This weekend was so much fun. This and the subsequent week really made me realize how much I'm going to miss Mbale. Friday night we went dancing, which, surprisingly enough, even to me, is something that I really enjoy. We first tried to go to Restville, the place that we went at the beginning of our time here with our UBC friends. When we rolled up, however, the place was literally empty. I think there were all of 5 people there, and at least 3 of them work at Restville. We changed venues and went to Rendezvous instead. We were a bit skeptical about this club. Our UBC friends went there when we were in Kenya and said it was fun, but strange. Apparently when they walked in, the place was completely silent, but everyone inside was still dancing...and wearing headphones. The headphones have two stations, so each person essentially dances to their own music. Two people dancing together could be listening to different songs. So weird!
Thankfully Friday night was a normal night. At first no one was really dancing, but the muzugus quickly turned the party around! Aside from the fact that the place smelled like ass because the bathrooms were literally on the dance floor and they only played African music that's sort of strange to dance to, it was really fun! There were a few skeezy guys though. One dude came up and started dancing with me and my friend Allan, so I thought that he was a friend of Allan's, but apparently Allan had no idea who this guy was. Then the same guy came up behind me a little bit later, leaned over my shoulder, and told me he wanted me to buy him a drink. I laughed at him and told him to go buy his own drink.
Saturday morning we slept in, then did some errands in town. We ended up meeting up with two of our friends, Martin and Ronald, at TASO because they were doing some work. We hung out with them there for a bit, and then made plans to meet up later to go dancing again. You have to know Martin to understand, but to no one's surprise he flaked on us, so we just watched a movie (Stardust!) and went to bed.
On Sunday I awoke to find Nrupa standing in the living room in a dress. Seeing her in a dress is an unbelievably rare occasion, so I was very confused as to what was happening. Apparently she was going to Church with Martin. I kindly declined their offer and spent the morning watching Sopranos. I love relaxing Sunday mornings! When Nrups and Martin returned from Church, we made some pretty good eggs and hung out for a bit.
A few hours later, we met up with him and Ronald and walked around the slums of Mbale. It was really interesting. Martin had done research in Namatale (the slum), so he knew some of the people and a good bit of the history of the area. There's a road that divides the two sides, and on one side of the road the rate of HIV is much higher than on the other side. I'm not sure why, and I don't think he ever figured it out either, but it's quite an interesting phenomena.
We walked around for about 3 hours, all through these areas of Mbale we had never seen. Then we met up with Dave, Jessie and Rachel for dinner at Elgon. Rachel was introduced to us via email by Joslyn. She's an undergrad doing some microfinance research in Uganda for the summer. It was a fun dinner. Then Rachel ended up spending the night because the NGO with whom she's staying had locked the gate and she couldn't get in. It was so excited to have our first house guest! We had a brief dance party to the song Monster by Lady Gaga (which we listen to at least 8 times each day), and went to sleep, ready for our second to last full week at TASO.