Integration plays a huge part in doing your job effectively as a Peace Corps Volunteer. It is one of the first things we’re taught as trainees and it is stressed throughout the 10 weeks that make up Pre-Service Training. In Uganda, an important part of integration is getting to know the people in your community. I decided to take this opportunity to flex my much ignored photography muscle and take portraits of the people I meet to help me remember them better. Below are some of the pictures I’ve taken so far.
“I have produced 4 children and I do not plan on marrying because I do not want a man to tell me what to do.”
This woman is amazing. She is strong, intelligent and fiercely independent. Within 10 minutes of meeting me, she decided that I must call her “mom.”* During my future site visit, she drove 25 minutes every morning to come to my house and prepare breakfast for me before taking me on tours around the community. She is also my supervisor and helped prepare my home for my arrival. I get to see her again in two weeks and I will probably cry from happiness when I see her. I miss her so much!
This beautiful girl is Irene. She works at a duka (small shop) near our language training center. She wants us to find her an American boyfriend and one of her stipulations is that he has to be tall “because I am short!” Also, she’s a model.
I feel as if I’ve talked about Sarah and Baby Gloria multiple times on this blog. The first time I met Sarah was at the hospital during my future site visit, where she was taking care of her baby who was suffering from malaria. I could tell she was tired but her optimistic demeanor never waned. She was incredibly nice and enjoyed engaging me in conversations about cultural differences between America and Uganda. They were in the hospital for 3 days before Gloria was well enough to go home. Sarah works at the school I’ll be teaching in so I’m really excited to work with her. Also, I saw her boobs.**
*Fun fact: I’ve had designated “work mothers” in nearly every job I’ve ever held. It’s nice to know that my ability to turn my coworkers into family is the same across continents.
**I have seen more boobs in the last 2 months in Uganda than I have in my entire life. This is quite an incredible feat considering the fact that I am a proud owner of a pair myself. At one point, while joking that I was going to steal Baby Gloria, Sarah joked to me (in front of all our male coworkers) “but you don’t have the milk in the breast. How will she feed?” Everyone proceeded to stare at my chest. I was mortified but apparently in Africa, “boobs are as sexual as elbows.” This leads me to ponder why I still wear a bra every day. (In case you’re wondering what body part is the most sexualized…it’s all about the thighs).