I did my due diligence last night, like every American should have, and watched the State of the Union (SOTU) address presented by President Obama. This year, and as I have matured over the years, I believed that it was not worth “live-tweeting” or having harsh gut reactions to SOTU. I believe to…
I have been really bad at updating this. Here are all of the updates:
I helped plan the training for the incoming ED group.
Term 3 started about a week late because teachers went on strike.
I had a tortilla making party at my house.
Halloween was celebrated in a cave.
I was Athena.
I saw a solar eclipse that only comes around every 150 years.
I’ve been in Uganda for a year!
I went to the Training of Trainers for the new ED group. Where we trained our Ugandan co-teachers.
The malaria think tank had a meeting with the US Embassy in Uganda about malaria.
I co-taught hand washing lessons and made tippy-taps at Eric’s primary school.
I am a trainer at the new ED volunteer training.
I devoured 4 of The Game of Thrones books.
I am coming home for Christmas!!!
So the term started shortly after I posted last.
The next thing to look forward to was Halloween. Halloween was in the near future by then. I decided that I was going to be the Greek goddess Athena because of an inside joke but also because she is probably the coolest of the Greek goddesses. I found a table cloth and a curtain to make into my costume and made a helmet out of cereal boxes and duct tape. I was proud of my costume. I sometimes still wear my helmet around my house just because I can. And also because I am that cool. Since the East was hosting Halloween, a bunch of friends came over and we made tortillas for the party. Loren found a cave in Sipi that we could rent for a party. Halloween arrived and we all made our way down to the cave to party. It was an interesting experience because I have never had a party in a cave before and it was definitely awesome!
The next day, a large group of us piled into a matatu to head to Gulu to see a solar eclipse. This eclipse was special because it only comes around every 150 years. It was a hybrid eclipse. This means that is can be seen from a couple of different places and still be a full eclipse. We wore special glasses which were super dorky but nobody cared because otherwise you couldn’t see anything. This was perhaps one of the most incredible things I have ever seen in my life! It was fascinating to watch as the sun was slowly covered.
November 15 marked a year of me being in Uganda. It is very surreal looking back at what I have accomplished in a year and thinking about all the things that I am looking forward to doing this next year.
A few short weeks later, I headed back into Kampala for the training of trainers. This is where we worked with and trained the Ugandan co-teachers with which we would work for the ED training group. Just after TOT, I had a meeting, with the malaria think tank, with bigwigs at the US embassy about what the malaria think tank will be doing this upcoming year. I brought two new malaria big books along with me and they thought they were cool! J A few days later I taught a session at another group’s In-Service training about malaria and introduced my fellow members of the think tank.
Then I hurried back to site to help Eric with lessons about hand washing and the creation of tippy-taps for his school (I will be doing something similar next year at my PTC). We taught lessons using a big book in P4, P5, and P6. While I was in Kampala, Eric had taught P2 and P3, so when I arrived we created tippy taps for the entire school.
I have had an insane amount of time to read this past term, so I decided to devour the first 4 Game of Thrones books. I love them however I want to choke Mr. Martin for killing people whenever he felt like it and widely diverting the path that I thought character were going to take. I also immensely dislike Cersei and Sansa. However, Arya Stark is my girl!
I am now in training for the new ED group. It is an awesome group of people! I am very excited to see what they do at their future sites! I work mainly with the ones at the primary school rather than the PTC. I am a lead teacher for P7. I am impressed with the improvement that the trainees have made in just a week. They are no longer afraid of teaching in Uganda. They have confidence in their abilities and it shows in their classes and lessons. I can say that I am proud to be one of their trainers.
In less than one week I will be back in the states for a visit!! I can’t wait to see my family and friends. I am super excited to see my brother. A year is a long time to be away. I have a lot of presentations to give and I can’t wait to share my experiences, especially with my World Wise class. Look out US here I come!! Just don’t turn me into an ice cube… please.
Every person has something or things that motivate them. When I was growing up my mother handed me a piece of paper with a list. Since then, I have always taped this list to the back of my bedroom door so that I can read it every morning before I leave to begin my day (even as I live with my…
This past month and a half has been a whirlwind. The family came to visit, painted a hospital ward, taught lessons at camp and chit-chatted with other malaria geeks. It was awesome!!
