I just want you to know that right now I am having the best internet experience ever! The connection is fast and there are ceiling fans running. That's pretty much it, but it's the little things that really make me happy. I am in Kampala, which is the capital of and largest city in Uganda. Last Thursday we were sworn in as official Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) and sent off on our own to our respective sites. My site is in a town called Kakiri, which is only about an hour outside of Kampala. I have two rooms to live in, which are part of a building shared by three other women. The rooms are pretty small, but newly painted and tidy. I also have my own pit latrine and a bathing room, which is a cement room the size of a medium closet with a drain in one corner for the water from your bucket-bath to run out of. Furthermore, I have a Ugandan-style kitchen! It is a little hut outside of the main house that you can do your cooking in. I have a charcoal stove, called a sigiri, and today in Kampala I just bought a little kerosene stove as well. So far I haven't really cooked, as I just got the stoves, but I plan to start. I also still don't have any furniture. So the past four days have basically consisted of me sitting on the floor and eating food that doesn't involve heat. It's like camping, only indoors! But I am slowly getting all the necessities, so don't worry.
I am living in Kakiri at a place called Naddangira Coordinating Center. The Coordinating Center is where I will work out of with my Ugandan counterpart, whose name is Lukman Kirya (he is really nice!). The Center is part of St. Pius Primary School, which is a government aided school but also Catholic--church and state aren't separated here the same way they are in the US. My house is next to the primary school, behind the Catholic church, and down the road from a clinic also run by the Catholics. Then there is also a secondary school on the same hill and some staff housing. It is a nice little community. I've only been there 4 days, so of course I am a bit lonely, but I think that will be remedied with time. My neighbor Rebecca already invited me to go to her church with her. Of course I accepted (what else did I have to be doing, sitting on my floor eating peanut butter and wallowing in loneliness??????). She goes to a Seventh Day Adventist church and on Saturday I went with her. It was a great experience, if perhaps a little long--I spent over 5 hours at this church! Everyone there was so nice to me and friendly, not at all judgemental that I wasn't an Adventist, or even a Christian of any type. I'm really glad I went, even if the entire service was in Luganda and, hence, beyond my comprehension.
I also managed to kill about an hour fetching water from the borehole. The borehole is conveniently located at the bottom of a treacherous hill. I was in a stubborn mood when I went to get water, so I decided to fill my 20 liter jerry can up all the way. I can carry this, right? Then I decided to decline all offers of help from pitying passersby. Great idea, Brett. Anyways, I was triumphant, but I have since bought a smaller jerry can to fill!!! I'll see how I manage with 10 liters.
Mail update: Even though I have moved you can continue to send mail to the same address. It is the Peace Corps office and I can pick mail up there periodically. So send me stuff, because you love me and now I am all alone. Sniff, sniff..... Packages welcome. Send me mix-tapes, seriously I have a tape player!!!!!!!! Here is the address:
Brett Snyder, PCV
P.O. Box 29348
Miss you all, but am still loving it here. The real experience has just begun......