Tuesday, September 2, 2008

recent thought

i was emailing trisha my pabo sister and would love to hear feedback from this idea (especially you teacher exchange kids)
i do get sad when i think about the lack of community in some parts of my life but i just take it as a challenge to foster it where i can. the more i am away the more i realize what amazing people God has surrounded me with and it makes me want to take advantage of all the time i can to be around them and to learn from them and to serve and love them.

Monday, August 11, 2008

traveling home

so my journey home started with a 4 am wake up at the hotel. we finished up packing and left by 5. we got to the ferry a little early, around 630 and it left at 730. as you sat down in the ferry they handed out cavaras (little plastic bags) to ralph in because the 2 hour ride was pretty heinous. i just kept thanking God that i didnt have to do this often. luckily i met a nice canadian girl and she shared her fresh ginger with me. that and a piece of gum helped me not have to use my baggie. she shared my taxi and we found a bank for her to get money at and then sat at the airport for hours. my flight left at 530. i flew to dubai and had just a two hour layover and headed to the states. the flight was ok, i got to see a couple movies which was nice and i slept a good bit. i had a pretty long layover in jfk but i met some girls who had been in sudan. it was fun to talk to them and share stories. it was also great to talk about the work we had been doing and sort of problematize things together. the flight to charlotte was super short and i was greeted by some of my favorite people in the whole world.
it was much different coming home this time. i was ready to be with people. i think i felt a little too ready and didnt rest enough because i got pretty sick tues - fri but i luckily felt better by sat and had a great welcome home / house warming party where i got to see more of my favorite people.
something i am still chewing on and would love feedback about:
so i must say that i miss africa but i am ridiculously blessed by my family here in the states. you ladies are amazing and my eternal family rocks my face off. i am just swimming in love and blessings these days. the thing that hit me this year in africa was not only accepting but embracing the fact that God gives us just enough for today. that manifests itself in so many ways. we can be free to love and serve and give our whole selves because we know that He will replenish us, we dont have to worry about tomorrow or hold on to yesterday and can live in the present, it necessitates a dependence on Him that i know i would not otherwise do naturally, it makes it impossible for us to take the glory and honor for the blessings in our lives and protects us from taking too much of the burden of the trials and hardships in our lives, and so many other things...


holy shmoly zanzibar is paradise. i have never been so relaxed and amazed by beauty. the beaches were white the water was clear blue and the food was out of this world yummy. catherine and i filled our days with snorkeling, beach volleyball, fresh coconut and yummy drinks, amazing dinners, and soaking up as much sun as possible. caramel and white mocha they called us (:
if you are ever in east africa you have to go to kendwa rocks! i had my first taste of lobster dinner. the last night we got a massage with papaya and honey mixed with cloves and cardamon and my skin smelled soo yummy.
it was a great time and i couldnt have had a better travel mate!

o the end of journeys are so much like beginnings

so so sorry that i havent posted in a while. all the goodbyes and such of the end of the journey can be overwhelming and then the constant moving makes it tough to wrap your head around your thoughts..and then when i was in the paradise known as kendwa beach in zanzibar i was not about to spend my time in front of a computer.
so the last week in pabo was really great. geoffry and i really started to dialogue about the things we had worked on and what was sustainable and what things he could adapt and the changes that he was going to make when i was gone. i was really encouraged that he discussed new classroom management techniques with his collegues. that was one thing we had focused on and he really made some great changes. i hope that i can make those same steps in my classroom.
the best injury happened the last week. i say best as in has the best story attached to it. it was the most painful as well. to save you from the all the details here is the shortened version (do you really believe it will be shortened?)
boy bike, skirt with liner that hinders leg movement, lifted seat, seat tilted back, climbed on a hill beside the road to avoid crazy out of control bus from smashing me, middle of the day hot, bookbag full of stuff, stopped because path ran out, teetered for a second as my life flashed before my eyes, praise God no vehicles were coming, fell into road and jammed knee pretty bad, covered in red claymud and hobbled back to school to rinse off in the borehole...thats life (:
so we said our goodbyes and did the safari (i did the boat safari and saw crocs and hippos and a family of elephants), rafting (i laid out by a pool), and kampala shopping. we went to a turkish place the last night and it was super delicious. i tried a shisha (sp) interesting.
then we said goodbye to the group and headed to zanzibar

Monday, July 21, 2008


In my journal I was writing about the thoughts that some of my friends from home are having about maybe moving away and this is what I wrote "whatever happens we are family and distance doesn't change that. I think about being here although it is a short time, I am so far away yet I still feel so close to those that I love back home"

Another thing that God has been showing me is the beauty and blessing in not only accepting but embracing the fact that He gives you just enough for today. It necessitates your dependence on Him and therefore you can not twist your circumstances and try to control them and therefore take the glory. At the same time it saves you from taking too much responsibility for things that happen that you really have no control over. I am seeing that there is an amazing balance in that, like so many things.

Seeing a pic of jude and I that I didn't even know existed! I love that carroll family!

My mom and michelle called! It was so so great to hear from them.

We got to see jovanna take a few steps (jovanna is harriet our cooks little girl she is around 10 months old)

Hilarious that out of the 23 people who pulled over to take a short call on the way to the rhino sanctuary and out of the yards and yards of area we had to go through I was the one that found the hidden barbed wire…oye! Don't worry it wasn't bad just ironic or ridiculously predictable.

