Tuesday, September 11, 2007

ni kirungi.

Yes, here in Ruhiira (or actually Mbarara (Buh-rah-rah), though I was just in Ruhiira, which has no electricity), it is good.

Already, I feel like I'm learning a new life lesson every day (though I'm not sure if that will last the whole time...we've only been in Ruhiira for 5 of about 100 days! :)). About how we are all alike more than we are different, about being present, about love erasing irritation and anxiety about what others are thinking of me (shout out to Caitlin Kane for teaching me that lesson!), and about patience patience patience!

Life here is slow & interesting...which is frustrating and happy...ating.

Good: Being in a rural village surrounded by banana plantations for our first weekend in Ruhiira, we read a lot and did laundry and played cards and ate a lot (any of you who think we are lacking, guess again...we are served HUGE meals for lunch & dinner (we get breakfast too, though it's not "huge")...and they include lots of rice & beans & avocado(!!!)). We do have a generator for nighttime, so not only do we have light, but we also have a tv (and a dvd player that we have yet to use); however we are the only house within about 30 square miles that has this, so our solidarity factor is limited...although the pit latrine toilet and bucket shower systems are helping there. Though it is frustrating to go without so many of the luxuries we're used to, 1.) we aren't really suffering, and 2.) it is nice to live simply, to wake up when the sun comes up (okay, an hour after the sun comes up), to see cows in our front yard & here roosters in the morning (yep, Jackson could definitely teach them a lesson or two in their cockadoodledooing efforts), to read by candle light sometimes, to create more ways of using our time with quality, and mostly to get to be with the people who are experts--involuntarily-- at living simply.

Frustrating: People are RARELY on time here! James, the man I am working with on gender issues (who is happy to have me, a "gender specialist" (??!!) working with the project :)), and I met with our second women's group (talking about empowerment, which to them means being able to pay for their children's school fees with the money they have made from selling beans/a goat without their husband using their money to buy beer/a second wife first, which is most often the case) on Monday, and though we were supposed to be there at 2:00, we didn't arrive until 3:15!!! I was so aggravated by this! Of course, the women (I think there were 37 in attendance by the end) showed no frustration...I'm not sure if this is because they are patient or afraid to speak up to a man...probably a combination. Also, I am struggling a bit with constantly being looked at, called out to with: "Muzungu!" ("white/rich person!"), laughed at for how we pronounce the words, or honestly, being catered to (our meals are cooked for & served to us, our rooms are cleaned for us, and we are chauffeured everywhere we want to go...it is a challenge to be able to just take a walk by ourselves!). I went for a walk yesterday evening and could not find space to myself, where none of these things happened. Aargh.

And such is life...the good and the bad mix together and provide lessons & puzzles & growth (right? :)). Overall, I am so thankful to be here, and feel that this is where I'm supposed to be...Esther, one of our neighbors who helps me learn Rukiga (Rue-chee-guh, the local language) and has invited us to visit (and have dinner??) at her house tonight, and Loucky, the shy six-year old girl who I got to hold hands with on our walk home from church the other day & whom I honestly can't wait to see again (I know she lives closeby, but I don't know where!), remind me of that very much.

I expect that, as they should, the ups & downs will both continue...as will our updates!
We are thinking of & praying for all of you. Thanks for checking in!! :)


Amy Beth Sawyer said...

my beautiful megan! it is so good to hear how you are handling everything new. (like a pro, i might add.) i think about you all the time. i loved getting to see the pictures of what you have been up.
love you~!!!

Les said...

So, you are still there with Eric, I was beginning to wonder!!! So good to hear your observations and experiences. One never knows why or where they should be and what they should be doing until he/she is in that spot! Live Learn and Prosper!
Thanks for sharing.
Love ya

Janet said...

It sounds like the country mouse and the city mouse..try to RELAX!
Coming from NYC to where you are now, I can only imagine your frustrations..I'll say an extra prayer for you tonight!:)
Sending an extra hug too!!!
Love you..Janet
PS..Thank you for writing..it was really, really nice to hear from you.

Jennifer said...

Hi Megan :)
It sounds to me that the happy-ating things out way the frustrating ones...even though the frustrating things are always harder to "forget". You're right, everything summed up together is what makes your experience! Give Eric a big hug the next time someone is late or calls you a name, and then you'll feel better! :) Miss you both!

Danilo said...

Hey megs...
I know exactly how you feel about being looked at..it was the same thing in Brazil, they just used the word "gringa" among others. Just remember that some of those people do not see too many people from other places, and they look at you as a learning experience. They are so curious and probably want to know all about you, and watch the things you do because you do them so differently. They stare and talk because you are so interesting.
LOVE YOU!!!~donelle