Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Operation: "Bug Be Gone"

Last night...my first night in my new house...you would think it would have felt like a huge accomplishment but rather it was a night of discovery...

Discovering that the little roaches that live in my kitchen have very very large parents that live upstairs in the bedrooms

Discovering that the water here smells like poo

Discovering that the watch dog likes to howl at night more than he likes to sleep

Discovering that most of my electrical sockets are wired strange...and therefore don't work

BUT before I get carried away...operation "bug be gone" was birthed last night as I walked up the steps to my bedroom and ran into two very large roaches...Unfortunately I had used most of the bug spray earlier that day killing their babies in the kitchen pantry so today...I stocked up...
two new large cans of bug and egg killer and two cans of insect killing powder...

When I got home the first thing I did was pull my weapons out and head upstairs...My bedroom wasn't so bad...nothing came running out when I sprayed...the guest room...well...thats a different story

I had bugs running left and right, flopping back and forth, have to say...it was pretty gross BUT my prayer is that I got them all and they understand that this place is no longer their home!

Hopefully tonight is less eventful when the lights go out...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas???

Kinda...I guess...

You know that feeling you get when you are unwrapping your gifts and you have NO idea whats inside but you know that it has to be something good...and then of course you want to put it into use right away because its the thing you have been missing all your life...??

Well...I had one of those moments today...not over Christmas gifts but over luggage...When I moved here I brought four bags with me...two went with me to Luwero and the other two stayed in my friends garage, 2 hours away...so today I unpacked one and it was like getting new clothes!

The clothes inside, even though they weren't new...were ones I remember liking and totally forgetting that I owned...6 months is a long time...and with a brain like mine there was no way I could remember what was in my luggage...

Sooo anyways....I am so excited to have clothes that haven't been stretched out with all the hand washing, and clothes that have yet to be bleached by the afternoon sun...they look like new compared to my old ones :)

I am looking forward to unpacking my other bag tomorrow...I have NO clue whats in that one BUT I sure I hope I packed something good :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Against All Common Sense....

okay so you know when you are little and your parents tell you that you should never, ever stick anything inside an electrical socket...with the exception of the power cord itself...

If you are like me, you probably didn't listen and stuck keys in the socket anyways...proving your parents' wisdom and your stupidity all at the same time...

So I have been trying to figure out what it is about the electrical sockets here and today I finally figured out what it was that gives me the willies...

Electrical outlets are designed for three prong plugs yet not all of the electrical things here come with 3 prongs...some only have 2...the problem arises when you try to plug the 2 prong plug into the 3 prong socket. You would think it wouldn't be a big deal...but it is...

You see the 3 prong electrical socket comes with a safety feature...you have to have the third prong to release the other two openings in the socket so if you have a 2 prong device you can push and push and the prongs will never go in the socket...

So really the safety feature is good in theory but when you have a 2 socket device the rule of thumb here is to find a key, or pen, or some other thing that you can trick the socket into believing it is the magical third prong...oh yeah!

The only plus...all the sockets have their own on/off switch so when you are sticking some foreign object into socket #3 you don't actually electric yourself and make your hair stand straight up...

It is weird though because even though the socket is "off" I still have my brain screaming "mayday...halt...danger will robinson...danger" each and every time I dare to plug something in...

Maybe the screaming in my brain will stop someday....but for now...the lesson I learned about keys and sockets is still pretty ingrained in my memory and for me...and my adventures with the Ugandan sockets goes beyond ALL common sense

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Being my second Christmas here in Uganda...I have to say...Its nice...

The weather is not that much different than SoCal, with the exception that it may be a little bit warmer...

The biggest difference I see between a SoCal Christmas and a Ugandan one is mostly in the consumerism...

Its so nice to not have the hustle and bustle of Mall traffic, crazy shoppers and Christmas sales...

Life is calmer here at New Hope right now as most of our kids have gone to visit family members and staff have gone to the states to have their "white Christmas'" with their families.

There are a few Christmas trees here and there, and a few stores playing Christian music...but that's about it.

I am looking forward to having a calm day, a nice meal with friends and playing a few games...

A great holiday season to rest, relax and mediate on Jesus...the reason for the season in the first place.

I hope that this season, you find rest and relaxation as well!

Enjoy!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Malaria...

So I can now say that I have officially had malaria twice in the last 6 months of living here in Uganda...

Last night (dec 12) I couldn't help but think that malaria has to be a terrible way to die...As I have been on treatment now for 24hours I am still feeling bad with fever, chills, body aches, headache, etc...

I can't imagine NOT taking the 3 day treatment that kill the pesky parasites that are attempting to take over your blood cells.

The sad thing is, there are many who die from malaria just because they can't afford the $3 treatment for it...

I wish I could do more to help!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In the Spirit of Moving...

I have a new mailing address!!

SO if, in this holiday season...you have the urge to send me Christmas greetings, or gifts...I LOVE, yes LOVE getting mail!

I also have a running "wish list" if you need ideas :)

haha...don't feel pressured though...I love cards and letters and pictures too and those cost way less to get here than packages :)

SOOO drum roll please.....My new address is:

Lena Pira
PO Box 71990
Clock Tower
Kampala, Uganda
East Africa

Monday, December 14, 2009

Things I am getting used too...

  • Writing the date as 14/12/2009 instead of 12/14/2009
  • dialing phone numbers that start with 0's
  • saying yes with my eyebrows rather than with words
  • pointing with my lips rather than with my finger
  • waving with a flat hand and telling people to come with a closed hand wave
  • not drinking water and walking at the same time
  • wearing skirts and dresses
  • calling pants "trousers" and underwear "pants"....yeah that's a tricky one!
  • calling corn "maize"
  • eating race and soup with my fingers (I haven't mastered it yet!)
  • bargaining
  • riding public transportation
  • 3-4 hour church services
  • walking and dodging cars/bodas at the same time
  • using the phrase "I've ever" to say "I have or I always"
  • starting many sentences with the words "For me..."
  • turning down marriage proposals
  • long car rides with little to no personal space bubble
  • 1 minute phone conversations
  • traffic...way worse than LA traffic hands down!
  • plated hair (and the fact that it doesn't need to be washed or combed)
  • Being awake when everyone in Cali is sleeping (and vice-versa)
  • SLOW Internet
  • Sporadic electricity
  • Using British spellings like: Colour and Centre
  • Saying "full-stop" when you come to the end of a sentence instead of "period"
  • Saying "now now" when you mean immediately
  • Understanding that if someone says they will be somewhere at 11, it means they are going to arrive anytime between 11:01 and 11:59.

AND I am sure there are more but my little brain is tired...so off to bed I go!
Enjoy your morning as I enjoy my night :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Smiling...

Okay so shopping is SO SO very different here in UG...

Today I just smiled as I was in a store buying an iron and an electric kettle and an attendant comes up to me and takes the two items out of my cart and proceeds to check them for me in the middle of the store...and by checking I don't mean taking them out of the box to make sure all the parts are there...I mean plugging in the iron and waiting for it to get hot and then boiling water in the middle of the electronic section next to the TVs for sale...Now that's some serious customer service for you!

He even filled in all the warranty paperwork for me right in the middle of shopping, dried the kettle off and found me in the middle of the household cleaner section to put stuff back in my cart...

