Thursday, May 27, 2010

May 25-26, 2010--Days 1 and 2 at TASO

Tuesday and Wednesday were our first two days at TASO. Tuesday we had a tour of the clinic and learned what happens in each department (medical, counseling, and social support). We also met about 40 new people, and today (Wednesday) we were quizzing ourselves about names. We didn’t do very well. Thankfully everyone is so friendly they just come up to us, shake our hands, tell us “you’re welcome,” and reintroduce themselves. They also had some issues with our names. Most think I’m called Jazz or Just (as in Justin), but I’m better off than Nrupa. She dropped the “r” from her name to make it easier to understand, but TASO staff are still having some trouble. The center manager insists on calling her by her last name, which she’s not exactly excited about.

After getting acquainted with TASO, we walked around town a bit, got our modem for internet, picked up a few last minute things for the super market, and headed for home. We decided to walk just to explore a bit, which may not have been the best idea. (As I’m typing this, moths keep attacking my computer because it’s the brightest light in the room. We just lost power for a few minutes and I had my head lamp on, but I had to turn it off immediately because they were flying at my face.) The walk was much farther than we thought, though we may still try to do it a few times a week to get some exercise in, most likely home from work rather than to work.
Last night we attempted to set up the internet, though apparently the telephone lines weren’t working very well so it was holy unsuccessful and just made both of us very frustrated. We watched Food, Inc to relax ourselves, but I pretty much just slept through the entire thing and Nrupa got worked up about her dislike for the food/agriculture industry.

Wednesday was also relatively uneventful. The most scandalous thing that happened was that we called one boda driver to come pick us up, but we couldn’t quite remember what he looked like so we got on the wrong boda. But I apologized to the original boda driver. I felt so bad. He drove out to get us only to find that we had already left…

Otherwise, we spent the day researching different projects that we are interesting in working on and tomorrow we’ll meeting with people to discuss the best ways for us to contribute. We’re both anxious to get started, so hopefully we’ll have something nailed down in the next few days.
Lastly, Peter stopped by to discuss some things about the hosue (ie: rent) since his name is on the lease. We also dicussed some of the projects Nrupa and I are interested in working on. We mentioned nutrition projects and he said we might be able to go to Soroti (another town slightly northwest of Mbale, maybe 3 or so hours away) to see their nutrition support programs. Only TASO Soroti and Gulu still have these programs since they’re post-conflict zones, so that would be an amazing opportunity. Hopefully it works out.

Interesting occurrence: Peter called us muzungu today. I don’t know why, but it was more surprising when he used that term then when children or people on the street do, maybe because we know him. It wasn’t offensive at all; it was just more surprising because I think I was associating the term with those seemingly less educated than Peter (who is now going for his Masters in something having to do with development or project management. He told us the other night at dinner but I can’t remember).

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