Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Death

My dad sent me a joke e-mail last Wednesday. I wrote him back: "Ha ha."

He wrote me back: "Call me when you get a chance."

So I called him. And he told me my dog was dying and my mother was hysterical.

Oh, dad...

I'm in the middle of the office of my internship getting this phone call, keep in mind.

***

I wrote to one of my friends that I was having a horrible day and my dog was dying. She wrote back that she was having a horrible day, too, and was having to spend a lot of time with her family on a vacation and she was ready to scream. I haven't talked to her since.

***

On my facebook wall, my away message read that I was "Having a bad day". My friend JP from northern Uganda wrote a response, asking "Why?" I tried to explain about my dog dying. I know he can never understand it intellectually, because the cultural attitudes towards pets are so different, but I bet that he can understand it emotionally, because grief is grief, right?

***

Wednesday night I went out to dinner with five dear friends.

***

I spent Thursday morning, in between waking, dressing, brewing coffee, and otherwise preparing for work, google-searching the opinion of different religions as to whether or not animals go to heaven. It's a mixed bag.

***

My friend Gwen, who is getting her Ph.D. studying evangelism in Liberia, wrote me that heaven is overrated, anyway, and that the best we could hope for would be to be reborn into a happy life. I love Gwen.

***

I thought about whether it would be better if he'd just been hit by a car and snuffed out instantly. Is it better to get to say goodbye? I don't know. I hate watching dying. The dying of the person infests all your memories of the person. Like Granma. I remember her somewhat making me jelly sandwiches and having sleep-overs with me, but mainly I remember her disorganized and confused and yelling at me for not offering chocolates to her friends, the invisible people on the ceiling (true story).

Maybe it's up to me to shift my own memories of her, and concentrate on the good and let the bad go.

***

I love Wookiee. I am never nervous around him. Ever. I just love him.

***

I got a "W" tattoo on my foot, so I will always remember that I will never forget him. It isn't for him, it's for me. And it isn't to remember him; it's to remember that I will always remember and love him.



I do just love him.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Update

So. I've found myself an internship.
  • It's at a fantastic organization, doing advocacy for refugees in Africa. Just what I want. To use the privileges of my education to magnify the voices of those whom the world ignores.
  • It's only two days a week, and it's unpaid. Crap.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

This week, I...

(Things that I've done this week to carve myself a niche here in DC)

1. Apartment searched
2. Found an apartment (which I won't be able to afford if I don't find a job)
3. Began moving in
4. Job searched
5. Went on one (1) job interview
6. Went to a bookstore to turn in an application for part-time work
7. Turned down one (1) internship
8. Began transcribing Mama Ayaa's interview
9. Got health insurance
10. Stressed out a lot & cried
11. Met up three (3) times with four (4) old friends
12. Went to the bank, checked my records, got back $$$ from a faulty charge and canceled my credit cards (after my car was broken into)

(Do I need to go to the police about my car being broken into in order to eventually collect insurance??? Probably.)

13. Bought bookshelves and constructed them to separate the part of our living room that is my new bedroom from the rest of the living room
14. Drove to Baltimore and picked up a mattress from Aunt Maggie

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mama Ayaa

I was transcribing an interview with my friend Mama Ayaa this morning, in which she talks about the deaths of many in her family at the hands of the LRA.

Hearing her voice, I missed her, and so I called her up. She was excited to hear me and said that she'd dreamed last night that she was speaking to me. And then she kept saying that she "loved her little girl, her youngest girl, yesterday." I kept saying "Oh... that's nice". I was calling on skype, on the computer, where the audio wasn't perfect. It turns out she was saying that the LOST her little girl yesterday. One of her young nieces who stayed with her after her sister died, died of malaria. It seems like it never ends, there.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

First days in DC

I was walking to pottery class tonight in the dark, at about 9 p.m. It was odd and kind of sad. In Kitgum, I rose and set with the sun. It was weird to be out and cold in the dark night.

My first day back in DC, my car was broken into. Stuff was taken, and subsequently partially recovered, when it was returned to another man who also had his car broken into and stuff taken. This other man's stuff ended up being beneath my clothes in my duffel bag when it was returned to him. He searched through my pockets and found my dad's phone number. My dad (whom I was not going to tell about my broken-into car) called me. Really, really odd.

Speaking of odd. Obama's face is everywhere here. Everywhere. Plastered on glass and painted on walls and mainly on cheap plastic merchandise. I love Obama, too, but... this is odd. I feel a little like I'm in 1984, and Big Brother is watching. Everywhere you go, everything you do, Obama's visage stares down at you. He's smart, he's good, he's true... but he's human. No man can live up to this hype, huh?

Being in DC takes far more courage on a day-to-day basis than being in Kitgum did, for me. Job searching and apartment searching and attempting to write articles and my thesis and trying to get health insurance again and and and, and it's all so stressful.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I'm sore. I went shooting (skeet and trap) yesterday with some family friends.

(Guns are everywhere, like it or not, and it's comforting to know -- somewhat -- the nature of the beast.)

Then I drank some wine, and didn't drink enough water, because we ran out.

(We do have running water here, but it's not potable -- too rusty and full of lead. It's brown. --So for drinking water for us and the dog, we have to go fetch it from the stream in the middle of a nearby park.)

Anyway, as a result of lifting the shotgun, pushing through the recoil, and not drinking enough water, my muscles are dehydrated, and I am sore.

I shot pretty well yesterday; and it was a gorgeous day, lovely to be out in the winter sun.

***

Most people are vaguely interested in Kitgum and what it was really like. A few of my closest friends are very engrossed and ask me questions. Some people have frankly weird preconceived notions about "Africa". One member of my family does somersaults out of conversations to avoid learning what Kitgum is like.

I miss Kitgum. I felt culture shock in Kampala, but at home, at first, I didn't. Home was fun -- familiar and novel at the same time. But it's getting tiresome that nobody understands the things that are most on my mind.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Retroactive blogging

I'm planning to continue telling the stories of my last two months in Kitgum on here, retroactively, now that I am back in the US and was able to cash in my computer warranty (it was only THREE MONTHS OLD and a complete hardware error) and get a brand new hard drive.

Happy New Year, and in the meantime, here's a video of two of my neighbors, Sharron (the larger baby) and Amaura (the tiny-baby baby.)

video

And one more video of me & friends driving around Kitgum, mainly to and from several of the IDP camps.


video

I know, I know, I know what you're thinking. Aren't I talented?