This week so so quickly

So I leave for pabo in some few minutes so this update will have to be short and sweet. This week in pabo was the best yet. I feel like that is how it is on this trip. Around this time I feel like your expectations become more realistic and you start to see some small changes from the work you are doing. It is a good place to be.

In class this week I focused on some classroom management things with Geoffry. We talked about how giving problem students a lot of attention was not really working out so we brainstormed ideas for how best to handle them in different ways. The conversation was a little awkward because he felt like I was reprimanding him but it ended up contributing to such great changes that I it was worth it. The other great thing is that he and I can have conversations and disagree and work through things and be ok at the end of it. I got to see changes that he is trying to make in the classroom and the students respond to them in positive ways. we also did a review activity that had the students present on material together. The students did a great job and loved it and I think they did pretty great on the assessment that followed the review.

So Monday after school I broke out the crayons and coloring books. At first I was just sitting there trying to get kids to come over. Finally some adults came over and asked what I had and what I was doing. I showed them and in no time there were 50 kids and 15 adults sitting around talking and coloring. It was awesome. Robert said we were having Sunday school. I plan to do it again this Monday and use the rest of the stuff.

Tuesday we finally got the volleyball net up in town. It was really fun to play. Roberts nephew or cousin played with us and he was a bit too much for trish and I.

Wednesday we stayed pretty late at school so by the time we got home it was just about dinner time. Trish and I were a bit tired so we just stayed in and played cards and hung out.

Thursday I went and played volleyball again. It is odd because when I play I am not only the only munu (white person) I am also the only female over the age of 6 around because all of the women in the village are doing serious work. Trish and I were really struck by that so we decided to try to get a girls game organized. We got Christine, the girl that lives in our same place, to organize a team from the girls she knows from town and the other secondary school and we enlisted dolly (an awesome teacher at pabo) to help us get the word out to some of the girls at our school that might be interested. Dolly made an announcement at the morning assembly on Friday and the girls lit up! They seemed really excited. I hope they make it out!

Friday we got back to pabo in the afternoon and went over to where some of the other teachers are staying to have a book talk. Then some of us went out to bamboo (a restaurant in gulu town) to aci nancy's going away party. Phil from last year, got boise state to scholarship and Ugandan student for 4 years! She will be staying with phil for a while (undefined length). It was fun with a bit of dancing and seeing tons of people.

Sat Catherine and I got up early and went to get a cup of coffee together and discuss life. Then we left for the rhino sanctuary. On the way there we stopped in a little town and got some snacks from the roadside vendors. My favorite (you southerners will appreciate this) were the boiled g-nuts(like small peanuts). Once we got there we had lunch and then it rained really hard so we sat around a bit and then drove out and hiked out to where the rhinos were. It was incredible to see them and be so close to them. We saw 5 out of the 6. We did not see the dominant male. One was pregnant. 4 of the rhinos were from Kenya and 2 from the us (Disney land) so they knew English and Swahili…funny. It was a pretty chill place. We just played cards and hung out and took nice showers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Hey, guys, this is Michelle. I tried for days to call Danielle, and after talking to at least 10 customer service people found out the number is wrong. So, if you want to call her, go buy an international calling card and call her at around 2:00 PM our time. She is 7 hrs. ahead of us, so that will be 9:00 PM her time. At that time she is finished with dinner and at camp in the dark with not much to do, so she'd LOVE to hear from you! The correct # is 011 256 715 280 475. She loves and welcomes your comments, calls and letters. And, of course she covets your prayers.

