Tuesday, December 31, 2013

By faith

I woke up this morning pondering the topic of faith.  On this eve of a brand new year... what do I, by faith, believe God is going to do? 

Faith... in its simplest definition is "beliving in what is not yet seen"...or as Pastor Jackson put it ...our sixth sense.  Hebrews  11 lists many heroes of  faith... who despite their circumstances believed God for His promises and God has used their lives to inspire many... including me.

This topic has come up a lot lately and then the kicker was this is what was preached on on Sunday. What am I believing God is going to do in 2014?  He has given numerous promises so I have the choice to believe Him for those promises or discard them because they do not make sense. 

Did Sarah really believe that she would be a mother at 90 years of age?  After laughing at the promise made to her... just a short time later held the precious baby in her arms!

Do we really believe that Jesus came as a baby in a manger to 30 plus years later die for us on the cross so that we ... the wretched sinners we are... could live for eternity with the God of the universe? 

So many times I fall into the category where I could be called "oh you of little faith"... I struggle with the age old question... did God really say?

At this point in my life there have been numerous unfulfilled promises... will 2014 be the year where I step out in faith and trust that God will follow through on His  promises?

As time goes by...

It is that time of the year when we reflect back on the previous 12 months and come up with great resolutions for the year ahead.  Fair warning... I don't set resolutions but I do set goals that I want to achieve.  However this is not a post about where I want to go in 2014... that list is already made and kept in my possession.   This is a post on the last year of my life...

I was pondering this while talking with a friend today...how this christmas was much more peaceful than last year at this time.  A year ago I was in NC for the holidays with my family and there were a lot decisions needing to be made.  I knew I was to turn in my letter of resignation but had not narrowed down where I was headed... it was a struggle with friends and family as with every option on the table ... no one was thrilled with the idea of me moving to the other side of the world whichever way the path led.  One "friend" even referred to this move as "we will get through this" ...like I had a terrible disease.  I was also reminded that if I had just been "normal" and moved back to the safety of the mainland US... that I could have been married and have children by this point.

Twelve months ago I would have never imagined sitting in the middle of a village in rural Uganda with my little Christmas tree, a white furball named Sheba, and His perfect peace that passes all understanding but I did know that where He guides, He provides.  Looking back I would have never guessed this transition to be this difficult and emotional but he carried me through and I am stronger because of it.  Living in Africa has taught me two things about myself... First...I am a lot stronger and capable than I ever believed myself to be and Second... I have never felt as weak or as helpless as I do here.  Thankfully it has taught me to rely on Him even more as I know I can't do this on my own.

So where will I be one year from now???  I really have no clue... I can map out my life until mid July but after that.... the possibilities are endless.  Ultimately I could say  I will do this or that but the creator's plan has yet to be revealed.  Numerous opportunities have come knocking but nothing is solidified at this point.  So the grand adventure continues with thoughts from a content heart.  Stay tuned to see what 2014 holds.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas blessings!

Christmas 2013 has been spent in the village of Nabisooto!  I did have the option of spending the week with a friend in Kampala  but after discussing plans with Allen, we decided to do Christmas here.  The discussion was quite funny as her decision was contingent on mine and mine on hers! 
Anyway… we had made plans to have Christmas dinner at my house.  Pastor Jackson was the only staff other than Allen and myself that were on campus so he was invited as well.  I got up this morning and started cooking.  The menu for dinner is chicken, rice, salad, pineapple, biscuits, and chocolate cake!  Now not an elaborate meal but rather time consuming and a bit of a challenge when you have no oven!  The biscuits I had made before on the gas stove top but the chocolate cake was going to be an experiment.  And I do have to say… it turned out rather good!  Three layers with icing between each layer.  Dark chocolate cake with chocolate icing with crushed peppermint sticks on top thanks to a treat in my Christmas package from the Brantley family!  Candy canes are very expensive here… like close to $10 a box, so it was a nice treat to get some old fashioned peppermint sticks!
The  Brantley's also sent a paper nativity set which became the table d├ęcor along with some sunflowers from my garden.  




After cooking and decorating… Allen and I went on a gift giving mission.  The Cole Family sent their sponsored child and family some new clothes for Christmas so I had packed each a box and we went to deliver them!  
These girls were so excited for their new clothes… we truly had a fashion show with their new outfits.  Even Jaja got in on it and tried on her new dress!! 













I have to say this has been a very simple, village Christmas!  My tree had no wrapped presents under it… just a simple manger scene… my Christmas card holder is empty with the exception of some hand drawn pictures from two precious kiddos… but my heart is full!  I am blessed beyond belief and the blessings are not in the material things (even though the gift of a new watch and Christmas treats were a huge blessing)… but in the true Spirit of Christmas!  Jesus came as a simple baby wrapped in rags.  He was not born in a palace with all the fancy baby gifts but a simple stable in a small village.  His admirers were stinky shepherds.  This is why Christmas is so special… because of the baby in the manger.  He is truly EMMANUEL … God with us!  God in the flesh! 

(And by the way… if you sent a Christmas card/package… have no fear, it is on the way… it just takes some extra time.  It will be the gift that keeps giving this year!) J






Monday, December 23, 2013

What Christmas is all about!

After a few days of being sick and being tested for malaria (it was negative btw), I had really been wondering if I would feel up to going to Kampala on an excursion and some "christmas" shopping.  Thankfully besides being a bit tired ... I am doing much better and was able to make it through the day (however... I think I may have sweated out more today than I have in the past month combined!  Whatever sickness was left in my body has officially been sweated out!)

