Friday, February 5, 2010


YAY! Back in Gulu! We just had one of the roughest weeks of our lives in Palabek. It is a village that’s probably about 80 miles outside of Gulu, but takes FOREVER to get to (we took 3 hours to get there on Monday and 4 hours to get back). We went for trauma counseling and were a bit upset because we found out it wasn’t a typical trauma counseling course. Because of the high turnout, they decided to make this course a class on how to be a counselor. I was honestly pretty upset because we didn’t get to hear anyone’s stories or connect with people on a personal level. On top of that, we didn’t have any translation on the first day. Plus, we had four people in a tiny, HOT, and HUMID cement square of a room. I think Palabek can be described as the Palm Springs of California. Gulu is more like LA in the summer, but this place was HOT!!!!!!!

It has been such a ridiculous week. I’m so happy that I had Angela and Casandra with me. Since it has been a long day, I’ll just give some highlights—although they aren’t all good things:

•Night time in Palabek is amazing because there aren’t many bugs and the stars shine so bright. It was refreshing to sit outside with a breeze every night—except for the night it rained and we were stuck in our room from 6pm to morning.

•On Tuesday, Angela had ridiculous problems with her contact lenses because it was so windy. She took them out and couldn’t see anything for the rest of the day! It was actually pretty funny. (She’s fine now.)

•Casandra and I shared during the lesson on Tuesday. She shared about stress and I shared about how to fix it (breathing methods, the importance of exercise, and having good attitudes.)

•Practically all of my jokes flop when I speak, but Angela and Casandra are always laughing pretty hard so I know that they’re good.

•Some guy thought Casandra said her name was “Santa.”

•No running water. Showers were in a tiny four-walled cell with no roof (and on occasion, some people pee in it, so it stinks!). Casandra was a little too tall for it so she had to bend over when she washed herself.

•No toilets. Having to take care of business in a hole is no fun, especially when you’re feeling sick.

•As Casandra looked around our compound, she said, “I feel like we’re in a concentration camp.” HAHAHAHA!

•Angela woke up the next morning and said, “I keep opening my eyes and hoping that we’re somewhere else, but it’s not working!”

•I got about 10 hours worth of discussion about why I should want to get married. Everyone goes crazy on me when I say that I’m not trying, but I’m not-not trying either. One of the guys in charge of trauma counseling, Jimmy, is a 40+ year old man who thought it was the funniest thing in the world. He let me hear a popular local song that says, “I’m single but not searching.” It was hysterical. As if that wasn’t enough, he gave me a flyer for a conference on “choosing the right spouse” and laughed about it for the rest of the day!

•As I was getting a marriage lecture, a cat and a lizard came into our compound. The cat was chasing the lizard, and the lizard ran at Casandra. Angela was filming the marriage lecture and suddenly started SCREAMING! We got the whole thing on tape. The cat caught the lizard before it flew into Casandra!

•The counseling course went really well and tons of people got saved on the last day. It was really cool to witness that, and it was probably one of the only moments that I really enjoyed being a part of.

•We were asked to say something on the last day of the course (basically a thank you and goodbye speech). Angela told us that she would say something on our behalf, but she didn’t make that clear to the crowd. So after Angela shared, Casandra and I still had to share, and we totally weren’t prepared to!


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