Saturday, March 30, 2013

Last day... or so I thought!

On my last supposed day in Uganda we decided to do some furniture window shopping.  Obviously not buying anything but seeing what is offered and for what price.  Xing Xing is the Ikea of Uganda.  Liked some of their stuff for when I move down full time.

Went to Oasis and Garden City... had bacon/pineapple New York style pizza at Ilovenyc. Then went to see Oz- The great and powerful before heading back to the hotel to rest before going to the airport.  Enjoyed watching Hannington watch OZ... he sat on the edge of the chair mesmorized by the movie... The things we take for granted are such a new experience for some!  Left Kampala at 7:45pm... because of Easter traffic it took 2 hours to get to Entebbe.  Went through a couple of security checkpoints then to a kiosk to check in before waving bye to Hannington and John.  Got up the desk to have my documents checked when it is announced that the flight is cancelled due to mechanical issues.  All the brakes needed to be replaced and they didn't have the parts in Entebbe.  After waiting in the airport for 3+ hours trying to see if there were other connecting flights out, me and a new friend, Kate, decided to take KLM up on the hotel offer.  We got on the bus and met another friend, Pam, who had her laptop so we chatted and then spent an hours or so trying to reach friends and family and figuring out what to do about flights.  Went to bed about 2:30am but the room was nice with a comfortable bed, AC, and hot water!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good byes :(

After not going to bed until around 5am this morning due to overdoing it on the caffine, my head is a little foggy when I got up at 8am.  Had devotions with Stella (my roommate and the MCO of the clinic) that led into a great discussion on putting Christ first and not letting things pull you away (Matthew 18).  We also had a sweet time of prayer before breakfast.  Had to hand wash some clothes and pack everything that I am taking with me versus what I am leaving until September.  I figured out that I could get by on not checking any luggage back!  :)  Besides what I need for the next 4 days and souvenirs, everything else is left behind and locked up until I get back.  I said my goodbyes with some emotion from Stella and threats of kidnapping from her and Hannington.  Went and said bye to Mama Vencencia who was out planting onions and played a quick game of peek a boo with the neighbor's children.  Also got to see the cat!

As we were driving out we saw a squirrel and meerkats.  Kind of sad I didn't see other animals but I was told I would need to go to a game park where they are protected.  We got stopped for a routine police check right out of Busunju... they actually made us show our passports before we were allowed on.  When your not in a democratic society this is common practice.  TIA!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I can do this!

Just about the time that I am getting used to the baths in a plastic washtub with warm water from a tea kettle... squatty potties... very bumpy roads... and mosquitoes... it is time to head west.  This is bitter-sweet as I know I will be back in 5 months.  I also know I have things left undone in Hawaii.  There are still a lot of unknowns but God has proven that where He guides He will provide.  Hannington was joking (maybe???) that he was going to kidnap me and make me stay.

At dinner tonight as I made a tomato based speghetti sauce from scratch, I realized I can do this.  I may not have the commodities of America... but I can do this!  I have learned to make meals with local products... no refrigeration... no box meals... no oven needed.  I have learned how to survive with out becoming mosquito food and contracting malaria... yellow fever... or typhoid.  I have learned enough Lugandan words to get by (or at least be comical).  I have made friends with several Ugandans that will assist me in growing my own food, driving, and helping to run a school.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Squatty Potties

