I’ve moved in with my host family, and so far it’s better than I could have hoped for! I am living with the Iranukunda’s, a Catholic family made up of five children, the mother, and the father...
(At this point I was writing in my journal outside when I was interrupted by my host mother Gertrude. She handed me an enormous papaya and a knife sans handle. She speaks very little English, but she made it quite obvious that she wanted me to start peeling and gutting this monstrous fruit. The Ugandans don’t have cutting boards, nor do they do anything on counters or tabletops. Instead, they hold whatever they are cutting in their off-hand and just start going at it. To no one’s surprise including my own, the entire family, the neighbors who were watching from outside of the fence, and most likely you reading this, I was absolutely terrible at preparing exotic fruit in this way. We all had quite a laugh at the muzungu failing miserably at doing the simplest of house chores.)
...Anyway, my new family is made up of Festo and Gertrude and their five kids: Innocent (21), Gloria (18), Barbara (12), Dixon (9), and Janet (6). I have yet to meet Barbara who is away at boarding school, but I am already scheming how to win my way into each of their hearts. When Innocent picked me up yesterday, he was wearing his Arsenal - Fabergas shirt. Seizing this opportunity, I decided to unload all of the English football (yeah, I am not going to call it soccer as I have already been ridiculed for this by the locals) knowledge I had on him (thanks Luke and Joshie). when I exhausted that avenue 30 seconds later, I explained to him that it was simply not a popular sport in America. He let me know that he was aware of this particular deficiency, but that he would be willing to watch any matches I cared to so long as I wanted to and was willing to cheer for Arsenal whenever they played. I am excited for both the football and the chance to bond with Inno a bit more. Festo should be easy. He speaks great English, and is always willing to chat with my about the differences between our cultures. I feel as if he has already taken me under his wing. The two young ones were also quite easy. All it took was an iPod full of American music. Dixon loves hip-hop and Bob Marley which is basically what I expected, and while Janet will listen to anything I give to her, she only dances around when I play indie dance and ska which I am fairly sure she has never heard before. Gertrude may be a bit more difficult because of both the language barrier and the separation of gender roles here. She is always smiling, though, and if the past two days is any indication, she seems to find me the most amusing whenever I am trying to help her around the house despite the fact that I’m consistently failing to do anything that could be construed as constructive. Gloria is also proving to be hard to get to know. It has only been a couple of days, but she really only talks to me or even looks at me when I am saying something directly to her. I am not sure if this an issue with gender, or if she is just being an average teenage girl.
There’s plenty more I could say, and I still haven’t even mentioned my fellow trainees, trainers, or even the town I am staying in, but I am tired. I just wanted to get some thoughts down about my first impressions while they were still fresh. For now, just know that I am doing very well.