Most of the time, being in Uganda just makes me smile...At this point in my existence here I can predict alot of things that happen during shopping excursions but today totally caught me off guard...now I know for next time I buy any electrical appliance what to be ready for!!

Still smiling by the way...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

For I know the Plans I have for you says the Lord….

Thank goodness that God knows the plans and that he has everything under control! I can not tell you how often my own plans have changed while I have been here but I am glad to know that while I make plans, God is the one who directs my steps!

So the Plan (at least at this point)??

ARM has found me a place to live in Bunga which is just 5 minutes from where I will be working and about 10 minutes outside of the capital city, Kampala.

I have to say, I was pretty proud of myself and my bargaining skills because I managed to get the price cut by $150 per month of what I was originally told I could rent the place for Yeah me!!

I will be spending the next few weeks getting the place clean and furnished so that I can be all moved in and start working with Ggaba Bible Institute at the beginning of January.

It is all moving along so fast and it is hard to believe that I have already lived in the bush of Uganda for 6 months!

I have a feeling that adjusting to city life is going to be tough in some ways but more convenient in others. I am so excited to be able to have a bathroom and a kitchen again! Yahoo!! But on the other hand…now I actually need to figure out how to cook for my self from scratch…which is something I have never really been very good at!

One thing is true though…I sure will miss life with my New Hope family and I am so glad that when I need a fix they are just 2 hours away!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

By Special Request

So many of you have been asking what the new apartment is like...

Well, it is bigger than the round house I have been living in by far. It has a living room, dining room, 2 bedrooms and Yes...it has a kitchen and a bathroom!

It is two stories with the living space on the first floor and the bedrooms/bathroom upstairs.

Here are some pictures that I took yesterday...I am hoping that within the next few weeks I will have the chance to do a little painting and get some furnishings...But for now...here it is...bare-boned, and in need of some tlc...

My front door/living/dining room area


My bedroom (and yes...that is really bad bright Blue Floor Tile and YES...the other bedroom has it too!)

Once I am settled I will post a few pictures of the furnished/painted bachlorette pad :) haha!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Reminders...

Honestly...some days I totally forget that I live in Africa...I get going with life and work and responsibilities and then all of a sudden something reminds me that no...you really do live in Africa.

So what was it this time??

Today was a day of errands...getting house keys, getting a PO box set up, getting Internet set up, etc... A HUGE task for one day, being that things here move at a much slower pace than in the states.

So I get to the first stop, my apartment, pay the deposit and then find out the place still isn't clean or ready for me to get the keys till Saturday...today is Friday...lets hope that I get those keys tomorrow...BUT still I am feeling somehow successful because I actually got the lease agreement signed (which I had to type at the office myself, haha!) and the first 6 months of rent paid...yeah for me...!

Next stop...the PO Box! Another accomplishment...3 passport photos and a denied marriage proposal later...(Stay tuned for the new mailing address :)

SO yet...neither of these things reminded me of life in Uganda until I got to stop 3...the net setup. I bring my PC to the cell phone shop, and they don't have the modem I need so they call another shop and send a boda boda guy over with it...I wait and wait and then finally it arrives (but doesn't work when we try to install it) so instead of quiting there they call again and then determine the best solution is to send me to the other shop with the boda boda guy...OK...thats cool...I get to the other shop and go to the upstairs office where the ceiling is half my height and spend another hour waiting...still no success...the solution...come back Saturday...

So yeah...no net yet, no keys yet, BUT I do have a PO Box...1 out of 3 tasks successfully accomplished = a pretty successful day...Lets hope by the end of the weekend that all 3 tasks get done...because that would flat out be AMAZING!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Transitions...

My Kenyan Parents went back home...Goodbye Dan and Mary...I know it has only been one week BUT I really REALLY miss you guys!

My Amuria Family left today...I miss ALL 9 of you already!!

And so here I sit...under a full moon...checking email and wondering what my life is going to look like one week from now...

One month from now...

One year from now...

One decade from now...

I have NO idea BUT I sure am glad that God knows because if he didn't I would be a little (okay...if we are being honest...A little MORE)...stressed right now then I already am.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Craziness in October??!!

Living in Africa brings a whole new set of challenges…not just how to cope with new living situations, new friends and new social cues BUT also how to stay connected with those that you left back home. Being my first year here I really wanted to be able to send out Christmas Cards…something that I have never really been all that good at stateside let alone abroad! So one October afternoon good old Shutterfly sends me an email…”half off Christmas cards if you order in October…”

I think to myself…hum…a picture card would be nice to send out!
Half off…that’s awesome!
Free shipping…humm?? I’m close to 100% certain that doesn’t mean to Africa….
Humm…if I do this, how will I get them here in time?
If I do this, how will get them all back!?

And then it hits me….I know people from Cali coming here in November!
So I spend an entire night uploading two photos to Shutterfly
Spend another couple hours actually getting the order to be shipped to my friends house who in turn agreed to stick them in his luggage on his way to Uganda!

So here they come…beginning of November and I have a crazy amount of Christmas cards to write before Nov. 21st rolls around and the cards need to be carried back on someone else’s luggage headed stateside…

Can I just tell you how strange it is to write “Merry Christmas” on a card before you have celebrated veterans day or thanksgiving!

SO now, here it is…thanksgiving day and I can officially say that all of my Christmas cards are done and on their way to the United States in two different checked bags…Lets hope luggage doesn’t get lost and that all arrive to their final locations in one piece…

Lets also hope that all of the recipients appreciate all the craziness that actually had to go into the planning and execution of getting 400 Christmas cards from the US to Uganda and then back to the US before Christmas day…

Merry Christmas to all…and to all a good night J

Saturday, November 28, 2009

NHICF Graduation

It's here...the end of a 5 month adventure and the beginning of a new one.

I can't believe that the New Hope Institute of Childcare and Family is already over, it went WAY to fast!

I am going to miss all my new family here BUT the good news is that they are only a 2 hour drive from where I will be in Ggaba!! Yeah for us!

Here are some pictures from graduation day!

Enjoy!
The NHICF Graduating Class

Me and Auntie Grace

Prayers and Blessings

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lena and Lena

Wow...this has been a busy last two weeks!! Sorry for the stretch of time between posts!

These last two weeks we had a birth, a graduation, I went on a house hunt, I moved, and much much more!


Here is one of the things that happened in the craziness of the last 10 days...Baby Mercy Lena was born!


Here is a picture of the me with my namesake and her parents (Teddy and Sam)...She is soooo cute! She is also the first baby I have ever had named after me...



I have to say, its strange to have someone named after you though...you feel as if you have some kind of responsibility to them or for them, it makes me wonder as if God feels the same way about us as we take on his name "Christian", literally "little Christ"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Latrine, How I love thee...

Well...maybe not LOVE but I have definitely come to appreciate the latrine much more than I used to before. Today I was thinking about it...and well...here is what I like about the latrine...

1. It's far from my house...meaning that if I stink it up, it really doesn't matter because I can't smell it from the house.

2. I can never clog it...meaning that I can use as much TP as I want and never have to worry if the thing will flush

3. The more I use it the more my aim improves

4. I don't have to clean a dirty toilet bowl

5. I don't have to use a toilet seat cover and wonder who was the last person to sit on this before me.

Okay...so I know its rather random, but today, I'm feeling rather random...so there it is, consider yourself edumacated...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory...the original...

