I've been away from my apartment in Mbarara for a week and haven't been to my campsite at Rwenjeru for over two now, hence my absence. The first few days of my holiday I met up with my friend Renee to stay with another Volunteer in a town called Kasese near Queen Elizabeth National Park. From there, Renee and I went on to Kampala to meet up with some of our other friends from our training class, and to deal with a few issues we were both having with our sites at the Peace Corps Office.
Whether it was seeing all of my friends, eating a few good meals, finally feeling some support from the PC administration, or the complete lack of Enock in my life, I feel so refreshed right now. The problems I am facing at my site are all still here, and may have even grown in number since I have been away as my landlord is threatening to evict me for late rent. I just feel more ready to deal with all of those things now.
Kampala gave me a much needed break from the monotony of my daily routine. I got a chance to do do some things that I thought I wouldn't even get a whiff of for the next two years. I had the three best meals I have eaten since I left America in early February including one of roasted crocodile (surprisingly delicious!), I went to the local clothing market and indulged a bit in my two favorite articles of clothing (jeans and a pair of high tops - second hand, but still...This is Uganda), and I even threw down and won a few bets at a nearby casino. More importantly, I got a chance to spend some time with some good friends (namely Renee and Joe). I think we reminded each other of why we came here in the first place and the fact that, even thuogh it sometimes feels like it, we aren't in this alone.
All in all, the last week or so has in no way resembled what a Peace Corps experience normally is or even should be. None of us came here to continue the lives we left back in America. High-end meals, new (used) clothes, and gambling are not things that you ever want to rely on to keep your sanity, especially when you are spending two years in East Africa. We also have to learn how to find contentment within ourselves, and not rely on other people for our happiness as we move on. We all know this, and we are still learning, but that doesn't mean that it is wise to deny ourselves these much needed respites when we need them, and as far as I am concerned, the timing of this last trip couldn't have been better.