Saturday, May 29, 2010

Back Home in Indiana!

Although the last 10 weeks in Uganda were very memorable and gave me a great perspective on another culture, I am very excited to be back in Indiana. I didn't realize how much I missed people until I saw my parents at the airport! On the ride home my dad said he'd never heard me talk so much. I realize that while being in Uganda I had missed out on all the cultural things going on in the Developed World. For instance, my cousin was going on about the iPad when I said, "What's the iPad?" Her response, "Wow, you have been gone a bit." I found it comical. Although, some of you may think it was hard to live in Uganda, it was not so much in terms of my daily lifestyle and in all honesty, there are many things I will miss about Uganda: definitely the musana kids (I will be visiting again in a couple years), the children that always seem excited to see a muzungu, a cool shower on a hot day, the lack on constant media (tv, internet, cell phone) although these things are all present in Uganda it was nice to not have them constantly occupy my time, the ability to walk everywhere, taking a boda "motorcycle" ride whenever I wanted, eating rice daily or grabing a rolex from a street vendor ( this is a flattened, fried piece of dough wrapped around an omelette), the East African rain storms (it's amazing to fall asleep to rain pounding on a tin roof), and the other volunteers.
As far as Uganda goes...there are some cultural things that I experienced that I think it is time to share with everyone.
1) Pets don't work out so well there. The kids don't view them as something to take care of. They would rather throw rocks at them.
2) I saw more livestock there than I ever have in IN. There were chickens, goats, cows, and african sheep running around everywhere. Many nights I saw heards of goats heading home without anyone leading them! They just knew.
3) Uganda is a fertile nation! I've never seen so many babies (animals and people) in one place. You see children taking care of children and they are very independant at a young age. In the US you would never see a 5 year old walking around without an adult. To see a kid walking around with a machete is not surprising. When we slaughtered 2 goats for the musana kids on Easter weekend they all wanted to help! I would have never wanted to watch that at such a young age let alone now.
4) People there are very affectionate. It is very normal to see people walking around holding hands. I was very surprised the first day when I saw men holding hands. There is no romantic feel to the display just simple enjoyment of one anothers company.
5) The hospital there goes without power or running water a lot of times. The unit is comprised of several different wards all one level buildings. There are always people sitting outside the hospital on mats and sometimes preparing food. These people are the caretakers or attendants of the person who has been admitted. Someone is always there to take care of the sick. It's not the hospital's job to feed them and make sure they're comfortable.
6) I was very baffled to see so many kids walking around with shirts but not pants. My thought is I would rather have pants on my kids because they are constantly sitting and playing in the dirt.
7) You can find a soccer game anyday.
8) People collect all their water for cooking and bathing from local wells.
9) Books are a very valued item there. New books are extremely hard to come by.
10) Many government officials work on bribes. ( my whole being jailed and almost deported incident)
11) People are more secretive or shy. Personal information that we may think of as simply making conversation is from my experience not readily shared.
12) Lizards, mice, and bugs are extremely hard to keep out of a house.
13) A lot of people make a living as street vendors (clothes or food or random things)
14) Public transport consists of riding in a jam packed 15 passenger van (around 20 people) with a load of live chickens strapped on top, or on the back of a bicycle or motorcyle. Not many people have their own vehicle.
This trip was an amazing experience. I was blessed so much during my time there with wonderful children. I will miss them so much. I think that if anyone ever has an opportunity to see how a developing nation operates they should take it. It really does change your perspective on a lot of things. If nothing else it gives you a better perspective on the world. This trip has helped me to realize my independence. I've never spent so much time travel alone. At times it was scary but it is very liberating to know I can make it on my own. I even spent a night in London and mastered the subway system! It may not sound scary but it was. Luckily everyone spoke english lol. After this big adventure, next up is the move accross the country to Flagstaff, AZ where I'll be pursuing my Doctorate of Physical Therapy at NAU!
Thanks for following me on this journey!
Until next time...bye for now :)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Time never slows down...