So I know most Americans, including me, has at one point in time had a "Seinfeld moment" or a "Friends moment"

You know the moment...you are doing something and then all of a sudden you realize you are doing the exact same thing or experiencing the exact same situation as one of your favorite characters on TV...

Well today I had a "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory moment"...A first for me, I promise!

How did this moment come about...

Well...some of you may know that I LOVE, absolutely LOVE dark chocolate...personally, milk chocolate isn't even worth eating because it just has no flavor compared to a nice piece of dark chocolate...

Well...Uganda isn't really a dark chocolate kind of place...and well...I tried a few of the milk chocolate bars that were made in Kenya and ugghhh...They had to add so much wax to make it not melt on the shelf that it was more like eating a candlestick than a piece of chocolate...

I pretty much gave up hope of ever eating a good piece of chocolate again until about 2 months ago when I saw an imported bar of dark chocolate with hazelnuts! I thought I may have been having a dream...wondering how in the world such a wonderful thing had ever found its way into the store...I was about to pinch myself when all of a sudden I noticed the price on that fabulous piece of candy...

10,500 shillings!

That's about $5.50...

Ohhh...I cant tell you how long I stood there with my mouth wide open...it would have been better to never see such a thing than to see it and realize there was NO way you could EVER justify a $5.50 candy bar!

I was SOOOO very sad! Every time I went shopping I would slowly walk by the candy, looking at it...imagining how it tasted, looking at the price, hoping that by some small chance it would have reduced greatly...but no luck...it taunted me!!

Kind of like Charlie now that I think about it...the poor kid wanted to buy just one bar and it was near impossible for him to justify such a purchase when he didn't even have money to feed his family...

So, I sadly put the chocolate bar out of mind and moved on with life...

So here comes the weekend...My friend Tiff had a birthday on Friday and her and her hubby wanted a weekend away from the kids (they have 5!)...

As a birthday present to her, I babysat the kids for them...We had pillow fights, hosted a going away party, baked cookies, had pedicures, watched movies, cooked meals....


Overall, a great time...so as we welcomed Tal and Tiff home with a home cooked Mexican food meal Tiffany pulled out a thank you gift for taking care of the kids...

AND YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was the dark chocolate with hazelnut candy bar...I was besides myself with joy!

This afternoon I thought about a sweet afternoon thought and well of course it had to include a bite of my wonderful surprise...

I excitedly walked out of class towards my house, went to my room, looked at the bar and imagined how wonderful it was going to taste, then slowly, without ripping the paper, peeled away the outer wrapper and the silver lining. I looked at it, smelled it...ahhh...Just like Charlie!

Then I broke off a few squares, and carefully folded the silver liner and wrapper back. I slowly put it into my mouth and let it melt...it was AMAZING! No nasty waxy taste...just pure dark chocolate that melts in your mouth! I am hoping I can make it last for at least 2 weeks...I cant wait to eat a square or two tomorrow...

So yes...Its possible to be like Charlie and have chocolate moments....Hopefully you wont judge me to severely for my excitement for a little chocolate pleasure :)

Did I mention that it was AMAZING!

Yummmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Language Lull

Yes...its true, without a steady and consistant language helper I have officially reached my language lull...

I can greet and say a few other things BUT mostly...Im stuck!

Since some of you have been wondering what I know...here is what is rattling around in my head at the present moment (but just know that it is 7am for me...so my brain still isn't fully functional yet :)

Nkwagala nyo: I love you very much
Oli otya: How are you?
Wasuze otya: How did you spend the night?
Ossibye otya: How has been your day?
Bulungi: Good
Jende: Fine
Jabale Cyo: Very Well Done
Calle: Okay
Umm: Yes
Nedda: No
Weebale: Thank You
Ogenda wa?: Where are you going?
Awaka: Home
Abeeka bali batya?: How are the people at your home?
Oyugero oluzungu?: Do you speak English?
Mirembe: Peace
Ssubi: Hope
Yesu: Jesus
Katonda: God
Mukwano gwange: My friend
Gwe: You
Amazzi: water
Wonge: Yes please/what?

Enjoy learning some Luganda words :) I'll keep practicing too :) haha!

Monday, November 9, 2009

And the drama continues...

with my Visa that is...

Last week (Friday) I was in Kampala...well not totally in Kampala but in a village nearby...so at about 1:30 I caught a boda boda on my way to the main road into the city

at about 2...the boda boda breaks down

5 minutes later, a motor taxi full to the brim passes me...I jump in...even though there are 21 people crammed into a 14 passenger car...

around 2:30 I get into the capital

I hop out, find the nearest boda boda and bargain for a ride to the Immigration office

I hop onto the boda...for the 10 minute ride and 2 minutes into it a sudden rainstorm arrives out of the blue...

I continue on the ride...realizing that looking smart and presentable is now out of the question and focus on the important task of keeping my paperwork dry.

around 2:45 I arrive, dripping wet, looking like I bathed with all my clothes on at Immigration

I walk into office 2...they take one look at me and say "oh sorry!"

I sit...hoping to dry off before I am called...

5 minutes later I shuffle my soggy self in front of the immigration officer...she takes one look at my paperwork and sends me to room 1.

I arrive at room 1, and then am told to go to window 1.

Window 1 hands me my passport and tells me to go to window 5.

I go to window 5 who writes a charge slip and tells me to go back into town to a bank I have never been to before.

I hail yet another boda boda, bargain and ride to the bank...still wet but at least not sopping.

I go to the first line, then realize I should be in the third line..

I finally pay BUT here's the catch...I have to wait 2 1/2 hours for the receipt or come back tomorrow...

Do they not know I live 2 hours away!? AND that in 2 1/2 hours Immigration will be closed until Monday morning...?!

Saturday rolls around...

After a required morning session at a local children's center, I ride into town with some friends...

The bank (open from 9-1pm)

The time...12:30

I bargain again with a boda boda, hop on and get to the bank at 12:45

I stand in line until 12:55

I got the receipt...!!!

Now only if Immigration was open on Saturday!

My conclusion...
No wonder there are so many illegal aliens...being legal is way to much work!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

I've reached it...

What you may ask....

Well in the states I could very much say that most of my life...(minus a few years) I was a "love to eat" kind of person...

BUT...I think the impossible has happened...

The transition has come full surface and I am now switching teams and joining the "eat to live" crowd.

Yes, it is sad...

BUT its true.

Today I realized that I lost the love to eat. How did my new found revelation take place??

Here are the events that lead me to my conclusion:
  • 4 months in Uganda, 4 months of PBandJ for breakfast...so much for variety!
  • 1 week at the end of every month...hard bread for my PBandJ breakfast...month old bread really doesn't preserve well here, even if it is in a refrigerator!
  • Picking random ants out of the Jam on my PBandJ...after someone forgets to put it back on after using it!

BUT have to say...those things...while contributing factors still didn't push me over the edge...

What did...

Today as I was spreading my PBandJ onto my hard piece of month old bread good old Auntie Mary makes the statement...this bread is no good...Not uncommon being that we eat old hard bread all the time BUT after her statement she proceeded to stick her plain bread under my nose and YUCK! It smelled SO very DISGUSTING!

The sad thing is...we all continued to rub PBandJ all over the bread...I admit I put a little extra jelly then usual and we all sat down...

