The First Week

October 22, 2009

Hello all, I have now been at site for a full week and the reality of my next two years is starting to set in. I live in a three room, very spacious compound within the grounds of my organization. My stove is set-up and meals have already been successfully cooked and coffee fantastically brewed. I walk pretty much everywhere, my longest commute being around 5 miles one way. KAFRED is a great organization which has its hands in many operations. They run the Bigodi Wetlands a.k.a. my swamp, which generates income for locals, they run women’s groups, make peanut butter, honey, and even run a science center. My first task is to take a look at their peanut butter operation and see if we can’t add some value to it and grow its market. There is a worker from the North Carolina Zoo who is an RPCV from the Philippines so she helps keeps me sane and lets me use her generator and internet until I can set something of my own up. I’m in a great situation both with my organization and living arrangement. Fort Portal is about an hour away by taxi, assuming that there are no flat tires along the way, I already have experienced that delay…twice in one trip. A fellow PCV Matt is only about 7 miles south of where I reside, so sanity is a taxi ride away. One problem that I am facing is that the locals seem to react in awe when I speak the local language, and don’t seem to hear anything I say because they are too busy talking to their friends about how the white dude can speak their language. Also, there is a mix of languages out here, they also speak Ruckiga (spelling?) which is kind of like Runyorro but thrown in a blender and shortened, which doesn’t lend itself to easy recognition. Kibale National Park is in my backyard and two days ago, Tuesday, we went to the Chimp Nest Lodge which had an amazing view of the Park and had the opportunity to tour their tree house room which is often visited by chimpanzees looking for the fruit that is grown in the surrounding trees. I went on a walk around my swamp on Monday and saw many of the local birds, including the Great Blue Turaco and more, I promise I’ll have the names down sometime in the next two years, and a few different primate species, the Black and White Colobus, the Red Colobus, and the stars of the next story, the baboons. As we were walking we came across a farm and my counterpart, Bernard, said that the baboons were staging a heist…yes he said a heist. As I rolled my eyes we kept walking and then it seemed that the entire herd of cattle was protesting something. I retraced my steps and saw about 50 baboons running across the field, where the herd was grazing, with cassava clutched in hand and mouth which they stole from the farm. Little did I know or realize that the baboons were headed straight for our path, as they came into the forest a few baboons stopped in the trees around us and feasted on their cache of cassava, and a few proceeded to walk towards me and my Cannon Digital Rebel. I was able to get some great shots and I will attempt to upload them when I have some acceptable bandwidth. I hope everybody is well and I now have my P.O. Box:

 

David Harrison, PCV

P.O. Box 733

Fort Portal, Uganda

 

Because there is some question towards the legitimacy of the customs and post office process, to insure the safety of the goods being delivered feel free to put Brother or Reverend David Harrison or write bible verses on the side of the box and when you declare what is in the box, if there is anything of any value, take a little liberty to write things like candy, magazines, books that might not be as interesting as Ipod or DVDs. Just some tips to insure a safe quasi-realizable means of delivery. Some people have asked if they were to send a care package what would I request, and have made the following list as a start, but feel free to as your own since of uniqueness:

 

  1. Letters (I would love to hear from you guys)
  2. Magazines (Economist, New Yorker, Time, National Geographic, Newsweek, Sport Illustrated etc…)
  3. Candy (Milky Way, Snickers, you get the picture)
  4. Snack Stuff (Corn nuts, sunflower seeds bbq ranch, Pringles, nuf said)
  5. CDs (New stuff comes out all the time, or mixes you personally make)
  6. DVDs (See above)
  7. Books (Mike, Chad, Zack, Stephen, ya’ll know what I read, tell the people or feel free to email me)
  8. MISC (If none of the above appeals to you feel free to ask)

 Thanks guys and I hope you are all doing well,

David

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2 Responses to “The First Week”

  1. Jolie Says:

    Hey David,

    Glad you are still alive after one week at site! Sounds liks so far, so good. I am still in S Africa but was wondering how folks were doing, so deceided to surf blogs a bit. Hello to all for me and take it easy! I will give you a call to check in when I get back next week. I hope Matt is surviving as well! My best to John, Bernard, and KAFRED people:)

    Jolie

  2. Scott Hill Says:

    Hello David,
    I’m a PCV in St. Lucia, a bit more than halfway though my service, and I’m considering doing some Peace Corps Response work when my time here ends in early October, 2010. I would greatly appreciate the chance to correspond with you directly about your experience in Uganda as it’s one country I would love to spend time in. You can reach me directly at scotthill57@gmail.com if you’d be willing to help me out in this regard.

    In the meantime, keep up the good work you’re doing.

    All the best,
    Scott Hill
    EC78, St. Lucia

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