Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Just wanted to let everyone know that yes I am still alive and having a grand time. Thanks to everyone who asks. I truly feel loved when I sign on and have new messages and emails. Today I am home sick from school. I have been battling a cold here and yesterday I thought I was over the hump for sure as my sore throat and earache both disappeared. Of course when we were in town I did not look for cold medications. Last night I could not sleep. I just felt so rested and ready to go. This morning I awoke with the cold now moved into my chest. (and yes Kelly McGaw as I laid in bed awake coughing I kept trying to think of who it was who was worried about keeping people awake with their cough and finally I remembered. haha!) Nicola, one of the other volunteers here convinced me to stay home and rest and left me with every drug and vitamin known to man. It has really been great to have Nicola and Amy around to hang out with and pass thoughts and ideas off of. We were just speaking of how they only have like 2.5 weeks left here which is sooo sad.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Being white in an African country

So last Monday evening Julia, Amy, Nicola, and I headed out to the National Theater for music night. It was a great evening of seeing numerous friends of mine perform and catching up with everyone. Our schedule is so "busy" that it is hard to meet up with everyone so it was great to see lots of people at once. During the show this guy sat right behind me. Yes, we were seated in a LARGE grassy area and YES he chose to sit RIGHT behind me. After several minutes he tapped on my shoulder. (In my head I thought here we go again...) Then he nicely asked me my name, where we were staying, and what we were doing in Uganda. (I say we cause Julia was turned around listening at this point.) He asked how long I planned to be in Uganda doing this work. Then I turned around to listen to some more music. Several minutes later I got another tap on my shoulder. "Do you have any friends here in Uganda." Yes, i said. (All my friends were in hiding at this point, not yet arrived, on jamming on stage." The guy continues, "Do you need any more friends? I would like to be your friend. At this point JUlia turns around fast, no longer interested in snooping in the conversation. I stutter and then pause and then say nope I dont think that I do. Haha!!
The other day the four of us walked to the Nakulabye (spelling) market with several of the children. We wanted to buy some fruit to go along with dinner that evening. The whole way there (yes we took multiple Ugandan  'shortcuts') the kids told us that they knew how much everything could cost. But for some reason upon entering the market each and every one of them somehow forgot. They all went around asking the price of pineapples. I think the best price that we got was like 1500ugx or 2000ugx. I knew we were getting ripped off. So I said "we go!" As we left the one standholder apparently said that we should never come back and that we look like poop. (this was translated too. so it could have been some other words.) Cute!! Walking back home we found a lady who would sell them to us for 1000 ugx. We bought 3 from her and have already been back once for more. YUM!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Children at BULA

It is time that I actually tell you about the 13 children that I have already come to love! Some visitors were here the other day so the kids sung and dance for them before they left. I almost had tears in my eyes thinking of how it would be on my last days. I have for some reason been given the words "please beat me" on my back. As many of the boys have thought it would be fun to constantly beat me. Seven year old Lillian is just too cute for words. Though it is hard to communicate with her, it's great to see that bright smile of hers. I have come to call her my mukwano (friend) and she lights up. Douglas (maybe 12ish) has stolen a piece of my heart. He loves to laugh and joke around (sound like anyone else you may know?!) Aaron sat down with me the other day and told me his story. His father passed away when he was seven and his mother left him, his twin brother and a younger sister at that time. His uncle brought him here. His twin and sister live alone in a hut somewhere near Jinja with an aunt that cares for them occasionally. Aaron wrote a paper for school about increasing milk production in Uganda and also increasing dairy intake among children. His paper is one of the select few from his school that will be sent for judging. There is also Kenneth. He is the headboy at the school and just a joy to have at the home. The past few days he was upset and then he was sick, so we hope he overcomes this soon.
We enjoy playing football after school (when the boys let us). Homework time is a time that I have come to enjoy. But it can also get very frustrating as the younger ones finish first and want to laugh and play, but the older ones still want silence and get upset.
Another challenge has been living in a non christian home. The values and morals that are taught here (or not taught) is just so upsetting. The children watch mtv, dirty music videos, and the other day they watched Zombieland.  I mean there is a 7 year old!!! Violence seems to be the ultimate problem solver here. Though it is often play...
We have been teaching the older guys how to treat a woman. One of them always tells us that we are beautiful, another made us all tea the other afternoon, and they are learning that "please" and "thank you" go a long way. I can not wait to experience the next several months with these kids! I think there are lots of good times to be had.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

It is time again...

