Some Funny things: part 2

11. At a 14 year old slumber party I chaperoned, the girls didn't paint nails or gossip- they laughed hysterically at the fart machine and took turns pretending to shoot each other down then turned off the chick flick so they could put in iron man.

12. I have never been more thankful to not have carpet. On two different occasions we have covered our floor with massive amounts of water. Once when I dumped out a whole bucket of muddy water as I finished mopping. And a second time when chelsea filled a huge tin with water and didn't notice it was leaking until the water's surface tension on our counter broke and we heard it gushing on to the floor.

13. The 80s are alive and well in Uganda, apparently a new trend here- roller blades. Despite huge potholes, lack of side walks and horrible traffic, we have already seen 4-5 people rollerblading down various roads, each time wearing brightly colored parachute pants.

14. Sign posted at golf course entrance: Golf balls kill, enter at your own risk

15. Chelsea has a boda driver who is a Muslim and is named Jose, the cultural mix reminded me more of america then Uganda.

16. We had two very odd visitors stay with us for a few weeks. When they left they gave us a card. Inside, the first words were "beans and cabbage." We immediately burst into laughter wondering when (and why) they gave us those nicknames, but were quickly sobered when the card continued onto recipes for none other then beans and cabbage.

17. On the way to work we pass a hotel called "The Ghetto Guesthouse" which I think should be the name of a Kanye West song.

18. I kid you not, this is the first paragraph in a newspaper article I read:
"A young man who was allegedly bewitched for having an affair with a neighbor's wife sent residents in a panic when he
vomited three rats in a coughing spree."

19. People here call planners "diaries." I was running some errands with a very manly Ugandan man and we parted ways as I got onto a Matatu taxi. I was sitting near the window and thus was able to hear someone calling "my diiiiiaarrry!!!" as we began to drive away. I had forgotten I was carrying it in my purse and quickly passed it out the window... heaven forbid a man lose his diary.

20. Expatriates love to talk about their poo. Regardless of age, gender, location, or timing of the conversation, it is always appropriate to give a full detailed report on the state of your last bowel movement. If you can say you are regular (and have been for a while), you're bound to move up in social status and be the talk and envy of your social circle.




Here is the address to view my pictures. There are some from our first house, some from the new house, the weekend at the Nile, and some kids at Jordan House. Sorry, some of the pictures uploaded sideways and I can't figure out how to change it.


Today I had to go into town and buy some storage containers. No biggie right? At home it would take no more then an hour, maybe two if Fred Myers didn't have the right ones and you had to run across town to Walmart during rush hour. But here, it is not so easy. In Kampala you must travel deep down into the depths of the city. There is a vast network of stair cases, basement tunnels and back alley ways that I had never seen before because I never dare to leave the street "side walks." But this time I was with my dear Ugandan friend James, who assured me that this maze would lead us to the "vendors" who apparently have the cheapest storage containers in all of Uganda. We were successful and then only had the problem of transporting our treasure back to Jordan House. As we moved back on to the streets looking for a boda boda, it took careful maneuvering. Up...down...pause...a quick left followed by a side step back... duck and move right... forward...forward....LEFT! LEFT!... pause... right...and then HORRAY! To any Ugandan on looker we were simply crossing the street, dodging the bikes, bodas, taxis, cows, cars, people, mud, and pot holes just like everyone else. But to the keen American eye I could see what was really going on- I was in a virtual game of FROGGER! and I WON!! I love winning.


crying, laughing, and then some

It finally happened...

The inevitable moment while you are in the faraway and unfamiliar- the first time you just want to go home. The moment when you are sick of being misunderstood and unambiguous, when things happening at home seem to need your attention more then the long endless work you are haphazardly attempting in a foreign land.

Of course I had been expecting this moment to come, but it was frustrating and emotional none the less. Thankfully the next day was independence day, which brought a weekend full of fun distractions including going dancing with friends, buying beautiful baskets and ceramics at the market, laying out at a pool, seeing the President of Uganda at the independence celebration, and attending an incredible outdoor jazz concert at a ritzy resort on Lake Victoria.

After all of the merrymaking, I was finally ready for the reflection my soul was craving. On Sunday I attended Calvary Chapel for the second time. It was started by a young American Pastor, who remains as the Senior Pastor, which is nice because it gives the services a familiar Western feeling. And yet over 90% of the people who attend the church, lead worship, and serve are Ugandans which is so important to me because I think it's dangerous to be part of the exclusive mizungu social circles.