Teacher Allen and I had discussed taking a couple of her P1 students along and I also invited her since this is something she has never done as well!  So Hindu and Adam Micah came to the apartment at before 8 this morning ready for a grand adventure.  We had all the normal "errands" to run... picking up supplies, post office, bank, grocery store, etc.  
Decided that after all the morning errands, we would have lunch before heading to the grocery store.  Introduced Allen and the brown eyed cuties to pizza at I love New York Kitchen.   It took them a bit of time to figure out what to do with it but overall I think it was a hit.  Hannington's favorite type of pizza is mbize (pig or bacon) and pineapple however because the two kiddos were muslim we substituted chicken.  Allen was quite unsure about "cooked" pineapple on her pizza so it got picked off and ate it separately.  She was also very unsure with the cooked mango in the mango- banana bread I made last week but was amazed that it could taste so good and it was a hit! Their favorite thing to say is "it is sweet" when something tastes good!  SO pizza is sweet!   I think I am really stretching the staff and kiddos here to try "new" things rather than just matoke, rice, and chicken!   The relationship is mutual as they have me trying lots of new foods like cassava, roasted corn, and fried grasshoppers.  Yes... Allen is putting ketchup on her pizza... Hannington did it so she followed suite.  Monkey see... monkey do!

Traffic in Kampala was absolutely crazy so what normally takes awhile anyway took us even longer today but these kiddos were troopers.  When we reached Nakumatt to grocery shop... this animated saxophone playing "Santa" welcomed us... Adam Micah thought he was funny but didn't want to get to close to him.  Hindu just went along for just about anything we put in front of her!  Adam Micah was also very tentative about the escalator ride.  Took him several attempts before he wasn't acting like Elf!  (I can use that reference because it is almost Christmas!)
If you want to help with providing outings for our brown eyed cuties or projects like helping families in the community with mosquito nets you can go to ...
 https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/InTheFieldMinistriesITFM/donate2.html

So while trying to get back to the village... traffic and the amount of people along (and in) the street was crazy.  Everyone is out getting what is needed for Christmas... many have already started partying... and traffic overall was ... well I would say bumper to bumper but you actually have to be in a line to be bumper to bumper... side to side might be a better reference... ANYWAY... at one point I am looking out the window at one of the markets and there are hundreds of Ugandan's shopping.  For whatever reason... where's waldo came to mind and I thought we could play "where's waldo with the muzungu"...   I obviously stick out like waldo in the midst of all the Ugandan's so it got me laughing... trying to explain the concept with Hannington made it even funnier!  This is what happens when you inhale to many exhaust fumes... I guess!  It made for a fun car ride home!

Oh... before moving on... the other highlight of my day which only reiterated that "I AM NOT DRIVING IN KAMPALA!" ... traffic being as bad as it was...finding parking was even worse... we pulled into the bank parking lot... banking in Uganda normally takes a while even when it is not a holiday... Hannington jumps out and says "find parking and I will find you when I am done"... AHHHH!!  I move to the right side of the car where the driver's side is... get in... and slowly manuever my way through the VERY crowded bank parking lot.  I get almost to the exit gate and someone backs out... now you have to understand they park cars two deep with the assumption you leave the driver in the car to move it if the inside car needs to move... so after some shifting and the direction of the armed guard along with the driver in the car to my left... I get one of the inside parking spots and pull all the way up to the wall...  (I am not sure what would have happened if I had gotten to the exit gate without finding parking ... I am not sure I could have figured out the one way street system plus the Ugandan driving system to get back to the front of the bank... God was definitely watching out for me!!!) ... As soon as the car was parked... I moved back to the passenger seat as I didn't want Hannington getting any other ideas of "letting" me drive!

Ok... moving on now... a few weeks ago a dear man gave his wife the birthday present of donating money to help others in her honor.  Today that gift was fulfilled as we were able to buy mattresses, bed sheets, and mosquito nets for three in-need families.

Kenneth's family... Kenneth is the little boy in baby class that had 45 jiggers and rat bites on his feet when we checked early November.  Grandma is taking care of 6 children... four of which are 4 years and younger.  She is going blind and is doing everything she can to help the little ones but the parent keeps producing children by different women and dropping them off at his mother's house in the village to take care of.  The little ones were sleeping on woven mats on the dirt floor... hence the rat bites.Today we were able to help out by giving them Christmas that will be used year round!







And who could forget Richard with his contagious smile... catch up with his story at...  http://hynangel.blogspot.com/2013/11/meet-richard.html

We were able to provide a new clean mattress and bed sheets for this little guy as well as the wished for mosquito nets for he and grandma!!  AND we also got a sponsor for this little guy!!!




Last but not least... is a family that you would not know this child's story... because unfortunately due to the living conditions, this child passed away from malaria a few months ago.  This child was one of our students that contracted malaria over break and didn't seek medical treatment until it was too late.  This jaja (grandmother) was trying so hard to show her appreciation but just emotion came out.  Mosquito nets, when used properly, save lives.  It is an inexpensive investment by US standards but for many here in the village it is a month's salary for one.  $8 - $10 buys a mosquito net that can save a person's life!

 ( https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/InTheFieldMinistriesITFM/donate2.html )

 This year... my Christmas will look very different from most of my Christmas' in the past.  It will be spent in the village with the staff left on campus (Allen and Jackson)... (I told Hannington earlier that Allen, Jackson and I were having a village Christmas... when the words came out of my mouth and I had to laugh because how many people could say that!  Unfortunately he wouldn't have understood even had I tried to explain! So I just laughed and kept going! )  Anyway we are having a simple meal of chicken and rice and will spend our time assisting others within the community!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

The simple life

Well if I didn't already think I lived a pretty simple life this weekend reminds me of all the luxuries I normally still have and how simple life really can be.

Last night, the little bit of internet that was left was used up... which means someone has to make the trip to Kampala to buy more.  So no communicating to the outside world. 

This morning when I woke up the power was out.  Normally the solar panel with battery storage does a pretty good job of supplying things like lights and the ability to charge my phone, tablet, and computer.  Due to the rainy weather there hasn't been much sun. 

So this afternoon I went to the clinic to pull out the generator only to realize that the clinic staff nor I have the key to the room it is in.  The key is with Hannington in Kampala.... and he has been not feeling well so hasn't been able to come to the village since picking me up from the airport on Wednesday.  I did text him all of this but haven't heard back so I am unsure at this point if my messages are even going through.

Here I sit by the light of 15 battery operated christmas tree lights and a candle knitting...I also plan on reading and writing by headlamp.  Can't be on the computer or tablet because I have no way of charging them at this point.

