A Reflection of My Life after living in Uganda as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Garbage Heap

There is a garbage heap near my house where we dump our rubbish. It is burned once a day. We then use the ash to clean our latrines. The children love going through the garbage heap and finding treasure. Treasure can be almost anything. I am always surprised at the things they want to keep. This morning my oatmeal box was taken. I usually try and time my garbage dump to when it is lit and burning. However, even that has not always stopped children from grabbing my garbage off the burning heap.

On Saturday morning I awoke particularly early and couldn’t fall back asleep so got up and made a coffee cake to eat as my breakfast with my coffee. I must say, it was a pretty good coffee cake and only took me one hour to make. I had a piece in the morning then covered it and went about my business. I came back to the coffee cake in the late afternoon and when I uncovered it, it was crawling with tiny ants. I was horrified and my first reaction was to brush them off. However, this only got them crawling all over me and I ran out of my house swatting and flicking ants off all parts of my body. I’m sure this was a surprising site for my neighbors to witness. I went back into my house and waited a few minutes to make a dash for the burn pile with this coffee cake. Usually I keep a pile of food scrapes near a tree in my backyard. A teacher friend has goats that she feeds the scrapes to so I save them for her. This time, I just wanted to be rid of the cake so made a quick trip to the burn pile. After depositing the cake, I wandered back to my house still picking ants off my body. It was only a few seconds later that a crowd of children came up behind me with coffee cake in their hands and mouths. They then thanked me profusely for the cake that was, “soooo sweet.”

In a panicked rushed voice I told them it was bad; that there had been ants on it. I switched to Luganda but couldn’t think of the word for ant. They all just gave me big smiles and kept thanking me and telling me how good it was.

I wanted to throw up.

But hey, it’s protein right?

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