GETTING IN MY FORT PORTAL ROUTINE

This week has been insane. I absolutely love it. On Monday we started our orientation and got placed. I was sent to the Ibonde orphanage and school in Fort Portal, Uganda. I live in a house surrounded by beautiful mountains.

Once I got here, I was thrust into the daily routine. The kids have the most beautiful smiles and before they learned my name, they were simply calling me "mzungu" which means white person in Lugandan, one of the many languages spoken in Uganda.

A typical day: I get up around 7:30 and eat breakfast made by Mamma J, our volunteer house mom. She makes great food with just a hot rock stove the size of an average plate. Then I head to the orphanage where I wash the dishes from the morning breakfast for the 60ish kids there. Their source of water is a river about 1/4 of a mile away. We walk to the river with jugs and fill them up to then carry them back. The local women will walk by me carrying 5 jugs. Well see if I can manage that in 3 weeks time. After washing dishes, we do laundry, play with the kids too young for school and bring the porridge over to the school, which is across the street. My favorite chore is picking the beans out of thousands of pods. We sit in a circle and pick the beans out for HOURS for the kids' lunch and dinner. But we do get competitive with our bean picking (probably my fault). We compete for biggest bean, prettiest bean, and most beans in a pod. I usually never win. The Brits here have it down and know exactly which pods to choose to get all the perfect beans.

When I'm not helping at the orphanage, I'm teaching P1 (first grade) English across the street. These kids have so much love and energy, I love being around them. They are very vocal, and sometimes hard to keep up with.

I room with a girl named Anna from Guildford, England who is only 18! All the other volunteers are great and from all over the place. I'm getting somewhat obsessed with the Aussie accent.

Aside from all the fun with the kids, I love walking around and going into town (and the cheap prices for everything). I bought 3 bananas for 9 cents yesterday. The fruit here is so sweet. We are a couple miles from town so if we want to go into town, which is usually once a day, we hop on a boda boda! It's a motorcycle type bike that is more smooth when driving. Those are the taxis here in Uganda. Everyone has them and you just hop on one and haggle for a price. I'm learning how to haggle for prices with them and can usually get into town for under $2 US dollars. That's cheaper than bus fare in Pittsburgh.

I hope to keep posting and keeping everyone updated, but it is hard to get internet where I am. Stay tuned!