I can't believe that my time here in Uganda is coming to an end. It feels as though Andrea, Morris, and Pipiph just picked me up from the airport. I have gotten to love and know 80+ wonderful children. It is extremely hard to think about leaving them. However, leaving is inevitable. Sorry to everyone who has been following my updates about my departure through facebook. It seems I will be getting back to the US on Thursday May 20. I had recently thought I would be staying until the 30th but then British Air decided to go on strike so now my only options are Tuesday or after June 10th. As hard of a decision as it was to make I decided that this coming Thursday was my best option. There are so many wonderful weddings and graduation parties taking place this June that I wouldn't be able to stand missing! Needless to say I still wish I could bring some of the kids back in my luggage :). Sorry that there have not been any pictures posted to this website. It simply is unrealistic with the amount of time it takes here and how many of us need access to the computer. I will be posting pictures soon after I get home with a link to where you can see the beautiful children!
Well...I guess it's time for an update on what's been going on with me in Uganda and the kids at Musana.
1) I last left you all before I headed for my weekend getaway to Sipi Waterfalls. Sipi was gorgeous and hiking the waterfalls "in flip flops" was quite the experience. LOL. This was definitely one of the most gorgeous views I have ever seen. I was literally on top of a waterfall around 8 am above the clouds! I went for an overnight trip with my roommate Erina. It was quite the romantic atmosphere. lol. We had a candelit dinner and a bungalo for 2 :). If anyone ever decides to go to Uganda for some couples vacation this could be a nice, inexpensive spot. Our transport getting to sipi was not as plesant as our destination. We had to wait in crowded taxis that broke down and we had different boda men try to cheat us. It was a very frustrating experience, but also one that keeps me growing and helping me become more assertive. Erina is very assertive so she was a good person to travel with. Then on our way back to Iganga we had a mob of people flock us screaming about who to pay and which bus to get on! It was kind of scary. All in all the weekend trip was a good experience with gorgeous view and lessons on traveling learned.
2)We started an after school tudoring program with the kids at musana. The teachers gave us a list of which kids and what subjects they needed help with. This has been a great opportunity to get to know some kids better and really see the impact we are making. All our kids are great and giving them some extra individual attention seems to help I think. The older kids who were here over holidays took exams friday and saturday. Hopefully their study time over the last 3 weeks has paid off. It has been a bit rough for us volunteers have a limited terms of what we could do with them. They were required to do more studying and no playing over the holidays. However, when I'm done with this blog, I'm heading to Musana to get out the huge parachute Bryan brought with him thanks to Dana and my mom. I think the kids are going to love this. I am sure they've never seen one before. It should be a lot of fun and a nice treat for them since they've been so focused lately.
3) I took a trip with Emma, the boy with the leg disorder to Kampala a week ago on Monday. It was a fun trip for him to see the country's capital. We visited an orthopaedic specialist, Dr. Shirazi while we were there. The news was what I expected but not welcomed news for Emma. He has Bilateral Perthes Disease or Leggs Perthes. What happens is blood flow stops to the top of the femur (thigh bone) and the bone begins to die and crush away. The hip socket (acetabulum) is also affected. In Emma's case both legs are affected which is extremely rare and it is just as rare for an African to develop the disease. If it had been caught at a younger age corrective measures would probably been able to have been take, however, now it seems that it will be necessary for him to have 2 hip replacements around the age of 20 and again at about 40. Andrea was going to try and get another opinion while she was home in the US. It seems our next mission will be to raise money for his surgeries. Without the surgery he will eventually lose his ability to walk. He has had pain since the age of 5 and he is now 16! I can't imagine. He is pretty bummed about the situation but trying to stay positive. He is a very active strong young man. Prayer for a positive outlook for him is appreciated.
4) One of our older girls, Jucinta went home to her village today. She has been in extreme discomfort for the past couple of days. She went to the hospital the past 2 days and saw different doctors and had an ultrasound performed. They were not able to give her any answers. Hers is also a problem that has been going on for about a year. In her village apparently people know how to do healings with herbs! Please keep her in your prayers for a recovery. I simply sat with her for a while this morning as she laid her head on my lap and i rubbed her head. I hope I was able to console her somewhat. I know as a kid not feeling well that was something that soothed me. I love being at Musana and being able to just give these kids even if it's just a little glimpse of "motherly affection." Loving and caring for these kids just seems so naturaly. It is easy to forget how bad the conditions some of these kids have lived in before and the sadnesses that some of them have endured. They are such strong, courageous kids. Musana has provided them with a great home. Thanks Andrea and all of the supporters!
5) I witnessed 2 dirty little girls digging through a trash pile the other day as I was headed to the hospital. It broke my heart! Their clothes were all dirty and torn. They had little plastic bags in their hands as they dug through the garbage. I am not certain but it seemed that they were looking for food. I kept on walking, but in my head I was thinking "how are you becoming apathetic to poverty?" It was then that the scripture about Jesus saying "you fed me when I was hungry, gave me water when I was thirsty...and I replied, Lord when did i see you hungry, thirsty, etc" that came to my mind. I decided I needed to go buy them some groceries. Luckily when I got back the little girls were still there. I think they were a bit confused when I handed them the bag full of food, but I just turned and went on my way. I didn't want to cause a scene so that people realized what i was doing. I hope that no older kids came and took the food from them. It really bothered me that I even considered walking away from these kids as if helping Musana is doing enough. It is really hard to not become numb to poverty I think when it is all around you. It seems so normal. I have also had people tell me they don't give handouts to people because it somehow keeps the circle of poverty going...that in a way aid has helped to cripple Africa. I guess I don't know where I stand on the issue yet but I know that by having so much it is my responsibilty to take care of those with less. I hope the Lord continues to open my heart on this issue and what are the best ways to help.
6) Seeing as I am leaving in a few days, the 2 other girl volunteers and I decided to take a day visit to a village nearby that some of our younger kids live at over the holidays. This was such an amazing trip and it really gave me a picture of what the "true" africa is like that you picture in your head. Iganga is more of a growing town/'s not so much rural africa. We took house warming gifts of butter, sugar, salt, and soap to each of the 5 families we visited. They were so excited to see us and so welcoming. It was one of my favorite experiences here. Little Anania, the boy who i took to get stitches after getting hit by a swing, and his sister Faith took us through the village to all the other kids houses/huts. Our visit was a surprise to all the kids so of course they acted shy at first but it was so good to see them. They were so much fun. It did my heart good to get to see them again before I go. At a couple of the houses they gave us sweet potatoes and water. (We were a bit scared to drink they water, but went ahead and did our best to finish what they gave us. It would have been rude not too!) It's been 2 days now and so far none of us are sick! We also had one family catch a chicken for us and send it home. Annie named it the lusoga word for Dinner and Bryan killed it yesterday for our lunch. It was such a sight to see a whole family looking around in a jungle for a chicken and then chasing it once they found it. We took it home on the back of a motorcycle with us in a plastic bag. Then we forgot about the chicken and left it in our van overnight. When we remembered it was in the van we went to let it out thinking it would be dead from heat stroke but not this chicken. It flew out of the van and scared annie to death. It also pooped all over the van...Morris was not happy about that. lol. The chicken tasted good!
7) I ate pork at this hidden restaurant a couple weeks back with ryan, erina, bryan and emma before ryan left. It was the most meat I've eaten in a long time. The restaurant is pretty hidden because people around here don't eat Pork. This is a high Muslim area.
8)Erina and I made a mural to hang at the cafe that is made out of our used bottle caps. It turned out really good!
9) The cafe continues to be really busy. Especially Fridays nights. That has been a fun environment for us to meet locals and expecially Kenyans! I know way more kenyans than ugandans, you'd think i was in Kenya.
Well that's all the time I have for the moment and thanks if you've kept reading and followed me on my sporatic posts. I'll try to get one more up before I leave on just my random thoughts about uganda and the culture as I have not talked much about it yet.
Until then...bye for now.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