Love and God bless,

This week

On normal days I get up around 6. I get ready. We heat up water with
our little stove and have oatmeal for breakfast. Trish and I usually
go together to the latrine because it is used by everyone in the White
House and we don't like to shut the door so one stands outside and
watches for people. (and holds the toilet paper) Then the 3 of us hop
on our bikes and head to school. It is about a 20 minute bike ride
usually. If it rains it takes a little longer because you have to
dodge puddles and such.
At school we all have different schedules but when we are not teaching
we are in the staff room. It is a lot different than the states
because the teachers just hang out in there even if they don't have
class because there really isn't anything to do in the camp. A lot of
the teachers just have a room in Pabo and go home on the weekends.
Even if they have a permanent place in the camp they still go to Gulu
for the weekend.
After school we go back to our place and sometimes go for walks and
such and then have dinner. Once it is dark we stay in.
So camp life is sort of not super eventful so I thought I would just
make one post with the highlights.
This past weekend was the first time I felt that family feeling with
this group. We were just sitting outside the house talking about Jesus
and it was so great. It was just a great reminder of what I am doing
here. One guy Matt said "thanks for the words" and it was really so
great to hear.
One night Ben was telling us about how he woke up in the middle of the
night and thought that he was blind because it was so dark. Just the
way that he told the story and how he went to the bathroom and tried
to turn on the light but there wasn't any power and he said click
click click. He said he thought I know I need to act fast. I almost
wet my pants.
I was hit with the blessing that God gives you just enough to get
through. I feel like I have been reminded that He is my strength and
my constant and I am not alone wherever I am. I am happy to rely on
Him and glad he makes it so that I need to.
John let us borrow a set of battery powered speakers. It has changed
camp life to have good music playing in the evening.
Monday was market day so the streets (mainly just the main one but the
back street was pretty crowded too) were filled with people from all
over selling all sorts of things. The down side to the whole thing was
that since there were so many people in town the local disco, which
happens to be right behind our place, played music all night (til 630
am). It sounded like the music was right in my room. Heinous!
I got to talk with harriet our cook about her life and about her
little girl jovanna. I got to hold her too. Harriet got pregnant while
she was in school and the father didn't want anything to do with the
baby since it was a girl. Harriet said that was fine because she was
going to take care of jovanna herself and she would do a great job.
She plans to go back to school too. She just has such a caring and
strong spirit. I hope to get to learn more about her the next two
I met the head teacher from a school down the road. He told me that
his son (could be his nephew) married a British woman and lives in
England with her. Then he looked at me and said "why don't you marry
an acholi man?" Both Charles and I just busted out laughing.
Trisha and I have started somewhat of a tradition; we wash our hair on
Wednesday. It is really a process. We get a chair and a wash basin and
the tea kettle and take turns washing the other ones hair. It is kind
of an enjoyable experience to look up at the stars and have someone
wash your hair. Robert came out at one point and was laughing at us.
He said it was the White House salon.
Wednesday morning my coteacher Geoffry came by to try oatmeal. He
asked me what we do for breakfast and I told him we have oatmeal which
is like porridge. I told him he should come over and try it so he did.
When I handed it to him I told him he didn't have to finish it all if
he didn't like it but that I was happy that he tried it. He definitely
didn't like it. He said it was fine but he only ate like 2 bites and
then just sat there with it. After a little while I took it from him
and threw it away. It was kind of funny. He had to bring his own spoon
because we only have 3. He is somehow handicapped in one of his legs
so he rides a bike very interestingly. On the way to school he said my
tire was flat so we had to stop to get it filled and he paid for it
which was really nice. Then he said he needed to stop and by a few
things (breakfast) so I went ahead without him.
We have had a lot of rain and when it rains hard it gets into our
rooms. When we got home Thursday night matt found out that his camera
didn't work and that all his clothes were wet from the rain getting in
his room. Then he got soot on his pants. He had a rough week. Trish
bought him a warm beer (:
I have been opening my letters from home and they always make my
morning. The pictures are awesome and the notes almost make me cry.
Every time I am away I realize what amazing people I am constantly
surrounded by and I am so thankful. Then when I got to the IC house
in Gulu I had a letter from michelle. I cant tell you how much those
things mean to me. I cant believe that such amazing people are
thinking about and praying for me while I am gone.

Conference and such

So our first week in Pabo was very short because we left Thursday
night so that we could make it to the conference on time Friday
morning. The conference was focused on participatory strategies in the
classroom. It was pretty informative and it was great to have
something like that before we started teaching. Walter Knox is the
head teacher at Pabo and he was super excited and supportive of the
ideas in the conference. I am really excited to be at his school and
to talk to him more about the teaching exchange and his ideas about
the program in general.
Sunday we got to go to St. Jude. It is an orphanage. It was so great
to just play with kids and hold babies (: it made me think of all my
babies at home and I miss them. Some people got some great pics.
Around 4 we left for Pabo. The 3 of us shared a whole matatoo. It was
a very strange feeling to pass a matatoo filled, no busting with
people and here are 3 munus riding in one. Not cool.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

7-4-08 happy 4th of july

Apparently we are going to celebrate 4th of july next Sunday.
Today I just got up and got ready for the conference. Unfortunately
there was no water so I didn't get to bath but whatever I am over it
The conference was pretty good. We had a pretty good talk afterwards
about an article we all read. We talked about the tensions between
helping enact change and supporting the movement back to indigenous
education, between modernization but not westernization. It is pretty
Anyway then I went to the market and got some fruit..yay. then we just
hung out for a while. Tomorrow group 1 leaves and Catherine and amy
are going to go safari and rafting with them and be back wed.
I am going to start working on blog entries throughout the week (as
much as I can til my laptop dies) so that they aren't so boring.

7-3-08 back to gulu

When we woke up there was a huge rain storm. It was nice to cool
everything off and get rid of some of the dust, but we were worried
about navigating the mud on the way to school. I say the mud and not
the rain because no one moves in the rain. Matt was all worried about
getting to school on time and trish and I were telling him not to
worry. We ended up leaving just a little later than normal and we were
one of the first ones to school. On the way not too far from the house
some guys yelled to us to get over to them and park fast. I didn't
know what was up so I just did what they said. Then a huge bus came
flying around the bend and splashed so much mud and water everywhere.
I was so glad that they were so nice. they were cracking up but at
least we weren't drenched in mud.
Since the teaching and learning conference is Friday at 9 we had to
leave pabo Thursday afternoon. Trisha came down with something so we
left school a bit early so she could lay down before we had to ride.
(we think she might have eaten some raw cassava which is not good but
not as bad as a parasite or something) she puked but felt ok for the
It took us an hour and 45 minutes to get to gulu because it rained so
hard and the rain makes the roads worse.
It was nice to be back in gulu but I have found that all these
constant transitions are starting to get to me. I feel like I have to
keep leaving places. Gulu still feels more like home than pabo but
hopefully that will change soon.

7-2-08 Wed.

School went well.
When we got home Christine wanted to take us to the market. We walked
around the very small market. By the time we got there most of the
venders had gone home for the day. Unfortunately there is not fruit in
pabo but the first Monday of every month is market day. Apparently a
ton of people from all over come and the market stays up for super
long. I am hoping that people come with fruit.
Anyway we walked around with Christine and met Robert in the market.
We stopped at the police station (small office-ish room with a desk
and a bench). Robert and matt went to the local bar that had a pool
table (outside). Trish and I decided to go back to our place and
attempt to wash our hair. We have a jerry can of water to wash with so
we decided since we both have long hair it would be best to wash
eachothers. By the time we got everything together it was dark but we
did think to use the tea kettle so it wasn't too back. We put her iPod
on the all the way and could sort of hear music and looked at the
stars while the other washed your hair. It was almost enjoyable. Matt
came in and he and Robert were laughing.
Poor matt. He is with two girls. We have (sort of me) instituted
personal question of the night. It has been fun learning about
eachother and giving eachother crap for things.

