Upon arriving in Kampala I decided to swing by the (new!) office to check in and have a couple meetings. Pia was entertained by my attire and state of haggardness, so insisted on a photo:
*note the super-rad drum I bought outside of a church in Arua town, made of a little old formerly-painted-green and well rusted oil drum, and cow hide. The guy I bought it from was borderline offended that I didn't also buy the two accompanying larger drums, because... how can you play music with only one drum?? After lengthy discussion and pleading, I finally convinced him that 1 drum is still superior to 0 drum.
After a day or two in Kampala, I headed over to Mukono - only about an hour's matatu-ride from the office. The Mukono teams were some of our strongest, and the team leaders in particular are notably awesome, so there really was not too much for me to do as I hung out with them for a few days, other than idle survey review. Mostly I wound up traveling with them to clubs and setting up camp somewhere to do other work, and just remain on hand to put out the occasional fire.
It would have been nice, except for the room I was staying in. Suffice to say I don't think I really slept for three nights straight. My inability to sleep was doubtlessly somewhat psychosomatic... potentially in some part due to the combined psychological effect of the mattress being covered in rubber and this sign being posted in the room (note point F):
Aaaanyway. How about some pictures?
Tea plantation, being harvested:
By the way, I learned something: chewing tea leaves fresh off the bush is not as delicious as tea. Unfortunately I couldn't get myself to chew long enough to find out if I'd get a caffeine buzz.
This is a cow.
These are more cows.
I want to dip this into a big steaming mug of what those will become:
Nice path for a wander
My neighbors for a spell while I worked
Red, green, blue, white
Lunch being cooked
beans and rice
fried pork with strips of chapatti
Ugh, I hate when the neighbors disturb me in my office
Not a bad spot to work for a few
After a few days of seeing that Mukono was proceeding swimmingly (or, at least, was no better off by my presence), I retired to Kampala.
At this point I was, in three words, massively burned out. I became aware of this the next day when Charity informed me that I needed to stay home for a few days because she could tell that I was too exhausted to be useful... just by my tone via text message. Impressive.
I had planned to head West to Mbarara for a few days, but I let Charity talk me into staying in Kampala and letting her head over. Thank you, Charity, I'm pretty sure you saved (what's left of) my sanity.
The baseline proceeded to run for another week - a full week past when it was initially supposed to end. In celebration of its completion, I decided it was time for.....
Baseline Beard Begone!
(unfortunately the Baseline Bags have not been so easily removed)
I asked Ricky to be gone with everything except the moustache, which I'd like him to just "clean up a little bit". I forgot for a second that I'm in Africa, so Ricky would - given that the preponderance of his clientele are African men - give me a black guy moustache, also known as slightly-long stubble. Looks great on African dudes, not so hot on me. Said upper-lip-poop-streak was removed shortly after this photograph was taken.
Since the Hair Removal Fest of 2010:
- three friends have reintroduced themselves to me
- more friends and acquaintances than I can count have looked quizzically at me for more than a few moments before some identifying non-hair feature (nose? glasses? voice?) confirmed their suspicion that I'm me
- Charity had a 10 minute conversation with me and Pia in the office, apparently thinking the entire time that Pia was being awfully rude for not introducing her to the new guy
Aaaanyway. Last week was the "Training of Trainers", which is a development-jargon-y way of saying "the 5-day thingy where we trained the people who are going to go visit the clubs to deliver the financial education curriculum that Daniel developed". It actually went quite smoothly, and I was able to duck in and out and attend to other business... such as writing the statistical programming code to conduct the random assignment of clubs to treatment or control groups. Woo.
A couple snippits from the ToT (as the cool kids call it):
They loooooved these "energizers" and "ice breakers"
One of the groups performs their "Saving Song" as part of one of the curriculum sessions:
Aaaaand off to the field I'll be going again, starting this weekend, to oversee the implementation of the intervention. Wooo....