“I greet you all” in Luganda, the language I’m learning at the moment.
I was placed, along with 7 others, in the Central region. That means that our final sites will be located somewhere in Central Uganda; we are also within the region for language training right now.
We are in training sessions all day here – surprise, surprise. Regular classes are broken up by CCAs (Community-Centered Activities), which involve going into town to complete a task using only Luganda. They usually consist of us successfully greeting in Luganda, and then lasting about 10 more seconds before resorting to English – with the Ugandans cracking up at us the whole time. It’s been difficult so far, but hopefully I’ll be able to get it together enough to pass my LPI (Language Proficiency Interview) on 8 January.
This is also where we’re doing our homestays. Being part of a household again has been a welcomed change from living dorm-style and straight out of my backpack for the past month. Agnes and Godwin are my host parents, and their 3 children are Lillian (20), Zippora (13) and Obed (8).
Though they’re no replacement for my own, I love having siblings again! I’ve taught them how to make friendship bracelets and play modified banangrams (cheers NZ family), and introduced them to Elf and Finding Nemo. They help me with my Luganda and teach me how to cook local dishes; we go on walks to the market and help Agnes around the house. In the evenings we wait for Godwin to come home from work (he always brings us treats like yogurt or juice) before having supper and watching the news together.
I can’t believe how much work Ugandan kids are expected, and willing, to do. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that Zippora and Lillian could run their own households right now. They can, and do, do everything their mother does, from scrubbing the floors by hand every morning, to making a full meal for 6 on charcoal stoves, to serving tea to every person who walks through the door throughout the day. It was a little uncomfortable at first to be a guest with all of this hustle bustle constantly going on around me, but now I feel at home enough to ask for ways I can contribute.
Side note, I have running water, a toilet, and electricity again here. Might not be the best preparation for my site, but right now, I’m a happy, happy girl….
Learning expands great souls.
[African Proverb – Namibia]