There are countless times each day when I am made to feel utterly absurd– by myself, my surroundings, the small children in my neighborhood, the situations that I encounter as a part of daily life. One of my more fabulously crazy days recently came merely two days after I officially swore in as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
In Uganda, Peace Corps pairs each volunteer with a host organization or school. Volunteers also undertake secondary projects, but their primary focus is their work with this host organization. In my case, I am working with a relatively small organization that provides assistance to orphans and other disadvantaged children in the community. I will be working with the organization over the next two years, doing whatever I can to assist them in carrying out their work, accomplishing their goals, and improving their organizational capacity.
Last Saturday, the organization held their annual gathering of the child beneficiaries and organization supporters, welcoming yours truly as the guest of honor. They slaughtered a bull, my turkey (I had received a turkey as a welcome gift earlier in the week), and what seemed to be several chickens. Children presented poems and songs that they had written– songs of welcome, poems about their life experiences with HIV and AIDS, songs about the organization– and traditional dances. There was also a sound system running on a generator that played greats such as Milli Vanilli and Mary J. Blige. Of course, I had to make a few speeches and dance around. I received a series of gifts: a giant bag of oranges, a few dozen eggs, and a hen.
I have never felt so wonderfully welcomed. It was a beautiful day.