Happy One Year Anniversary

Happy One Year Anniversary

How have I been living in Uganda with the Peace Corps for a year?
67
views

I cannot believe that I have officially lived in Uganda for one year. That is the longest that I have been away from my family and friends. Honestly, it has been a wild ride that I wouldn’t trade for anything. In this post I am going to go into a little bit of what this year has meant to me, what adventures I experienced this year, and the growth that I have experienced.

I just keep running over the events of the past year in my head and trying to think of what is notable to mention and honestly it’s hard because I would say that every moment has honestly shaped my life in such a way that it’s hard to pick.

I can go back to moments during Pre Service Training (PST), and all the teaching techniques that I learned that I know use in my classroom, meeting new friends that will quickly become like family, and getting used to a country that is going to be my home for the next two years. Then moving on to language training and learning a language that I have been desiring to learn for the past five years. Too bad I don’t practice enough so my language skills have died down which I hate and I need to start practicing more. Then when first got to my site and got to know my students, my neighbors, and my fellow teachers. Then starting teaching and watching my students begin to expand their knowledge of phonics and reading comprehension. Then beginning to travel around the country going rafting, going on safaris, going bungee jumping, and just seeing all the beauty that is Uganda.

Something that a lot of people know is that I have had the desire to move to Uganda since 2011. That had been my goal that I hoped I would one day accomplish. Honestly this year has mean so much to me, I finally got to move to the country of my dreams. I think what has meant the most to me about living in Uganda has been all the people that I have met in the Peace Corps but also my students, my neighbors, my fellow teachers, and the expats I have met along this journey. It has also meant a lot to be able to reconnect with people that I have known for years here. Something else that has meant a lot to me has also been being able to teach and just realize how much I love this career. I know I have been teaching for years now but this experience is different. It’s been amazing and I can’t believe this is what I get to do for the rest of my life. I can honestly live anywhere and teach. I can travel and do what I love.

I have grown tremendously as a teacher, I have become more independent, and I have become a better person in ways, a worse person in ways, and a wilder person in ways. I am not really going to get into too much detail about it. However, I will say this, living in a foreign country, by yourself, trying to navigate a new culture you really have to become independent and learn more about yourself. You also learn patience, grace for yourself and others, but you also have off days where you are getting shouted at, harassed, and pressured about different things.

All in all I wouldn’t change this experience for a second. Everything I have gone through has shaped me and made me a new person and I am thrilled about that I cannot wait to see what this next year and three months will have in store and all the other ways I will grow.

Popular Right Now

13 Life-Saving Safety Tips To Know BEFORE Your Summer Parties And Travels

These tips could make or break a vacation, depending on if you want to follow them or not.

395
views

Summer is something we all look forward to, but we tend to forget about our safety when we are out and about. From going to the zoo to going out to the bar, everyone is at risk because unfortunately there are bad people in the world. It is important to keep things like this in mind.

Boys, girls, men, and women are taken every single day by sex traffickers all around the world. People are sexually abused, and last but not least people are exposed to bad things like dirty needles, broken glass, and other factors that can turn a great night into a horror story.

In order to shed light on these things and give the public a reminder, I compiled this list.

1. Don't set your drink down/watch your drink in big crowds

"Don't set your drink down" is one of the oldest rules in the book. Sadly enough, I've watched girls get things dropped into their drinks while they are dancing and holding it up in the air in big crowds. The man standing behind you at the concert may seem harmless, but you never know if he's planning on dropping a disorienting pill into your drink; pay attention at all times.

2. Don't let your friends leave the bar alone: rule of pairs

Whenever you go somewhere, especially at night, take someone with you. If anything happens, you'll always have someone else to run and get help. This goes for falling off your bike and skinning your knee to someone trying to grab you and pull you into their van. Two is always better than one.

3. Carry pepper spray, a knife, or, if you are comfortable enough, a gun

When you are walking alone at night just a few seconds worth of pepper spray can save your life. Personally, I carry a knife. I carry a Leatherman in a little cloth case on my belt. It's not too bulky and from afar it looks like it could possibly be a small handgun. The look of it alone could deter someone away from me in a bad situation.

If you aren't comfortable carrying these things, holding a set of keys in between your fingers is also another way to protect yourself if a bad situation did arise.

4. Be cautious about Uber, Lyft, and taxi services

When an Uber is coming to pick you up, ask them who they are there to pick up. Ask them their name as well. Before you get in the vehicle, open the door and make sure the child lock is off. Before getting into the car you should take a picture of the license plate and send it to a few of your friends. You can never be too safe.