For those of you not familiar with what these are… I will spare you the picture and give just a brief description….  Think hole in the middle of a cement or rock slab with a curtain or wood wall around it for privacy.  Today while traveling from Kampala to Nabisooto we stopped at a brand new petrol (gas) station to fill up the Land Rover with diesel.  We assumed that since it was a “new” station the toilets would be decent so we passed up the toilets at the grocery store that were charging 200 UGShillings.  Boy was I surprised when I got out of the car and started walking to the “restroom” when one of the attendants came running past me saying “Wait!  Wait!”.  My guess is she went ahead of me to “clean it up”.  Imagine really having to go… walking into a small room with no light except for the bit coming under the door… there is a tank to flush and a hole in the ground… a modern squatty potty!  It is moments like this that I envy the boys!  So sparing details… this is what I have learned while using squatty potties….
  1. Men be thankful!
  2. Women… it is helpful to wear a skirt…  trousers are a pain in this situation
  3. DON’T EVER touch the walls.
  4. BYOTP… Bring your own toilet paper!  Even in shopping malls there is one roll locked up for all the stalls when you enter!
  5. When you find an actual toilet… be thankful!!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Feelings... nothing more than feelings...

I have been on the verge of a major breakdown over the past couple of days.  Between the newness of everything… the anxiety of what I am leaving behind… and emotions of facing the unknown by myself, I feel like I am walking a fine line.  I am realizing the importance of having close girl friends that understand… up until today I have been with just the guys.  It was really a breath of fresh air to meet up with a friend of a friend (who is now a friend) for lunch.  Sarah has been serving here in Kampala for four years and was great wealth of knowledge of what to do and not do.  She will also be someone I can stay with when I do my supply runs in Kampala once a month or so.  God is already answering prayer of bringing people into my life.

After lunch we came back to the hotel where I have spent most of the afternoon by myself… reading, knitting, and listening to my audiobible.  I think this has brought up some “what if” feeling of once I am down here full time by myself.  These feelings have ultimately caused some anxiety which I know needs to be cast at Jesus’ feet.

Lord, I am trusting that you will take care of the details.  Where you guide you will provide!  Right now I not only need your provisions financially but also physically and emotionally!


Bless the LORD oh my soul!

We are one under Christ.  Words cannot express the emotions that arise when God’s children worship Him with their whole hearts.  The church of Uganda truly has a heart to serve and worship Him.  This morning’s worship service was very contemporary and packed.  Watoto Church Central has three services with about 8,000 people in attendance.  The service was in English but very few muzungus. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

African Village

Went to African Village this morning to do souvenir shopping.  I am realizing that this culture is all about relationships and listening to the stories of others.   It is NOT ok to just walk in, ask the price, and walk away.  Maybe means yes in this culture.  Oh do I have so much to learn!  After some time getting souvenirs, we went to Java’s before heading to meet Edward and Caitlyn Olara for lunch at their house.  Had quite the Mexican spread of food finished off with apple pie! J  The Olara’s were introduced to me by Bob and Donna Miles... a couple at MBC that visits from Oregon for a couple of months every year.  Caitlyn grew up in Oregon… came to Uganda on a couple of mission trips… married Edward and are now living here full time.

After spending some time asking questions and getting to know them we went back to Java’s to meet with the doctor from Kissito.  Got some things taken care of for the clinic and headed back to the hotel to rest and talk story.


After a long conversation with Uncle John tonight, I am realizing that I am obeying what God is calling me to do but my flesh is reminding me of all the things I “deserve”.  Did Christ “deserve” to die on the cross when that should have been me?  Is this what it looks like for me to pick up my cross and follow?  I am thrilled that God thinks me strong enough to carry this cross because I am really doubting myself to shoulder the load.  Thankfully His promises are resonating in my mind… “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and “Fear not, I am with you” and “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  I do pray that God will bring my heart to total surrender of His will not mine…. that He will bring people in my life that understand… that maybe … just maybe I will have a “partner” to walk with me through this.  Someone that understands and has a heart for the ministry here… someone that loves me for me despite my imperfections… someone who will treasure and encourage and protect.

Ultimately I need to let go of what I have been holding on to on how God “should” work things out and just let Him do it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Critters, Equator, and FAST Food???

