according to the designs we wanted to create), and she later used her skills as a second source of income. On a good weekend, I’d make cinnamon rolls. Baking was not limited to sweets. Eggplant parmesan and casseroles were also baked. I baked not one thing while in Samoa. See my point? Depressing. I’m excited that I have access to a real oven. Gas heated, so I can bake anytime despite all of the power outages!

I’ve already cooked two dinners and a breakfast. Fresh vegetables are great here! They have so much flavor, and they do not cost a fortune. I love going to the open markets. The supermarkets are also pretty well stocked. I can find most of the ingredients and spices that I want. Granted, a few items are not available. I have to get back to you later about what they are because everything I’ve wanted so far has been in stock.

I checked out the school where I’ll be teaching and had lunch with the director. I’ve been to dinner with two of the teachers I’ll be working with and tea with another one. I think that I’ll fit right into the school. The school has a great facility. I’ve also bumped into a few of my Peace Corps friends who are finishing up their second year and are preparing to COS (close of service). I’m still trying to contact and visit old friends.

It is bizarre being here. In a way, it seems like I never left. Things are pretty much the same. However, I know I’ve been a way for a year. I feel like I’ve stepped into a time warp.

Access to internet is limited. The connection tends to be slow (frustrating), and I have to pay per minute. I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to update my blog, but I aim to do it at least once a week.

Taking the long way…