Visiting with the family was an experience. We traveled all around Uganda and made some amazing memories. The 2 weeks that they were here went way too fast though. We went on safari and saw a lion right next to the jeep, a herd of elephants and water buffalo stampeding, hiked around the beautiful Murchison falls, and I lost one of my Birkenstocks. Bummer… especially since I wore them every day. At least now I will get a package. Yay for packages and mail! We also explored Arua, Jinja, Sipi Falls and my site.
After my family left I made my way back up to Arua to paint the pediatric ward. I had talked with another volunteer while visiting with my family and since the term just ended and I had nothing to do I ventured up there to paint. This was also and experience. There were no ladders so I had to stand on little bedside tables and to make it more interesting the patients were in the rooms the entire time. I had to juggle beds, move mattresses and played charades with the mothers who didn’t speak English. I loved every moment of it! I had an audience everyday (even if they weren’t in the ward) and the mothers were more than helpful. There were 5 rooms that needed to be painted as well as the pillars outside the rooms. After two weeks I was able to finish 3 rooms and the pillars outside.
Then I headed south to Entebbe with a few boys (who went to Camp BUILD) to go to National Camp GLOW. I was a staff member again but this time it was much different than W/SW Camp GLOW. Girls came from all over Uganda to participate in camp. This camp I taught lessons on malaria and net repair, family planning, teambuilding and friendship bracelets. For the malaria lesson, since many of the campers had been to a previous camp, they are all in at least secondary school, and they knew all the information I would have told them, we played malaria freeze tag. The concept of “freeze tag” was a new one. Not all the girls understood “freezing” but by the end of the day they did. Family planning we played “The Game of Life.” We also played this on Gender Equality day which meant the Camp BUILD boys came to Camp Glow. The campers were split into 4 groups with different starting roles. Some were better off than others and each round the groups picked an event that either helped or harmed their lives. It could be having more children (or not), having their house catch on fire, having a good harvest, graduating from a university or a myriad of other events. Then at the end the points were tallied and it led to a discussion on when to start a family, positives and negatives of children, finishing education, and getting jobs to better their lives. The teambuilding was done with a game called islands. I helped 2 counselors of camp lead teams through “crossing the river on islands and turtles” By the end of the day campers worked really well together and “crossed the river” successfully. Camp was tiring but definitely a success. Hopefully I will direct National GLOW next year.
After camp all the PCVs in Uganda gathered for the All Volunteer Conference. Just before the conference I found out that I am now a member of the malaria think tank. This think tank is a group of volunteers who are dedicated to doing what they can to end malaria and help other volunteers with any malaria related projects in Uganda. Its super cool being able to talk with other volunteers that are passionate about ending malaria. My role in the think tank is to work with all education volunteers compiling all the education volunteers malaria activities into a manual so others don’t have to reinvent the wheel in regards to malaria, creating a series of big books with lesson plans that can be used by other volunteers, and helping with net repair and care sessions and lesson plans. I will probably working on other things too. This is exciting!
Oh and this week teachers are striking because they haven’t been paid or paid fairly so no school for me. Its rumored that the strike will end sometime this week but I’m not sure it will.
I also am a part of TAC (Training Advisory Committee). So I get to help train the new education group of volunteers arriving in November (just like I did). Since I have been dubbed “The Big Book Queen” I am teaching sessions on how to make and use big books in the PTCs and Primary schools, instructional materials for PTCs and positive behavior management systems at the PTC level. It should be fun. This next week, I will be working with other volunteers in Kampala on planning out the training for the new group. I may get around to teaching at my PTC eventually…. life in Uganda is rarely boring when I am involved in so many things. :)
Whenever a decision is made by someone the first question from other people is “why?” Why did you do this, that, and the other thing. From your mother, you friends, your significant other to often being the focus of an interview as well, the question is always “why?” With that, you always have to…
Golf is the one sport, activity, thing, hobby, or any other descriptive word that will guarantee anybody success in one’s life, career, or relationships. I have come up with 10 Reasons Why Golf is the Most Important Key to Success (and I don’t do these in order because it’s hard to give one more…
Law School is no joke, well until your third year then it’s just job searches and “bar review,” skipping class, video games, and jokes. If you ever read any of Tucker Max’s books, well, then, you would have a much more colorful understanding. However, there are some essential things that got me through Law School (in no particular order):
GChat - not facebook chat, not AOL IM, but GChat. Everyone seemed to have it on their laptops and if someone looked at your computer it looked like it was an e-mail website, so it suppressed suspicion. Law School is more Mean Girls than High School, so gossipping about who did what and who did who from the week before makes class tolerable. Also, when you’re on call and you have nice friends, they sometimes GChat you the answer. And who doesn’t like to talk negatively about their professor in private?
