How to make a friend in Uganda. business consultant, NGO worker, former Peace Corps volunteer, activist: searching for sustainable solutions to eradicate extreme poverty

September 21, 2010

valentines in September?

Filed under: Peace Corps,Uganda — Jeff @ 9:56 am

I talked to my sister Jessica yesterday for about 20 minutes. She says that I need to write more often. One of the other trainees days tells me that my posts are way too short. Here goes.

A few weeks ago some of the trainees instituted a mailbox system where we can leave encouraging notes for each other. I thought the idea was a bit sophomoric at the time but was turned around when I began receiving some very encouraging love grams. I began to write notes to others as well. Today I received one of my favorites:

Jeff, You can come across as quite cynical at times. But you also come across as someone who cares deeply about things. I like that dichotomy. Good luck.

I guess I see that a lot in my life lately. I am passionate and at times pig-headed. When I feel for something or someone, it is not fleeting. I come from a conservative home where I learned strong ethics and values. My politics are generally progressive. I have a deep personal faith. It is difficult even for me to wrestle with how my heart, my mind, and my soul match up. For others it sometimes seems absurd. The way that I think and act do not always line up squarely with their perception of my religious tradition or culture.

On another note, Uganda is incredible. Every day is something new. Danced at legit clubs all weekend. Crashed Sunday; did little but laundry. Returned to class yesterday. And it was good. OK — maybe not all so good. After a very productive first session on Monday, the trainers decided to break out a ridiculous schedule of language assessments for this week. Panic. They are bringing in native speakers on Thursday to converse with us one-on-one. On Friday we have a mock LTI. I am definitely not prepared for this.

This morning our economic development session was cancelled so I ended up with a private language tutoring session while the health volunteers learned about HIV and nutrition. For the first time in weeks I feel like I am making progress. Well back to class. Perhaps more later.

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