Looks like it is going to be a pretty silent night!

The simple life

Well if I didn't already think I lived a pretty simple life this weekend reminds me of all the luxuries I normally still have and how simple life really can be.

Last night, the little bit of internet that was left was used up... which means someone has to make the trip to Kampala to buy more.  So no communicating to the outside world. 

This morning when I woke up the power was out.  Normally the solar panel with battery storage does a pretty good job of supplying things like lights and the ability to charge my phone, tablet, and computer.  Due to the rainy weather there hasn't been much sun. 

So this afternoon I went to the clinic to pull out the generator only to realize that the clinic staff nor I have the key to the room it is in.  The key is with Hannington in Kampala.... and he has been not feeling well so hasn't been able to come to the village since picking me up from the airport on Wednesday.  I did text him all of this but haven't heard back so I am unsure at this point if my messages are even going through.

Here I sit by the light of 15 battery operated christmas tree lights and a candle knitting...I also plan on reading and writing by headlamp.  Can't be on the computer or tablet because I have no way of charging them at this point.

Looks like it is going to be a pretty silent night!

Life in Nabisooto UGANDA...part 3

With Christmas being less than two weeks away, thought we would share what this time of year is like in the village...

Weather... it is coming to the end of rainy seaaon... most days it is sunny and warm...  there is no snow for us here but it gets down in the 60's and we are freezing.  Since rainy aeaaon is coming to an end everything is green.

The maize is also ready so a holiday treat is when it is roasted over the fire!  Yummy!

We are out of school until the beginning of February... this is not only our holiday break but also our summer break between school years.  When we go back to school in February we will be in a new class.

Christmas to us is spending time with family and a special meal... normally chicken and rice.  Most homes don't have christmas trees nor do we exchange gifts.

The end of the beach ball

Over the past few weeks in the evenings, the little brown eyed cuties and myself have been playing in the yard with a beach ball.  I knew it wasn't the greatest choice for the older children but it was great for the little ones.  It was light and didn't hurt if you got hit which is important for the little ones.  My one rule was hands only as I knew the children here are avid soccer players and know how to kick a ball.

Well tonight the little brown eyed cuties were on the veranda begging for the ball... so I let one of the older boys blow the beach ball up.... bad move on my part because I had to then find something for the little ones to do because the older children took over the ball.

So the little ones and I drew chalk on the sidewalk and had a dance party while the older boys played with the beach ball....until it got almost dark and Mamma Angela was getting eaten alive by mosquitoes... so I told the little ones good night and went inside to wash my hair. 

By this point it had gotten quiet in the yard and I went out to find a bunch of sad looking guys (not older children but grown men) standing around a deflated beach ball with a big hole in it.  My guess is someone used their foot rather than their hand and it popped.  I am not sure if they were more sad about the ball or the game ending.  When I toold them it was ok... and sule bulungi... one of the guys looked at me and said not sule bulungi.... basically meaning not a good night. 

I had to smile because it was a comical picture seeing these men standing around mourning the loss of the ball and I guess sooner or later I knew the beach ball would meet its demise!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013!

Sekukulu eyessanyu!
Merry Christmas from Uganda!!


Well it has been a little more than 3 months living in the
village of Nabisooto and what an adventure!  This entire
experience has taught me numerous things…
like counting my blessings… enjoying the simplicities of life…
and getting back to the basics of what is important.
What is important in your life???
Is it stuff or relationships with people??? 
There is a saying that “life isn’t measured in the breathes
 you take but in the moments that take your breath away!”
How many breathtaking moments have you had within 2013?
Breathtaking moments happen when life is lived intentionally…
when that small, quiet voice is listened to and obeyed…
when the silver lining is found despite the darkness of the cloud…
when love is shared despite the feeling…
and when thankfulness exudes despite the circumstances!
May your Christmas and 2014 be filled with memorable,
breathtaking moments!!!  Thank you for being a part
of this adventure!  Continue to follow this journey at hynangel.blogspot.com.  Should you desire to support
the work that is being done in Nabisooto, you can go to…

In the Field Ministries
c/o Angela Calhoun
PO Box 71748
Kampala, Uganda, AFRICA

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Leaving Kenya

Only in Africa can you be driving down the road and pass a group of camels walking down the road.  Sights like this never get old. 

The driver that I had this morning to take me to the airport in Kenya knew someone working on the new bypass and with a bit of money we were able to travel the new road which was a significant short cut to the airport... freshly paved... and no other cars.  I think that this is the fastest I have been able to travel since being in Africa...normally with the condition of the roads and the number of crazy drivers you can't get anywhere fast.  Still hit traffic close to the airport but arrived within 45 minutes versus the hour and a half when I arrived into Nairobi.

Last night some coworkers of Stacey's from WNS had dinner with us at Dorman's... the local coffee shop.  It was excellent food and a fun time of fellowship.  Afterwards, thanks to a friend, I was able to go and get some treats at Nakumatt to bring back to Uganda with me.  Living overseas it is amazing how excited expats get when they find things like green enchilada sauce or poptarts in the grocery store.  There are a lot of things that can be found in Kenya that I can't find in Uganda so I picked up a few exciting items!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

For Christmas This Year

There is nothing like a children's christmas program to bring out the festiveness of the season.  One of the songs performed at the West Nairobi School on Friday was "For Christmas this year" by TobyMac.  It got me thinking what will Christmas bring this year?  

So far I was blessed with a trip to Kenya thanks to an early christmas gift from family.  I am not sure I coud have asked for a better gift as this includes rest, relaxation, adventures, and cooler weather.  The evening temperatures have been down in the 50's which is quite chilly when you are used to 80 degree weather and only brought clothes for the 80's.  It has also been rainy at night so great sleeping weather.

ADVENTURES.. Besides spending time at school with Stacey and meeting lots of new friends... we went to the baby elephant orphanage and got to play with baby elephants, see a gazelle as well as a family of warthogs.... then we went to feed giraffes... went to a Christmas craft fair yesterday and then to  the ballet where some of Stacey's students were performing.  Also went to the slums to assist in passing out christmas buckets.

