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The Goat is in the Maternity Ward and You Want to Give Me a Live Rooster?

July 6, 2011

So apparently that is code for, “that goat is having a baby right now,” and when someone in Buganda is really grateful for your work they want to give you a live rooster. Seriously I don’t know how they expected me to carry it back on the taxi squished with eight other people. This is how my day went last Tuesday. In the morning I was proposed to by my taxi driver, which was incredibly awkward. Then I finally made it to my second construction day where we finished the first water-harvesting tank. Not only did I experience two incredibly hard working builders but they also wanted to keep giving me mangoes. As I am eating my mango and working on my seminar for wood stove smoke damage, a baby goat is born right in front of our eyes. I’ve seen a lot the last six weeks. Margot and I also visited a baby clinic in the village next to mine. This was a really lovely experience because I have looked a lot at the lack of maternal healthcare across the world and how this is harmful to women and infants. But to see a small village make the effort to have a maternity focus with monthly baby clinics with immunizations was so heartwarming.
Last week was one of the busiest weeks I have had. I was doing a fair amount in my community, but Margot and I also helped our friend Elana paint murals of children’s book covers in a new primary school library. To be honest, I don’t normally love kids. I hate to admit it but I’m really glad I went to work at Elana’s primary school because it was incredibly inspiring and motivating to watch children get so excited for the library that they pulled out books they already had to read them to us.
Being here has taught me several strange and quite noteworthy lessons, but mainly that our world sits upon the chance of unfortunate circumstances every day. Every thing that we think can be changed in a second. I am, I suppose, teaching these health seminars to my farmers, and we laughed about how close each person is to the edge of death. A slightly morbid thing to laugh about it, but when you are throwing at them all the risks of wood stove smoke damage, or salt in your diet, it can kind of freak them out. But what was wonderful is they respected me enough to trust the information I was teaching, and they also pushed me for answers about other health concerns. So if anyone reading this took Bio 102, it actually is useful. But in all of my information they saw the point that I was trying to make. By changing little things in our lifestyles we can dramatically reduce our risk of illness and unhealthiness. If the women focus more on themselves and taking care of their bodies, they can be empowered by the more energy and free time that they have. Anyway, we sit upon this chance every day and we take for granted the moments we have. We don’t need to be tested to understand the worth of our lives, but I know for a fact that I take this for granted, and I don’t want too now.
I am really appreciating my experience here. I have met some really tremendous people, and I have seen a whole new side to life, but I have also realized the sacrifice it is to give up our lives at home and take on these endeavors. I wouldn’t want to change my decision ever, but I can definitively say that I am excited to return home, because I see more of why I love home so much, and the life I have created on my own. I will be sad to go. Last week Rose Mubiru sat me down at the end of my health seminar to tell me how much she appreciated my work and that they don’t know if they will ever get a person with as much passion and care for them. I thanked her very much, but she has no idea how much I love to come to the village and just spend time with these incredibly strong women.
So at this point if you have spent the time to read through this funny entry, thank you. If you are laughing at me, I am glad, because I laugh everyday at this entire thing. To make you laugh even more I can say tell a couple more things. So my toes are either very tan or dirt has gotten so far into the cracks for me to scrub out. I still haven’t mastered the latrine, which should be a goal by the time I leave Uganda. I can ride a boda boda now sideways, which probably doesn’t make my parents comfortable, but sometimes there is no way around it.


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