This year marked my second Thanksgiving in Uganda. For both celebrations, I was lucky enough to have good group of friends to share the holiday with. This year we enjoyed chicken, mashed and scalloped potatoes, spicy pumpkin soup, carrots, homemade applesauce, and cheese (yes, just a block of cheese - and it was delicious!). Then for dessert we had spice cake and oreos! After eating, we continued the party by walloping a Thanksgiving turkey piñata full of "sweeties." So much fun!
Uganda is a hotspot for all sorts of fun tropical diseases. When I was studying about rare, un-heard-of diseases in school, almost all of them seem to have been found in Uganda at some point. I've definitely found this to be true since I've lived here: in the past 15 months, Uganda has seen outbreaks of ebola, typhoid, anthrax, yellow fever, and anthrax. And that's not even including the "normal" tropical diseases like malaria, schistosomiasis, and trachoma. Oh, what a dream for a public health student :)
(fyi: no PCVs have yet contracted any of these diseases in Uganda. We are all ok!)
Last week my training group met in Masaka to have our midservice conference. Since we've all be at site for a year now, we got a chance to get together, reconnect, and share successes and frustrations from the past year. It was really great to see everyone! Here is our group - all 45 of use (it's pretty unusual to have an intact group make it all the way to the one year mark!):
CHED August 2010 one year in :)
The serious "work talk" was coupled by some fun activities as well: a movie showing of Volunteers (a Tom Hanks film from the 80s making fun of the Peace Corps), a trivia night, a Halloween party, and class superlatives. Yes indeed, two people in our group took the time to make a superlative for everyone in our group, including (in true Ugandan fashion) certificates! Mine was "most likely to be asked to sing the national anthem at the superbowl." I think this was more related to my being (with about a minute of notice) asked to sing the national anthem at out homestay thank you party and swearing in ceremony early on, rather than any actual talent on my part, but it was still sweet! Some of the other superlatives included best bikini bod (won by a woman in the 55+ crowd who rocks), most likely to always have taco seasoning in her bag, and most likely to bring HIV education to the Hobbit shire. We have a very interesting group :)
During the conference we were also supposed to make an action plan for our last year at site. Unfortunately, I will (hopefully) be moving sites soon, so it was difficult for me to take away future plans and hopes for the coming year. I'm trying to stay optimistic that things will work out for the best, but honestly the idea of moving at this point in my service is really daunting. Not only do I have to go through the stress of actually packing and moving, but I have to start from scratch with a community. I have to get to know my neighbors, my colleagues, and my market women. I have to learn where to buy my groceries and how to get around. It's been stressing me out! I'll update more when I have more details about where I'm going, but for now the only thing that's certain on my agenda for the next year is to finally finish my master's paper! Wish me luck!