RELAXATION...After living in the village for the past 3 months there are certain things that you start to miss... on Thursday we went to Junction where we had Subway for lunch before doing some window shopping and going to see Catching Fire... the new Hunger Games movie... picked up a few things at Nakumatt that they don't carry in Kampala then went to get frozen yogurt.  Have enjoyed the time to be on vacation!

REST...Living in the village in an apartment attached to the clinic it seems that unless I pull all the curtains and lock the door that I always have visitors...either staff coming to visit...or little brown eyed cuties calling "Mamma Angela" ...or teachers in need of supplies.  It has been realy nice to rest in quietness and peace for a week.  Stacey has quite a collection of movies so it has been fun to sit and watch some old favorites like miracle on 34th street and white Christmas.   It has also been nice to have no agenda and be able to help in the teachers classrooms.  Gleaning some new ideas to take back to the village.

This trip has been a blessing in so many ways... from hot showers to meeting new friends to God providing above and beyond what I could ask or imagine.  It seems like each time I travel I have the privilege of meeting new people and building friendships!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The "new" normal

What is normal?

As I had caffine at dinner tonight and cannot sleep... I have been pondering a couple of conversations over the past few days.  I have come to the conclusion that I do not fall into the category of normal... whatever that looks like! 

In the bible, to be a Christ follower means we should be a peculiar people and stand apart.  We are to take the road less travelled and do things that make little sense to a world desiring to follow their desires. 

For many years, I have desired to be a wife and a mother but my desire to serve Jesus has been the driving force behind the choices I have made...and I live with no regrets!  I have been looked down upon because I haven't picked a guy to marry...I have been questioned as to my job choices... I have been ridiculed for not taking a position with decent pay and benefits... and I have had to deal with the heart wrenching questions about why I don't have children....

To all of this I answer.... I am not normal!  God did not call me to live in a safe little box... I don't fit into expectations... assumptions... or the ideals of "normal" ...whatever that may be.  Sorry to burst anyones bubble that thinks this is just a short term whim that will eventually get tossed aside in order to live a normal life...

If normal is a decent paying job where I work so much that I never see my children... I don't want normal.

If normal is marrying a guy just so that my needs are met and to check the married box... I don't want normal.

If normal is a 9 to 5 job where I am unhappy... I don't want normal.

If normal is just having children as a status symbol to let the world raise... I don't want normal.

If normal is living in a 5000 square foot house with a mortgage bigger than I make in a month... I don't want normal.

So I challenge you with the question... are you striving to be normal?

Normal looks good from the worlds point of view but has no eternal value.  The Lord works differently in each of our lives but he does give us the choice to listen to what He calls us to do... we can listen and obey.... or we can tune Him out with the noise of the world and try to be "normal".

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Funny things

I have heard it said numerous times... clothes shrink when put in the dryer.  I have on occasion put jeans in the dryer to shrink so they will fit but it only works for a little while then they stretch out and are baggy.

Living in the village my clothes are having an issue... based on the theory above I am going to blame it on the clothes line... the clothes line is  making my clothes grow!! 

(Ok... I know this theory  falls apart fast when I haven't had a clothes dryer since I lived with my parents and have dryed everything on the clothesline in Hawaii!  And my clothes continued to fit!)

Which brings me to the problem at hand... I wash my clothes... I hang them out to dry... I go to put them on a day or too later and they are bigger than when I wore them the time before.  Most of what I brought in the line of clothes are skirts with elastic and sleep pants with drawstrings.  The drawstrings are getting their use and the elastic banded skirts are now sitting on my hips rather than my waist.

I know what you are thinking... stop blaming it on the clothes line and own up.  To that I respond... I have nothing to own up to... I am honestly not trying to lose weight...been in that battle for more years than I care to admit to and I decided a few years ago that if my body is healthy then I am happy.  And I am ... so I stopped worrying about the number on the scale and started eating and exercising to keep my body happy!  Still eating 3 meals a day and moving as much as I have been over the past couple of months.  I think this is the first time in my life that I am really not trying to lose weight but yet it is coming off.  I have nothing to compare it to except for clothes that are growing. 

I do find one major problem with my clothes growing... clothes are hard to come by here and I have 6 more months before I return to the states.  May have to start tying grass around my waist to hold up my skirts!  TIA!

I'm leaving on a jetplane...

And I will be back to Uganda in 10 days!

Decided that since no one at immigration seems to know what to do about my VISA situation...I thought I would take matters into my own hands and leave the country to explore.  Praying that when I come back...they will give me 90 more days and another excuse to see East Africa.  Please be praying with me on this!

So I am off to Nairobi, Kenya for the next 10 days to explore and visit a friend  who is the adminstrator of West Nairobi School.  Looking forward to gleaning some knowledge!

Again I sit in the airport.... waiting...

Well, finally went by the post office this morning on the way to the airport.  Wow....there was quite a letter or maybe I should call it a book as it is 6 typed pages!.  I have sat here in Entebbe airport waiting area enjoy a snack and reading the letter.  Great way to wait!

Hannington came to pick me up at 7:30 this morning and it only took 3 hours to get to the airport from the village... with a stop by the post office.  So I was too early to check in and was told to go enjoy a cup of coffee and wait.  The joys of Africa!  Lots of waiting!  My flight is to leave at 2:50pm and I have been here since 10:45am... would rather be early that late.

Finally checked in and went through priority with my medallion status.  Oh the joys of flying a lot.  Met a nice lady at immigration who checked my passport and recommended going to Mombasa the next time I go to Kenya.  Just had lunch of a chicken meat pie and a sprite and some window shopping.  Things are so much more expensive in the airport than they are at African village... the only difference is there are no people trying to get you attention to buy their wares at the airport.  And everything here is priced in US dollars which makes it even more expensive.  I think I will choose to do my shopping at African Village.

Now time to play the waiting game until time to go through security and board the plane.  Because it is only a week trip... I checked one bag and am just carrying a purse... which makes me feel very light!  Most times going through airports I feel and look like a pack horse with a loaded backpack and "personal item" like a duffel bag!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

An African Sunday afternoon!


