Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Operation: "Bug Be Gone"

Last first night in my new 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 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


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 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 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!


Saturday, December 19, 2009


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 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 off to bed I go!
Enjoy your morning as I enjoy my night :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009


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 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 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 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


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 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 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 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


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.