I spent that evening reminding myself of the reasons I am here. It is harder then I expected to spend money while making none, and asking family and friends to support me during a global recession. At this point, if I do not raise $4,000 I will be returning home mid-January, which makes it very hard to plan with longevity. This fact has been like a weight tied around my neck, distracting me from my work and preventing me from feeling anything but stress and frustration in all situations remotely involving money. Thankfully Chelsea and I took our concerns to Russell and Jenny, who I'm convinced are the most incredibly patient, wise, lovely bosses I will every have (and I have had MANY good bosses). They put so much in perspective- reminding us that we are here as faithful servants, who saw an aching injustice in the world and left our homes, our families, and our jobs to offer ourselves fully to the never-ending task of taking care of the orphans, the widows, the dying, and the poor.

I am embarrassed to say that I had forgotten.

I had forgotten the joy of expressing love through service. Forgotten the wonder of seeing new sights everyday as I make the incredibly slow journey to work through the traffic jams. Forgotten the opportunity I have been allowed to stand looking directly into the grotesque face of Death and and to still see the inextinguishable presence of New Life. Forgotten it is my daily work to empower and encourage people towards creating sustainable, holistic methods of freeing themselves from the bondage of poverty.

Ready to change the world today, I hurried to use the bathroom (a pit latrine) before a meeting at work. Apparently I was rushing a bit too much and ended up peeing all over my foot and sandal. Lesson learned: Some days you cry, some days you laugh, and other days you pee on yourself. Life is good.


Some funny things: part 1

We have been keeping a list of things that strike us as being quite ridiculous. Here a few I'd like to share:

1. The Muslim call to prayer for our area is projected from a place that is about 30 feet from our bedroom window. So every morning at 6 am we are blasted into a new day with slightly out of tune arabic.

2. There is a cat who insists that it lives in our house and keeps coming in despite our yells and large hand motions. Now it runs up behind us and freaks us out every night when we come home and tries to get in our door when we open it to go inside.

3. We started a blessing wall where we are posting pictures, notes, quotes, etc that remind us of the blessing we have been receiving. We put many pictures of you all on it, then woke up in the morning to find them sadly face down on the floor... hopefully that's not a sign.

4. We have a car- which is funny in the first place because driving in Uganda is CRAZY and on the left side of the road. But even better is that the car's a stick. Russell insists that with a few driving lessons we will be totally fine. Right, that's also what my dad said the first and last time I drove a stick 6 years ago.

5. We keep seeing people we knew two years ago and the first thing they say to chelsea is, "oh my friend, what have you been doing at home to get so fat?" (They mean this as a compliment, and ironically chelsea has not actually gained weight)

6. I was reading outside around 7 o'clock the other morning and heard a marching band. Chelsea verified that I wasn't hearing things and we ran to the street to see if it's a parade. Oh no, just a full marching band and at least 50 people dressed in the fancy ugandan traditional clothes standing on both sides of our street. We ask around and find out that they are "waiting for a visitor." They were still there at 9:30 when we left for work, hopefully their guest didn't keep them waiting much longer.

7. We are diligently practicing luganda (the language here) and besides some greetings I know the words for chicken, passion fruit, slowly, sleep!, you look like a turkey, and I will beat you. Such useful things to know.

8. The matches here have a brand name of "baby" and come with a cubby white baby face on them. CREEPY.

9. This morning we found an ant hole opening in our kitchen and decided to super glue the whole shut, we'll see if it keeps them out of our sink.

10. There are slugs in Uganda. No do not plan on licking them. They are much stickier and smaller than Oregon slugs, which believe it or not kind of grosses me out.

what is a "normal week"?

In the words of Steve Martin from the movie The Jerk-
"The first week felt like three weeks, but the second week only felt like a day, and the third week... well that just felt like a normal week..."

I cannot believe it has been so long since I have had the time or energy to post on my blog. Things have been going well to say the least. I have been making friends, learning Luganda, getting things done at work, and staying safe and healhty. It feels strange to even have a blog at this point because really, life is just life.

Our house has been quite full for the past week. Two middle age women came to lead a conference at Jordan House and stayed with us. I can only say that living with them was a daily test of patience and endurance. To be fair, we did have some normal interactions with them, good talks and movie watching. But the strain of trying not to laugh at every awkward encounter left us more then ready for the weekend. The same day they left, three of our friends spent the night and chelsea became violently ill. In between making pancakes and cleaning up puke, I enjoyed a service at a new church that hopefully I will be returning to next week.

Today is the end of Ramadan, which means a public holiday for us! The down-time is much needed because tonight the ladies return and so does another girl who lived here before us. She is coming back to get her things (including her movies and books, which we have been enjoying in her absence). AND this weekend we are moving... into a freakin' mansion. No joke, this house is bigger then anyone I know has lived in. I am very sad to be leaving this place we are in, but I trust that we will make our new giant house a home too.