7-1-08 Tuesday

We all got up and tried to make something for breakfast. I actually
found all bran in kampala so I had some of that. Then we got on our
bikes (side note: Robert took my bike to get the tires filled and it
also needed a tire alignment and brake work apparently, sounds like
when I take my car to the shop in the states) Matt's bike lasted about
45 seconds and something broke. He walked it to the bike shop and took
a boda to school.
My first day was pretty great. I showed Geoffry a foldable to help
students organize their notes. I taught the first class and he taught
the second one. He also really liked my idea about ways to introduce
operations with integers. So we will probably just start right off
working together. We have very different approaches but I feel like I
will learn a lot from him because of that.
There isn't much to do in the camp so teachers just hang out in the
staff room all day. There are soo many stupid house flies..what is the
purpose of those things??
Before we left walter our head teacher said he wanted to take us
around the camp. We got home and hung out outside our shop to wait for
him. He came and took us to the hospital that is about a 10 minute
walk into the camp. It was a pretty nice place. We went to the back
were the doctor and nurses live. We met a nurse and sat in his place.
He had a color tv! He was watching a dvd, celione dion's I'm your
lady, on repeat…oye. I thought about the time I rode with Courtney
blakely and jessice white kline to fca camp. Anyway he was really nice
and we have his number in case we ever need it.
When we got home from school trish and I went to the latreen. (we go
together because we never want to shut the door so the other is a look
out) when we opened the door a HUGE rat ran out…o camp life (:
When we got back harriet had our meal ready so we sat down to eat.
Once we sat down we met another woman that is living behind the shop
too. Her name is Christine. She is working with another ngo in the
camp. She seems really nice. she ended up eating with us because, as
usual, there was way too much food. I love that we can all eat

6-30-08 monday Pabo Pabo Pabo!

Today we rode to pabo for the first time. We left mid morning and got
there around 11. I think it took about an hour. It was a very bumpy
ride. You take the great northern road from gulu. This road goes from
south Africa to Egypt! I think it would take a lifetime to travel the
whole thing cause it is so bad with pot holes and the such. Our camp
is like 5 hours south of sudan so a bunch of huge trucks pass by all
the time coming and going from there, more on that later.
So when we got to our place we met Robert and Charles. Robert runs the
shop and manages the rooms and Charles is the accountant. They both
seem pretty great but Robert is much more social with us. He also
lives in one of the rooms. Our place is right behind the shop. You
walk into a courtyard and there is two rows of rooms and latrenes in
the back. It is pretty nice.
We got three rooms but two of them were not clean yet so we put all
our stuff in one while we went to school and Robert was going to clean
them up. Trish noticed that we didn't have nets so we had to ask
Robert about that. He said that he would get them so we didn't worry
too much. He also took our bikes to get the tires filled and such.
We left "our place" to go to school for the first time. The school is
about a 45 minute walk or a 15 20 minute bike ride. It would not take
so long on a bike if the roads were not so bad and there weren't so
many huge trucks coming by.
By the time we got to school geoffry (my coteacher) did not have any
more classes so we just sat and talked about what he was teaching and
even started planning for the next day. He seems really open to trying
things and really nice.
After school we took bodas home. Once we were home walter, the head
teacher, came by. We were obviously trying to get settled in so he
said he would come back tomorrow to show us around. He seems really
nice and very happy to host us. (he is actually the acholi that they
consult about what to bring to the camps in the Sunday video (michelle
I will get that back to you))
Harriet our cook is 23 and she has a 9 month old jovanna. Jovanna
fears the munus but for me I think she will let me hold her by the end
(: harriet cooked our beans and chapti, I think for me there will be a
lot of beans in my life for the next month. She made so much that we
asked Robert to eat with us. He didn't sit with us but he did eat our
food which we were very happy about.
We all turned in pretty early because we were pretty tired from
travelling and it was very dark because there is no electricity ever.

Monday, June 30, 2008


I have found it hard to really organize my thoughts since I have been
here. In some ways I feel like my experience here has not yet started
because I haven't really gotten to my final destination. I hope that
when I get to the camp finally and unpack that I will be able to feel
more here.


Patrick never made it to the house yesterday. We were suppose to meet
at 12 and I waited til 1 but he never came.
Instead I went and met up with matt and trisha at aweri (a displaced
school near the house). Trish was going to meet up with her teacher
from last year and he was going to take the two of them to town to get
bikes. We figured he could get a better price. It was very helpful to
have him because he inspected the bikes and had the shop owners fix a
few things before the decided on a price.
While they were working on that I went to a shop and bought a little
stove. We will heat up water and such with it. We will get a jerry can
each of water a day to bath in and we can use it to eat with if we
boil it really well.
This morning we got up and went to Gulu high for church. The students
put on a service there. It is the best service I have ever been to in
Gulu. It is infused with acholi culture and it seems to be really
heart felt. Today was sort of a special day because they were doing
the handover ceremony. I guess the have student leaders and the
positions were being changed today. We didn't get to stay for the
whole thing because we needed to get back to have a discussion about
Confessions of an Economic Hitman. The conversations were really
good. I would love to have a book club read it and discuss it when I
get home.
Today after lunch we went and visited st. jude orphanage. Orphan is
not really an acholi concept. Mostly children who lose their parents
are just absorbed by other family members. The families of the
children at st. jude cant afford to take them on at this point. There
were quite a few kids there of all ages. We just played and then the
kids sang.
We got back and made dinner as Sunday tradition. Then a lot of us went
to kope café to watch a movie. We watched Charlie Wilson's War. Then
we took bodas home. Some people went to watch a soccer game.
I leave Monday at 9 to head to pabo. We will stop by our house, the
white house (:, and then go to school to meet our teachers. I have no
idea what my schedule will be but I know that trish and matt and I
will be teaching the same students so that is nice. Then we are coming
back Thursday evening so we can go to the teaching and learning
conference friday and sat.


