Friday, July 20, 2012

It's that time: COS

COS Conference
Last week my training class had our last Peace Corps conference together: our Close of Service (COS) conference. While we mostly talked about administrative stuff (when exactly we'll all be leaving, what forms to fill out, etc.), we also reflected on our past two years in Uganda. Not only that, we got to stay at a super swanky resort! This place had multiple swimming pools, a view of Lake Victoria, garden pathways, and Uganda's only equestrian center! The resort was so big they had golf carts to carry guests throughout the resort! (Although, I knew I was still in Uganda when my golf cart "ran out of fuel" after going 3 feet...the carts are electric.) We also got to enjoy delicious food: homemade yogurt, bacon, curries, chicken, beef, fish, cheese (real cheese!), and awesome desserts like tiramisu, crumble cake, and chocolate cake balls.

Room with a balcony

Balcony garden

Part of the garden walway


One pool: with a lake view

Another pool!

On our last night together, we had a lovely barbeque dinner on the lake. One of my fellow volunteers, Chelsea, shared a lovely poem to wrap up our service. Thanks Chelsea!

Our Peace Corps Journey
by Chelsea Lenore Milko
We have walked the narrows
Shaken our fists
Sunk into spaces
Been illuminated.
We lost some wind
But found the route.
We haven’t saved these people
Because they don’t need our saving.
But we have lifted their song, our song.
Not every moment we lived did we love it.
But with love we lived it.
Not because we had to
but because we could do.
We’ve seen so much
And we’ve really seen ourselves.
We have so much to give.
The trick is to not fear the magnificence.
To not blasphemy the hope.
Take this experience as a promise.
Use it. Plant it.
The world requires our love.
All the strength and dignity we can give it.
Because it is better to be a light source 
than to suffer the damned darkness.

Food Break
On the way home after the conference, I was bombarded by the usual band of street-food vendors. These also include vendors selling bags of vegetables, and I was persuaded by a bag of delicious-looking green peppers for 1,000 ugx (about 40 cents). After I made my purchase, I started wondering how I could consume 8 green peppers before they go bad...solution: stuffed green peppers! Mary came over to enjoy them with me, and I stuffed them with rice, tomatoes, onions, and shredded ham (from a wonderful care package!). After topping them with some parmesan cheese (which I brought back from my Christmas trip) and baking them, we enjoyed!

They turned out so perfectly!

Mary really enjoyed!

Well, I couldn't stop there, so I went on to make oatmeal, chocolate chip pecan cookies with the remainder of my Christmas stash of American food. So good:


So Rashida, what are you doing with your last few months in Uganda? 
It's really starting to hit me that I only have about 2 more months in Uganda. Where did the time go?! While I'm ready to close this chapter in my life, I have one more big project to finish: GirlTech Uganda. I'm co-directing this project, a professional development program for girls interested in science and technology, with an awesome fellow PCV, Stevie. The program will run from August 5-11 (with a brief training from August 3-5) at a secondary school a few kilometers from my house. It's going to be pretty amazing, with a science fair, "mad science" sessions, bottle rockets, etc., but there's so much to do in the next two weeks to get it all ready! I'll post more details after the program finishes, but wish me luck!