We all took bites...we all said the bread tasted bad...but we stated the obvious..."We are going to eat it anyways huh?!" and so that is how, my PBandJ slowly disappeared from my plate today and I was confronted with the very sad fact that I no longer eat for enjoyment BUT rather I eat to survive...

Its sad BUT its true...

Pray for me...and for the loaf of bread we will get tomorrow...I have to admit though...From now on I am not gonna smell it...I am better off not knowing just how bad it is!

Enjoy some eggs and bacon for me :]

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Uncle Godfrey!

Last night was one of my most favorite and memorable nights with Ebenezer!

It was SOOO fun!

Why you ask??

Well it was Uncle Godfrey's birthday...and while we call him uncle he is actually our family father so it was a day to celebrate indeed.

Aunt Flo and I did a little scheming the last few weeks and with the kids help we had a fabulous surprise party for him.

The kids all wrote birthday letters and encouragement cards to him.

Aunt Flo, along with some of our kids, prepared some of his favorite foods.

I made two cakes and the kids helped wrap Aunt Flo's present for him.

It was a night of laughs, smiles, good food, family, gifts, and fun...

Here are a few of my favorite moments:


Juliet prepares the rice


Wonder and Benjamin prepare the chapati



Time to eat!


Yummy!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Birthday Cards!



A gift...what could it be?!


" I got Blue!" New perfume for our Uncle


Sampling the goods...


Time for Cake!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tips, Hints and Advice

So this blog is really random today BUT here are a few things I have learned over the last few months...Let's affectionally call them my Tips, Hints, and little pieces of Advice...take em or leave em :)
  • Ants may be small but if you cross a path of "pinching" ants...beware...their bite is much much bigger than they are!
  • Ants in your pants (or trousers) really are a reason to jump...
  • When preparing to take a boat that launches from a port with no dock...trousers, not a skirt, really are the best option
  • Motorcycle taxi's (boda bodas) wont take you anywhere when its raining BUT if you are already on one when it STARTS to rain...be prepared to arrive at your destination looking like you just took a bath with all your clothes on.
  • Be prepared to pay a private hire taxi extra if its raining otherwise be prepared to stand under the building walkways and wait it out with the rest of the city...
  • Don't ever expect immigration to give you clear directions or answers but rather be prepared to visit every open window in the place as they toss you around like a yo-yo.
  • Stay away from large spiders who's webs are stronger and more elastic than fishing wire
  • Know that almost anything can be purchased...for a price...
  • Don't rely on electricity...it always disappoints
  • Traffic is everywhere...there really is no avoiding it
  • Everyone has a boiling point but some people's thermometers don't work as well as other's do
  • A smile and a handshake usually makes for a pleasant day
  • Sometimes in despiration you will consider eating things that you never thought you would.
  • Ugandan men can paint toe nails just as well as chinese women
  • You know someone has captured your heart when you miss them like crazy when they are gone
  • true friends know your quirks and enjoy calling you on them...in a loving and kind way that is...
  • kids love to talk about anything...for as long as you will let them
  • pepper eating competitions can be fun at the moment but you WILL pay later for the title of "Pepper Eating Champion", whether you like it or not!
  • A public taxi will never be full in Uganda, even if all the seats are taken...
  • bug bites, bruises, blisters, sunburns, scraps, infections, sickness, and worms are all a part of life...Its best to get used to them and roll with the punches
  • If it hops like a frog, talks like a frog and acts like a frog...it's a frog...and just for the record, they aren't the best overnight guests...
  • A florescent light and a torch (flashlight) is adequate and effective roach replenant...for the most part
  • A voice is 100% more personal than an email from a personal friend.
  • A good mocha can bright almost any day
  • The best sleep always comes when you are in your own bed...no matter how hard your pillow or lumpy your mattress is...
  • A computer that needs more memory is a great test of your patience and endurance...
  • Day planners and busy schedules are okay BUT no one really knows what tomorrow will bring
  • God has a great way of changing our plans, the key is to be flexible enough to change with them...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

No Man is An Island

It may be some silly saying but I have really seen it to be true.

God has created as people that need people...that's why the well functioning body of Christ is so amazing...believers joined together who really need each other...so much so that I would suffer if I didn't have them.

In a world where everyone wants to be independent, you can see the effects of people living for themselves...crime, hate, cheating, the works...

The sad thing is, it works it way down into families so fast that we don't even know it is happening until it is too late.

Yesterday night as I was eating dinner with my kids, I noticed it happening...brothers picking on sisters, laughing at them, putting them down and doing it just to make themselves feel better...now I know that my setting is a little different with 22 kids ranging from 1st grade to 12th grade but even so...we are a family and one that should function as a "body" not as independent members who all happen to live in one setting together.

While last night I spoke up on behalf of my girls, tonight I had an expected surprise...Uncle Cody was stuck in Kampala in traffic and so 30 minutes before family devotions were to start he asked me to lead them.

I sucked it up and figured...well...let's see what happens...I skimmed through my bible thinking of something fantastic to say and then realized...I have NOTHING fantastic to say...so I prayed...

I went off to devotions still unsure of what I was going to talk about...but as I arrived the Holy Spirit came to my rescue..."the body of Christ"...duh! So I read the passage and talked about how even our family needs to treat one another with care and love and then I went out on a limb...not quite sure what would happen, I proposed that we encourage one another and build each other up rather than tear each other down...

I started it...turning to my right and encouraging Wonderful. The kids at first were not quite sure about sharing out loud but as we rounded our circle it became easier...I also noticed faces that once were straight had huge smiles on them...

It was a night of really enjoying one another and it was amazing. Nathan, one of our older boys (about 11th grade) thanked me afterwards for having them do that and told me we should do it more often.

I am so thankful that God uses even me...when I have NO idea what to say...He says it. When I have NO clue what the kids need..He knows. When I have NO idea what to prepare...He already knows exactly what He is going to have us do.

I sit here blessed with a smile on my face and I have God alone to thank for it. Thank you Lord and thank you for my Ebenezer Family!

I am so glad that I don't have to stand alone as an island of one!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Joys of being an Alien...

So yes...its true...I have been an illegal alien here for about two months now...but let me say...it really isnt my fault!

My visitor visa has long since expired and well...the work permit process is a long one...

So on Wednesday, I decided that I need to be a little MORE proactive and I went into Kampala for the day to try and get things sorted out...

1 trip to the US Embassy
1 afternoon at Africa Renewal Ministry Headquarters
2 trips to the Ministry of Internal Affairs
a few mad dashes across town in search of copy machines
and 12 hours later...I can officially say the paperwork is submitted...

They told me to come back in a week though so I have the feeling that the process is far from being over...

Be praying that all goes well!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hello Bloggers!

On Oct 3rd I added a new feature to my blog...its a visitor map...

Today, Oct. 17th I looked at the visitor map...and WOW! I couldn't believe it...

I have had over 100 people read my blog in the last 2 weeks and not only that...but...

87 people were reading it from the United States
5 from Uganda
2 from Poland
2 from Guatemala
1 from France
1 from Germany
1 from Ecuador
1 from Vietnam
1 from India
and 1 from Italy

How cool is that! Some of these places I already knew I had friends there but some...well...some surprised me.

Thanks for reading what I write from all over the world! Enjoy!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Love Letter from God??