NIght visitors

After several unsuccessful attempts to write this blog, I am determined to get it done tonight. Sorry for making everyone wait 2 weeks to find out what's been going on with me. First of all the immigration officers never came back nor were our passports confiscated. If I made you all worried sorry for that. Sense it's been awhile my updates are of whats been happening are probably going to come out in a random order as time seems to be flying by and blurring together.
1) Last night after my housemate ryan played a private concert to me and my roomate (he wrote a great song about our long gone monkey) I was woken up by something scurrying accross my hair. My conclusion was that it was either a mouse or a lizard. Needless to say I had a hard time getting back in my bed to go to sleep. I remember seeing a lizard on the wall in my room yesterday. After I calmed down I wondered if it really happened or i simply dreamed it and woke right up...but I think it really happened. I'm thoroughly checking my bed when I get done with this.
2) I have been to the hospital and clinics too much lately. First I went last week with one of our kids after he got hit in the eye with one of our metal swings! I felt so bad for him. Hospitals are scary and the doctor wouldn't let me be near him to hold his hand during the stitches. This boy was so brave though. Next outside of being there for the physical therapy observations I do three times a week, I was there a few days back with one of our 16 year old boys. He was complaining of hip pain. We decided to take him to get x-rays at a clinic before taking him to the hospital. After consulting 3 physicians, we are pretty sure he has a diseas called Perthes. The disease affecst both of his hips. What happens is blood doesn't get to the head of the femur (thigh bone) so the bone starts to die and degenerate. Over time the bone should regrow but it is a painful process and my not reform properly. However, he has had this since the age of 5 but it was never diagnosed because he hadn't ever had x-rays before. The boy has been dealing with a constant pain for 11 years! I noticed he walked different when I first got here but I just thought it was his "strut" to be tough. Now we have to decide what to do next. Because of his age and how long he's been affected the options of traction (laying in a hospital bed for 3 weeks with waits attached to his legs) or surgery have been suggested. Either way his recovery is a long process so please pray for guidance it what we should do next for him.
3) I witnessed the aftermath of a woman get hit by a taxi. She was carrying a child accross the road in front of our cafe when she passed out and then the van hit her. There is no sort of "911" emergency system here so someone simply put the woman in a car and drove off. Of course a mob formed immediately and everyone in the taxi ran away! It was so crazy and hearing it all happen and then seeing the post accident made my adrenaline pump. There was no actual mob justice that took place thank goodness. The police actually showed up. I have heard that both the mother and child are fine.
4) The cafe continues to get good business and we have great crowds on nights that have either a cricket match or a soccer game showing. We built a large screen out of a wood frame and white sheet to hang on our balcony and project games onto. We also host Tuesday movie nights on it. It was crazy a few nights ago when the World Championships was on for Cricket. We probably had 50 Indians filling the inside of our restaurant. The were so loud and excited. Whenever we watch soccer games from the balcony we get a huge group of people that stand in the road down below. It's a pretty cool sight. I have helped the cafe with a few projects thanks to your donations that will hopefully help the cafe to truely become a self-sustaining project for Musana. Extra chairs were bought for when there are big sporting events (World Cup this summer), made a jewelry display for the necklaces, bracelets and earrings that the kids make, and I started the project of setting the cafe up for interenet. The internet was supposed to be started today but our providers haven't followed through yet. It's my job to keep on them about it otherwise it could be a month before we have Internet access.
5) The kids took exams 2 weeks ago and didn't do so well...Because of that the kids have lost quite a few privileges with us volunteers. Apparently there was too much play and not quite enought study going on. So now we get to help do tudoring with the older kids that are left over the holiday (all kids from Nursery through our equivalent of 4th grade got to go back to the village with a guardian for a few weeks). It was a sad day when all the little ones left, but i am really excited to tudor some of the older girls in areas that they need help, especially math and english. Although over all the kids didn't do well on the exams there were a few who got all first grades (straight A's) so we took them on a day trip. First they got to come eat breakfast at our cafe. They all looked so cute dressed in their best. One of the little boys, Bosco, was wearing a suit :) After that we took the kids to Jinja a bigger town about and hours drive from Iganga) to go swiming. It was a lot of fun.
6) I played basketball again the other day and within the first 5 minutes of being there I fell. I tried to be tough and walk it off but after a few minutes i looked down and blood was running everywhere. Playing was fun but i don't like the gravel and red dirt floor. There is no actually running or cutting because you will definitely go down. I'm sure me falling won't surprise anyone. I also shot and air ball :( lol.
7) I am going on a trip to Sipi Falls this weekend with my roommate Erina. It should be a good "solo" girls weekend :) I heard it's very beautiful at Sipi.]
8) Our new volunteer Bryan made it and he came bearing another pair of jeans for me that my mom sent him :) I was so excited.

