You should have a boda-boda driver in your "top five" and other things I learned today 8/17/09

Caitie Goddard in Uganda:

You should have a boda-boda driver in your "top five" and other things I learned today 8/17/09

There is a point in any new experience where you feel relaxed enough to ease up a little without feeling comfortable. It’s after you pass the point of feeling like you’re not in control or could lose it at any second. Then, before you get to the point of comfort and are acclimated, you hit that stage where you get a little confidence, feeling like you can handle the challenges and you may actually like not knowing what’s coming! THAT is where I am and I love it!

I know enough to be ready for some really sad mornings hearing from concerned HIV positive clients worried about their children when they are gone or getting enough to eat. I know to expect hugs when I walk into the orphanage and to see kids playing with a few bricks, a stick and a mesh cage having as much fun as a little American boy who just got a new remote controlled car. I also know at all times where my flashlight, phone, and keychain light are so when the power goes out or my boda driver makes a wrong turn on the way back, I’m going to be able to see what I am putting into my bowl for dinner and skip over the giant pothole filled with mud walking towards my home.

What I don’t know are things like how to best help all the people I meet so obviously in need or even when I do, how to get the results I want! I still don’t know which store within two miles sells diet coke or where I can buy peanut butter and I also don’t know how in the world I am going to wash the pee out of my jeans from the pantsless twins at the orphanage staging a sneak attack before I could hand them off to someone else!

“Knowledge is Power” but it can also lead to settling. Settling for being comfortable rather than pushing yourself to the next challenge. Since I view myself as slightly lazy or complacent, I try to keep myself in a place where I am forced to learn new things every day!

A few things I learned today:

Wasuze otya means “good morning” when you don’t want to say oli otya which is “how was your night?” This is super useful when you are just passing someone who you don’t want to stop and converse with but you don’t want to ignore either. I learned this from Derrick’s 3 year old daughter. Technically I learned it 3 days ago but I just got what she was finally saying to me every morning.

A charcoal stove that is big enough to make chapatti costs less than the pan that goes on top. I bought a small stove today for the woman I want to help start a chappatti stand for herself. She needs to generate enough income to support caring for her grandsons and hopefully be able to visit her brother in the hospital. Even with bargaining, I only managed to bring down the price of the pan 500USH and it was STILL more than the stove!

I don’t like noodles for dinner. Or lunch. Or really ever. I have had enough noodles to sustain whatever part of my brain would ever crave them for years.

I really like the kids at the orphanage.

I also have favorites; Carlos, the kid who for whatever reason loves Spanish and wants to learn. I teach him a few words every time I come and he knows them the next day. He’s also really smart in general and just an overall great kid. Vic, whose real name is Victoria and whom everyone else calls Victor (because that’s somehow more girly than Vic?!?) or Victoria even though she likes Vic. Vic it is for me! Rebecca because she’s just really smart and I am so impressed with how eager she seems to learn. John Bosco because he’s three and the chillest three year old I have ever met. Plus he played catch with me. And his name is John Bosco. And finally the little Rachel (there are 2) who is the cutest kid ever. So sweet and adorable!

Apparently you can tie a string around a finger and it will fall off. At least that’s what is happening at Bbiri clinic.

You can use a fork for anything. That includes making eggs, opening cans of instant coffee and later as the utensil to stir the muck up in the bottom of your cup.

And finally- it is good to make nice with at least one boda-boda driver. Geoffrey is now a valued contact saved to my phone. Even though the first time we met, he started asking me if I knew Jesus WHILE driving and WHILE turning around to hear my answers, he gives me a fair mzungu price to the orphanage and back everyday. Now, I no longer have to “compromise” with the others where they look at me straight in the eye and try to charge me 4 times what a local pays. Please.

All of these pieces of knowledge have different shelf-lives for usefulness but I still love knowing that I learned them!

www.volunteer.org.nz