Someone gave me this letter this week...I thought it was awesome and thought I would share it with all of you. Enjoy...

My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. I know when you sit down and when you rise up. I am familiar with all your ways. Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. For you were made in my image. in me you live and move and have your being. For you are my offspring. I knew you even before you were conceived. I chose you when I planned creation. You were not a mistake. For all your days are written in my book. I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. I knit you together in your mother's womb. And brought you forth on the day you were born. I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. I am not distant and angry but am the complete expression of love. And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. For I am the perfect Father. Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Because I love you with an everlasting love. My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. And I rejoice over you with singing. I will never stop doing good to you. For you are my treasured possession. I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. And I want to show you great and marvelous things. If you seek me with all your heart and all my soul. And I want to show you great and marvelous things. If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. For it is I who gave you those desires. I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. For I am your greatest encourager. I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. He is the exact representation of my being. He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. If you receive the gift of my son, Jesus, you receive me. And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. I have always been Father and will always be Father. My question is...will you be my child? I am waiting for you.

Love, Your Dad,
Almighty God

Don't think that God would ever write a letter like this??

Look for yourself!
Psalm 139:1-3, Matthew 10:29-31, Genesis 1:27, Acts 17:28, Jeremiah 1:4-5, Ephesians 1:11-12, Psalm 139:15-16, Acts 17:26, Psalm 139:13-14, Psalm 71:6, John 8:41-44, I John 4:16, I John 3:1, Matthew 7:11, Matthew 5:48, James 1:17, Matthew 6:31-33, Jeremiah 29:11, Jeremiah 31:3, Psalm 139:17-18, Zephaniah 3:17, Jeremiah 32:40, Exodus 19:5, Jeremiah 32:41, Jeremiah 33:3, Deuteronomy 4:29, Psalm 37:4, Philippians 2:13, Ephesians 3:20, 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Psalm 34:18, Isaiah 40:11, Revelation 21:3-4, John 17:23 & 26, Hebrews 1:3, Romans 8:31, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, I John 4:10, Romans 8:31-32, I John 2:23, Romans 8:38-39, Luke 15:7, Ephesians 3:14-15, John 1:12-13, Luke 15:11-32

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Weird things I wonder about…

  • What happens to the cockroaches that live at the bottom of the latrine when a piece of poo falls on them from 40 ft above them…is it instant death??
  • How is it that you can catch a frog, throw him in a forest a 5 minutes walk away from your home and he still finds his way back?
  • Why did God make birds that laugh like kids, and squeak like monkeys…?
  • Why are albino roaches more repulsive to me than the black ones…?
  • How is it that ants can find food SO quickly!?
  • If bats have such great eyesight at night, why is it that they constantly fly into our heads at night?
  • Why are so many westerners scared to visit Africa?? What is it that scares them so?
  • Why is it that the worms I get, aren't the kind that make me lose weight…cause seriously…if I have to have them…I want the benefit of weight loss that comes with it!
  • If Africans are okay with having a map on the wall that says “Negroland” why are the westerners so bothered by it??
  • What do beetles, the size of baseballs, eat??
  • How long does it take for a 40ft pit latrine to get full?
  • Why haven’t chocolate chips made their way to Uganda yet??
  • How come you can wear sandals everyday in Cali and never have your feet crack but when you do it in Africa your feet look like a desert graveyard in serious need of some Vaseline?
  • Why does western hair gets oily all by itself and yet African hair needs oil added to it??
  • Why don't flies like to buzz in the dark?
  • How is it that little worms can jump so high?

I'm just curious…that’s all! And I am sure I have more things I wonder about BUT for now...that's what has my interest peaked :)

Oh AND...if you know the answer to any of these questions...I would love to hear the answer :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mama Wonge

Me: "Mama Wonge!" (My mama!)

Mama Jane: "Lena Wonge!" (My Lena!)

Me: Wasuze otya? (How is the morning?)

Mama Jane: Jende (It is fine)

Mama Jane: Oli otya? (How is your day?)

Me: Bulungi. (It is good)

Mama Jane: Ogenda wa? (where are you going?)

Me: Ngenda Auntie Constance awaka (I am going to Auntie Constance's house)

Me: Ogenda wa mama? (where are you going mama?)

Mama Jane: Ngenda Lena awaka (I am going to your house)

Me: Calle (okay)



Mama Jane has been to my house twice...once to visit me when I was having my hair plated, and the other time to check on me and sweep my house when I had malaria...so the fact that she had purse in hand and said she was coming to my house surprised me... I decided that it was worth being a little late to my mentor's house to see what was going on...



I unlocked my door and told Mama Jane she was welcome...In she came, closed the door and placed her purse on the floor. She bent down over it, and I noticed that inside she had some fabric...At this point I was wondering how we would communicate with each other, being that the extent of my language is still counting and greetings.



So out it came...It was a skirt, a white skirt, with silver sequins on it...it was beautiful, and obviously hand made...



Me: Wow mama! Did you make?

Mama Jane: Yes



Mama Jane unwrapped it and started tying it around my waist...Then out came a matching top, which she also put on me. I looked down...it was a traditional Rwandan dress...one that Mama had made for me...



Me: Mama, for me?

Mama Jane: Yes, Nkwagala nyo. (yes, I love you so much)

Me: ahhh! nkwagala nyo Mama wonge! (ahhh, i love you so much my mama!)

Mama Jane: Lena Daughter wonge (My Daughter Lena)

Mama Jane: You be happy. No crying

Me: okay mama

(of course her generosity and her love for me did make me tear up a little at this point)

Me: Mama wonge, weebale nyo (thank you so much my mama)

Mama Jane: ummm...daughter, nkwagala nyo! (yes, daughter, I love you so much)

Me: Weebale nyo, nyo, nyo...nkwagala nyo (thank you sooooooo much! I love you!)



This week had been a hard week for me with some of the things we were discussing in class and things that I had been asked to discuss with my mentor...Mama Jane knew that just because she could see it on my face...and her way of blessing me, was giving me a most precious gift...a traditional dress from her country.

I had the honor of honoring my adopted mother this past Sunday when I wore the dress to church. The smile on her face was priceless, along with the smiles on the faces of all of her Rwandan friends that come to our church and greet me each Sunday.

I am so blessed to have Mama Jane here with me and I dearly love our interactions, no matter how simple they are.

God has used Mama Jane to bless me and I am so blessed to be able to bless her...this month, our institute class is working on a building project...its a surprise one...one that will give Mama Jane a home that is safe, and a kitchen in which she can cook in...I cant wait to see her face when we all go there and start building...I hope that it blesses her as much as the dress blessed me today!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

=)

"Mirembe, we love you more than you know"

That statement brought such a smile to my face tonight...

I had gathered the girls of Ebenezer together and we were sitting on the floor of one of their homes...

I had wanted to talk to them about how much I cared for them and how important they were to me...I also wanted to share with them what I was learning in the institute and how my walk with the Lord has been up to this point.

It was a great conversation...lasting about 1 1/2 hours and ending with Juliet telling me how much they loved me...

Oh how I love the way God's family works....Age doesn't matter, neither does culture, color, language, sex, or social status...

Christ truly does have a beautiful, multi-ethnic bride waiting for Him when He returns!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Winter in Uganda?

I guess you could say that...but really...we dont have a "winter" season...we just have a rainy season and a dry season.

