Without on-line video streaming…

May 8, 2009

I’m reading Hari Kunzru’s Transmission.  Amazing.  I’m not referring to just the content of the book.  Six months ago, I probably could  give ten reasons why I was incapable of reading a book in three days.  You know, the ADHD makes me do things.  Maybe, I’ll read after just another 10 minutes of online video streaming.  Darn! I’ve to finish that 20-something paper that was due in the summer, so I can finally be certified in Montessori elementary ed.

Now I’ve one reason why I’m capable of reading a book in three days.  Boredom.  Life in this 3rd world corner has changed for the better.  With no school in session, I’m really enjoying my holiday time.  I just finished visiting Dr. Garrigan’s world in Giles Fodes’ The Last King of Scotland.

Jotting down my thoughts in the intricate virtual world of zeros and ones is another source of joy.  Six months ago, I swear writing was excruciating.  That final paper zapped enough energy out of me that could power Soy, my beloved PC that I left back in those States, for a month.  Now writing brings me the same mirth that my neurons experience when I reminisce my mother’s delightful tofu curry, or Siri Thai”s exquisitive Mock Duck Green Curry.

Another thing that is miraculous is seeing Fractal don a full-sleve button down shirt,  black dress pants, and non-Chaco shoes.  I never thought he would give up his quick-dry shorts and UGA’s Dept of Engineering and Lego T-shirts.  The man has changed into a serious professional.

Concocting palate-desiring nourishment in our pressure-cooker is exhilarating.  The Sundip Veggie Masala is truly a lifesaver. The red chili, cumin seed, ginger, turmeric, and garlic powder, coriander, bay leaves, cinnamon, black pepper, fenugreek leaves, and cardomom make our high-fiber beans a bit exotic.  Sautee the onions, add tomoto paste, and salt to taste, & we’ve some good yum.  My attempt at making chapattis–an Indian flatbread that’s popular in this African corner–last night was sadly less eloquent.  On the other hand, it was a community building activity.  My neighbor with the 6-yr old niece, 2-yr old son, and the 2-month old baby guided me in molding the flour into the dough in our thatched gazebo.  I’m determined in making it better tonight.  A little bit more oil might do the trick.

One night last week I made some simple macaroni and cheese.  That was the best meal I’ve eaten in three months.  I missed cheese.  In these parts, cheese is part of the muzungu diet.  The 4-portions of Nouvelle Vache Processed Cheese Spread for Sandwiches is the only cheese product I can find in F-town.  One can get some Real Cheddar in Kampala for an exuberant price.  The local people aren’t too fond of cheese.  I clearly remember the disappointed look of a volunteer when she described the reaction of her homestay family when she made some mac & cheese for them.  Her host mother took a spoonful and spat it out.  I can respect the differences in culinary tastes though.

I’m not a big fan of matooke (steamed green cooking banana).  When people ask me whether I like this national pride, I say that I like it with G.nut  (peanut) sauce.  I possibly cannot eat it without the condiment.  I also don’t care too much for the plain posho (ground millet)without the sauce, or the rocky rice, or the salty greens (that restaurants fondly serve).  I miss the array of dishes that the diligent house-help in our homestay cooked for us.  Even though the food wasn’t prepared with spices, I liked the balanced meals.  I eventually enjoyed the way spaghetti was prepared sauteed with tomotoes and onions.

The last four days with Fractal’s NGO in the Strategic Planning Workshop lacked fiber.  In the  diet.  The meals that were specially made for the restaurant-Ugandan food-challenged palate consisted of two options: chips (french fries) and Spanish omelet (without the potatoes), or the 2 oily  chappatis, 2 hard-boiled eggs, and greens saturated with salt.  I was grateful that they accommodated my dietary shortcoming, but  my intestines weren’t too pleased.

On the bright side, there was some good brainwork that was milled in the long 10-hour days.  Fractal churned up 40-something pages of ideas on how to improve the Ugandan education system.  A perfect opportunity for me to get used to the speeches.  The day always started with an introduction from a staff member at the NGO and ended with two or three vote-of-thanks from the same staff member at the NGO, the facilitator, and an audience member.  Even though Fractal wasn’t asked to speak a few words, he was almost asked to recite a prayer.  I suggested for the next time he should memorize a prayer that he can spill at any moment.

“The contents of this Web site are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.”


One Response to “Without on-line video streaming…”

  1. alex said

    i miss all the reading that i could do on the island….relish that while you’re there. i swear as soon as i got back and especially now at work i have been reading lord of the flies which is a small book for the past two months…sucks….

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