Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 30th

Its Wednesday and group two arrived last night. It was a little crazy for a little while, especially when the power went out, but things calmed down and people got settled for the most part. There is not a lot of room in the rooms and they are all to capacity so it’s a tight fit but I think its going to be fine. It is fun, at least for me, to be living in such a close community, if you know me you know I love being around people so this is great for me. There is always someone to talk to and hang out with.

So while Catherine was gone it was hard. I feel like we work really well together and are great supporters for eachother, so when she wasn’t here I felt a little alone. However, I did not feel unsupported or alone in terms of being with group 1. Them being so inclusive and loving to me has been such an answer to prayer. They are such great people and I know that there are some friendships developing that will continue regardless of the miles between us back home (:

Speaking of miles and back home, I had this crazy dream that it was time to leave and go home. I remember in my dream I was super excited to be back with my people at home, but also I was so sad that there were still things I wanted to do here that I didn’t get a chance to do, people I wanted to visit with and see and such. I woke up missing home very badly but also happy that I still have time here. Its funny how honest your dreams can be.

So Monday is a bit of a blur because I woke up with a splitting head ache and nausea. I was also constipated which didn’t help matters. I went to our weekly Monday morning meeting with Jennifer and the whole time I had my head on the desk and my eyes closed. She was very understanding and we finished the meeting and she told me to go home and rest. So that’s what I did. I took a 3 and ½ hour nap! I felt better afterwards but no where close to 100%. I took it easy the rest of the day. I went back to the office in the afternoon for just a few hours to finish up a few things and then just hung out at the house.

Tuesday was a little busier. I went to the office and then I had 2 round table discussions. The first was at Gulu High School (GHS) and then at Sir Samuel Baker (SSB). The ride to SSB is pretty long and it was a bit of an adventure because the boda I got on at GHS didn’t know where he was going, but it was muddy and he was the only one around so I got on hoping he would ask someone for directions. He ended up taking me to the IC office. It was weird because I didn’t even tell him I was from IC. So I got on a different boda and made sure he knew where he was going. It was a long ride 5,000 shillings! I talked him into waiting for free because I am pretty sure that is a little high. He took me the back way which is through some pasture land and this small forest like area with tall skinny trees. It was beautiful but the path was very small and I was riding side saddle so there were many times I thought my knees were going to catch on something and I would spin off, but I never did. When I got home I had just enough time to take a shower and then group 2 was close to getting in. A couple of the teachers made a welcome sign which was so nice. When they arrived we all started clapping and singing and it was kind of hilarious. Then we all had our first dinner together and a brief meeting with group 2.

Today Catherine and Karen and I had breakfast together to sort of catch each other up on the time Catherine had been gone. Then we headed to the office. Its funny because at the beginning we did everything together but now that we are getting more comfortable, the three of us are doing things separately and just keeping tabs on each other throughout the day. Now group 2 is in orientation meetings and we will all go to lunch together at Diana Garden, an acholi buffet. Then they will have time to do mill around time and figure things out. As for me after lunch I have a few errands to do. We are having the dancers from Awere SS (a school IC is working with, they were displaced in Gulu town and have recently moved back to their original site. Its so good for them but it makes it more difficult to work with them because they are so far out). There will be 35 kids so we are going to treat them to dinner at the Ethiopian Place (its right down the road from us). So I am going there to arrange for their dinner. I also am getting a list of teacher names for our conference invites. Then…and this is the best part…at 6 I am going to a Bible study with a friend from the office, Doreen. She works in logistics and we have hung out a few times. She mentioned it the other day and today I asked if maybe one day I could go with her. She was super excited and said “O today is Wednesday! Can you come today?” I was so happy she was excited about me coming. So she is going to meet me at the house around 6 tonight! I will definitely let you know how that goes. This weekend is super busy, please be in prayer that all the plans go smoothly and everyone has a good time. Also please pray that my stomach starts working a little better (:

Sunday, June 27, 2010

back from rhinos

Before I talk about the rhino trip I want to talk about Friday. I got to go pick up the teachers from Pabbo and see a lot of my old friends from there. I chatted with Walter the head teacher and my co-teacher Geoffry who is not the deputy head teacher, he also sat in on our round table. I saw Dennis, I don’t remember if I ever mentioned him in my blogs but he is a wonderful man who loves the Lord. We would talk about the Bible and one day we had this amazing discussion about joy in suffering. I still remember it so vividly today. To talk to someone living in an IDP camp about joy in suffering was one of the most humbling and perspective altering moments of my life. Then at the end of our stay he gave all of us bananas from him and his family whom we never got to meet. That was one of the most precious times. I remember being super tired and emotionally exhausted then but afterward looking back it was really a beautiful time.
I left gulu along with lisa, another teacher, around 10 and arrived at Pabbo to meet up with Jenni and Pablo and their co-teachers. We had a great round table discussion and then picked up their things and headed back to gulu. I had forgotten how bumpy that ride is, it kind of made my stomach turn. Once we got back I did a few things and then we had a group meeting and dinner and just hung out because it was raining super hard.
Now for the rhino trip. We successfully made it through the first trip I coordinated on my own. It’s actually not as amazing a feat as it may sound. All I had to do was collect money from everyone and pay out our bill at the sanctuary. The rhino sanctuary is one of the most relaxed places I have been to. We left gulu around 11 and drove for about 2 hours. We arrived, set our stuff down in our rooms and headed out to “trek” to the rhinos. We had a guide and drove out into the bush for a bit. Then we got out of the matatoos and walked for about 10 minutes or so to where 3 rhinos were. There was the dominant male, a mother, and a baby. It was fun but it was super sunny and hot. We took some pictures and then headed back to the sanctuary where I had a hot shower! That was so nice. Then we sat around and chatted til dinner. After dinner we played some cards and some people went to watch the world cup game down the road. Everyone else pretty much went to bed. I woke up kind of early and packed my things and had some coffee and read my Bible outside alone and it was super nice. Then Lisa and Lindsay and the Sassers joined me which was wonderful because they are great. Slowly everyone came out and we had a yummy breakfast and then loaded up to drive back. Now we are all back and everyone is doing their own thing, getting food, shopping, hanging out, etc. I am going to go to town with Lisa Lindsay and the Sassers (Katherine and Patrick) to the market and then to get some dinner. Catherine is in Kampala waiting for group two to arrive tomorrow morning. I am excited to meet them and super excited to see Trisha.
Funny stories
- We were playing cards and something, a huge lizard or mouse or something crawled up my leg and I yelled and ran. The funniest part is that the waiter was about to ask me a question and he was totally freaked out. Everyone was cracking up.
Please pray for group 2’s arrival and settling in time. There is a lot of extra work this week and next week is the conference so we can use all the prayers for smooth transitions and such we can get (: Also my digestion is not doing so hot so please pray for that as well.

Friday, June 25, 2010

So the longer I am here the more find myself talking and even thinking in the broken brittish English we use. Its funny. We actually had an interesting conversation about language, what is “correct” and who gets to decide. It is interesting that Uganda and many other colonized countries end up adopting the language of their colonizer, or at least a broken version of it. So I always thought that it was sort of this lingering oppression. But after our roundtable at gulu high my thoughts have sort of shifted a bit. The ugandan teachers commented that the country needed a unified language and that no tribe wanted to take another tribe’s language so English worked for everyone. They all noted that it is important for different tribes to keep their original languages but that using English was important too. it was an interesting conversation in light of colonization and globalization. We all agreed that no matter what the language the important part was communicating your thoughts and feelings, that also becomes complicated when you are teaching. You want your students to write “correctly” but again who decides that and why do they get to decide.

so my round table at Gulu high went well. i got to see some friends from that school that i havent seen in a long time and it was so nice that we remembered each other. since then i have been doing a lot of office work, getting things ready for group 2 to arrive and getting the extra trips squared away. also i have had a great time hanging out with group 1 teachers. seriously it is awesome how so many people from all over can come together and get along so well. I have really felt a part of the group which is so good for me. thanks for the prayers on that one.

this weekend we are going to the rhino sanctuary so i dont think i will have access to the internet. but you can email me and i will read it when i get back (: hint hint (:

also you can text me at that number as well.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Latest

Ok so I have sort of lost track of what I have posted about. It’s funny because it is not hard to get online anymore in Gulu. There are actually internet cafés with wireless! Nuts! And today Richard did something to my computer so now I think I can get wireless at the office, but days seem so long that I forget what happened instead it is sort of just a stream of events in my head. Sort of like the stream of items on the ever growing to-do list I carry around. It’s funny to see how different people organize things differently. Catherine carries around a numbered list of things and just keeps adding to it. She numbers it and just keeps adding to it. I on the other hand cross it off throughout the day and add to it and then at the end of the day rewrite the things I still need to do and start over the next day with a clearer list.

Hmm Sunday was interesting. I didn’t get to go to worship but I read a little by myself in the morning and started the day a little slower than the others. Then Catherine and I went to the internet café where we got coffee and did work online for like 3 hours. Then Catherine went to st. jude’s (orphanage) and I went with Karen to the market to buy things for the camp.

