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.