Well that's all i have for now because my eyes keep closing on me. I'm sure I'll remember something I wanted to write to you after I go to bed. Any important left out information will be shared at a later date. I will try my best to update in the near future. :) Until next time...bye for now :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Chalk it up to a new experience

Time sure does fly by. I have already been in Iganga for more than half my stay! I am definitely missing everyone but falling in love with these kids. I'll try my best here to fill in some of the more interesting things happening around here since I lasted blogged.
1) I lived through bungee jumping. I am so glad I did it but the experience is over way to quickly. There could definitely be more bungee jumping in my future (as long as there's water beneath me)
2) I spent the night at Musana again. Such a fun experience: there always seems to be a little dancing, singing, and photo shoots.
3) It's supposed to be rainy season here but it's been incredibly hot and we need rain for our farm land. Please pray for that.
4) We found out one of our kids had been stealing from us...this turned into a bad situation that is now back under control. We all love this kid, so I hope things work out. Please pray for this boy as well.
5) The kids are loving the monkey bars, but they're all showing me their blistered hands :(
They'll toughen up soon. The swing set hasn't had much use yet because we need our builder to come back and fix a couple of issues. The kids are very excited about it though. However, I think I'm going to have to recement both the monkey bars and swing set again because the kids played on them to soon. It's hard to be upset about it though because they were just so excited.
6) Our volunteer house is back down to 6 of us but we add a new guy, Brian next week.
7) I went to my first ever rugby match that ended up being a scrimmage because the other team didn't show up. Afterwards we played some pick-up basketball with some locals. It was fun except for the whole dirt court with flip flops and jeans...needless to say I fell once lol. One weird thing people say around here is "sorry" whenever you do something clumsy or have an accident. They don't ask "are you ok" just simply "sorry" I want to teach them the correct context to use sorry lol. I get told sorry a lot lol.
8)We no longer have a puppy. We had to give it away because we don't have the time to take care of it. I don't think we're meant to have animals here as pets.
9) I'm becoming quite the good baker at our cafe. My specialties include brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and cakes. All made from scratch. I know most of you think I can't cook but I really believe in the philosophy that anyone can cook if they follow a recipe. I've been helping out quite a bit with the cafe. Anything from cleaning to cooking to serving. Casa's prepared me well for what I've been doing. I really could use some quality time with the kids though...It's been a crazy couple days at the cafe and I haven't seen the kids since Monday night :(
10) The kids are having their final exams this week and go on holiday next Friday. It makes me sad because there will be a lot of kids I won't get to see again before I leave, but there will also be a good core group staying that I'll really get to connect with :)
11) If you've made it this far thanks for reading because here comes the good story...
As I was just finishing up eating lunch today at the cafe, 2 nicely dressed Ugandan women came into our cafe. They sat down and we greeted them and made small talk. Then out of nowhere they were like "We are from Kampala from the Immigration office we need to see your passports and work permits." We tried to convince them that we weren't working there just volunteering, but they weren' t having any of it. Our passports were at our house so they said they would take us to get them in their car they brought. Next thing we know me and another volunteer Annie are being told to get into a big white van with bars on the windows that is filled with a bunch of Indian people that work bellow our restaurant. It was a big scene to see muzungus getting taken away! Next we start hearing phrases like "there will be repercussions for your actions." "You can't lie to us about why you're here." "Your going to the police station. You've been arrested. We're going to go take your statement. If we find you guilty of the charges, you'll be deported immediately" At this point me and this other girl were trying not to laugh because the situation was very serious but so ridiculous. They really had no reason to be taking us besides that we didn't have our passports on us. So we went to jail for a couple hours, had our ugandan friends bring us our passports and makes some special calls for us to some "high ups in the ugandan world" Some head guy came called us his girlfriends and got us out. I'm pretty sure some of the Indians are getting deported. So after we get out we head back to the cafe to finish our cold lunch when we get a call from Elijah, the man who got us out. He tells us to get out of the cafe because the officers were going to comeback and demand for our passports. As we start heading down our steps we run into the immigration officer. Morris talks to him a bit and the man said he'd be back in an hour. If we didnt' give him our passports the same thing will happen again tomorrow. We'll we didn't wait around for him to come back. Now tomorrow Annie and I are on house arrest because they know of all the places that we work/volunteer at. It has been 3 days since I've seen the kids. It completely bums me out but I"m going to try and steal a visit early tomorrow morning :) I guess there's not much I can do but just keep going with the flow until things blow over.