But since I know most of you think Uganda is HOT all year round...here's the 10 day forcast...

Scattered thunderstorms everyday (between a 30-70% chance)
Lows between 66 and 68 degrees in the mornings/evenings
Highs between 78 and 84 degrees each day
with a chance of wind gusts...

Sounds just like Cali in January...with the exception that it will never rain 10 days in a row in cali :)

So there you have it...I have been and will continue to sport my hoodies in Uganda :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Contact Info

Here is the latest contact info...

For those of you that have my mailing address at New Hope Uganda, I would ask that you now hold off on sending anything via mail after today as it can sometimes take 6-8 weeks to arrive and I am leaving the institute in about 7 weeks.

I will get my new Kampala mailing address to you as soon as I get it!

As for phone contact, I have a Ugandan cell phone number that you can call me on internationally (if you get a calling card)

OR

I now have a skype online phone number that you can call and leave messages on. This number will ring to my computer and is a local California call. I would love to get messages and hear some of your voices SO if you don't have this number and would like it, email me and I can send it to you :)

Hope you are all doing well! I miss you lots!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Uganda

So I have been thinking about this for awhile now and have come to realize that I really do LOVE life in Uganda.

It is for the most part completely opposite of life as I knew it before but for some reason I feel at home...

I love the sound of the birds outside my window at all hours of the day
I love that I can see clusters of the milky way at night
I love the sound of millions of frogs at night after a rain
I love that it can be HOT and two seconds later raining so hard that the ground is flooded
I love the way the wind blows just before a strong rain
I love the breeze of an outdoor shower in the afternoon
I love that you can hold someones hand for no other reason except that they are your friend
I love that when you ask Ugandan's to tell you who someone is they will say they are the dark black one
I love that the world doesn't stop when there isn't any electricity
I love that when you are sick all your friends come to visit and pray for you
I love that I cant eat as much as a Ugandan child
I love that you are always welcome, even if you aren't invited
I love that you can sit in silence and then erupt in laughter just because
I love that church isn't planned but is spontaneous
I love that every kid you pass calls you Auntie or Uncle
I love that you are within walking distance of all your friends
I love that fresh fruit and veggies are the cheapest things you can buy
I love that you can go to the market and the salesman will give you a piece of candy to try for free
I love that there is always room for you, no matter how full the car is
I love when you go to some one's house the first question is "do you have a bathroom?"
I love that I can see Jupiter
I love that we have family devotions every night
I love that a trip into the city is exciting
I love that when you are dressed nice you are told that you look "smart"
I love that we can worship in English, Lugandan, Ateso, Swahilli, and Lauo and that God understands each word
I love that no matter how much toilet paper you use, a pit latrine, unlike a drain, will never clog
I love that while my progress is slow, I catch words in Lugandan that I understand
I love that movie night is simply a group of friends gathering around a laptop with the pc speakers turned on full blast
I love that mopping entails flooding the place and then just squiggying out the excess water
I love that I can shower using just 1 1/2 gallons of water
I love the way Ugandans pray
I love that you can take a 12+ hour public transit ride and it only costs $7
I love that I can stand in the Northern & Southern Hemishere at the same time

Basically, I love Uganda...and I thank the Lord for that because it is him that made me love the people and this place so very much.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Error...

My brain gave me a serious error message the other day...I don't know if you have ever experienced that or not but its weird to say the least...

What brought on this error message?

I drove one of my friends cars from her house, to my house...Seriously...it was less than a five minute drive, down her driveway, out the secondary site gate, onto the main dirt road and then into the primary site gate...

So what was the big deal?

The steering wheel is on the passenger side and I had to drive on the opposite side of the road...

WEIRD!

My brain was having some serious problems just because the door was on my right and not on my left and because a right hand turn was more like a left hand one, crossing over traffic...

I think its a good idea that I wont have a car for at least another 6 months...maybe by then my brain would have realized that I am not in Kansas (ahh...cali) anymore!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

kilos vs lbs

I have to say...I like the whole kilo system...

The other day when someone asked me how much I weighed...the number was under 100! Something I havent been able to say for a LONG LONG time when I use pounds...

I have to admit, I think I may really love this new system of measure :)

And just if you are curious about your weight in kilos...take your weight in lbs and then divide by 2.2...I have to say...a two digit number is much better than a three digit one...

I vote that the states switch over to kilos and make all of us feel a little bit better about ourselves :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Adapted??

I always wondered how I would know when I have adapted to my life here in Uganda and today I think I finally discovered that I have...

SO what happened?

Today, a fellow missionary here at New Hope offered to let me live with her for the last 7 weeks that I am here at the institute.

Now her house is nothing like mine...She has:
-running water
-an indoor bathroom with toilet AND shower
-a kitchen complete with oven and refrigerator

So pretty much the opposite of how I live here with none of those things...

I had always thought that I would jump at an opportunity like that and say yes in a heartbeat but to my surprise I told her I had to think and pray about it and rather than my heart saying yes I found my heart saying no...

That surprised me...

So I really am content, happy and adapted to my home and my life here...

It could be that the idea of moving again just isn't all that exciting...after all this whole last year has been one big move after another:

Oct - Dec 2008 - Living in Florida
Jan - March 2008 - Living in Canoga Park
March - May 2009 - Living in Simi
May - June 2009 - Living in Colorado
July 2009 - Present - Living in Luwero
Nov 2009 onward - Will be living in Ggaba

Humm...so maybe its NOT that I am adapted BUT rather I just need a place to call my own...

6 homes in less than 1 year...

I can't wait to get a little more settled once I hit Ggaba...imagine...one place for at least 3 years! Now that excites me!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Desert please :)

In a country that has NO...and yes I mean NO dark chocolate or chocolate chips to be found...where can a girl turn to have a little sugar after a meal??

Tonight I was pleasantly surprised when I walked over to the Ebenezer family. I went early just to hang out with the girls and was excited to see a stalk of sugar cane that they were carving up...

If you have never had sugar cane, it basically looks like a stalk of bamboo...

You cut off the hard outer case and the inside you chew as if you were chewing tobacco...(and NO I don't know that from experience) anyways, you put the wood in your mouth, chew it till all the sugar is out and then spit it out.

Its very very sweet...pretty much equivalent to eating a spoon of raw sugar but just with a little more effort and some residual pieces of wood left in your mouth when you are done.

It was a nice little sweet surprise for desert tonight...even though I would much rather have had a nice piece of dark chocolate instead :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tongue Twisting

Wow...language learning is HARD!

Most days I say really stupid things...like today...

Joyce: "Oli otya Lena?"
Me: "uhh...weebale...I mean...Kale...uhhh...wait no...Jende!"

Basically...I have so many little responses in my mind that when poor Joyce asked me how I was this morning I told her...thank you, okay, I mean...I'm fine!

Maybe I should put a sign on my forehead that says "Caution...don't speak to me in Llugandan before 9 am..."

Let's hope it gets better before it gets worse!

One plus...I do keep the Ugandans entertained and we have some great laughs at what comes out of my mouth...

for example...

The other day I was trying to say that I loved Rolex (a type of breakfast burrito here) but rather, I declared my love to the rolex...with a confident "I love you Rolex!"

Yeah...it was a sight! Auntie Flo and Mama Jane pretty much fell over and rolled in the grass as they just repeated my declaration of love for a burrito over and over!

ahh...Llugandan...pray for me :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fast food service...?!?!