5. Share your location with a group of close friends or family members 

I share my location with almost all of my friends. If something were to happen they would know exactly where I am. It would be an even better idea to share your "Find My iPhone" username and password with a friend or two because you can locate someone much easier that way. From my own personal experience, I know that the Find My iPhone app works much better than simply sharing your location. If you have an Android/Galaxy phone there are probably applications specific to them for location sharing as well.

6. Before going on a date with someone new... do the following:

If they are picking you up in their vehicle, try to snap a photo of their license plate. You should do this even if the person seems trustworthy because you never know what someone is truly thinking inside of their head. If you plan on going out to eat, tell your friends when and where. The more other people know, the safer you are. Check out their social media pages to make sure they are who they are saying they are. Do a little bit of research and utilize the tools that you have at your fingertips (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) Again, you can never be too safe.

7. Don't let your children leave your sight! 

Lately, I've read too many articles about children getting taken at fairs and other public events. One that I read said that the mother let her 5-or-6-year-old walk to the port-a-potty alone (right around the corner) and they never came back. It can happen so easily when it is the last thing on your mind.

If you have a younger child, send an older sibling with them. Make sure that you tell your children what to look for when it comes to someone watching them. If there is someone standing alone, wearing sunglasses, and pointing their phone at your children, it could be completely innocent and coincidental... but what if it's not? Watch out for the signs and warnings and educate your children.

8. Know where the nearest police station/ hospital is located

I actually never thought about this until I started working on the pipeline. Before each day of work we typically meet as a crew and locate the nearest hospital. We do this so that there is less confusion if an accident happens. The same thing goes for when you are on vacation to somewhere new. If you are walking and slice your foot an inch deep on a piece of glass, the last thing you want to worry about it finding a hospital to go to. When that is already predetermined it makes bad situations easier to handle.

The same thing goes for a police station. If you and a friend are out on the town and someone harasses you or does something disorderly, it would be beneficial to know where the police station is located. I know you're thinking "why wouldn't I just call 911?"

Well, think about this. What if your phone dies, your apple watch gets crushed trying to fight back in whatever situation you are in, or your phone just gets broken. You may have to run to the nearest police station or run to the nearest home to use someone else's phone.

I can't say this enough, it's better to be safe than sorry. It takes 10 seconds to look up the nearest hospital and police station before a night out. Utilize the tools you have and put your safety first.

9. Before going on vacation, read reviews 

I'll use beaches as an example. There are some really amazing, friendly, and clean beaches you can go to in the United States. With the internet in reach, use it and read about the place you are going to. Every so often a family will plan a getaway and arrive ready to enjoy the week, but if you pick a location where drug addiction is a known problem you are putting yourself and your children at risk. I understand that drug use is an issue everywhere, but it's worse in some places than it is in others. No one wants to be exposed to a dirty needle that someone left laying hidden in the beach sand. Using tools like Yelp and Google reviews can prevent little things like this from happening.

Tip: It's important to check the status of the water before you go somewhere. Sometimes, the water is infected with bacteria and other similar diseases that prevent you from swimming in the water.

10. Be aware of sex trafficking hot spots 

They are unfortunately all over the place. I currently live in Ohio, and I know that Columbus and Toledo are two big places where sex trafficking takes place. I have family that live in Michigan, and I know that Ann Arbor and Detroit are dangerous when it comes to that, too. Whenever I go to those places my guard is extra high and I pay attention to detail.

It's easy to let your guard down when you are out having fun, but no fun is worth risking your life over.

11. Trust your gut 

If you go out to a party with friends and feel uncomfortable, leave. Do not second guess your feelings or stay to please a friend.

12. Don't park next to vans/be aware if a van is parked next to you

It seems silly and a bit dramatic, but you never know. If there is a van parked next to your vehicle when you are leaving work, go back into work and have someone walk you out to your vehicle. In cities with high populations, this happens every day. You walk out to your car, the van doors open up, and you are never seen again.

13. Pay attention to detail 

Throughout this list, I've stated things that you should pay close attention to. Overall, you need to be paying attention to detail. When you are walking at night and there is someone walking 20 feet behind you with their hood up, that is a red flag. Call a friend or family member until you make it home safe. When you are walking around at the store and you continue to see the same person in your aisle, notify someone and express your worries. Watch people and their body language, and learn how to read it. Have an escape plan in situations that make you uncomfortable.