Last night before falling asleep a frog was chased into the bedroom totally by accident but it was never caught.  All throughout the night I dreamed of things like vipers and poisonous tree frogs coming out from under the bed.  Woke up this morning and made scrambled eggs, toast, and pineapple for breakfast.  Without refrigeration or an oven, I am learning how to cook just enough with whole foods.  I have to say this getting back to the basics is going to be a good thing.  Meals take longer but in the long run it is healthier.  Dinner tonight at the Sheron Hotel restaurant took an hour and a half to make… from the time we ordered till we got it we watched to entire Herbie movie.  Lunch today was an egg chapatti.  Enjoy watching things made from the plants around.  When I move out here I know I am going to have to plant some things to add to my table.

Two places at once

Uganda is right on the equator.  Today we drove to the exact spot where north meets south.  Took some tourist pictures and then watched as the man poured water in the north, south, and right on the equator… Cool science experiment.

After driving for a couple of hours and getting car sick, I decided to take a Dramamine.  I was fine until shortly after lunch when I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  Slept on and off back to Kampala and as soon as we got to the hotel I passed out until hunger pains took over.

Went down to the bar to take dinner… ordered chicken, mushroom, and onion pizza.  It took 90 minutes to receive the food.  Because it was less than two hours it is considered “fast food”.  This is Uganda!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Adventure in the bush

Most of the morning was spent sorting items and playing soccer with the children.  After lunch we went on a hike up the mountain to trace the boundary line of the property and look for monkeys.  Instead we found a dead viper which scared me a bit… almost to the point of not continuing the hike!  Not a big fan of large snakes.  Hike up the mountain to see the full 25 acres.  Very warm but a good hike.  Found some local bananas that they use to make beer.  Brought them down to Mama Vincencia who was pounding cassava to make pancakes for the children.  Got the Land Rover and followed a herd of cattle to the swamp.  The cows here have long horns.  It has been a long day but adventurous!

Beauty is a matter of perspective

To the African, big is beautiful.  You are well off and strong if you are on the bigger side.  At breakfast, we were discussing that “fat” is a compliment here.  A skinny girl will never get married.  John keeps joking that my really big stick for being administrator will also come in handy for keeping suitors AWAY.  This mindset is so different from the American mindset of thin is in!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Children are truly a gift from the LORD!

Spent a good majority of my day with the little ones.  Sorted and passed out the new uniform shirts to the children.  Watched them play at recess.  Took picts and video of the men working on the well and the children playing in their new uniforms.  The electric pump to the well had not been working so the entire thing had to be dug up in order to find out what the matter was.  Ultimately that meant that we were having to hand pump and carry water for daily usage… flushing the toilet, washing hands and dishes, taking a shower, etc. 

Started sorting and labeling the totes of all the supplies that were donated.  Will try to finish that up tomorrow.  Three children were playing in front of the clinic so I took a color book and crayons out.  We sat and colored for a while.  They were way too cute and excited about coloring.  Had to bribe the crayons out of their hands with stickers.

The guys finished fixing the electric pump and reinstalled the manual pump so we now have running water in the house!  The job was supposed to take 2 days and they completed it in one.  Because they finished towards the end of the day there was no warm water… so we had to heat water on the gas stove to bathe with.  Also because there was a patient being treated for malaria in the clinic room where we normally shower, I had to shower in the room that Hannington is staying in.  Basically a sink faucet and a drain in the middle of the floor.  Glorified sponge bath but it works!

Sauteed garlic, onions, and tomatoes with chicken and rice for dinner with Stella and Hannington.


Internationally a child is known by the school uniform that they wear.  Up until this point the children at Integrity Primary School have not had uniforms to distinguish them from the other children in the area.  Today was a monumental day… the children received their uniforms and they were thrilled!  I took them to the classrooms and gave each child the proper size that they needed.  By recess time all the children had them on and were very proud of their new attire!  They look so cute in them!  All smiles!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

On the way to Nabisooto

Got up at 7:30am and had Ugandan pancakes- more egg than bread batter for breakfast.  Checked out of the hotel and headed to run errands.  Needed to get time for internet, go grocery shopping, get a printer cartridge and then head out of town to get produce and diesel before heading to Nabisooto.  Drove the hour and a half to Nabisooto where we met the staff and started making ourselves at home.  From all the traveling and being on my feet, my ankles are super swollen so as I write my feet are propped up trying to get the swelling to go down.