We met our teachers last night. Mine seems to be really nice. He has
been teaching in pabo camp since last year. He lives behind a shop and
goes to gulu to his family every weekend. It is pretty expensive to do
that much traveling but hopefully he can ride with us sometimes. We
all met (21 north American teachers and 19 Ugandan teachers) for
dinner Friday night at kope café.
Kope café is a new place in gulu town. It was started by jolee and
Jamie. Jolee is the woman in the rough cut that shows the film makers
what is happening in Uganda. She is an amazing woman and she has not
only been instrumental in IC's work she has also started her own
organization to help the acholi children. It is a sort of after school
program that has traditional dances and school help and assistance for
child mothers and such. It is a great organization and all the profits
from the café go towards HEALS. The café serves western style food so
not many locals like it but it is usually pretty packed with NGO
After all of the Ugandan teachers left we had a little dance party. We
hooked up someones iPod to the speakers and danced for a little over
an hour. Then we took bodas home. It was funny because I remembered my
first boda ride at night. It is fun to see people experience things
for the first time and remember yours.
This morning I got up and went for a walk with a girl here jen. She is
really nice. We just chatted. Then the 3 pabo teachers went to kope
café to meet our teachers for breakfast at 9. Trish's and my teacher
were on time but matt's was about 45 min late (TIA) by the time we got
our orders taken and the food came it was 11. I had to leave to meet
up with Patrick (my teacher from last year) so we just decided what
trish would pick up from the store (to take to the camp for breakfast
and such) and I headed back.

Friday, June 27, 2008

one more thing

i mentioned being homesick and i thought about it today. it is a great feeling. one of the greatest things i learned last year is that i really do love my people at home and when i got home i realized that i really do love my ugandan family (ugandans and group members). i am so blessed to be surrounded by such people and because of Jesus i have the capacity to love them...really love them. so while homesickness can be not a great thing it is also the best thing (:

reunited and it feels so good!

it is so great to be back in gulu again. we arrived wed around 645. i was greated by a huge hug from margot and then i went inside to see doreen and she was so excited! she hugged me and told me she was so happy that i was back. we settled in and had dinner and i cut up some pineapple like old times.
the next morning during breakfast agness came in (the woman who helps doreen and cleans) everyone said their usual good mornings then i got up to greet her and she realized who i was and yelled and hugged me and pulled back to look at my face and brushed my hair back and said "it is so good to welcome you again!" it was music to my ears.
it was funny traveling to gulu. you dont realize how much a part of you a place becomes til you come back. it just felt good to come back.
today we went out to lunch and did a few conference type things. we had a language lesson. the funny part about that is that it was different information than last year. we have concluded that luo words have many different meanings and depending on who you talk to can be taken different ways. one of the funniest parts is we found out that a common greeting and thank you apwoyo when spoken with a flection at the end means rabbits! so he said most munus (whites) walk around yelling rabbits all day. hilarious. o well they know we are not acholi.
i am going to pabo camp monday morning. we will usually go on sundays but for our first day we will go on monday morning. i am excited to see where we will be staying. i am staying with trisha (she came last year with group 2) and matt (he is new this year from chicago) they are both pretty great and we have decided to buy bikes to ride to and from school with. i am stoked about that.
there are many differences this trip that i will blog about later.
i hope everyone is well!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

time in kampala

we did pretty much the same things we did last year going to exchange money and lunch but we got to go to the embassy and talk to some people who worked there about education in uganda and specifically in the south. then instead of staying at backpackers for dinner (the hostel we stay at) we went to a great indian place we went on our last night last year. it was really good. this group is really laid back and a lot of them have done a lot of travel so they are not too intimidated.
we leave for gulu tomorrow. i cant wait to see doreen and margot and patrick and jamie!
one neat thing last night ben the guy who came up with the bracelet campaign was in kampala and came and hung out for a bit. i met him in atlanta at displace me so it was neat to see him again. talk is that katie bradel and maybe one of the film makers are coming to gulu soon.
the teacher conference is really soon too because the first group will be leaving soon. that will be interesting because we wont really know our teachers very well yet.
it is odd to me that i am more homesick this time than last. i think it is because i am not as overwhelmed by everything and i had an instant family last year.
God is so good in that a ton of the teachers are believers and we have already had some great conversation. trisha, who will be at pabo with me is a believer and i know we are going to have some great conversations. she reminds me a lot of huli and that makes me happy.
if you want to call (remember the time change) get an international calling card and call 011 256 0715 280 457
the address is Plot 101 PO Box 1123 Gulu Uganda
keep praying
(ps in case you are wondering...i went 3 times today!!)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

