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


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 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 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 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!" 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 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


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


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...


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!


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 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 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


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
Bible & Notebook
Camera & Phone

Yeah me :)

Friday, September 4, 2009


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!