Typed on the 1st of June in the afternoon at NACWOLA and late at night at home
Yesterday I started my first day at NACWOLA, kind of. Before that, though, I had an annoying day. Money is dumb.
I woke up and George took me through a different part of town on the way to Morris’ work. Once I got there, Morris was going to take me to exchange my dumb traveler’s checks for Shillings. We didn’t have too much time, so Morris said that we should take a boda-boda. I was nervous, but the tiny motorcycle prevailed and we rode it to the city center looking for a good international bank. Finally made it to Crane Bank and realized that I needed the receipt, no matter what (even though the one I usedin Detroit was fine without one and I know people who have used them in Africa without receipts). So we ran out of time, and I had to go to work but I’d come back later!
Morris took me to NACWOLA and dropped me off. First, the place is totally cute. Most African neighborhoods/places are arranged in little compounds with high fences and a big gate enclosing at least one building and a garden. Behind NACWOLA’s big green gate is the main building with three doors (the door to all of the staff’s main offices, the kitchen, and the resource room where the interns are). There’s a wide dirt area where cars are parked, and there’s a big hut with chairs and benches underneath it for shady relaxing, and on the far side is a big garden.
But enough about looks. I talked to Gloria, the receptionist/multi-tasker, and she told me to wait under the hut and gave me a newspaper to read (Museveni’s ratings are down, wah waah) before Lillian met with me and gave me a brief low-down about what I’ll be doing for the week. After that, she said to read over their pamphlets and meet everyone. So, I met all of the staff, some of the members and family, and most of the Americans. The staff are all really nice, and the members come by to help with basic things and are involved in projects. The Americans include a group of girls from Penn who are helping put together a project, but they’re only here for three weeks total, and a law student from Indiana that is researching international law here and in Kenya. After meeting everyone, we took tea (I ate rolls) and then I hung out with Aaron, the law student, for a while before leaving early to exchange money. But look! It’s picture time!
And that was a trip. The manager at the bank did not think my signature matched very well, and it took a lot of signatures and a lot of convincing before he would give me my money. But, after a long day at the bank, I headed to Wandegeya and hung out at the internet cafe there for a while, updating all of those lovely blogs you saw and doing other internet duties. I stayed out later than usual, until it got pretty dark in town. Then I headed to get dinner (my first and last meal of the day other than the roll) before heading home and calling it a night. I’m glad to finally be done with the whole money fiasco, and I’m excited to meet more people tomorrow and probably go into the community and meet some more NACWOLA family and children as well as all my new friends.