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

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This was the week/weekend of graduations. After a quick (5 hours there on Wednesday, 1 full day on Thursday, and left at 5 am on Friday) trip to Kibale in the West of Uganda for Thanksgiving, I came back to site for important graduations. My neighbor Grace graduated from Nursery school. In Uganda nursery school is baby class, middle class, and top class. Grace passed top class and now will enter P1 next year. I arrived an hour late and it was still another 15 minutes before it actually started. The invited guest of honor did not show up and so I was asked to be the guest of honor. This is a common request and I accepted. If truth be told, I'm the guest of honor more often than not. Being the guest of honor brings many advantages. You get to sit on nice chairs with a center view of the events. You are served soda's. You get to eat first and it's usually brought to you so you don't even have to leave your seat. I did have to march around the field and salute the graduates and then later give a speech. But don't worry, I am an expert public speaker after these 9 months in Uganda.

Graduations is tedious, often boring, and long in the States. Now imagine that times at least 5 more hours. Grace's nursery school graduation lasted 8 hours! Yes, 8! There is the marching, the prayers, the lunch, the games, the speeches, the awards, and finally the cake. And did I mention it is all in Luganda minus the little speech given by the guest of honor who only greets in Luganda then quickly switches to English? Oh, and I was up before 5 and on a bus for 5 hours. Needless to say, I was falling asleep during this graduation. I am glad I went. It made Grace and her mom Annet's day. I definitely went home and feel into a deep sleep till morning.

When morning arrived I began to get myself ready for another graduation. This graduation was for the Technical and Vocational School I had a Life Skills club at. The girls there had been asking me to attend their graduation for months. I couldn't miss. This graduation seemed it would be even longer since it started with a full mass. However, I was only there a total of 6.5 hours.

Here is a text message conversation I had with my dear friend Celeste regarding this graduation:

Me: I'm getting a big head. When I'm not the guest of honor I get offended and want to say, “Do you know who I am?” Not good.

Celeste: Oh man, I know the feeling. I get irritated when I'm not fed first! What do we do when we're not superstars anymore?! Look out America.

Me: O.k. They just performed a song and dance about Life Skills and dedicated it to me. I feel better. And anyways, I was up against the bishop for guest of honor:)

Now my weekend of graduations are over. The next one will be in January for my friend who's graduating with her masters. I can only imagine how that will go.

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