Monday, August 31, 2015

Back in Uganda

We packed into 1 Land Cruiser, 10 adults, 1 baby, for a 9 hour trip to Kitgum, 1 long and bumpy dirt road, 0 air-conditioning.   Upon arriving, my hotel had no hot water and no electricity.  It’s a cup water, soap up, splash-water-on-self kind of shower and a no fan night.  I lay in my bed without a sheet, covered only by a blanket of buzzing mosquitoes.  A rooster wakes me at 5 am and there is no hot water to make coffee.  I get to work at 8:30 and wait for the training which doesn’t start until 2 hours after it is supposed to.  Remind me again why I left New York?

When I got off the plane in Uganda, I felt different.  It felt different.  I breathed in the thick air and didn’t feel at home.  I have only been in the US for a month, I’ve visited home for that long before, but I guess, a part of me has closed the door on Uganda.  I met up with friends and danced and drank but it was in an ecstatic way, the kind you reserve for vacations.  Not the kind of prudent, I better not really let go because that guy at the bar is kind of cute and I have to do my laundry tomorrow, kind of way.  (Just kidding I never did my own laundry in Kampala.) 

This is the first trip I’ve made after having moved back to New York.  My contract says I will travel 45% of my time to Uganda, and soon, Ethiopia and Liberia.  Part of me wants so much more.  I still want to work at a refugee camp doing research on outbreaks, or to do emergency research on epidemics.  But part of me wants so much less.  I missed my friend’s wedding and I started to date a really cute man.

I took a walk after work through the village.  The sun was setting and damn beautiful.  Nothing particularly profound occurred to me.  No eureka moment.  But in this moment I was happy.  So I guess we’ll see.