It is 7:30pm and I am hitting a wall.  Tiredness has set in and my system is so off that it is difficult to think straight.   Got the mosquito net hung above my bed and got some of the things unpacked from my bag.  Realized that a couple of my picture frames got busted in transit and a couple of bottles leaked but otherwise most stuff arrived unscathed.  Spent some time out walking around looking at the facility, talking with some of the children.  They don’t really know what to think of the “muzungus”!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Arrival into Uganda


After a brief stop to drop off passengers in Kigali, Rwanda, we arrived into Entebbe at a little after midnight.  Took an hour to go through customs, get luggage, and meet up with John and Hannington, then drove to Sheron Hotel in Kampala.  Had been warned ahead of time that the beds were just box springs but by this point not sitting up to sleep is a plus.  Think I could sleep just about anywhere.


Woke up before the alarm went off.  Felt pretty well rested.  Got up and showered.  Interesting shower as it is not enclosed  and I felt guilty about getting the entire bathroom wet.  Had breakfast at the hotel which consisted of toast, scrambled egg, fruit, coffee, and juice.  Then John, David, and I met up with Hannington to take an exploration trip to Jinja.  First stop was to exchange money.  One US Dollar equals 2630 Ugandan shillings.  John pointed out some of the best spots in Kampala to do shopping.  It was almost a 2 hour drive to Jinja.  Got there and it was raining and hailing.  Not a great time to see the start of the Nile, so we went to meet Shirley at Soft Power Health clinic.  Looked around their compound and got some ideas.  More connections!  Went to lunch at a coffee shop in Jinja then once it cleared up… went to see the start of the Nile.  Very pretty and the water is super warm.  Drove back discussing school stuff with Hannington.

Hitting the sack early tonight as I am exhausted!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Recurring Theme

After a 3 hour delay in MKK due to paperwork issues… a 2 hour delay in ATL due to a toilet replacement… it has just been announced that our flight from AMS will be 2.5 hours delayed due to leaky hydraulic fluid.  They have to switch the entire plane.  More waiting!  Good thing I did meet up with David (ITFM Board of Directors).  KLM did provide vouchers for 5 euros worth of snacks.  I went to one of the little kiosks and bought a cappacino and a twix.  The drink was about 3 inches tall and twix twice the size of a US candy bar.  Too funny!

Waiting in Europe

Day three of the journey and haven’t left the airport.  I feel rested however I have no clue what time it is nor the day.  After an enjoyable eight hour flight from ATL with a group from Bama, I am in chilly Schipol airport (Amsterdam).  The last time I flew through here I got a beautiful tour of the city.  To many people this may be a “dirty city” but to me it hold many fond memories.

Currently I am sitting here waiting to board my flight, watching people go by.  I especially like doing this in Europe as everyone has a story.  Most are dressed in dark colors with the occasional eccentric outfit.  Different accents and languages…. Diverse expressions and gaits… There is truly a diversity among people.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Headed out of the US

This is the first time that I am actually awake enough to write.  Last night was a bit crazy but God thankfully worked out all the details and caused a miracle.  Didn’t leave MKK until 8:45pm due to “paperwork issues”.  Got into HNL at final call for my flight to SEA so I missed that.  Was the last one on an overbooked flight to SFO.  Even got an economy comfort seat and was able to sleep.  Had a 45 minute layover and boarded a flight to ATL.  Thought I was going to spend the day with my Gramma and Aunt who I haven’t seen in years but God had another route.  Thankfully I have been able to sleep, I have a little longer layover in AMS and I don’t have to pick up my bags until I get into Entebbe.  I was kind of concerned about getting all this done and only having a little over an hour layover in AMS but God took care of those details.