Family & Friends- aww, touching. But seriously, you are about to become one of the most miserable people you know. Your friends and family will put up with it, celebrate the good times and nurture you in the bad times. Let’s face it, when you’re surrounding yourself voluntarily around only A-Type personalities you need an outlet that is going to calm your emotional nerves.
Highlighters- all you do is highlight, everything seems important. Then there’s people who color code their highlighting. All you do is read and highlight. At the end of the day, when you graduate, you realize all that highlighting didn’t really matter.
Alcohol- I’m not promoting alcohol or the use of it, but I will say Alcohol has an interesting impact on Law School Students. They use it to celebrate, they use it when things are going rough, and they use it heavily. I had classmates whose friends visited and even some of my own friends visit whom were shocked at the level of alcohol taken in by Law School students. Some kids, from quite large undergrads, would visit and come away with the belief Law School kids would drink a Frat Party under the table any day - Hence, our Beer Olympics, “Bar Reviews,” End of Semester Celebrations, etc. etc., if you’re not studying you’re finding a rationale to consume alcohol.
Television- I didn’t watch much television in undergad or high school, the occasional Teen Mom (by the way, so pumped that Teen Mom 3 has recently aired) or 16 & Pregnant (the “at least it’s not me, so now my day doesn’t suck anymore” pick me up) or a Sporting Event. But once I got to Law School, I had more shows to follow than ever before. It was my outlet away from studying. And I began to sound like a grandmother, “Oh, I can’t go out, my shows are on.”
Gym -You’re stressed, you’re tired, you’re eating bad, and you’re unhappy with your appearance. That’s what Law School will do to you, but the kids, like myself, who worked out regularly were rarely ever stressed. Or if we were, we were able to overcome the stress by a quick gym session.
Internet- Whether it was Barstoolu.com with their Smokeshow Smashups (you could literally spend a days worth of classes playing this), Memes, Fantasy Sports on ESPN, or any other website. Internet got you through class, it helped you procrastinate from studying, and it connected you to opportunities for jobs and internships. Or, sometimes, social media outlets would let you voice your opinions. Which, by the way, Law School + Social Media + Opinions never mix well. It’s like Alcohol, Politics and Religion. You don’t mix certain things, ever.
Jimmy Valvano- Maybe not for you, but definitely for me. Before every final exam, every mock trial competition, and at the start of every college basketball season. His 1993 ESPY speech was and has been my inspiration before, during, and after law school. I would watch that speech realizing that no matter what I did today, in the great idea of things, it didn’t matter. I was alive, I was happy, and I would be fine tomorrow. “Don’t Give Up, Don’t Ever Give Up” and he also taught us an important lesson - that each day we should laugh, think and have our emotions moved to tears. Seriously, watch that speech, try not to get emotional and then think about the message and in the context of that message. His speech will get you through anything.
Buffalo Wild Wings- Everyone has their sinful place to eat. During Football and Basketball season, it was best for me to go pig out at B-Dubs. All those screens, all those wings, and no law school - jackpot. I would go there weekly. It just was the perfect place to get your mind off of school and to enjoy the small things in life.
Myself- what better motivation is there to do anything than yourself? I wanted to prove people wrong, I wanted to succeed, I wanted to graduate. The toughest of times and the best of times, I did it all for me. No, it’s not selfish. It’s part of life. When you start doing things for yourself, you find your happiness and other things naturally come to you. I had no one but myself to be upset with over grades and no one that was more proud in my successes than myself. At the end of the day, Myself got me through to graduation, Myself (along with networking, charisma, and being just the man) got me a job, a fiance, and a bright future.
At the end of the day, everyone will have their own things to get them through Undergraduate Schooling, Graduate Schooling, Relationships, and Life. But, you gotta find your own 10 things, but the one thing everyone’s list should have is a “myself” section…