A sleeping child in my arms throughout the church service!  
A monkey out behind the church/school building.
There were a couple of others that didn't get captured by the camera!

Mamma Vencencia pounding sweet bananas to make kabagalagala.  Yum Yum!!!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Not your typical thanksgiving

When I think of thanksgiving, I think of 3 things ...

1.  A big meal with family and friends to share what we are thankful for
2.  Cooler weather
3.  No work or school

Well Hawaii took care of number 2... but every other thanksgiving for as long as I remember... 1 and 3 have taken place... that is until today







Thanksgiving in November is an American holiday... so in Uganda it is just a normal day to work.  Being the only American in the village, it is difficult to enjoy a holiday by yourself so I chose to work today.  








With the term and the school year ending tomorrow, there were lots of preparation for parent day/promotion tomorrow... cleaning... inventory... reports... etc.  Spent my morning cleaning both at home and in my office...washing stuffed animals from baby class... moving furniture.... taking down posters... etc.  This afternoon I have worked on the report forms for each student.  Before the sun went down played ball with some of the little brown eyed cuties in the front yard and then sat on the porch and colored until it was almost dark!  
With no oven and the lack of a good turkey... the meal is simplified to tuna patties, pasta, and steamed veggies!  Haven't decided what to make for dessert but it may be a rare treat of reeses peanut butter cups sent by a friend in a care package!  Blessed to have food on my table and friends and family around the world that stay in contact via facebook, skype, and phonecalls!

A year ago I flew in to New York on thanksgiving and got to see the Macy's parade and have a big thanksgiving meal with friends.  Within a few days we got to see the snow and cut down a real christmas tree. What a huge difference a year makes.

Thankful for all the experiences that God has allowed me to have.  Who knows what next thanksgiving will hold?!?!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Meet Richard...

Mutaawe Richard is one of our little brown eyed cuties that is up for being sponsored.  After struggling with some on going health issues like jiggers… wounds that won’t heal…rat bites… and ringworm the size of a baseball…  we decided to go on a second home visit.  We went 2 weeks ago in the midst of the jigger plague but soon learned that the original house was not where he was truly living.  He was staying there while his grandmother, who cares for him, was away. 


Richard is a 3 year old little boy in baby class at Integrity Primary School who walks about half a mile to school each day.  (The hill from his house to school… left Allen, Phiona, and myself out of breath on our way back!)  His mom and dad have abandoned him and he is being cared for by an elderly grandmother.  


She is in the process of “building” a house but due to family issues it has not been finished.  It is the beginning structure of a mud house with a thatch roof… from inside you can see through the walls that have yet to be mudded… it is just branches with grass woven in.  Through the roof you can see patches of blue sky… or today grey sky… as when we were visiting it was beginning to rain.  The grandmother wants to build a kitchen outside of their living space to keep the rats and other critters away but hasn’t been able to with the house not being finished.  


On the positive side… they do have beds that are off of the dirt floor with mattresses on top.  One concern expressed by the grandmother is that they need mosquito nets as their house has no doors or windows at this point.


Concerning the health issues… we were really concerned about the open wound on his foot from a bike pedal that just wasn’t healing.  Due to the grandmother not being around it was not being cleaned or wrapped at home except for when we took him from class to the clinic.  Kimberly gave him a pair of spider man slippers after cleaning his feet from jiggers.  (They were his first pair of shoes and he doesn’t  take them off except to sleep!)  So today I had our clinic staff check his foot and it did look clean and not quite as infected.  After talking with the grandmother… she is going to bring him to the clinic everyday to get it cleaned and medicine put on it until it heals.

  This is daily life in the village for many of these children.  Little Richard has captured my heart with his smile and sweet spirit.  I pray that we can get this little one sponsored and some assistance for his grandmother so he can truly be a happy little boy that is well taken care of  and treasured!





Sunday, November 24, 2013

A weekend in pictures

These precious little hands are what holds the future of Uganda
and my heart!  They are so absolutely precious!
A little hesitant over the fried grasshoppers...
but they were quite delicious!

Had the opportunity to see how they are collected...
they take very bright lights at night and s
hine them up in the sky and then use metal sheeting
to funnel them in to a collection bin.
Only happens at this time of the year!

Sheba came in on Saturday night with a Jackfruit mustache... the sap from the jackfruit was all over her fur but under her nose she had collect dirt in it so it looked like she had a mustache!  Too cute!

Paulina and her baby doll picked out by Isla!  She was amazed that there are dolls that look like her!
All the dolls here are white so this is a priceless treasure for this little one!

One of my sunflowers that survived the jackfruit tree massacre!

This is what  I came home to on Saturday... all the jackfruit trees around the apartment had been "trimmed"...  the workers were told to not let the limbs fall on the house but they didn't mention to watch out for the sunflowers and the garden.  Some of the garden was salvageable... but the rest will have to be replanted! :(

Sheba trying to make friends with the little black kitty... 

black kitty wants my attention but not Sheba's!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dirty Faith

In my spare time I have been reading a book entitled "Dirty Faith" by Audio Adrenaline that my aunt left.  It is all about being Jesus' hands and feet... not just living in our safe clean bubble.

One of the paragraphs that moved my heart this morning said...

"Being Jesus' hands on earth means we need to learn how to have some of Jesus'  heart on earth.  Are you moved with compassion for people in pain?  Does your heart hurt for the lonely and sick and abused?  If nothing ever moves us to feel with the people around us, we're not very likely to get involved in their lives."

Sometimes in the midst of full time  ministry, we get tired... we get weighed down by the on going need around us...  This got me thinking... if Jesus every got weary and needed a break... and I think that the answer is yes.  Did Jesus ever get so weighed down by the need that he saw all around him?  I think he may have because we read in scripture how he acted with kindness and compassion and stopped what he was doing in order to help those in need.