Friday, March 15, 2013

And the journey begins...

Surprise, Surprise… Island Air Molokai has a delay!  When I brought my bags to the airport at 6:30am flights were already delayed by 45 minutes.  Had to drop them off to get them checked through agriculture otherwise I would have to pick them up in HNL, pay bag fees again and recheck them.  Not fun when you are traveling with two 50 + pound bags with no wheels. 

Besides spending my day with my little ones celebrating St. Patty’s Day a couple of days early, I was a bit emotional and praying that flights would be on time.  The reality that I am moving finally started setting in this morning as I was leaving my house, saying bye to the cats, talking story with friends at the airport and watching the sun rise over the mountain.  Before I even got to school I had already had my sob session.  So many changes and it is leaving my head spinning.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

"I've got no strings"


I will not be a puppet on a string held by a mere mortals hand.  Lately I have realized how in past relationships I allowed myself to be strung along with the hope of this being "the one".  I overlooked faults that any one without strings would have immediately called out because I was too attached.  I was willing to accept less than I desired because I didn't think I deserved any better. 

After doing some soul searching the Pinocchio song "I've got no strings" popped into my head (yes my brain thinks in lyrics)...

I've got no strings
To hold me down
To make me fret, or make me frown
I had strings
But now I'm free
There are no strings on me
Hi-ho the me-ri-o
That's the only way to go
I want the world to know
Nothing ever worries me

I've got no strings
So I have fun
I'm not tied up to anyone
They've got strings
But you can see
There are no strings on me

So I am done "hanging on by a thread".  I am a princess of the King of kings who wants the best for me.  I am not willing to settle on someone who is just using me when they have the time.  I love whole heartedly... I am kind... compassionate...honest... and ready for an adventure.  Strings put on by this world just hold me down and don't allow me to live the full, intentional life that God has put before me.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Perfect Reminders

After a weekend filled with on the go activities... dr's appointment... shopping... board meeting... setting up for a conference... shopping... conference on Oahu... conference on Maui... shopping... staff retreat... and oh maybe a bit more shopping, I arrived back on MKK Sunday night about 8:45pm to some disappointing news.  Thankfully I did realize that I was super tired, so I didn't respond. 

Sometimes disappointment can be the cause of overreaction if tired and emotional.  Ultimately the disappointment was caused by unmet expectation and things  not going how I thought they should.  On my drive home from school today I was reminded that my JOY and STRENGTH is in HIM... not in my expectations or the things of the world.  My focus should be on what He has called me to do... not what I think I should be doing.

SO I lay my hopes, desires, and future down at His feet... trusting that all will turn out for my good and HIS glory.

As for preparations for Uganda- most of the shopping this weekend was either for preschool or Uganda.  I got personal items (like soap, toothpaste/brushes, shampoo, conditioner)... school items (like chalk, coloring books, soccer balls, and games)... food items (like dried fruit, whole wheat pasta, and pretzel m&m's - my favorite!).  Having already packed one 50# suitcase thanks to generous donations,  I set to work tonight breaking down the new items and putting them in ziplocks.  This made me realize how much packaging is used mainly for asthetics.  When going to a country with no waste management system, the added packaging becomes a burden.  Also when the packaging is removed it takes up a lot less space!

At some point I do need to pack clothers.  Laundry was started tonight however choosing clothes will be a strategic process as I intend to leave everything down that I take with me this trip.  That way  I don't have to struggle to take everything down in August.

In other preparation news... my arms are not sore at all today from getting shots on Thursday.  Up until yesterday they were sore and I had a difficult time reaching above my head!  This round of shots included yellow fever, thyphoid and DTP (diptheria, tetanus, pertussis) along with prescriptions of Ciproflaxin and Malarone.

Well it is 10:30pm... packing has been started... white laundry is on the line drying... hair has been cut and colored... showered and now I shall go to bed.

More prepations to come!