Things are going great. We are now in week three of my course. The pace is intense but the language is coming back to me fast and furious. I am adjusting well to life over here, though the lack of sangria in my life this summer is starting to hurt. 😛 (Just had my first delivered pizza in UG. It was delish.)
Things at Makerere University
Thanks for asking Hugo! My interactions with university bureaucracy have gone really well. The Center for Language and Communications Services, which puts on short courses and offers translation services, seems well organized. The coordinator of the program was really great at getting back to me quickly when I needed information and my teacher has been really consistent and focused. I don’t know if the bureaucracy university-wide is as well organized, but my experience so far has been wonderful. The only real issue as far as I can see is the facilities, parts of which are run down. I haven’t made any friends yet, but at least I’m not getting stared at quite as hard (or maybe I’ve adjusted to being stared at). Given that I am the only one in the class and that it’s vacation, school friends may prove hard to come by.
Class has been much more rigorous than I had expected. Four hours of class plus two hours of homework and an hour of commuting doesn’t leave as much free time as I thought I would have this summer. I am getting used to the pace and hopefully the class will slow down a bit. I can’t afford to get burnt out!
Continuing with the plan?
I am also trying not to lose sight of the objectives I laid out in my previous post. I just discovered Ndere Centre, a cultural center nearby that offers traditional music shows. I reached out to the director and hope to have a conversation with him that might fill me in about other music resources in town. I am also trying to visit the Klaus Wachsmann Music Archive at Makerere and will shoot out an update after I’ve visited both.
On the subject of Ugandan music, an interesting article ran in last Saturday’s Monitor: Uganda’s search for a musical style.
I plan to reach out to the author of the article to get a better sense of what styles (African and non-African) dominate the landscape.
Missing friends and family
Right now, I feel like I am occupying this intermediate (and liminal) space between short term trip with eyes toward home and long term trip with eyes toward what real fieldwork might be like here. I don’t think I will feel fully settled in until I have my own agenda here outside of school. I am extraordinarily lucky to have the help and support of my family (especially my uncle) in carrying on my affairs here, but I’m used to being able to do everything by myself, get going where I need to go et cetera. Long term fieldwork here would require much more independence, potentially living on my own and maybe even boda boda riding. One thing at a time though. Gotta walk before I ride. 😛 It goes without saying that I miss my friends and family at home. I have never missed a 4th of July in DC, so missing this one has me completely bummed. Enjoy your BBQ and fireworks for me!
Please send questions and comments! I’d love to hear from you. More pictures below!
UPDATE: As I was getting ready to publish this blog post, there was an earthquake. I didn’t know they had earthquakes here. Just 30 seconds or so of rumbling. Scary though. #pizzabreak