Lastly, because I was on house arrest tonight I took all my fake hair out. I now feel as though I have no hair at all!

Until next time...bye for now

Monday, April 5, 2010

So ther were a few things that I can't believe I forgot in my last post...
1) I was hit by a boda while crossing the street-i looked the wrong direction first and stepped out into the road. Opps! Luckily it was only the man's hands that hit my arm and his feet that scraped my legs...It seems like everyone I encounter in the Physical therapy dept at the hospital is there because they have broken bones caused by a boda (motorcycle) accident. The roads are a dangerous place...
2) I experienced a little bit of mob justice and it was scary. Outside of our cafe a few nights back there was a traffic accident. I don't know if the van hit another van or a person, but there were about 50-75 people crowding around the accident trying to get the driver out of his car. They were able to steal his ignition key but couldn't get him out. He had a couple friends push his car with him in it out of the crowd. As far as government authorities in those matters go there usually isn't a lot of "justice" that is gotten so people tend to take things into their own hands.

Here's what's new:
1) I spent the night with the kids at Musana on Easter. It was so much fun! They love performing for a camera. One of my favorite things though, was getting to tuck in all the little girls that went to bed early. All got hugs and kisses (some zerburts lol). They are so adorable.
2) Today I spent most of the day in our volunteer house having my hair done. It was 7 hours of hair pulling and twisting. I now have about a pound of fake hair twisted in of different colors lol. I freaked out for a brief moment and then remembered to relax and enjoy! this is the longest my hair has been and heaviest ever. There is so much of it!
Tonight we went to the cafe after dinner and watched Avatar. Good movie :)
3) Tomorrow I'm going bungee jumping at the source of the Nile! I am so excited and scared. I can't wait for the adrenaline rush. I have already had vivid dreams about it :)