I hear that people back home have been asking about me and praying daily. What a blessing this is! Life here is good. I am really having a great time. Let me tell you about the school and teaching... On my first day I introduced myself to the P3class at Mengo Primary School. There are about 150 of them. They are divided into 2 classes, east and west. After I introduced myself and answered all the questions about life in America. The teacher taught a lesson on fruits. (Pretty much fruits have juice.) It was time for break and all the teachers go to their breakroom. I traveled there and met Julia there, On this particular day there was a teacher meeting and things got OUT OF CONTROL! I still do not know what it was all about but money was involved. Julia and I left and sat outside the classroom building. After a few minutes one of my students came out saying "teacher, please come. they are yelling and fighting." I went. She was not exaggerating in the least. I tried to quiet them down and then worked with small groups of students asking what they were to be working on. But they said that they were finished. At this point I decided to play hangman with fruits as the category followed by guess which animal I am with yes and no questions. While playing these games the head girl of the school came in and was beating my students with sticks. Good times... That was my only time in front of the class so far and I think I will get some direction today. Otherwise I am happy grading workbooks in the back of the classroom.
Life at BULA: THings are good at the home. The 2 other girls from Ireland have arrived and are so sweet. It's nice to have a group of girls to travel to town with and chat at home when the kids are at school. On Saturday, the 4 of us went to the slums of Kisenyi to visit the children and some friends of mine. We then did the Mzungu thing and went to Garden City (a mall here). We walked around there and grabbed some lunch. When we got home the children were all upset and we think it was because we left for the afternoon.
I shall be getting ready for school now. After school the four of us are going to town to meet 2 friends for lunch (paddy and moses, for those of you who know them) and then we will be meeting up with a group of friends and going to the National Theater for the monday night music thing. We will be spending the night at a friends and then who knows what Tuesday holds.... Maybe I will let you know next time.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The First week in Uganda,,,

What a great week that it has been!! I love this country, the people, and the culture. Upon arrival at the airport all our luggage was there and a van full of children and uncles who stay here at BULA. This week has been spent getting to know the children who stay here and the schedule of the home. It really is up to us what we want to do which is nice, but overwelming. The children awake at 4:30am to study, clean, and get off to school. They get home after 5 and play for a little and wash. Dinner is around 7 and then we do homework together around the table. Lights out and silence at 10:15 and then we do it all over again. Tomorrow is a big day! We start teaching in the local primary school that the children here go to. Will be teaching math and english to children in 1st through 3rd grade. Will be an exciting challenge as those children do not speak much english yet. Which I guess will be my job. Two other volunteers are to arrive tomorrow as well so Julia and I spent the day cleaning and repacking our things. There really is not a lot of space in our room. So this should be cute...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tomorrow is the BIG day!

So tomorrow is my departure date. It is amazing how quickly it has arrived. Today was my last day at work at Willow Valley. I really am blessed by the relationships that I have made there, with residents and team members alike. Thank you all!! Then there are all (well few) really good friends. You know who you are. Thanks for all your support, laughs, memories, and good times. I will miss you but I am only a phone call or plane ride away. haha!! And last but not least family...they are the lucky ones that have until tomorrow to say good bye. Thanks for all the love and support.
Last week I read the book "Same Kind of Different as Me" in one evening. It was once of those books that once I picked it up, I just couldn't put it down. Check it out! It's about a modern-day slave, an international art dealer, and the unlikely woman who bound them together. But one quote that I really liked from the book is, "So, it occurred to me:If you is fishin for a friend you just gon' catch and release, then I ain't got no desire to be your friend. But if you is lookin for a real friend, then I'll be one. Forever."
So for now I headed off to Uganda to reunite with some old friends and hopefully make some new ones. But you are not forgotten and will be in my prayers and thoughts.
Please remember to keep me in your prayers and all those that I will be coming in contact with. Thanks! next time I update you I will be in UGANDA!! God is good!

If you wish to stay in contact: My email address is and my cell number will be 011256784012514.