So its hard to be in the market and know that you are getting the munu price. Its hard on lots of levels because one you don’t want your presence to negatively affect the price of things and make it harder for others to get things, also you don’t want to haggle someone out of their profits. I think for me Sunday the biggest thing was I just wanted to communicate that I was there serving. I just wanted us all to be human for a minute together, not American and Acholi or first world and third world or developed and under developed just human. That’s the hard part, its hard and rare to get to the place here with locals that you are both just human. Honestly I think its hard to get there with anyone. We all look at eachother and look at ourselves with certain lenses. I was praying that I could see with the Lord’s eyes and experience with His attitude and heart. Thoughts?

Sunday night we met up with the high schoolers at the Ethiopian place right down the road from our house for dinner. It was delicious food and good times. Catherine and I ended up sitting outside with two IC staff who were chaperoning the kids. One of them was actually a roadie who stayed at the volunteer house with us the first year in Gulu. It was fun that our paths crossed again.

Today was the teachers’ first day at their schools. They all, the ones who were actually at school, had interesting stories. I am especially excited for the teachers at Keyo SS. The school is far away but it sounds like the staff at that school is great and the American teachers (lisa, Lindsay, and Amanda) are great as well. I spent most of the day at the office doing budget stuff, emails, meetings, and trying to get money from finance. We sent the teachers out to Pabbo and Catherine went with them to get them all squared away.

Tomorrow I lead my first round table and finish up some emails and such. I get to go back to my old school Gulu High (:

Sunday, June 20, 2010


So it’s the weekend. That really doesn’t mean much for me in terms of work except that the IC office is closed. Last night (Friday) we had the meet the teacher dinner. It was really beautiful. We had it at Churchill Courts, it’s a new place and seriously it is amazing. The food was delicious and everyone seemed to enjoy meeting their teachers. I am so excited about the support that the teachers exchange seems to have in Schools for Schools. 2 staff members, Patrick and Jennifer came and gave speeches about the program. It is fun to see how the program has grown, the Ugandan teachers have a better understanding of what is expect and what the program is about and the reciprocal exchange was such a huge success.
Geoffry my teacher from Pabbo actually participated in the reciprocal exchange. It has really had an impact on him. He saw me the other day and we spoke and yesterday I learned that he is the deputy head teacher and has applied for a supervisor of education for macindi district (I think that is correct). Anyway he said “we both have to grow” because he sees my new position as a promotion (: he was very kind and asked me to pray about his new job. I also heard that he started a scholarship program at his school and got money for the 4 top performing students (one from each level) and when they figured out who they were it was 4 boys and he said "no we have to find a girl child" and he is working on getting 8 scholarships so that 4 will be for boys and 4 for girls! that is like seriously amazing! that has been one thing that i have been thinking through (mainly on my 30 minute boda ride out to keyo ( one of the schools i will be working in once a week). thinking through women's roles according to scripture and how that has been messed up in the states and here just in different ways. and thinking about how to work for change and not be ok with the status quo without going to the other extreme. i think at the end it boils down the Jesus and the Holy Spirit. People have to know the love that He has given and be transformed by the Spirit to be a vessel of that love for others and then women can be free to be submissive because it will be submitting to a man who would lay his life down for her and put the Lord first and then her. thoughts?
I have been super busy running around trying to be sure to get all the paper work done and everything ready for the teachers to start school Monday and especially the teachers in Pabbo to be sure they have everything they need before they go. That is what we will be focusing on this weekend. Also tonight we get to go meet the high schoolers that got an opportunity to come to Gulu through different competitions and see some Acholi dancing. Tomorrow we will get to spend more time with the high schoolers at the ethopian place (that’s the name of it ) for dinner.
I have not gotten into a schedule yet and I have not spent a lot of time in the Word, but the encouraging cards filled with scripture have been such food for my soul, thanks so much to everyone who contributed to those. i told catherine that they are literally a life line for me. being here and so busy with so much to think about and do and see i can sort of feel a little lost and not grounded, then i read a note from my people and remember what is important, what i am here for, who i am in Christ, and who He is making me into. its so good for my heart!
Last night I rode a boda (dirt bike taxi) who had one bad eye and he was so fast and drove so close to things I thought I was going to fall off a few times! I had to tell him that I was not in a hurry and he did not have to go so quickly.
by the way i am just bruised from the bed (:

Friday, June 18, 2010

back in gulu!