first leg and such

we made it to dubai! we are waiting to board so i successfully co-lead the group through travelling from jfk (:
we stopped at the emmerites mall in dubai again. (that meant getting taxis which i helped with) and a few people actually snow skied.
i mention my success mainly because when i said that i was sort of incharge of travel bryan laughed out loud...i am not so great with direction, but i think france prepared me pretty well.
it is weird to be traveling without my gulu family. i didnt have anyone to lean on in the plane. i realized how special the bond we had was now. we were instant family and took such great care of eachother. i am so excited to see margot and catherine and amy in uganda and already miss bryan and phil and seth.
one of the best parts about being away from home is the realization of how much you love the people you left there. i have already thought about how blessed i am by the people at home.
my roommate in dubai was casey. she seems really great. she teaches math and coaches volleyball. we had a great conversation and i am going to borrow her copy of the shack (a book that was recommended to me to read)
thanks for reading my random train of thought, later posts will hopefully be more organized, and thanks for praying (:

Friday, June 20, 2008

by request

by request. my goals for this trip are much like my goals last year with a little twist. i pray that God will continue to wow me in Africa. I pray that He does whatever He needs to do in my heart to make me more like the person He has designed me and desires me to be. I pray that i can be an encouragement and help to those that i come in contact with. I pray that He helps me to use every moment while i am away to glorify Him and really see where He is working and join Him in that. I pray that He gives me opportunities to share His love with others. i pray that people back home are encouraged by the what He does in Uganda while i am there.
i am all packed up and ready to go. just have to wait 12 more hours til i leave charlotte and 24 hours til i leave jfk...
i love the questions jimmy! (hint to everyone else (: )

Monday, June 9, 2008

couting down

I know some of you have been checking this and are tired of not seeing anything new. I will be posting much more when I am in Uganda. I will be leaving the states June 21st. Right now I am just trying to finish settling into my new house and packing things up and tying up lose ends before i leave.
thanks so much for all your support and love and help with all the moving around and such i do. i am so blessed!
looking forward to going (:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Random thoughts

French McDonald's – sell beer, sell chocolate mousse, are expensive
I keep seeing people who look like my people back home, maybe its because I miss them.
I see a lot more men around then women?

Funny moments

My grandmother asked Richard if he wanted an umbrella (apparently he didn't realize we were all getting ready to go for a walk in the rain) and he said no. After a few minutes of walking the rain got a little harder so he said "gee it would be nice to have an umbrella" and my grandmother started yelling that she asked him if he wanted one and he said "well I didn't want one when we were inside" Hilarious!
After walking all day my mom and I were playing cards and when she plays she jumps all around and I said "well that's good for your metabolism" and she "I am done with that metabolism stuff"
I sat with my great aunt Josiane and she was reading my how to survive france French book and every now and then she would say something in English. She always says English words in a deeper voice. It is super cute/funny. At dinner my mom was talking about the fromage (cheese) and she looked at Josiane and said "fromage" to ask if there was going to be any and Josiane looked at her and said "Please" in her deeper English voice.
Because my grandmother is the translator there are often 2 conversations going on at once. My mom was asking about the sausage we had for lunch and Josiane was talking about mayred (not nice word for poo) and Josiane said crotte de bique (poo of a female goat) My mom's face dropped because she thought Josiane was saying that was what the sausage was!
Richard wears hearing aids. At dinner my grandmother was telling my mom to be quiet, a normal thing, and my mom said "O I am not being loud Richard probably doesn't even have his ears on" She looked at him and said "can you hear me?" and he said "If I were downtown I could hear you" point Richard!


We all got up and got ready and my mom and I went walking around. We finally found the real center of town and got to see some neat shops. Everything is super expensive but it was fun to see. We met up with my grandparents at Josiane's and got our things packed up. Josiane's son John Micheal (michelle) and his wife came over and transported out luggage to our hotel room and took us to their house/masion. They renovated an old barn and it was super nice. It was a mix of Ikea catalog and old French decore. They had hanging lantern lights…can you believe it? That whole side of the family is pretty musically inclined but he had a whole recording studio. They are trying to sell the place, I told them I would live there forever! My mom and I went and got some dinner and headed in for the night.


We walked around all day. My mom and I went together and Richard and my grandmother went together. He wanted to find somewhere with wifi. My mom and I went to a neat little café for lunch and had delicious food. We just got the entrée and plat dejur (salad and plate of the day) The salad was good but the plat not so much. It was some sort of sausage. The desert was good of course. We walked around a while longer and then headed back to Josiane's.
Josiane showed me some photos of her family and was telling me about them. She showed me a bunch of pictures of Yann playing in different bands and apparently Dani's niece, Yann's cousin married Michael Flatley Lord of the Dance!
Everyone was resting and Josiane and I were sitting together in her kitchen. I cant understand everything she says but we usually get the gist of what the other is trying to get across. Sometimes we just look at each other and start laughing because we have no idea what the other is talking about. She asked me if I wanted to go to the supermarket to get some raisins and pan (grapes and bread). I said sure so we went and got back and got everyone up.
We all had dinner and then got ready for bed. It is a simple life around here but it is nice.


We got up early and took the train to the island. I had a really bad headache and the hour winding bus ride did not help. We walked through this neat little outdoor market and I thought "o good I can get some gifts after lunch" We went and had lunch and by the time we got out the market was completely gone and everything was closed. Apparently until the tourists come the town shuts down around 2. So we walked to the beach and looked around a bit and then walked in and out of little shops to wait for the bus. Then we sat at a little bar and ate a bagette and waited for the train. The train ride home was really fun. I really saw how similar my mom and grandmother are when my grandmother was laughing really loud. All three of us were playing cards and laughing. It was great.


