Sunday, April 18, 2010


I'm not even an egg person.

Yes, yes, I will getting back to that whole war crimes topic I raised last post, but seriously (or, I suppose, somewhat less so) how sad is it that, a week before traveling to Kuwait, I spend almost two hours downloading recipes to cook while there?

Caramelized shallots: who wouldn't want to cook this?

I fully agree and empathize with Foxy by Nature's thoughts about being married while feminist, but at the same time I can't help but feel, I don't even know, ashamed? No, embarrassed, by my overwhelming desire to fatten up my husband with delicious meals.

I bet you want to get fat with this, too.

No, no, that's inaccurate: it is my desire to express my love and devotion through tantalizing and amazing meals. Because I don't make any money. And that's where the embarrassment comes, or uneasiness, even: that I feel the only way to properly or fully express my love is through cooking. Am I simply unimaginative? How many other non-financially contributing partners try to ease their guilt with similar excesses? I don't mean stay-at-home moms - their contributions are evident - but rather, housewives or, I suppose, people like me: working (volunteering) elsewhere for little more than living costs.

Yes, yes, I also love cooking and the availability of both ingredients and cooking options in Kuwait (as opposed to the lack thereof in Kabale) throw me into all sorts of ecstatic revelries. However, this doesn't erase the awkwardness that comes with each love-filled meal. I just feel so antiquated, stereotypical, the archetype woman who knows the way to a man's heart is through his stomach; certainly not his mind. I know without a doubt that I think about things, some things more than others, too much, but what about you? Am I over-analyzing a simple situation or have I unwittingly forced myself into this awkwardness? Moreover, is it so bad to express emotion through a personally well-versed medium, i.e., cooking?

All photos courtesy

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wikileaks and War Crimes

Photo courtesy of

To begin my thoughts on the Wikileaks video depicting US pilots "indiscriminately killing" 12 civilians, please read this article by Robert Grenier, the CIA's former chief of station in Islamabad. In it he tries to explain not how murdering civilians is acceptable, but rather how the murder of civilians could happen as an acceptable risk, at the time, in this particularly difficult type of warfare. Grenier does not (explicitly) excuse the actions of the firing soldiers, but he does urge readers to remember that the type of war being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan - almost anti-technological guerrilla tactics used effectively against a highly modernized, technology-dependent military - contains more shades of gray than before considered possible. And if the war itself is so shady, than actions that are or could be considered "war crimes" are that much more difficult to qualify. Despite how humanitarian we, the world's people, have become (whether in actuality or fantasy) there is still an accepted, and acceptable, risk of civilians deaths by those who choose to undertake war. The problem is how to decide the difference between accident, murder and atrocity.

More to come . . .

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Stop Malaria!

Today, one of the students in baby class at Edirisa's Kyabahinga nursery died, two days after a P4 student from Kyabahinga Primary died, as well. The culprit? Malaria and a lack a health services at Lake Bunyonyi.

Malaria kills one million people a year, the majority of whom are women and children, despite the fact that malaria is both preventable and curable. With proper education, mosquito-control activities and adequate, affordable & available medicine, malaria's impact can be easily cut in half.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Who Are You?

Have I mentioned this before? I am sure others have somewhere, but I find it odd how, when posting a comment on a person's blog, you are asked to "Choose an identity." It's quite a provocative command and at times I feel the four options provided far too limiting. So today I think I will be a svelte movie star with sexy-ass legs, as opposed to the hateful little girl who feels fat from eating three helpings of french fries yesterday.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Some Help from My Friends

Wow! I am amazed - and then again, not - at how little I've posted this year. I'll blame poor internet connection/ service and my own laziness. To be fair, from January to March all I could think about was my impending wedding (ceremony), which was pretty awesome. (Most of you probably know that it was the one-year anniversary for Seth and me, but we were married in a courthouse - to the knowledge of no one - and wanted an actual ceremony to commemorate our union.)

Notice something (or someone) else in the picture? Yes, it's my best friend, Kerry, who came out to officiate the service and otherwise join in drunken debauchery like only the Sergeant and I can achieve. Per our request she brought not only one, but two bottles of Crown (unfortunately impossible to find anywhere this side of the Atlantic.) Can't you just feel my happiness?
Pssst - I've already been drinking!

Whiskey-induced euphoria aside, however, having the Nomi to my Malone (and Seth's Penny) along for the ride reminded me just how amazing it is to have close friends in new places. It doesn't matter where you are or what you are doing, because your own personal world is the same.


True, it's not the best way to explore due to the fact that you are permanently insulated from overexposure, but to someone who lives in a distant place by herself (me!) it offers a wonderful breathe of comfort and familiarity. Not to say that when Seth visits (or I visit Seth) there is not also a sense of comfortable familiarity, but it's different: Seth brings love and passion and protection; Seth brings himself. And when he leaves, or I leave, I miss him, period.

Kerry's visit, on the other hand, was a piece of home brought to Uganda. And when she flew back to the States, she left me with an intense longing for home that I didn't realize existed. I enjoyed Kerry's company not only because she's my best friend, but also because of what she represented. Her departure left a deep hole in me, worsened by Seth's departure a few days later. I had both love and home with me for two weeks and when those went away I never felt more alone in this country.

After I returned to Uganda following the Christmas holidays, I spoke with Solveigh (a German volunteer working with Edirisa crafts; also my awesome wedding photographer) about how difficult it was to leave my life in Uganda for a short time, then return. Everything is so different, even in Kuwait, not to mention how easily I become accustomed to living with Seth; then with constant readjustment being frustrating and incredibly exhausting: wouldn't it have been better not to have left at all?
Is deprivation the key to overcoming loneliness?

My pictures tell me, "No."