Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pictures from my site visit/language immersion week

Swearing In and Post-Swearing In Pictures (there's more on the right under "photo album")

Why you should always wear sunscreen in Africa.

My Luganda language class (we were split into two groups). Top row: Jon; middle row: Zach and Courtney; bottom row: Me and Mary

The entire Luganda group. Jon, Colin, Heidi, Courtney, Mary Amber, Zach, me, and Khrissee.

My counterpart (Roy) and my supervisor (Achilles) after swearing in

Jon's Obama pants....I had to take a picture :)

From left to right: MJ, Lizz, Matt and me after swearing-in

The new Country Director, Ted Mooney, and me after swearing in.

My language teacher Ven and me after swearing in.

Why you should always use a mosquito net when you're staying the night at a friend's house who lives in a swampy area. *smacks head*

I'm a bad blogger :(

So it's been quite a while since I've blogged. I wanted to do a weekly entry, but that's obviously not happened. I hope to be blogging more since I've found an awesome internet place in my new town (more on that later...), so I hope you'll forgive me!

So what's happened these last few weeks?

LPI. Every trainee in each country where the Peace Corps works has to pass a language exam before they are sworn in, or if they don't pass, by three months after swearing in. A passing score is Intermediate Low level. (See what this means here) I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to pass the test on the first go. We took a mock LPI about two weeks prior and I scored two levels below Intermediate Low at Novice Mid. I only had two weeks to bump up my score; I was determined to pass the LPI before swearing in. Our teacher, Ven, was really helpful in those last few weeks preparing us for the final LPI. She showed us what we needed to improve on to get better scores and how to construct simple paragraphs instead of simple sentences. After I took the LPI I didn't think I passed. BUT I DID! I scored Intermediate Low! Actually I think my teacher might have just felt sorry for me...but who knows :)

Homestay Thank You Celebration. About a week before we left our homestays we had a celebration to thank them for hosting us. Each language group gave a presentation and the new Country Director gave a speech, as did several volunteers. Since the majority of families speak Luganda, my group gave two presentations instead of only one. Our first presentation was a skit showing what we did every day at training. One thing I've learned since I've been here is that Ugandans really love skits. REALLY REALLY love skits. They loved ours :) Our second presentation was the traditional Buganda dance. It's kind of hard to describe and I wish I had a picture or video of it (since I totally ROCKED at it). Here's a video from YouTube that kind of shows the dance: VIDEO.

Site Announcement. Our sites were announced in the last week of training. I'm placed in the Masaka district (south of Kampala bordering Lake Victoria) with an organization that works with children. They're partnered with Compassion International so it's a pretty religious organization. I've mostly been doing office work and no outreach so far, but it's only been two weeks and we'll see how things go in the next few months. My housing fell through on the taxi ride down here so I've been staying with a family since arriving at site. The husband is on the board of the organization and they're really nice. I pretty much have my own "studio" apartment with a shared bathroom and bathing area. They've been really helpful too. I'm not sure when I'll be getting into my own house, but I hope it's soon! I really want to settle in and start living in my own place!

Well that's it for now. I'm going to try to upload some pictures here so you can see some stuff easily. Also, I've finally uploaded all my pictures so far in my Picasa albums (which you can find links to at the right of the page) or here: training & service.