Thursday, January 17, 2008

First Days Of School

It is the first week of school, and the chaos pandemic has hit Amasango. Students from highschool roam around listlessly waiting for uniforms, while security guards try to keep kids in classrooms. The photocopier doesn't work so I am the the bike courier making copies at the other school I work at. I have started working with 3 of my students, but am trying to avoid the mayhem and help out at in the office at the same time. Everyone has kept a level head, and for the most part been civil. I have a love/hate relationship with the education system here. I have the autonomy to do what needs to be done when I think it needs to be done, but on the flipside, others have the same freedom but choose often times to do much less than what needs to be done. There are many reasons for this however. It is impossible to lay a finger on one person, rather, its the whole system. About 20 students came to Grahamstown yesterday from Whitworth (college in my home town). Within a couple hours, I was able to identify a sister in law of a fellow soccer player, a sister of a fellow teacher at Finch Elementary, a friend of a room mate of mine in University, and a close friend of Sarah Jackson (volunteer coming to Grahamstown at the end of the month).

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tally Me Banana, Daylight Come.........

I realized as I peeled my banana before starting to type that I will never look at this fruit in the same way after my trip to Uganda. It to me was that yellow thing that goes good with peanut butter and honey, or what funny cartoon characters trip on the peel of and fall into neatly stacked cans of beans in the center aisle. I now have a fruit that is my portal to remembering the heat and dirt of Uganda; being offered fruit from outside the windows of our bus as we travelled by entrepreneurial vendors in competition for our purchase of bananas, peanuts, water, plantains; bicycles loaded to the maximum with jerry cans of water, boxes, bags of rice and bunches of bunches of bananas; picking bananas from the market for breakfast, and sitting on the beach spitting out invading ants as I delight in its unique taste while watching hornbills fly overhead and herons wading in the shallows on lake victoria; thinking I am eating potatoes when I am really eating cooked bananas; staring longingly at the banana trees stacked with bananas and offering cool shade in the yards of locals as we (John, Jesse and I) pant and wine in the mid-day heat longing for shade and water engulfed in the smells of sewage and burning trash, kicking up dust as we drag our feet.

In teacher terms I have a new schema for what a banana is. I have new experiences to connect with my prior knowledge of what a banana is. Peeling this banana, I realize this is what life is all about, finding new meaning to what we thought we knew everything about. I am finding that life to me is about finding more full understanding to words we hear over and over, faith, hope, love, family, friendship, grace, commitment, endurance, frustration, joy, confusion, fear, courage, overwhelm, community. The more we live and experience the more full the meanings become to us and the better we can share this with others.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Play By Play

For a play by play of my adventures in Uganda with pictures, check out the blogsite of my traveling companions Jesse, and John.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ready to settle

It has been a wild ride for the last month and a half of traveling, volunteering, and seeing first hand the issues of the South Africa and Uganda. Being able to see my fellow Y.A.S.C. missionaries in their element, making the most of their situations and loving those in their communities has really made my experience incredible here. We shared our experiences, trials, and solutions, discussed our desires for future endeavors, and reminisced of the past. I return to Grahamstown, South Africa refreshed and ready for the school year soon to start.

P.S. I don't have any pictures of Uganda. Would you believe I forgot my camera. I may be able to borrow a couple photos from fellow travelers. Jesse is an amazing photographer, with an eye for the cultural differences and subtle beauty of the places we traveled over the last month.