So with that said... why do I feel guilty when I get weary and need to rest?  Why does my heart ache to see all of the need around me?...  my final conclusion is that is how God made us so that we image him.  If I am to follow in his sandles then I need to get down and dirty.  I need to follow exactly where He leads and he will provide strength and rest when needed!

My challenge to you this morning is to step outside of your "Christian bubble" and serve those around you that are in need... it can be something as simple as a smile... a hug... a word of encouragement... a peanut butter sandwich... the possibilities are endless... just be his hands and feet to a world in need of HIM!

Wages

"FOR THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH"

This is a promise out of God's word but something that I got to witness last night.  With John and Kimberly leaving to go back stateside we spent the night at Sheron hotel in Kampala.  After a long taxing day, I went to bed  a little after 9 only to wake up an hour later to a blood curdling scream and lots of yelling.  From my 2nd story window, I watched a mob scene beat and stone a guy to death.

This morning we heard several stories from the workers at the hotel but the real story came from the security guards at the gate...  there has been a group of 6 guys in the area stealing phones, purses, laptops, etc.... the police basically said if they got caught  by the local people that they were to kill the one caught.  So a young lady had something taken from her... she screamed... then all the surrounding people chased the guy down. 

After watching all this go down I decided to go back to sleep only to have John text me from down the hall making sure I was ok and to see if Kimberly could come to my room to watch the action.  An hour later... almost midnight... the police finally showed up to take away the body and send everyone home.

Moral of the story... crime does not pay good wages!

Life in Nabisooto, UGANDA... part 2

This has been a long time in coming.... the list of FAVORITES

Favorite game for boys.... football (or american soccer)
Favorite game/activities for girls... netball, singing, dancing,

Favorite food for breakfast or snack... posho, kabagalagala (pancake)
Favorite food for supper... maize, rice, matoke, cassava, beans
Favorite food for holidays like Easter or Christmas... uncoco aka chicken
Favorite treat... biscuits (cookies) and juice
Favorite fruit... jackfruit, sweet banana, and mango

Favorite pets... animals in our village are for working ... we don't keep animals for pets

Some of our chores include... sweeping our compounds, taking care of our baby brothers and sisters, herding the cattle, feeding the chickens and pigs, helping collect and clean food for supper, fetching water from the bore hole,

Favorite subject in school... religious education, numeracy, language development

We like to spend time outside of school and chores with our friends.

Life in Nabisooto, UGANDA... part 2

This has been a long time in coming.... the list of FAVORITES

Favorite game for boys.... football (or american soccer)
Favorite game/activities for girls... netball, singing, dancing,

Favorite food for breakfast or snack... posho, kabagalagala (pancake)
Favorite food for supper... maize, rice, matoke, cassava, beans
Favorite food for holidays like Easter or Christmas... uncoco aka chicken
Favorite treat... biscuits (cookies) and juice
Favorite fruit... jackfruit, sweet banana, and mango

Favorite pets... animals in our village are for working ... we don't keep animals for pets

Some of our chores include... sweeping our compounds, taking care of our baby brothers and sisters, herding the cattle, feeding the chickens and pigs, helping collect and clean food for supper, fetching water from the bore hole,

Favorite subject in school... religious education, numeracy, language development

We like to spend time outside of school and chores with our friends.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Counting Blessings!

After having a rough couple of days with a heavy heart over the passing of Romeo (my cat on MKK), my aunt and uncle leaving, my little brown eyed cuties with chicken pox, and having some tummy issues... I have spent many hours in prayer desiring to question what God is doing but I just can't.   Everytime I start to even try to get upset with the God of the universe... tears well up in my eyes and my heart only gets heavier.  Who am I to wonder what He is doing... who am I to choose just the rose without the thorns... who am I to desire a perfect, pain free life when that is not how my Savior lived... so I am choosing to trust Him and be thankful.

Instead of writing the 30 days of thankfulness on facebook and getting discouraged because I missed a day, I am choosing to list what I am thankful for here. So with thanksgivng day just a few days away.... I am going to count the things the Lord has blessed me with!  Living internationally has definitely made me realize the little things that I take for granted on a daily basis.  So with all of this... my heart is ultimately thankful to God because every good and perfect gift is from Him!

1.  for biological family... for raising me in the ways of the Lord and for blessing me with more than I deserve and for loving me despite my imperfections
2.  for spiritual family... my brothers and sisters in Christ around the world that pray... encourage ... and love me!
3.  for God and his lovingkindness that gently brings me to repentance
4.  for provisions of everything that is needed
5.  For ice to make drinks COLD
6.  For padded seats with backs at church
7.  For hot running showers
8.  For air conditioned shops where it is not 90+ degrees within the store while trying to grocery shop
9.  For fast convenient food that doesn't take 2 hours to make or recieve
10. For fast internet service
11.  For well maintained roads
12.  For drivers that follow the rules of the road
13.  For prompt mail delivery
14.  For the US postal service... you don't know how good we have it in the US until you live in another country
15.  For friends that send care packages
16.  For iced coffee and just coffee in general
17.  For electricity
18.  For computers that work
19. For a sense of humor when you say or do something completely wrong in the culture you are living in.... for example... I was walking around campus on Monday whistling and teaching a few of the older children how when one of the Ugandan staff whispered ... that is not good in our culture... that is what is used to call Snakes!
20.  For little brown eyed cuties that are always happy to see me
21.  For partners in the ministry that come along side to help
22.  For 60 pairs of christmas shoes and 120 pairs of socks hand delivered by Godlive the manager of Bata shoes...who knew buying shoes could open the door to meeting a sister in Christ as well as her fiance who is going to use Nabisooto as a starting place for their sanitation and hygiene training for the entire community
23.  For a flushing toilet
24.  For pets that bring so much joy and laughter into our lives
25. For rainy season as everything is so green
26. For friends that choose to lose sleep so that we can talk on the phone
27. For airplanes that bring family and friends to visit
28. For entertainmet ... like movies and tv and game night
29. For the ocean and all of God's creation
30.  For worship songs in all languages that lift up His name
31.  For the amazing opportunity to serve... and be His hands and feet... it is tough and lonely at times but the smiles on my little brown eyed cuties makes it all worth it!