Ok well until the next one...bye for now

Friday, April 2, 2010

A little bit of everything

Again, it has been way to long since my last update. Time seems to be flying bye. With 16 people in a house and about an hour each night to use internet 2 at a time, it can be a bit difficult to find time on here. Therefore, I decided 2 am would be a good time to do this so here we go by days...
Last Friday: It was a pretty normal day as far as routine goes. I went to Musana, then the hospital, Musana, and the cafe at night. Since our cafe is so new, there are a lot of people that still don't know about it in Iganga. Since there were 5 of us girls there that night without the boys, we decided to have a dance party on the balcony. That definitely got the attention of people who came up to join us. I met so many people that night. It was fun to really interact with people outside of the Musana crowd. I met almost the whole rugby team from the local university. I have never really watched rugby but I think we may go watch a game soon, possibly take the kids from Musana sometime. Almost all of the rugby players are Kenyan. They tried very hard to persuade us into taking a trip to Kenya in the near future. My roommate, Erina, and I are thinking about going for a safari!
Saturday: There was a bit of relaxing in the morning before heading to musana for a bit. It was guardian day at Musana. All the guardieans of the children were invited to musana to come and see how the kids were doing in academics and in school. It was pretty neat to get to meet them. From 2 to 12 I worked at the cafe. It was a long night.
Sunday: We took the remaing 10 kids from Musana who had not be to Jinja for swimming to go to the pool. They were so cute. We tried to teach them to float/swim, but it was hard b/c they were so scared...They really loved the experience though.
Monday: I had my second project made for Musana: monkey bars. They just got cemented into the ground today, but I debated on even putting them up because the kids were having so much fun playing with them on their side (kids here are so resourceful). Sad news...our monkey got away and we randomly have seen her come by the house. We are pretty sure she is not coming back though. We think some kids have tied her up and made her their own :(.
Tuesday: normal day. I got to spend a lot of time at musana and made some sweet beads with the kids for the craft jewelry we sell. It was pooring rain while we made the beads. I love the sound of the water hitting the tin.
Wednesday: Nothing out of the ordinary.
Thursday: I made some amazing brownies at the cafe and then I took some to the hospital with me. Everybody loved them! I may make it "brownie Thursday" all the time. There is one lady at the hospital, Margaret who I see every time I am there. She fell off a boda(motorcycle) and broke both of her legs. She is starting to walk so much better now and get stronger. It's been good to get to work with her and see her progress. On another note...the 3 boys from Missouri have been doing a lot of work on the farmland that Musana bought out in a nearby village. They cleared the land, plowed and started planting. On Thursday they were surprised by a cobra snake. The farm boys from musana that came with the missouri boys chopped it's head off. So scary...all the snakes around here are poisonous. All the kids at Musana said there was a two headed snake last year down by their well lol.
Friday: Today was Good Friday so the kids had the day off of school. We spent the whole day at Musana playing with the kids. We had more volunteers come today, so the kids put on a special program of singing and dancing. So cute...I tried to record some of it but it just turns into all the kids wanting to grab the camera and do the recording lol. It's so cute but frustrating when I actually want something to have a picture. I helped sift through rice today. All the kids help with it. We don't want to bite down on any rocks while we are eating. I don't eat at Musana a lot because for lunch they usually have posho( a cornmeal substance) and beans. I almost always get the taste of dirt and the crunch of something in my posho lol. I never can eat it all either; they give us so much food. The kids are so good about sharing our leftovers :). We had lots of surprises for the kids today; it was so much fun. Half the kids tie dyed shirts today and the other half will tomorrow. My swing set got delivered and put into place. The kids had no idea they were getting it, so they were so excited. The other big surprise was that our volunteers purchased 2 live goats for Musana to cook! The kids dont' get a lot of meat so this was a huge deal. However they slaughtered one today on campus and skinned it. The kids thought it was cool...I couldn't watch. I have this whole thing about not being able to eat things I've pet. Another natural surprise was the rain storm we had. The storm turned into a huge water fight. It was so much fun! One time i got surprised by water and gasped and swallowed a small bug :( so disgusting! We have such amazing kids. They all have such personalities! Update on Alex (the boy who wrote me a note) is that I wrote him back and within 2o min he had already written me another. He is so smart, but he is kind of shy around me now :) lol. Each day I learn more names of the kids that actually live at Musana (about 75). I am trying so hard to get all the names down. I think I almost have them all, but then you mix the day schoolers in there too and it's a whole other story lol.

Very random and out of place really throws me off to look up in the sky and think that I am seeing a flock of birds that actually turns out to be bats. It's so weird for it to be so natural.

Ok that's all for now. Until next time..bye for now.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

One more thing...

I promise pictures are coming soon! and I miss you all!

My Ugandan happenings

Okay so I'm a bit frustrated at the moment because I just deleted the blog I had been writing so I'll try one more time...Sorry it's been so long since the last update. Internet can be hard to come by in a house with 14 people. My best chance is earlier morning but i can't seem to get out of bed which is no surprise to anyone lol! or late at night but I'm too tired after our long days. I decided to stay home tonight and enjoy some alone time and a chance to update. Right now i'm sitting in the dark because power went out again (it's happened probably 5 times and the longest it's been out was a day) with bugs flying at the only light source, my computer. Kind of gross but I'm dealing. Alright so i'll try to be brief on what's happened in the last week because there are a lot of things I could write about but people will be back soon so i should hurry.
Here we go:
1. Last Friday I spent 45 minutes in the moring catching our pet monkey at the neighbors because she escaped and they were going to poison here. She is so cute but when I caught her, she pooped on me! I still like her though, not everyone in the house does.
2. Also Friday, there was a primary school district track meet. 18 local school gathered to compete and the kids at Musana had been practincing for probably 6 weeks. We had a couple kids win their events: boys hight jump, girls shot put (i wish i could say it was me who taught her), and a couple races. These kids were troopers because it was so hot. In between events kids were given glucose packets water and pieces of sugar cane (i tried some for the first time) to keep energized. However our school is small and kids get tired quick after a couple events. We had some kid's drop out and one really good boy not show up (we thought perhaps he was paid by another school to compete). School sometimes hire older boys to race for their schools and judges are bribed. Kind of disappointing. The day was still cool though, we muzungus (white people) were more on display than the athletes. I've never felt like such a celebrity. I hear the word muzungu probably 100 times a day. I love the kids thought they are so cute just to see a white person and they love it if you hit fists with them. I don't think i'll get tired of their smiles. So even if I bring them joy simply for being white that's ok with me.
3. Saturday I headed to Kampala, the ugandan capital with 3 other volunteers. We ate an amazing Thai restaurant, took fun moto boda rides (riding the back of motorcycles with crazy drivers is a bit scary...we almost wrecked a couple times and my guy got lost from my crowd and i didnt' know where i was going), we stayed in a hostil, and then sunday headed back by matati (a 12 person van) to Junja where we went swimming and I bought some sweet artwork.
4. Monday: i went with Pete to town to have a second soccer goal made for the kids. We finished painting and putting the net on tonight. The kids were so excited. The next project that some of your money is going towards is a swing set and monkey bars. these kids need play equipment lol they hang on everything and everyone.
5. We got 3 more volunteers yesterday from Missouri and they will be working the new farmland that Musana purchased last week.
6. I am remebering/learning names slowly but surely. I hate not knowing their names.
7. Today the most percious thing happened, this boy named Alex ( I think he is 9) gave me a letter. It said he wanted to be my best friend and then he told me about himself and asked about me and said he wanted me to teach him basketball :) That made my day.