So a few of us from New Hope drove into Kampala Friday for a shopping trip...when you live in the bush its hard to get things so this is usually a monthly occurance and an all day affair.

We decided this time that we would spend the night at a local camp ground and then drive back Saturday, being that the drive is about 2 1/2 hrs each way.

So since we had a little extra "chill" time than normal we sat down for lunch in Garden City's food court....

It is pretty much what you would see at any mall, a bunch of tables and a variety of food choices, with only one big difference...

You dont stand in line...

What you do here is sit down and every waiter, from every food place bum rushes the table and hands you their menu...they tell you the specials all at the same time, trying to convince you that the things on their menu are the very best and then, rather than letting you mill over the menu's on your own, they stand around the table to see who won you over...

Talk about pressure! I am a very slow decider when it comes to food menus, and so to have about 8 Ugandan's standing around trying to convince me to pick something from their menu was a rather stressful food choice...

What did I go for...this time around I choose from what I think was an indian or greek menu...a chicken shwarma in a pita...yumm!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Lesson Learning...

All of the kids have been off school for the last 3 weeks for holiday. They have enjoyed more free time and especially enjoyed a little extra freedom.

The girls plated their hair the first week of the holiday and the boys started letting their hair growing BUT school started today and so haircuts were in order.

While attending classes the children are not allowed to have their hair plated, and it has to be short, if not shaved.

So last night was a night of hair cutting fun. Out came the electric razor and each one took their turn in the hot seat...except Juliet.

I asked her if she was going to have her hair cut, knowing that it was much too long for the school standards and she just shook her head. I didn't think much of it after that, thinking that maybe I just wasn't 100% sure of all the rules.

BUT today when I walked into the institute kitchen for caayi, I noticed that Juliet was there working...At this point I had questions...

Me: Why aren't you in school?
Julie: I lost a book so I can't go.
Me: Why?
Julie: Because I have to pay back the price of the book before I can attend classes.
Me: Okay, how much do you owe?
Julie: 50,000 (equivalent to $25)
Me: Okay, so you are working to earn the money?
Julie: No, I don't have any where to work
Me: How are you going to go back to school?
Julie: I don't know

At this point I was thinking to myself...this girl has been on holiday break for three weeks and knew the whole time that she couldn't go back to school. What happened to being proactive??

I knew that I couldn't just give her the money, because well, what would that teach her about responsibility.

So I hired her...yep...my opportunity to get someone to help me with my laundry by hand, and the ridiculous amount of ironing I have.

The only problem that I foresee is that the hourly wage for the kids here is just 500 shillings (about 25 cents)...meaning that Juliet will have to work 100 hours before she has enough to pay her fine.

Unfortunately, this is going to be a hard lesson for her to learn and I sure hope that her grades don't suffer to much as a result!

Pray for Juliet.
Pray that she will actively search out work opportunities.
Pray that she will be able to earn the money quickly.
Pray that she will learn a valuable lesson about responsibility and hard work.
Pray that her grades won't suffer from her absence at school.
Pray for me that I might be able to be a good example to her, now that she will be spending a little more time with me at my home.

Ahh...the joys of being an auntie!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Check the tag...

If you are anything like me, you either refuse to buy clothes with a tag that says "hand wash only" or you just stick them in the washing machine anyway and hope for the best.

Let me just say, I am not a fan of hand-washing ANYTHING...dishes, clothes, etc...

Unfortunately there is no dishwasher or washing machine in sight and so I have resorted to hand washing all my clothes.

It isn't too bad if I was a few clothes every couple of days BUT this weekend I had about 3 weeks of clothes in desperate need of washing.

I washed for about 3 hours, went through about 15 gallons of water and managed to get half of my clothes clean...

The other half are "soaking" as they await their turn to be wrung out, and deformed beyond all recognition of their original shape...

The funny thing is...people ask me if I have lost weight and I really have NO idea...Usually I gage by my clothes but since my clothes are growing from all this hand washing...I cant quite tell if I am getting smaller or they are just continuing to get bigger...

Things I miss the most today...My front load washer and dryer!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Marco...

I wish frogs knew the game Marco/Polo!

Visitors to my homestead yesterday included several ants, a hairy caterpillar, a wasp, a lizard and a frog...

I managed to squash the ants,
sweep the hairy caterpillar outside,
and convince the wasp to fly out the front door.
I also accidentally stepped on the lizard,
who died from his fatal internal injuries.
BUT this frog, or toad rather, has me stumped.

He arrived sometime last night during the rains and wouldn't really bother me that much, with the exception that he insists on croaking, loudly, between 3 and 5 am!

Last night when I heard him I went into the living room with my flashlight to find him. Apparently toads don't take to fondly to lights because he didn't make a peep...

In the morning when we had electricity again, I looked for him BUT he was no where to be seen. I figured he must have went back to his home but I was wrong.

I heard him throughout the day and so asked some of the Ebenezer boys to help me find and catch my visitor...David and John were ready for the task but we searched and searched and still no frog.

Tonight, he's back...croaking at 4 am...uggH!

Doesn't this toad know that I donated 3 of his cousins to the S3 science project last month...

I feel an urge to make another donation...if only I could find him!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Worship

California worship vs. worship in Uganda...

Well lets say there really is NO comparison!

This is a short video of one of our worship sessions in Kobwin...worship at the camp started at 6AM...yes...6AM!

There's something so beautiful about seeing kids worship, especially knowing the hardships that God has brought them through...

There is no other place I would rather be...

Enjoy!



Oh and here is a fun filled fact for you after seeing the worship style...

In the bus on our way back home, Uncle Jonnes, a Ugandan and one of the founders of New Hope named me the #1 dancer of the week. Since we have been back he has also announced me twice as #1 dancer at Kobwin to about 65 of the staff here at new hope...hahaha! Can you imagine! Let's just say, you are lucky I was behind the camera and not in front of it!!

My weekend...

So all week, I was looking forward to the weekend!

Why?

Well, we have hit the halfway point in our institute course and as a "reward" we were given a four day weekend (Friday - Monday)...

We had been figuring out what we would do for weeks now and landed on a local trip to Kampala.

Friday we were going to be doing some shopping
Saturday was going to be girls day out...with a trip to the salon and out for coffee
Sunday we were going to go lay out by a pool and possibly go see a movie
Monday we were going to go have pizza, do a little last minute shopping and then head home...

Well come Thursday night, all our plans changed.

We got a report that there was rioting in Kampala because of a dispute between the Baganda tribe and the president. Apparently the Baganda King was planning to go speak at a youth event on Saturday and the president said No...which started the rioting. We were told it was too dangerous to go into town and that we need to stay at New Hope.

Needless to say, I was bummed...

Thursday night, I decided that since we weren't going anywhere we should at least have some relaxation time here and so some of the girls came over and we watched a movie...BUT half way through I started feeling really cold...unusual for me considering that it is never "really cold" here.

That night when I went to bed I felt terrible...fever, headache, chills, sweating, cough, aches so by 4am I decided I had better go online and see what the symptoms of Malaria were...sure enough, I matched them all.

9am Saturday morning I managed to get myself over to the clinic for a blood test and they confirmed what I thought.

