Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I just wanted to tell you both Good Luck, we’re all counting on you.

I knew that Nielsen was getting on there in years, but I still find myself unprepared to address a world without him. I mean, I just watched Airplane! last night. Now that another of my favorite actors is dead, I recognize that I feel exactly the same way as when Ricardo Montalban died, but am still affected. But these somber thoughts aside, let us turn to something which always lightens the mood: speculating on Nick Karler’s annoyance at various stimulae (except that Ryan and I cannot carry out part two where speculation becomes data collection).

I once told Nick that when our intertubes were slow, it was because the company only shipped it in a once a month by covered wagon. I have now, after 6 days of arguing with the local telecomm company, restored my ability to communicate with people beyond my country. If Nick were here, seeing the connection I fought so hard to be reestablished, and watching it be mined in the swamps next door, only to be exported to Kenya and shipped back once a month by covered wagon, I believe his mind might fracture in to 480,000 tiny bits… which is, incidentally, my average network speed.

In that time I did manage to plan out the remainder of my year in which I will spend traveling around for work. Also, I have reached one of the important milestones men have… I have spawned a life. Well, lives to be precise. In three months I will be the proud parent, of cantaloupes. I pity the poor fool(s) who believed in the vegas odds that it would be a child. Speaking of children…

I am more efficient now at filling children with terror than I ever could have hoped to achieve by being a pirate at a children’s summer camp. My very presence fills them with dread and bowl loosening panic. As much as I would like to believe that it is only because they have never seen a white person before, I know it is really because of my palpable malice.

I shall now relate to you one of my new favorite stories of horror (the horror).

One day walking down the street I see a gang of young children approach. The gang consists of several older children, about 9-10 years old, and one small child, maybe 4-5. The older children drag the young one up to me as if they presenting the small child as a gift and say, "Muzungu, please take and eat this child so you will not be hungry enough to eat us". The young child starts screaming and desperately trying to get away while the older kids hold him and wait for me to eat him. Me being bored and me being me, I leered at the child and licked my lips, at which point fear overwhelmed him and gave him strength I had not seen since Cook's mother had to fend off the other gorillas when he was born. I will always remember the sight of that small child throwing off the 3 other children, twice his size, and running from the bowel clenching terror of my child eating hunger.

In other news, I’ve started infrequently teaching my first class: computer skills. That’s right, by the act of owning a netbook computer I am now instantly the foremost expert on the subject, which in hindsight isn’t that surprising. One day after teaching 8 or so students some basics I was talking with the headmaster (my supervisor) about it. He said we actually have 15 desktop computers that would be much better to learn on than my small netbook to which I heartily agreed. “Where are these computers?” I asked, since I had not seen any around. “oh, they’re in Lira” was the answer. The delay in retrieving them? “we never got around to it”.
So now I need only arrange travel and pick up for the machines before I become that guy who runs the computer lab. Hooray.

Some of my coworkers back in the states told me that the Peace Corps in Africa would be a tough and trying, yet rewarding endeavor. They were only about a 1/3 right. To illustrate the point, I shall now tell of my past weekend. On sat many volunteers got together to celebrate Thanksgiving, which we did heartily. There was even turkey with stuffing. The day after, however, went just as well. Some friends and I stopped at the Mbale resort hotel to have milkshakes, pool time, and massages. Comfort truly can be found anywhere. But it was on this second day of opulence, a normal occurrence for me in the states, that I realized… I had changed. I willingly ordered a salad for a meal, and enjoyed every bit of it. Ordinarily such a lapse in judgment might be overlooked, but it is merely compounded by what happened next. The following day my friend Chelsea instructed me on the practice of yoga in the middle of the park in Soroti Town. Perhaps I am a closet hippie, or perhaps not. I was told once that you should not care what you look like or what you do here, because nothing can make you seem any crazier or more strange than your counterparts already think you are. So for now, I will do whatever tickles my fancy. And right right now, I feel like doing yoga.

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