Ok I know there are tons of food/culture/people stories I could share but it's getting late so until next time...bye for now.

Monday, March 15, 2010

House Guests

Here's a quick update on my day yesterday because I am currently the only person wide awake in my house at 5:45 a.m. When do I ever get up before the sun? but I'm pumped to see the sunrise :)
1) We have a few house guests that I would not be so fond of if I was living at home but for some reason (b/c I am here) I am not freaking out. They include a huge cocroach i saw yesterday climbling the wall while brushing my teeth, a few little mice that scamper from couch to couch, and that's pretty much it now but I expect to see some other weird bugs!
2) PiPi showed me and another new volunteer, Erina, around Iganga main street yesterday. He is our coordinator so was asking us all these questions about what we wanted to do while here. If everything works out like I hope, I'll be volunteering the first part of the day with the hospital (hopefully with physical therapy) then working at the new cafe we are opening( it is super nice for Iganga standards, so cute!) then spending the evening with the kids until about dark (7pm) then back to the house for roommate time. That's all tentative but I hope it works.
3) I exchanged some money and bought water. A 1.5 liter bottel costs about 50 cents or 1000 schillings! so cheap.
4) I made lots of paper beads at Musana for the jewelry that they sell. my skills improved much by the end of the day.
5) I was a jungle gym for preschool kids for about 2 hours (noon to 2) longest recess of my life...bring it on again today.
6) I brought fingernail polish which everyone loved (even the boys)! My glitter one broke in the bag so I am gonna find it place for days to come. It's still on my hands.
7) Kids absolutely love their picture being taken...the instant gratification of seeing themselves can almost be too much to handle...I had a fight break out and a crying was time to put the camera away lol.
8) I held the little goat I've ever come in contact with walking to Musana cute! Then i got scared b/c Erina told me it looked sick and I had no way to wash my hands besides plain Ugandan water for the next 8 hours.
9) I used a squaty potty...a hole in the ground surrounded by wood panels and lots of flys/gnats. Pretty gross, but I'll deal. At our house we have what they refer to hear as a "proper" toilet.

Ok well the sun is starting to come up so I'm heading out to my porch to see it.
Thanks for following. Until next time...bye for now :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Safe and pretty much sound!

Hi from Uganda!
It was a long travel to my home for the next 10 weeks from when I left Friday morning, but it all went really smoothly. British Airways was amazing to fly with; I recommend it to anyone wanting to go international. Comfortable seats and good food (at least for an airline meal). It was weird seeing the sun set, rise, set again before making it to Uganda. The donations and I have all made it safely to the Musana volunteer house now. Luckily I don't feel like I have jet lag...maybe it's still coming but hopefully not!

So when I got to the Entebbe Airport, I was greeted by Andrea (the director who started the orphange from Colorado; she is awesome), Morris (he's in some head position at Musana), and PiPi (peepee: he is the volunteer assistant while I'm here). They are all great and were excited about the donations. We drove about 10 min to a hotel to sleep for the night. The arrangements were pretty nice, but I'll have to get used to cold showers which shouldn't be hard because it's very hot here. We ate breakfast before we left which was a banana, OJ, and bread and butter. On our way to Iganga we stopped on the side of the road to buy chicken on a stick from street vendors and it was good (lindsey, you would never have tried it by the looks of it lol). The trip in the van took about 4 hours. Driving is a bit different because it's on the left side of the road and much more reckless!