So this weekend, rather than being fun, has been one of me laying in bed and watching my friend Tiffany's season 1 episodes of "I love Lucy"

I cant complain though...even though I feel miserable, I have been well taken care of. Friday I had about 8 visitors come and check on me and yesterday I had about 15. One of the other missionaries here asked me how I manage to have so many "mothers" where ever I go...I'm not quite sure, except that I know that God has got to be the major reason why...I love watching how he binds my heart together with other believers all over the world so much so, that we look like we have been family forever when in reality we have only known each other for 10 weeks!

Keep praying for me...that I will get stronger each day. Also continue to pray for the rioting in Kampala. I don't have much of an update on that since many radio stations have been shut down and no one has been into town. Pray that the problems will be resolved soon and that Kampala will be back to normal in no time.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Riddle me this...

Here's a riddle for you...well maybe not a riddle, more like a guessing game...

What requires 4 hands,
9 hours of sitting,
$13 US dollars,
2 packages of hair,
and two very patient people???

Any guesses??



My new hair style :)

Yep, I took the plug and had my hair twisted despite the warnings that it would hurt terribly...

Surprising, the french braids in elementary school hurt MUCH worse than these, with the exception that my bum kept falling asleep from sitting on a hard concrete floor for 9 hours.

So what are the perks of this 9 hour, $13 ordeal...

  1. No washing my hair for a month...saves my shampoo, my time and my water, all of which I am short on at the moment.

  2. I don't have to brush my hair for a month...definitely allowing me to sleep a little longer in the mornings :)

  3. I don't have to try and get dirty hair to do what I want...there really is no styling required :)

  4. I understand Llugandan culture a little bit better.

  5. The $13 that it costs helped a mother in the local village buy food for her 4 kids.

  6. The Ugandan's have been telling me all day that my new do makes me look smart...Does that mean I looked really bad before???

SO now that you are all curious...here is the new do...


And..a few questions I now have, mainly as a result of sitting on the floor for 9 hours...


  1. How expensive is this in the states?? My guess is in the hundreds...

  2. How do they make synthetic hair??


  3. How much heavier would my head be if I bought "long" hair instead of "short"?


  4. How long will I last before my scalp starts iching as a result of non-washing?

  5. How difficult is it going to be to sleep tonight?


  6. When will my bum stop feeling like it is asleep?


  7. If this took 9 hours to put in, how long will it take to get out?


  8. And an even better question...how DOES this hair come out?

Well thats all for now...I am sure you will hear more on my adventures of hair plating sometime in the future...stay tuned :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Food Distribution in Amuria

Here are some pictures of our Food Distribution in Northern Uganda...

We were able to provide 7 tons of Maize Flour, enough for the whole village (183 families) to live on for the next 3 - 4 weeks...praise God for his provisions!



Monday, September 7, 2009

Wow!

Okay so I thought I was a good packer before but I think I have officially mastered it now...

As you may have noticed, my last few posts have been about our trip to Northern Uganda...

What you didn't know is that I am now an expert at packing...

What can you fit in a backpack??

1 week worth of clothes
Toiletries
Towel
Bedding
Bible & Notebook
Camera & Phone

Yeah me :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ainapakin

Being that we had such a large group at our Kobwin Camp, the best way to make sure that each child received the attention they needed was to break us up into smaller family groups.

Our first project was to figure out a family name. After much discussion, our group settled on Ainapakin, which means "Peace" in Atiso.

Our group consisted of three leaders: Mable, Uncle George, and Myself as well as 8 children
Here are some pictures of our Ainapakin family...
Food distribution and goodbyes in Amuria
Gathering for a teaching session with Uncle Jonnes

Trust Building Games...Amos, Favie, Rose, David

David and Peter

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Kids Camp, Food & Bible Distribution

This past week a team from the New Hope Institute took a trip to Northern Uganda.

Northern Uganda has suffered much at the hands of the LRA over the last few decades and so are in much need of peace and a hope of a future.

New Hope Uganda, as a result is in the process of starting up another home and school site in Northern Uganda.

This past week we had 65 children with us. Many of these children have been orphaned or abducted because of Kony and the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army).

We had the opportunity to share the good news of the gospel with them, teach them about forgiveness and teach them about the hope they can have in Jesus.

All 65 of them received bibles, many of whom have never had a bible before. By the end of the week, 7 of them professed Jesus as Savior, and many committed to forgiving Kony for the abuses that they had endured.

By the end of the camp, children who came frowning, left smiling, singing, dancing and giving hugs for the first time. They are starting to understand freedom, peace and joy with Jesus.

Our team traveled back to their homes with them and were able to distribute 7 tons of maize flour to their families, who have been suffering from food shortages due to the drought here in Uganda.

One of the little boys proclaimed that Friday, the day we distributed food, was the best day in his entire life.

Please continue to pray for these children from Kobwin and Amuria. Pray that the messages they heard don't fall on deaf ears and that the freedom they have experienced will continue to grow with each and every day.

Thank you to all of you, who helped make this possible!


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ironing...

Im generally not a fan...and if possible would do anything to NOT iron when I lived in the states...

but here...it's a different story...

not just because I hand wash my clothes and want to look "smart" with a nicely ironed shirt

BUT rather...I iron out of necessity...

You see we have mango flies here and apparently they love to deposit little surprises into your clothes while they dry...

Those little surprises...if not ironed away...burrow into your skin and lay eggs...

AND SO....I iron...EVERYTHING!

Yes...even my socks!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What did you say???

Apparently I am pretty funny when I speak Lugandan...not because I can only say a few short words and phrases BUT because I cant hear some of the sounds that make up the words...

The problem with that...well...when you have a tonal language and you miss a tone you change the meaning of what you say COMPLETELY!

My too mistakes this week...

Water vs Poop
Moon vs Prostitute
Very much vs the "a" word

Yeah...it was bad...

"Can I have a glass of water?" turned into "Can I have a glass of poop?"

AND

"The moon looks nice tonight" turned into "The prostitute looks nice tonight"

AND

"Thank you very much" turned into "Thanks "a@*" Which is a put down rather than a complement...

Pray for my poor ears and mouth! One that I will hear the difference between the words, but two that I will actually get my tongue to make those sounds!

I sure am glad there is grace here at New Hope!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Tale of the Baganda...

"I'm pregnant" exclaimed Mama Jane

"What?!"

This whole language barrier thing brings Mama Jane, Auntie Florence and I some really good laughs!

What made it funny...well Mama Jane is 48 years old and is a widow...so the possibility of her actually being pregnant was next to impossible!

Just a few days before, Mama Jane had also proclaimed that she was too "cold" to have her toes painted...after a little translating, what she really meant was that she was too "old"...

But I digress..

The proclamation was too much for any of us to bear and we all laughed until we cried, even Mama Jane... poor Auntie Florence was doing Lamaze breathing to try and catch her breath and I was holding my stomach which started to hurt from all the laughter!

Once we finally got control of ourselves we began to get some clarification on the statement...

What happened...

Well Mama Jane saw that I had ring worm on the back of my arm and so she was trying to tell me that the Baganda believe that when you have that your arm it means that either your mother or sister is pregnant.

Being that I call her "Momma" and she calls me her "daughter" she was trying to tell me that my mother might be pregnant..

Ahh the tales of generations past...obviously NOT rooted in any truth BUT they sure do make for a good time of laughter between friends!