Oh... and for clean feet!

As I close out for the night.. my heart is at peace and I am ready for a good night of rest.  Counting blessings definitely puts everything into perspective!  May I challenge you to do the same this thanksgivng week.

Monday, November 18, 2013

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas....NOT!

After living in Hawaii for 12 years, I have come to terms with the fact that Christmas can be warm...  I have come to terms with being far away from biological family...  and I have come to terms with not always having the traditional foods I grew up with for thanksgiving and christmas....  With all that being said....living in Uganda puts an entirely new spin on things.  All of the above still apply here however there are very few Christmas decorations and the only ones in the village are in my apartment... there are no christmas lights... or baked treats... or things like egg nog or candy canes!

This morning I woke up to one of our workers playing Christmas music... and it kind of caught me off guard.. It got me thinking that thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away and Christmas not far behind.  It really does not feel like the holiday season.  This holiday season will be very different as thanksgiving day is just another workday in Uganda (and the day before the end of our school year)....our holiday break is all of December and January... and I don't have other American's to celebrate with that are close by...unless someone wants to come for a vist!

John and Kimberly did get me a Christmas tree when we went to Kampala and I plan to make cinnamon ornaments.  Going very simple this year.  I would still like to hear from you via christmas cards and several of you have asked for a current needs list for myself and my little brown eyed cuties...

@travel size alarm clock that takes AA or AAA batteries
@boy's clothes ...shorts and shirts
@paper clips
@felt... different colors
@yarn for knitting
@scotch tape
@wall calendar
@sponsor for P1 field trip to Kampala
@sponsor for health/hygiene program...donations can be made through ITFM...SAME AS THE SHOE LINK JUST ADD WHAT THE MONEY IS FOR
@any other fun treats
@monetary donations can be sent to... my mom in NC or ITFM...please don't send cash or checks to Uganda... they won't make it to me!

Reminder low values on the custom slip as well as writing educational materials...take off all extra packaging and careful with things that may melt or spill!

Will update everyone after I go to the main post office to pay custom fees to pick up waiting boxes as to how much the cost is on my side.  However things like cards and pictures go through just fine with a single international stamp!

The address is

ITFM
c/o Angela Calhoun
PO Box 71748
Kampala, Uganda, AFRICA

LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM EACH OF YOU SOON! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Exam week

As I am sitting in proctoring the exams, I am watching the children process through numeracy problems...  one of the problems is a word problem that states... "A goat has 4 legs, how many legs do 5 goats have."

To solve this, the 14 year old child next to me draws 5 goats with 4 legs each and then counts all of them.  He came up with the correct answer... just very creatively.

While I am going from class to class, I am noticing some of the teachers forgot to take down their number posters.  Very quickly  the children realize this and I see eyes wandering.  Once I noticed this I started going around taking down posters.  Will also reminded the teachers to do this during staff meeting.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Events

I have been encouraged lately to make sure I am journaling through this process of living in a culture that is not my own... a language that is not my own... and a people group where I stick out like a sore thumb... (to the point where Hannington gave directions to find Nabisooto... drive to Busunju and ask the boda driver to take you to the village where the muzungu lives). 

I am not one to sugar coat what is going on... this journey is difficult... but it is also wonderful!  I have been in the village for two months with very few tears ... however the last week has been taxing emotional.  Coming to terms with I can't be savior of the village...  Jesus came to do that... but if I can give a hope and a future to one child... then I will do it.  My heart is so heavy with emotion as I want to share what all is going on but setting emotion aside at least temporarily,  I will go throught the event of the last two days... 

Monday...well I now have an official office that I spent Friday setting up... was in my office by a little after 7 to get the exams ready for the teachers to give... this week is set aside for exams to see what the children have learned this year... their school year goes February through the end of November... all the children  including the baby class (age 3 and 4) take pencil and paper exams...CRINGE...walked from class to class monitoring as the teachers gave the exams and to make sure that all the posters from that days exam were down or covered...  after exams the children all went out to help out on the property...the girls swept the dirt while the older boys slashed the grass behind the school with their pangas or machetes.... the children were sent home at 1 so the teachers had time to grade exams... one by one the teachers brought their graded exams up and itgave me a chance to chat with them... after 2 months they are starting to open up a bit... offer suggestions... and ask questions (which thrills me to no end)...  met with all the teachers on classroom discipline, making exam times as stress free for everyone (these teachers have the cultural fear that if their children do poorly that they will get beaten by the administrator).  They are begiinning to realize that I don't rule with a big stick but lead with willing hands.  As I flipped through the exams, I realized how biased the grading is and how not develpmentally appropriate these are for our little ones!  Stepping down off my soda box!

Tuesday... had to go to Kampala to get some supplies and check on what is needed for my visa...went to immigration and got the run around...every person I spoke with gave me a different response ....so I am going to Kenya over Christmas break to visit a friend...when I come back into the country I will pray they will give another 90 days...if not then I have 1 week to get my visa extended.  God has a plan and at this point I am not sure what it is but I will trust him.  By the the time John, Hannington and I had gotten back Kimberly had had a rough day with noticing that a couple of our children had jiggers.  This prompted her to be in action mode to figure out how to get shoes on their feet now.  With jiggers they come from the dirt ... they are little bugs that bore into the skin and suck blood... the females lay their eggs in the skin and then you have an infestation.  Not only do they need shoes and socks, they need to wash their feet, spray jigger killer all over there property and then using a needle and peroxide dig the jiggers out of the skin...like getting a deep splinter out.  Not a fun process.

Wednesday.... got up to the school and arranged to have the lady from Bata come to campus tomorrow to measure feet.  Proctored exams.  The teachers gave me a list of those children with jiggers so we took them to the clinic to start cleaning and to go on home visits.  Will blog more on this later.  Spent time sorting the graded exams and asking a lot of questions about how children eith special learning needs are handled.  Lots to be done.  Will add more info layer.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Common sights in town

Every trip to Kampala brings a new sign or experience that growing up in the US would not afford.  Today we are driving in downtown Kampala and as usual while waiting at the intersections we are approached by street beggars.  Our windows are tinted so it makes it hard to see in but once they see the buzungus (more than one muzungu) they start trying to sell their goods or gain sympathy for a few shillings.  We have witnessed young mothers with babies pinching them so that they are crying to raise the sympathy factor. 

