15 November 2010


Remember how I said that my living situation is really awesome? It got more awesomer recently, with the addition of a shower in my bathing area and rumors of a sink to come. The shower doesn't work yet, but it's pretty to look at and I like the fact that I'll probably get a shower before I get a ceiling. And they've been painting and doing a lot of other work on the compound as a whole.

Unfortunately, after that, it got a lot less awesomer.

They're turning the whole place into a guest house. This is fine with me, I think it could be nice to meet people who are coming to stay for a few days or so, though I'm pretty positive tourists don't come to Ngora, so I don't think I'd be meeting anyone.

Actually, let me go back for a second. The compound part, with all the rooms and bathing areas and latrines actually only makes up about two-thirds of the building. The rest is a store-front that opens up onto the street, which, until recently wasn't being used for anything.

So, they're turning the compound part of the building into a guest house. This is fine.
They're turning the store-front part of the building into a bar. This is not fine.

Ugandans really love music. Naturally, then, they play it at an obscene volume. And now there are speakers playing said music at said volume about fifteen feet from my home. I don't mind the Ugandan music, and I actually enjoy a lot of it, but not quite so much when it's louder in my home than my computer speakers can go.

Some Ugandans also really love drinking, sometimes way more than they should. And now there are people drinking, probably more than they should, about seven feet from me. I don't mind drinking, but not quite so much when it's random people drinking next to my front door.

I had originally assumed that the bar would be only in the store-front, and not outside my door, and that there would be a lock on the door between the bar and the compound and that life would go on as usual, maybe slightly louder (but, I have to admit, I hadn't really thought about the music yet). And, you know me, I'll put up with a lot of stuff that I don't want to put up with because I don't know why, I'm either nice or spineless, but let's go with nice.

So I discussed this with a few other volunteers today. One asked if this meant that I was going to become an alcoholic or if it just meant that people should come visit. One told me a story of his neighbor and landlord who came home totally wasted the other night, came into the his side of the house, wouldn't leave for over an hour, then asked him if he wanted to fight, and then kissed him on both cheeks when he said no. One told me that I was the type of person who would put up with a bar in their compound for two years without saying anything (is my lack of a spine, er, my niceness that obvious?) and that that was a bad choice because they'd probably never come visit. Among other reasons.

Needless to say, I'm probably going to have to talk to Peace Corps. Earlier I was saying that I would just talk to my neighbor Peter about putting the tables and chairs in front of the bar, rather than next to my front door. And that I could probably put up with the music after that. But then I was reminded that this is two years, and, as I'm sitting here jamming to Ugandan pop, I'm realizing that next July or December or the year 2012 when they're playing the same songs at the same volume, I will probably have already gone insane. And I just talked this weekend with some PCVs who've been here for a year and a half and they said that being here this long makes you a weirdo anyway, so I don't need to help the process along.

So, that sucks. 1: It sucks to move. 2: My house is really nice. 3: Shower! 4: I really like Peter and it was really quiet here before and I like being right on the outskirts of town.

But, if I were to move, it wouldn't be all bad. 1: I wouldn't be listening to this song anymore, I mean, for the love of God, I think this might be the same song they've been playing for the last six hours. 2: Since I'm already out here, I'd be able to see the other options and choose the best one. 3: Moving would also be a chance to get to know more people and a different part of town.

So, we'll see what happens.

However, I also went on a long walk out of town towards the villages this evening while the sun was setting and it was green and quiet and beautiful and I spoke a lot of Ateso and everyone pointed their homes out to me and asked me to come back and visit and an old woman walking ahead of me turned and saw me and waited for me and we walked together for a good ten minutes until she turned to go home and we talked and it was nice because she just wanted to greet me and didn't ask for anything except that I greet her back and I tried to get a small child named Sylvia to give me her herd of goats but she refused for some reason, probably because she pointed at them and said "Akinei!" meaning "Goats!" and I just pointed at them and said "Akinei ka?" meaning "My goats?" so she said "Mam!" meaning no and she was right, they weren't my goats, but maybe I can still convince her to give me some later, and the whole thing was easily the best experience I've had since being at site.

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