It's been about 6 weeks in Uganda now. When I look back, it feels like it's gone fast, but at other times, the days seem to drag by so slowly. I have 72 days left here. I have a countdown in my day planner. Pathetic, I know. I am realizing that I would be more than happy if God's plan for my life involved me living in the United States for the rest of my life :) I miss the most obscure things, too. I miss my speckled mint green countertops. I miss the fall leaves. I miss Alpha Baptist. I miss having clean feet. I miss my American professors. I want to eat sour cream. I MISS MY WASHING MACHINE! I would give my left lung to go back to this summer and golf with my dad. Don't get me wrong, I am loving it here and it's an awesome adventure.
Classes here are quite the experience. In addition to my junior social work practicum ( I will talk about that more in a later post), I am taking three classes: Faith and Action, East African History 1800- Independence, and East African Politics Since Independence. Faith and Action is taught by an American, the director of the Ugandan Studies Program, and everyone in USP is required to take the class. In Faith and Action, we do a lot of readings, writing, and discussions pertaining to how Christian should relate to other cultures. It's interesting, especially since USP participants come from a variety of backgrounds and have very different views of how Christianity should be practiced, what missions should like , and even the scope of Christianity/definition of a Christian. The assigned readings and discussions aren't stupendous, but I've had some great discussions with other students one-on-one, and have had some awesome personal Bible studies as a result of the topics brought up in class.
My other two classes (history and politics) are classes just for American students, so everyone in the classes is a USP student, but not all USP students are required to take these classes. These classes are taught by Ugandan professors. In keeping with the Ugandan teaching style, the classes move at a super-slow pace and give a lot of background information. We're in our 5th week of classes now, and in my politics class, we're still under colonialism, and in my history class, we're up to the kingdoms in East Africa in 1300 A.D. As Americans, we are left wondering when we'll actually get to material that fits into the scope of the course. I have to keep telling myself that I am still learning things, even if they are not what's listed in the course description. The professors also have a tendency to repeat a sentence 3 or 4 times, or explain something way more thoroughly than seems necessary. At the same time, sometimes their accents are hard to understand, and we students are left in the dark. The first couple weeks were hard, but I think I'm getting used to the teaching style now. Also, the material the professors cover in class is pretty much verbatim to the assigned readings, so it's difficult to have enough self-discipline to do my readings. Each of those two classes just have two papers for the whole semester, the longest being 8 pages maximum, and then a cumulative essay test. It's nice not to have a ton of work, but also nerve-wracking, because each assignment really matters! The papers also seem to come all at the same time. Of the four papers for these two classes due all semester, two are due on the same day, Wednesday of this week. AACK!!!