On my to-do list for the past year: “try a Zumba class” and I was able to cross that off last night. It was just what I was expecting, silly dancing while having fun. The teacher, Marjo, was a ball of joy. She is originally from Finland, but lives here now with her Ugandan/Kenyan husband and two children. The class was pretty exhausting, but fun. I also taught my first yoga class at the American Club on Tuesday night and it was wonderful. Yoga outside on the grass as the sun began to fade away into the darkness. I forgot how teaching yoga is just as relaxing as practicing yoga. Leading up to the class, my nerves were starting to enter my mind and body. What if I forgot what to say? What if I couldn’t illustrate the chataranga flow because of my sprained arm? But, then I remembered what one of our teachers Scotty used to say, “just let the yoga do its work. It’s less about the teacher and more about the practice.” That always makes me feel better, and as I started teaching the words began to flow. It also helped that three of my housemates came and offered me support. This morning, I had another class, but it was just me and some spider friends who did good downward dogs. I will have to rethink the days and may even start teaching at the US Embassy.
These days, I am cherishing each moment in this beautiful and lush country. This weekend, I am travelling to Jinja with my Irish housemates and their friends to do some serious water rafting (Level 4). It will be nice to get away for a bit and see more of the country. Last weekend, I attended the wedding of my co-worker that was about three hours out of town in Masaka. It was the world’s longest church ceremony (3 hours!) and unfortunately in Luganda, not English. I really appreciate the 20-minute Jewish weddings that often include drinking before. The reception was beautiful and reminded me of an American wedding. They even played “Celebrate” and my co-workers and me were dancing the night away.
Fred, the Prince of Alur Kingdom,, invited me to the Toro Kingdom wedding in Fort Portal for this weekend, which sounded amazing until he told me that we were going to stay overnight in the same room, same bed. As wonderful as it would have been, I could not let this man take advantage of me, so instead to Jinja I go. I also signed up for the MTN 10 km run next weekend and am now realizing that this may actually require some training…. so this week I will work on my running skills, especially uphill. It has been so incredibly hot here these past days that all I want to do is just read my new favourite book “Anatomy of the Spirit” under a shady area, which is exactly what I will do today before I head off to downtown to run some errands. I realized that I don’t need to go into the MEMPROW office everyday, especially because there isn’t much work for me to do right now. I will take this time to read, reflect, and grow as a person.
Also, of note, I attended an event to end corruption in Uganda. It was originally planned for a certain venue but the night before the police shut it down. This did not stop the angry people. They took it to the streets and demanded that politicians be punished for the mismanagement of government funds. Corruption is a trademark of the dictatorship of President Musevini who has been in power for 26 years. Most recently, it was exposed by auditors that billions of shillings of aid from Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Britain, was transferred to unauthorized accounts and spent on travel, houses, cars, and the like for politicians in the Office of the Prime Minister. All these countries have pulled out their aid money and people are angry! They are disappointed! And they want political accountability! As we protested on the streets, the police told us that we must leave. Or else they would bring out the teargas like they do for any protest in the country. When I was walking to the protest with my new activist friends we prepared for the worst. We bought water and took “teargas pills”. Thankfully, we didn’t need any of this and moved instead to a new location. I moved with a lady named Irene who is the Chairperson of Action Aid International. She is a retired lawyer who was also a Parliamentarian in the East African Congress. During the protest, she was the key speaker and impressed everyone with her courage and knowledge. I am not sure what will happen in this country. People are fed up with the government, but others don’t want to cause another war. I just got a call from my new activist friend, Charles, who leads a youth activist organization and we will meet up downtown and discuss future plans for action. I will keep you updated. Well, I should stop; I am trying to keep the posts shorter. Thank you if you read this far 🙂
Stay tuned for the next post. I am going to start conducting interviews of some of the interesting people I am meeting.