It was a rainy day. We got up and felt pretty bad about Josiane waiting for us in the rain and wanted to give her some time alone at her house to rest and such so we decided to go out regardless of the rain and get some lunch. It was super cold and we had no idea where we were. Luckily a really nice man gave us a ride to a McDonald's where we had a $50 lunch.
While we were there my grandmother asked a guy if he could give us directions to the road Josiane lives on. When he realized we were going to walk he said he would give us a ride! That was a life saver! He was with his teenage daughter so she waited at McD's and he took us back. He told us that he has a friend in Canada who just told him that she was lost and someone helped her out by giving her a ride so he felt like he should help us. Amazing.
Later when the rain lessened Josiane walked with us to the train station and we got tickets to go to Ile de Ray, the island my grandmother grew up on for monday. We just dethawed (that's for you cindy) the rest of the day and had dinner with Josiane.


We got up and got ready to go to the train station to take the train from Toulon to Paris where we would have about an hour to get from one train station to the other. We thought we would take a taxi but they are super expensive and since my mother and I are overpackers we would have to pay extra for luggage and maybe even take two. Plus we would have to find one, which proved to be harder than we thought before. While we waited for our train Richard and I walked to McDonald's to use the internet. Apparently McD's has been providing free wi-fi for a while. We went in and got connected right away. We did some "business" as my grandmother calls it and walked back to the station. On the way to Paris we decided we would brave the metro with all our bags since it would save us more than $100. So I was the official navigator and leader through the metro. I know what you are thinking…if she was the leader they must have been in a big mess! But we did it! We got through all the changes (just 2) and made it to the station with plenty of time. I even had time to pick up dinner. Just imagine the 4 of us with our big suitcases in the metro in the middle of Paris! Oye
Once on the train to Niort we thought our craziness would be over for the night…wrong. When we got to Niort we quickly realized there isn't a lot of nightlife. The train station was deserted besides us and a family waiting for their daughter to pick them up. We assumed we would get a taxi, you know what happens when you assume. We stood around for a bit and I remembered back when I was coming home from Africa and I thought I was going to have to sleep in the airport in Atlanta because I thought we were going to be sleeping in the train station. Then my grandmother noticed a bar open across the road so we walked to it to see if we could find a number for a taxi. The people in Niort are 100 times nicer than in Paris. There was a police officer at the bar and he called a taxi driver who was home and he came to get us. The bartender said that if we couldn't find a ride she would take us. So nice. When we finally arrived at Josiane's it had been raining all night and was pretty cold and she had been waiting for us outside. She is also a tiny little French lady. She had food for us to eat and then we went to bed.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Random thoughts

Lauren would love France because it is tons of bread and NO spicy anything.
Cindy would love France because they eat everything one food at a time and there are tons of round abouts.
Every time I enter an airport I am overwhelmed with memories of traveling with my Gulu family. I hope that never changes because those memories are some of my all time favorites!
It has been really neat to meet people I am related to.
The commercials in France are super sketch.
Darby - all the cars here are super small...your truck would be so huge here...and gas is like $9.00 a gallon!
My grandmother records everything in a black book...the time we do things..what they eat...how much stuff costs. i guess its a good thing (:


We got up and went to the beach. It was amazingly beautiful! The water was blue and the sun was shining. We had lunch and had a really funny waiter. We had muscles and fries. Apparently that is Brazilian. It was good. Christian went as well and I rode with her. It was fun to try to talk to her. It reminded me of Amy trying to talk to our taxi driver in Dubai. We drove around for a while and then headed back to the house. My grandparents took a nap and my mom and I went to the town to walk around. We went in a few shops and then had a coffee and some pastry called pinaud, I think it is a liquor. The waiter said it was their specialty. It was pretty good. Then we headed back and my mom took a nap and I went on another run, great for the stress and the stomach (: ahh traveling (: When I got back we had dinner and just hung out.


We got up pretty early and went to the train station to ride to Cannes and Nice. It was overcast the whole day so it was a good day to travel. We walked around, Cannes is much nicer than Nice. We had coffee in Cannes and lunch and crepes in Nice. The value of a dollar is very low so things are pretty expensive. I decided to go on another run before dinner and got a little lost. I know what you are thinking "you got lost?" I got a little big for my britches because I had successfully navigated the two cities we visited and thought I would venture a little farther from the house than I had the day before. I had been running about and hour when I realized I was not where I thought I would end up. I talked to a lady who gave me directions that ended up taking me away from the train station instead of towards it. (if someone is lost it is better to not give them directions than to give them bad directions) I asked another lady who gave me pretty good directions and I had them validated by a police officer. I was praying so hard that I would find my way back and then I saw a young girl and asked her directions. She didn't know English very well so she decided she would walk me to the station. Praise the Lord for Marianne! She ended up being 14 and was more than happy to help me. We chatted a little and when I could see the station I thanked her and ran the rest of the way home because I knew my mom would be worried. She was but it was ok. Christian, Nicole's friend, had dinner with us and we did some puzzles.


We left the hotel at 5am and arrived in Toulon around 10am. It was a fun ride with great scenery. Nicole, my grandmother's sister picked us up. It took two trips from the station because her car is small and we have a lot of luggage. She lives on the corner of a little street not far from the station. She had a great lunch prepared for us of roasted duck and ratatouille (veggies). It was great. We sat around and chatted (Nan translated). I can understand about 50% of what Nicole says so it is interesting to try to communicate. She is a very small spunky French lady just like my grandmother. When ever I don't know what to say to her I just say voila, it makes her laugh. We went to the train station after dinner and bought train tickets to go to Cannes and Nice the next day. I went for a little run and got to see a lot of the town.


