So it ended up that I transported 26 large boxes of books plus another box with a desktop computer in it via public transport from Kampala to Kitgum…talk about overpacking. Books for Africa delivered quite a variety of books and while I’m still wrestling with the fact that more than half of the ones received definitely do no fit into the category Teen fiction (Heathcare 2010, How to Read French Literature, Unsolved Murders….), I am grateful for the ones that do fit in and have a lot of hope of what Books for Africa can accomplish if it just pays a bit more attention to how it categorizes books.
I’m writing now, not only because I’m trying to write more frequent and shorter blog entries, but also because a little more than one year ago, I joined the Peace Corps. So break open a bottle of ice cold beer as I rip open a ketchup package of room temperature local brew and we’ll celebrate…maybe not.
Things are starting a bit slowly this term but I think I will be very busy soon once again. We are in the 4th week of the term (which is funny since I’ve yet to meet with 4 of my 5 classes for one reason or another) and just like they may be saying “Spring is in the air” back home, “Politics are in the air” here, in much of North Africa and in the Middle East. I’m sure you all have been reading about Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Iran, and Bahrain and if you are clued into any general African news, you might be hearing a bit about a little country called Uganda. 5 other volunteers in my group were actually on vacation in Egypt at the time of the protests, but thankfully they were able to fly out to Athens on a fight chartered for American citizens and are now safe and sound. Elections for all levels (from very local to President) here happened this past Friday. Students over age 18 were released from school last Wednesday to go to their home of record and vote. The Embassy has been gearing up for this election for more than a year now, fearing the worst, but (knock on wood) it seems to be peaceful. Election Day and the preceding week included a few car accidents or small incidents and scattered cries of “Corruption! Corruption!,” but no major riots. Great story in Kitgum: the police get called in because citizens find a coffin full of ballots (obviously not real votes right?). Well, the police, God bless them, decided that they should then take the coffin to the voting center to be counted…so the MP (member of Parliament) announced to have won didn’t really win and people put up a non-violent stink about it in town…who knows when it will be resolved (a teacher at my school looked at me after relaying this news and said "T.I.A., Aber"--This is Africa). The rumors that Musevini is rigging this election are pretty widespread and include charges that he has been using Government funds for campaigning, handed money out to citizens (via his staff) in exchange for their promise to vote for him, and made sure that the electoral board is all his people. The main people he was running against were his former personal doctor who has run against him for the last 2 elections, a woman, and a man from Gulu. Election results were publicized on Sunday and Musevini won the cake and took home the crown of glory with about 68% of the vote. No one's suprised, but I think people are waiting to see if he decides to adjust the constitution again so he can run for another term in 5 years.
Enough of politics. I’ll write again in a month, hopefully with a long laundry list of projects accomplished. Hope all is well.