The first place I stopped when we got to Iganga was the cafe that the Orphanage is opening up this week. It looks great and I'll post some pictures soon. If anyone has some easy but good bakery recipes send them my way at We are looking for ideas. I am excited to get a chance to work there. Everyone is excited that the cafe is getting hooked up with cable TV to help bring in more revenue. Futbol or soccer is very big here so people like watching the pro games. One not so good thing however, was that we found out from some people that Morris, the guy who picked me up, had his room broken into while we were gone, which is very hard to do at our house and all his stuff minus clothing was taken! That was a big downer. That doesn't mean I/we don't feel safe here just that we'll have to be more careful who knows about our house and keep everything locked up even inside the house.

After the cafe I headed to the house to drop my things off and then headed straight to Musana with the other volunteers. It's about a 3o min walk and pretty confusing path; I'll have to pay better attention tomorrow; it's all about landmarks I'm told. Iganga is what you would call a developing town i guess... it's not quite a city but they are getting bigger and spreading out with lots of little shops and markets.

When I got to Musana, all the kids were watching a movie but they all came out to hug me and hold my hand. They gave me a little tour of their home and their livestock (1 cow, 7 goats, and soon to be chickens). The kids are adorable and take any attention they can get. I showed some boys my soccer and basketball skills today (pretty hard to do in an ankle length skirt), helped kids make paper oragami balloons, swing kids, simply throw balls or frisbees, and love on them:)

We walked back to the cafe close to dark time (that's what I go by...the sun because i have no watch or phone). Their we had a farewell dinner for a man who was done with his 2 and half year volunteer bout in Uganda. It was fun. The weather is beautiful at night time and the stars are bright. We walked back home and now we've just been hanging out. Tomorrow, PiPi is taking me to the hospital to see about volunteering in the physical therapy department. Well that's i'll I've got for now and again I'll try to post some pictures soon. Much love to everyone! Until next time and bye for now :)...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Leaving on a jet plane...'s 2:20 a.m. and I can't go to bed because I keep thinking that there is something else that needs done before I leave for Uganda in the morning. Why does traveling cause unneccessary anxiety? Really I feel more prepared than I have for any other trip. I packed 2 days in advance (that will probably never happen again) and I've made multiple lists and checked things off. It's a good thing I packed early because I had to buy an extra bin to pack stuff in because I had too many donations to fit in 2 plastic bins! That is a good thing and luckily since I'm going for missionary type purposes the airline allows me 3 checked bags for free:) I know this will be shocking for anyone to believe who has ever lived with or traveled with me, but I was able to fit all my clothes in my carry on luggage! Thanks so much to everyone who has lent their support through prayers, financially, and donations. You have and will continue to be such a blessing to me and others for the next 10 weeks!

Well, I think I will try to get a few hours sleep in my bed that I'm sure I'll miss. I can't wait to update everyone with my first impressions of my temporary new home and what's going on there. I'll try to keep you all updated at least once a week and possibly more (It'll depend on availability of Internet access and sharing with my housemates). I will occasionally be checking my e-mail as well so if you have a story that needs to be shared with me please don't leave me in the dark. It would be great to hear from you!

Next time you hear from me i'll be halfway accross the world!

Until next time...bye for now.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Just a little excitement!

First off, beginning with last night, I found out that I have been invited to interview with Northern Arizona University for the Physical Therapy program in the Fall. I am so excited about the possibility of living there. If anyone is in the mood for a change of scenery...let me know :) As of now they are my first choice for school, but I guess I should wait until I get out there and get more of a feel for the school. Flagstaff here I come!

Next, I got off the phone with Sally Carlson tonight, she is the volunteer coordinator for Musana. We talked for a long time about what I would be doing in Iganga, Uganda. Musana (that's the name of the orphanage I'll be working in) holds lots of possibilities and opportunities. I could be educating the kids on health topics like hand washing and teeth brushing, teaching them sports or setting up local field days with other Igangan schools, volunteering with a PT in the local hospital...endless options. It is exciting to think about where the Lord may lead me while I'm there and the people I will come in contact with. I just finished writing a letter I'll be sending to let people know what I'll be doing the next few months. I had been going back and forth between feeling of nervousness and excitement the past couple weeks about my trip, but I am in full excitement mode tonight :).

I was encouraged by Isaiah 58:11 a few nights ago, "The Lord will guide you always: he will satisfy your needs in a sun scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails."

Ok well that's all for now...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Changing Times

I decided it was time to start blogging for the following reasons:
1) I'll be living in Uganda for 2-3 months (March-May), and I thought this was the best way to keep people informed on what was going on with me and what I will be seeing and learning while there. Also share a few photos.
2) I want my friends to join so we can keep tabs one another :)
3) I've never been much of a journaler but perhaps this could be a fun way to share some of my interesting, random, and hopefully funny thoughts from time to time.

Anyways, due to the above reasons...I will be back soon to keep whoever filled in on life. Until the next time...Bye for now!