We got up and had breakfast at the hotel. Croissants and coffee, there is a lot of that around here. It was good and we were off to walk around Paris and then meet up with Dani and Yonn (my grandma's sister's daughter and her son). They are from Ireland, Dublin to be exact. She is a French teacher and he is a musician. He plays at a bar regularly where celebs come a lot. he has played while bono had a beer! They were GREAT they took us to this great little pancake place and treated us to lunch (the big meal in Europe) and cideria (apple cider sangria). Cindy it was delicious! We have to try to make it. Then they took us on a boat tour of Paris and we got to see a lot of the famous sites. Then we made our way back to the hotel and my mom and I had a little dinner and went to bed because we had to get up very early to catch the train to Toulon.

I'm in France!

So Europe is not Africa but it is definitely not America. We arrived Monday morning and right away I realized that it was going to be more difficult to pick up French than I thought. Luckily my grandmother is fluent and does not mind translating. Apparently our hotel was not booked until my mom and grandparents were on their way to my house Sunday morning so I was not surprised when we had no idea how we were going to get from the airport to the hotel. We took a bus and a taxi and checked in sometime in the afternoon. I thought the hotel was nice but my mom thought differently. The people were really nice so that made it better. The concierge was very helpful and gave us a coupon for a little restaurant around the corner. It was great. We got dinner and desert and went back to the hotel. I slept a lot and got myself pretty well acclimated to the time change.

Friday, April 4, 2008

remembering the past and looking forward to the future

So the countdown to Gulu is underway. I read a few of my blog entries from last summer and was overwhelmed again with the whole experience. I cant wait to see what God has in store for this summer. I am going to try to blog more regularly when I get back from France. So please keep checking in with me.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


The show was a amazing success! thanks so much to everyone who donated, help set up, came, entertained, spent money, helped clean up, and tried to do any of the above (:
check out a few pics greg took http://gallery.mac.com/dodsong/100192

Friday, February 22, 2008

the date is set

the benefit dinner and silent auction will be March 15th! it will be at the BCM building on Oakland Ave. across from the wintrhop campus. there will be live music! more info about tickets and such to come.
if you have any ideas for donations please let me know! hope you can make it!

Friday, February 15, 2008

time to pray and hurry up and wait

so i am in the process of finding a place to have the silent auction. there are a few options and i am just waiting for God to put it together. thanks to all that have already done so much! keep the ideas coming!

Monday, February 11, 2008

checking things out

we are going tomorrow to look at a place for the benefit dinner / silent auction and I have already been overwhelmed by the tremendous support and love people are pouring out to me and this project. I already have a few donations and i know that is just the start. chann is going to probably play with some of his friends and he is going to set up itickets so we can sell tickets online. genius!
God is good!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

plans plans plans

my heart swells when i think about the excitement that is right around the corner. it was absolutely amazing to experience God's provision and love for me as i planned and fundraised last year. this year, i am confident, will be no less amazing. i am calling today to get more details about a possible location for the benefit dinner and silent auction. i am in need of donated items to auction off so if anyone has any ideas let me know. they can be as simple as gift cards or gift baskets you purchase yourself or donated items or services from local businesses. so far i have a few gift baskets, some jewelry and maybe some photographs and art work.
there is still some talk of a show so stay tuned for more info on that.
in a side note, this morning i really missed my gulu family. the people i met there will forever be a huge part of my heart and this morning missing them hit me hard. i am so thankful for what God has done to me and in my heart through serving in gulu. as i continually work through all the He is trying to teach me i am overwhelmed by His love and His compassion for us and His goodness that we get to experience love and compassion FROM His people because of Him. does that make any sense to anyone? the inner-workings of a not-so-great writer, i would love some comments (:

Friday, January 25, 2008

o the heart

if you have been reading this you know that in one of my posts i said that going to africa was bittersweet because now i will always be away from people and places that i love. well here is another tug stateside, my new nephew sawyer. he is so precious and i love him so much. he is laurin's (my college roommate)!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

the next adventure

Ok kids its official I am on my way back to Uganda with invisible children this summer. The exact times are still up in the air and there is a possibility I will do some work with harvesters in Kenya after the teaching exchange. As things stand now I am going to be the "point" person at my school and the "point" person for the math teachers at all the schools along with John (another returnee from a different group). I am excited about this role change and look forward to the challenges and the such. I am in the beginning stages of putting together a benefit dinner/silent auction around the end of feb. there has also been a little talk of another show from chann so stay tuned for further updates.
Like before we had to submit a bio and pic so i thought i would share this years.

Danielle Davies' heart is Jesus. her church and friends are her family. Her passions are loving, serving, encouraging, and teaching. She graduated from Winthrop University and has been teaching seventh grade math for three years. She believes God put her in middle school because that is when kids decide what kind of person they will become. And math because, if she can show a middle schooler they can do math, they can do anything. She feels called to teach students who need a little extra love, support, and sass. She stresses taking chances, respect, and working to your potential in her class. They sing, dance, create, and work hard. She spent 5 weeks in Uganda last summer. She learned so much about herself, teaching, life, and love and left a huge part of herself there so she is excited to be on her way back. She believes in this program and Invisible Children and is so blessed to be able to use what God has gifted her with to support them.