Although this list is probably full of things that have been pounded into your head over the years, it's never bad to refresh your mind. Keep yourself safe, keep your friends safe, and keep your family safe. There are hundreds of young aged boys and girls out there that may have never heard of things like this before. People too often let themselves think that a bad situation is a coincidence.

This list isn't meant to scare you, and life is made to live and have fun. If you just take the extra time to educate yourself, you should be able to live freely, happily, and safely. Share and be aware!

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

10 Things To Do In Indiana To Make This Summer The Best Summer

Because let's face it, Indiana can be a pretty boring place.

nadoty
nadoty
144
views

Often times our summer nights in Indiana consist of bonfires, Steak and Shake, and a trip to the local Walmart because we are just so bored! Let's face the inevitable conclusion, we were all born in a dreadfully boring state. Thankfully, there are places all over the state that are just waiting to be explored this summer! Pack your car, board your friends, and hit the road to experience some awesome adventures!

1. Turkey Run State Park in Parke County.

Nichole Doty

What else can you think of other than the amazing feeling of hiking, camping, and enjoying the fresh air? With many places outside of the park to camp and stay, getting to the park is a short drive from nearby housing. The trails and beautiful sites will yield a perfect camping destination!

2. Zao Island in Valparaiso.

https://www.zaoisland.net/attractions/

With Go Karts, Mini Golf, Laser Tag, a Laser Maze, Game Rooms, Batting Cages, Slides, and even an Alligator Exhibit, this destination is the one stop you have to make for the summer! With family fun all around at good prices, this place will be the one place you will want to continuously visit! Plus they have pizza, too!

3. Indiana Dunes National Park in Chesterton.

https://www.nps.gov/indu/index.htm

Lining Lake Michigan, the Dunes is the perfect beach destination to go on a hot summer day. With hotels and restaurants lining the park, there will always be somewhere to stay and somewhere to eat, plus all of the amazing qualities of the park, such as swimming, hiking, and soaking up the sun rays, making this destination a trip you have to make!

4. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in Indianapolis.

https://www.childrensmuseum.org/

I think we can all agree that sometimes we are all kids at heart, and what better way to celebrate our "youth" than to take a visit to the Children's Museum! With exhibitions that contain Dinosaurs, an International Space Station, ways you can explore the everyday lives of Scientists, Fireworks of Glass, and many more, this is the perfect way at a decent price to spend your summer afternoon!

5. Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus.

https://www.holidayworld.com/rides/firecracker/

This attraction hosts a variety of themed attractions, including coasters and water coasters! As well as having a wave pool, a river, and tube slides, this attraction is the perfect location to go when you want to have fun as well as a cool down from the hot summer sun!

6. Conner Prairie in Fishers.

https://www.connerprairie.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Header-Prairietown-4.jpg

I don't know about you all but I LOVED when we got to go to Conner Prairie for a school field trip! Being one of the most visited outdoor museums in the country, Conner Prairie showcases the 19th-century lifestyle where you get to see 1836 Prairie Town, the William Conner House, and even experience what it was like in Indiana during the Civil War! This history destination will leave you in awe of how life used to be!

7. Bluespring Caverns in Bedford.

https://www.bluespringcaverns.com/

I was so jealous that my parents and sister got to experience these caves and I didn't! This underground river that stretches 21 miles houses many unusual and cool species, such as many amphibians, blind, and albino animals.

8. Indiana Medical History Museum in Indianapolis

https://www.imhm.org/

This museum is an old pathology building that houses an autopsy room, amphitheater, laboratories, photo archives, as well as records from when the hospital was up and running. This cool destination is home to outdated medical equipment as well as anatomical structures that are breathtaking to see.

9. Indiana Beach Boardwalk Resort in Monticello.

http://www.indianabeach.com/

This fun beach gives us a little taste of everything, from rides, games, to even walking a boardwalk. Located on Lake Shafer, this amusement park is a fun time for those who are looking for a little taste of fair life, yet can't wait until August to get it!

10. Indianapolis Zoo in Indianapolis.

https://www.indianapoliszoo.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Sloth2-web.jpg

Located in White River State Park, this zoo houses over 2,000 animals, all ranging from lions, elephants, and dolphins! As well as containing a botanical garden and exhibits where you can feed the animals, this zoo is a fun destination when searching for a fun break. Plus, who doesn't love visiting all the cool animals up close?

Whether you visit one or all of the destinations listed above, we have to acknowledge the fact that although Indiana can be a boring state, there are sometimes some pretty cool things we can do with an adventure around every corner!

nadoty
nadoty

Related Content

Facebook Comments