Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Smile For Your Day

I'm sorry. I didn't fall off the face of the earth. I was just a tad sick and unable to do much internet for the past week. But I'm better now, and I have a little smile for your day. This was taken my first day in Gulu, just after I arrived. Joyce has grown! She is healthy and strong, and sassy as ever. Her shyness has disappeared, and I can hardly sit for 5 minutes with Carla and the other women before being pulled and tugged at with choruses of "Aimee, you just come play! Aimee, you just come play now!" The game of choice is a hybrid of monkey in the middle and dodgeball, played with a soft sock ball, and I must say, I'm getting quite good! Joyce has a killer throwing arm.
Carla\s health is good, and the family's most pressing problem now is getting by now that Joyce's father is gone. To my delight and amazement, chickens that I bought last year were clucking away in the yard, and Carla\s structure for the charcoal was built and holds a prominent space in the courtyard, housing the charcoal she has been selling. It is a _very_ slow process, however, and it will take some time before this actually supports the family. (We have been discussing new and innovative business practices, like making a sign for the side of the road, and perhaps selling the charcoal where others are not. Hmmm...) I feel that all these issues are surmountable, though, and overall I'm very heartened. I'll spend as much time with them as I can before leaving for Soroti on the 21st.

I'm sorry I have not been in touch. I know many of you have been waiting to hear from me, especially about Joyce. I caught an African Bug...or rather, the bug caught me, and I have been in my hotel room (thank god for my clean hotel room with flushing toilet, hot shower, and mosquito net without holes) for the past 3 days, a sick puppy. Today I'm feeling better and have made it up the road to the Acholi Inn, where I am sitting outside and using their wireless internet -- so fancy -- while I recover a bit. Doctor Jolanna, the Czech doctor I met two years ago while caring for Joyce, saw me this morning and gave me some new medicine and eating instructions, so I"m well on the mend! It was nice to see her familiar and friendly face, too.

I have a lot of Paper to Pearls work to catch up on, so it will be a busy week or so, but I'm looking forward to seeing the women I have worked with in the past, again. Especially those at Awer. Most have left the camps now and are back in their villages, working their fields. As always, my objectives for the trip have shifted dramatically since I arrived, but I enjoy the fluid and ever-changing nature of this work (even if it can sometimes be frustrating!), and the kind of thinking and response it requires of me. I learn so much in each single encounter I have here, and only hope I have within me a fraction of as much to give in return.

I miss you all and think of you every day!

Love and "Greetings" from Gulu,


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