Back in gulu and feelin fine! Our trip to gulu went well. The road has improved a lot. My time here has been so so busy. I never realized how much work happened behind the scenes til I was the one doing that work. I still feel a bit detached from the group but I am finding my nitch. It is humbling to be serving constantly and having to work within a system that does not always make sense to you, but it is good. God is continuing to use me and stretch me and I can’t ask for anything more.
Since arriving in gulu on Tuesday I have spent a lot of time in the office learning about the procedures to get money and items we need to live here. I am so grateful to have amy and Catherine and Karen to work with and be able to all put our heads together to think a few steps ahead.
I have been so thankful for all the items that were purchased for me to use here. Seriously, every time I use a babywipe or hand sanitizer or my clip board I am reminded that I am not here alone and that I am loved back home! Even more I am reminded that the Lord will provide and I am a part of an amazing body of believers.
It is Thursday night and we just got back from BJ’s (used to be Bomma), it’s a restaurant/bar that plays music some nights and on Thursdays when there is not the world cup they have trivia. So we went and danced for a bit tonight.
Tomorrow the teachers meet their partner teachers and the exchange begins! I am super excited for them.
Please pray for continued health (I think the colace and probiotics are really working well) and that I would be able to do all this job and do it well.
Catherine of course is back here in gulu with me. She is the teacher exchange coordinator this year. I am so happy to be back here with her. We have great prayer time together and just seem to work well together.
Lisa is from my state and was here last summer. She has a great sense of humor and ability to be brutally honest with people.
Pablo is going to Pabbo, I know funny huh? He is from California and hilarious. He entertained us with hilarious facts he learned from the san diego zoo’s feburary 14th love night on the way to gulu. He is always ready with some hilarious comment.
Funny stories
-For some reason the bottom part of the bunk beds were not put together so well. So wed. night everyone was going to bed and I heard some girls laughing and I went back to see that one of their beds had fallen apart. Well one of the parts of my job is to manage the house so I went back to check the rest of the beds, especially the top bunks. I somehow totally forgot that the bed had fallen apart and went to sit on it and completely fell to the floor. I laughed so hard along with everyone else in the room!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

same but different

so first i am here in kampala (central uganda) safe and sound. i left charlotte at 1 pm on sat. and just so happened that i was sitting right across the aisle from lisa, one of the teachers. so we got off together and met up with lindsay, another teacher, they knew eachother from last summer, and had dinner and checked in. the flight to london was not too bad but there was a lot of turbulance, i thought of amy, she would not have enjoyed that (: but i was able to sleep. then we landed in london on sunday morning and catherine, amy, and karen (staff intern for the summer) had lunch and our first staff meeting. i am super excited about my new roles this summer. then we boarded the plane for uganda. unfortunately the flight was really rough and i did not sleep so i was super tired today when we landed (monday) we had a full day of shopping, school visit and dinner, but luckily we found time to squeeze in a much needed nap. after dinner (which was the first of my duties, to get the reservations and money situated) we headed back to the hostel, where i am now.
its been a different kind of transition than i was anticipating. i mean i knew i would miss my people but there is also learning what it means to be in this different role with the teachers as well. i am looking forward to being able to serve them and show them love, but that takes a constant dependance on God and a laying down of self. i was praying earlier praising God for the opportunit to die to self and work here solely for Him and His glory, to be a vessel of love and grace and generousity because of how He fills me (:
also!! i have had tons of opportunities to talk about the Lord! there is a sweet married couple (only one year, she is 25 and i think he is around that same age) that love the Lord and she and i got to talk along with nathan about what we believe about mission work, i got to pray with allison who's luggage is still in transit, and talk with karen about what she believes about truth.
- i am already falling and hurting myself (surprise)! everyone has picked up on it already and they arent suprised when it happens
-we went to a little cafe in london that didnt have half of the items on the menu. we laughed and said "are we in london or gulu?"
-lindsay is HILARIOUS! she can make me laugh like ben from chicago! i love being around her!
-my official title is legistics officer (i think (: )
-my ankle is hurting but it is ok
-i have gone poo twice (praise God!)

Friday, June 11, 2010

leavin on jet plane (:

i think i have had a post titled this before. it is a song, i dont know who sings it, but i remember my dad singing it when i was young.
anyway, i am about to leave on a jet plane, a big one (: i have been talking with catherine and packing and getting ready to go and i am getting super excited. it is funny because in a way i feel like i am going home and leaving home at the same time. i am blessed to have family to travel with, new family to meet, and family to miss.
God is so good and His love is poured lavishly on this undeserving and broken girl.
we had an awesome time of prayer and fellowship last night. moments like that i like to take a minute to think about the amazing people in my life. God's character is so apparent in their lives and they are all different. i just want to sit and sing the praises of the God who allows me to be a part of His body the church!
so today after a delicious roomy breakfast there will be packing packing packing, last minute purchases (thanks heather (: ), music at the ice cream shop, and cary ann hearst in charlotte.
tomorrow will be yoga with diana and off to the airport where i start my jouney to Africa. I am not sure how often i will be able to post til i get there but we have a 12 hour lay over in london where amy and catherine and i plan to gallivant around together and chat about plans for the summer. i cant wait!