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.