Big Sky+ Raging Winds = Rainy Season ….and My night buddy, Kindle!
Rainy Season it is! We had amazing amounts of rain the last week – it rains on and off during the day and then in the late afternoon the high winds and heavy rains descend –the sky darkens and the temperature drops to the low 60s, and then it can rain all night. This coupled with lack of electricity in the evening s often leads me to skip my evening outdoor bath – the rain and the unheated water is too uninviting for me to care about my B.O. I just wash my face in a basin and then cover myself with powder to mask the unpleasant aroma, and I plop right into my mosquito net bed and jump headlong into my Kindle. Rainy Season comes twice a year I am told. This one began in late September and runs through most of December – though I hear the dust is more difficult to manage – I will let you know my preference after living through both seasons here in Koro.
YES – this week I am bragging about my relationship with my electronic buddy who delivers to me the most interesting and exciting adventures – I must also thank my friends the solar lamps that charge all day and then allow me some light at night. I read Kon Tiki this week along with the Four Agreements (Thanks Chitoka!) I enjoyed them both but the challenges of the 6 men who crossed the Pacific on a raft kept me captivated. The book is like a history lesson / anthropology detective story / adventure novel. Since it is a true story I found it that much more interesting.
Well cooking this week was less successful. I actually got a little depressed with some of my attempts to be creative. Seems they were a bit too creative!!! While I was Thrashing the waist high grass around my home…thrashing is manually cutting your grass with a machete like instrument with its tip sharpened on both sides and the top third bent at a 90 degree angle so it cuts as you swing your arm….I saw this vegetable like bush. I though it looked like a veggie had seem in the market and later asked my supervisor if it was edible. She said yes – its Otula. So that night I picked three little buggers from the bush and minced them up nicely in my Mexican/taco seasoned beans along with the usual suspects of onions, bell peppers, and okra. Well The new little veggies didn’t taste so great, but I figured they were good for me and just ate a full plate of beans over rice like a good little Peace Corps Volunteer. The next day my system was slightly out of sorts but I didn’t think much of it as this can occur every few days here. However at work I mentioned to my counterpart that I didn’t like the Otula and she asked where I got it. When I showed her the bush, she said it was a poisonous plant that all parents warn their children about from a young age! She was surprised I wasn’t sicker. Later at lunch she told the entire staff about my mistake and everyone was incredulous that I was feeling OK. I must not have eaten enough – or perhaps the Taco Seasoning was an antidote!
I was somewhat successful in roasting my first batch of Groundnuts. Groundnuts are actually peanuts. They are the small red ones you sometimes see in the states – not the large ball park peanuts we get at the Titans games. I walked to our local market which is pretty weak in its offerings and saw that a lady was selling raw groundnuts – so I bought a kilo for about 35 cents and took them home and roasted them over my gas flame and then sprinkled them with salted water – the water evaporated and the nuts were covered in a white salty film. I felt very proud of my little nuts!
Well I have never had a phobia about reptiles, and kind of like lizards, as I grew up with the bright green ones in NOLA. So when I noticed a couple of them moving into my latrine, I thought they are my allies in killing mosquitos and spiders and their buggy cohorts, so I was not worried. However one night I ventured out around 9pm in the pitch black, misty, rainy night carrying my solar lamp and was greeted by 4 lizards in various locations around me in the 3x3 latrine. I decided not to panic as I talked my way down because I knew they were my allies. However, mid-stream the largest one perched above my head decided to leap to the ground next to my foot, and I must admit this scared the piss out of me! J There was nothing I could do – as I was in mid-stream and unable to change the direction of the process, so I just breathed in and out while he scurried under the door into the night. So we are still friends but I am less excited about sharing my latrine with them now that I know they can jump like that!
The Road to the Cuk Madit
The Cuk Madit (Choook Madeeet) is the large main market in Gulu (It literally means big market). The road to Gulu is like a never ending trail of people migrating to and from the market to buy and or sell items, while busses, freight containers on 18 wheelers and every other type of motorized and non-motorized vehicle shares the road. Well my bicycle and I are part of this scene and yesterday I headed into town for my weekly shopping trip. It was a great ride as I left at 8am and enjoyed cool sunny skies the entire way there. I yell out a greeting to all those I pass which are about every 15 pedals and most people smile and greet me back. We all speak a mixture of bad English and Acholi but the mood is cheery and it makes me feel I am part of the local scene.
|My Bike - lettering says "Egg's House" no idea |
what this means, but Brand is normal to Ugandans
On arrival I biked to my friend’s home in town and we headed out to shop. It was very productive as I bought some plastic stackable shelving for my kitchen as well as a grater for my ginger root. (I am enjoying drinking fresh ginger in hot water late at night.) Well the Cuk Madit is large - maybe a half mile deep and wide with sections selling various items. It is a veritable Ugandan experience! There is the egg section, beef section, banana section, pepper & onions section, used clothing section, etc. There are also little Dukas (doookas) / Shops selling plastic ware and other household items like brooms etc. So I loaded up on my usual list of fresh items. The challenge is always packing my bike for the ride home. I really do look ridiculous – but I think it endears me to the locals who carry much greater loads on their heads and backs on a daily basis. I arrived home today by 9am and have washed my clothes and cleaned my kitchen and set up my new shelves with all my newly acquired vegetable treasures.
|My purchases-powdered milk, eggs, plastic shelves, veggies |
galore, TP, Napkins, sugar, bread
|Green avocado picked from tree at my friend's home|
|My new plastic shelves with veggies etc|
under calendar of favorite photos from home!
|My cooking stove and dish washing station - I wash in the |
basin and pour dirty water into the bucket on the far right
The School is in National testing mode this week as our students undergo their exams on the various vocations they are studying. Out term will end in late Nov and then things should quiet down a little until next term starts in February 2012. I am still working on the Agriculture Business Plan and enjoying the research of pricing and costs related to these endeavors here in Uganda. I hope when the financials are run it will actually be a profitable business plan!
Kisses from Uganda to all my friends, relatives and supporters! Karla