Life of Ben Tracy -- environmental activist, jew, organizer, gardener, philanthropist, service organizer, student, and MAN.
Monday, May 24, 2010
The Initial Arrival
From my blackberry, as I can't sleep and don't want to wake the two younger college boys (rising sophomores from Gettysburg College and UNC) with my laptop:
When we landed at 645 PM last night, earlier thab expected, I was eager to land with some daylight remaining. That hope quickly faded as the sun was darting down the horizon like it was late to a meeting on the other side of the world, and I knew we had landed right on the equator. I walked off the plane into a bright and humid airport, a brightness that soon faded into a dimly lit darkness when we exited the airport with our luggage to the van. Two short men, appeared to be twins, fit as I hope to be by the end of this summer, load our luggage into two cars, and count 11 Americans - they keep telling us there should be 15 of us, and without an answer, I tell them that only the strongest survived the flight (a sleepless one, mind you).
The drive was peaceful, with explained majors, work assignments (they range from AIDS to microfinance) and hometowns - our two older guys, Ian and Luke, are both '05 Stanford grads - and I will be picking Ian's ear, as he begins at Duke's Env. Management master's program in the fall, arguably the best env. graduate school in the country. We are greeted at the guest house by a warm and motherly hotel manager, a candle-lit compound with picnic tables and a surprising deficit of mosquitoes, and told that we have arrived on the shortest day of the year. I can personally attest that yesterdat felt like the longest day of the year.
Chosen bedrooms and a delicious pumpkin soup later, I crashed. For about 3 hours. I finally slept solidly until 7 AM, and now as I finish this e-mail, the birds begin to quickly chirp and awaken, and the sun is faintly creeping up, waiting, I know now, for its hast race up the horizon.
My curiosity draws me to go and explore thse sounds (and take the 10 minute walk to Lake Victoria), and begin the day's adventure. So long for now, loved ones - the next few days are filled with orientation, language training, and meeting our host family. Masaka, here I come!