Ah so only two days until departure! I’ve been packing for the majority of the day today (before seeing Othello at Shakespeare in the Park, that is) and somehow I still have a pretty long list of stuff to buy tomorrow. Already, it seems like almost all of my clothes are either from Goodwill or my mom’s closet. I’ll have a very different wardrobe there at least. It might’ve helped if I’d looked at the packing list earlier. I definitely didn’t bring back everything that I needed. Oh well.
While getting majorly distracted from packing, I also looked up the currency exchange rate. Apparently, 1 US dollar is equal to almost 2500 Ugandan shillings! This sort of explains why when I googled Ugandan money, I was getting really big shilling(?) denominations. Then I remembered how much money Dr. Schaad advised us to bring for the entirety of the trip since there aren’t any ATM’s around. And then I remember how he told us that this amount’ll probably be more money than many Ugandans will see in a lifetime.
A couple days ago, I received an e-mail from the professor whose lab I’m researching in asking me to basically collect data for the sanitation project I’m working on. We’re interested in things like how the sewer and latrine system work, native diet, cultural acceptance of biogas production, etc. Although he used the term “marching orders”, I feel like I should be doing this anyways. It sort of gives me an excuse to learn about another perspective to life that I wouldn’t normally think about and still be “working” on the project. It’s exciting.
At the same time, I’m not sure if I’m totally ready to leave yet. Being at home has been a true “summer” experience since I don’t have a job or school so I’ve been doing things like going on a cruise and seeing friends (the best part, of course) and generally having a relaxing, fun time. I’m also a bit worried about what’ll happen once I hit the airport. This’ll be the first time I travel internationally on my own and there’s even an overnight stay involved in one of the wealthiest cities in the world. Once I get there, it’ll be a completely new life. How do people have fun without television or internet (not that I’m bringing my lapotop with me)? What do they eat and will I be able to have the same thing without getting sick? What are their standards for cleanliness and what’s crime like? Are the people nice and welcoming or hostile to foreigners?
Sometimes I think about all of that and I just wanna be there already just so I can know. Like everyone says, it’ll hopefully be a very unique adventure!