Today a young lady with a beautiful baby girl on her hip approached Hannington's window and starts with the cordial greeting.  After a couple of minutes of ignoring her... I tell Hannington I will take the baby... Hannington proceeds to roll down the window a little and tell the lady we will take the baby... just put it in the boot.  The young woman looks at him confused so he says... you are out on the street begging... you don't provide for the child.  Why are you producing? 

This is not the first time Hannington has done this but it still catches me off guard and I find it funny as he calls it like it is.  The last time it was a boy out selling wears in the middle of the day... Hannington told him why wasn't he in school?  There are schools he could be in but he refuses and runs away because he doesn't like the rules.  The boy was probably glad to see us move on.

It is moments like this that I am glad I am in the village and get to work face to face with these children.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

"Mamma said there'd be days like this"

Today was just one of those days where knowing about certain situations within the village just makes your heart ache.  Children covered with scabies...numerous children and workers with malaria...older kids that go to other schools wandering around because their parents won't/can't pay school fees...children as young as 4 years old being left at home by themselves while the mom leaves for several days at a  time...

Here I had been upset at one of the staff because he had not been doing what I was told was his responsibility.   As I searched out the situation I found out that he was not being given the information needed in order to do what was expected.  So spent some time giving individuals specific directions instead of general instructions where no one picks up the responsibility

A day that was supposed to be fun and enjoyable was taken too seriously and the children were upset and angry as a result of the teachers stress.  Culturally corporal punishment is a way of f dealing with all kinds of issues including not writing neatly ... so after witnessing several instances today of harsh reactions to minor infractions... I know what we are going to be discussing at Monday's staff meeting and what will be written in the policies.

The situation also came up of one of the teachers pretending not to understand me and not working with me or the rest of the teachers in providing a quality education for these children.

To top it off Sheba killed mouse number 2 this morning while I was up at the school.  By the looks of it the mouse had gotten into the poison we put down in the shop so when Sheba got the mouse she got really sick and just cried with her tummy all puffed up... she ended up vomiting all of her stomach contents under my uncle's bed which thankfully is just concrete floor and easily cleaned up.  At one point I found Sheba in the clinic on one of the exam tables seeking treatment.  Thankfully after all that she is back to her playful self.

And that was just Monday...  this week has been a difficult week filled with situations that can only be defined as spiritual attack.  I know I am supposed to just let things go but after being bombarded in battle for 7 days my heart is heavy and I am physically tired.

Here are the things you can be praying for...
@Christmas shoes... after days of trying to get the word out and computer issues and internet issues...finally got posted and have 10 pairs of shoes sponsored ... great start but still alongway to go especially within the next two weeks!
@computer... seems like each computer on campus is having issues.  Mine has been on the  verge of a crash for the past month... finally crashed this week... my uncle put in a new hard drive and started loading programs back on it and it crashed again.  Time for a new computer and really have no way to get one at the moment.
@Strength to do what God has called me to do for today and peace to wait on his timing for the future
@Wisdom to know how best to help this community... there is so much need that one person can't alone do it and there are cultural issues that break my heart that I alone cannot solve.
@Health and God's protection from things like scabies and ringworm. 

Thank you for your prayers and the words of encouragement.  I have really enjoyed the snail mail letters! (Hint, hint) 

"Mamma said there'd be days like this"

Today was just one of those days where knowing about certain situations within the village just makes your heart ache.  Children covered with scabies...numerous children and workers with malaria...older kids that go to other schools wandering around because their parents won't/can't pay school fees...children as young as 4 years old being left at home by themselves while the mom leaves for several days at a  time...

Here I had been upset at one of the staff because he had not been doing what I was told was his responsibility.   As I searched out the situation I found out that he was not being given the information needed in order to do what was expected.  So spent some time giving individuals specific directions instead of general instructions where no one picks up the responsibility

A day that was supposed to be fun and enjoyable was taken too seriously and the children were upset and angry as a result of the teachers stress.  Culturally corporal punishment is a way of f dealing with all kinds of issues including not writing neatly ... so after witnessing several instances today of harsh reactions to minor infractions... I know what we are going to be discussing at Monday's staff meeting and what will be written in the policies.

The situation also came up of one of the teachers pretending not to understand me and not working with me or the rest of the teachers in providing a quality education for these children.

To top it off Sheba killed mouse number 2 this morning while I was up at the school.  By the looks of it the mouse had gotten into the poison we put down in the shop so when Sheba got the mouse she got really sick and just cried with her tummy all puffed up... she ended up vomiting all of her stomach contents under my uncle's bed which thankfully is just concrete floor and easily cleaned up.  At one point I found Sheba in the clinic on one of the exam tables seeking treatment.  Thankfully after all that she is back to her playful self.
And that was just Monday...  this week has been a difficult week filled with situations that can only be defined as spiritual attack.  I know I am supposed to just let things go but after being bombarded in battle for 7 days my heart is heavy and I am physically tired.


Here are the things you can be praying for...
@Christmas shoes... after days of trying to get the word out and computer issues and internet issues...finally got posted and have 10 pairs of shoes sponsored ... great start but still alongway to go especially within the next two weeks!
@computer... seems like each computer on campus is having issues.  Mine has been on the  verge of a crash for the past month... finally crashed this week... my uncle put in a new hard drive and started loading programs back on it and it crashed again.  Time for a new computer and really have no way to get one at the moment.
@Strength to do what God has called me to do for today and peace to wait on his timing for the future
@Wisdom to know how best to help this community... there is so much need that one person can't alone do it and there are cultural issues that break my heart that I alone cannot solve.
@Health and God's protection from things like scabies and ringworm. 

Thank you for your prayers and the words of encouragement.  I have really enjoyed the snail mail letters! (Hint, hint)