Saturday, August 7, 2010

Heading Home

The coaster is here....and the long journey begins.....

Monday, August 2, 2010

A good day 7/29/10

Yesterday was such a good day. I don’t think it was one big thing that made it a good day but all the little pieces put together make it a good day.

I got up and went to Pece Stadium with Catherine and did our normal morning work out. Then we walked to the store to get some yogurt for a fruit salad for breakfast at the house. We took it easy getting ready and had breakfast in no hurry. We left for the office around 9. I did a few budget things, some accountability with Nancy and sent some emails. We left the office at 12:30 and went home for lunch. Catherine and Karen went to a round table at Sacred Heart and I stayed at the house for a bit more and got my clothes off the line and made my bed with clean sheets. Then I walked to town with my Bible to read some and write a few notes. On my way there was a kid on the side of the road with a bike that had lost the chain. I walked by and then turned around to see if I could help. Fortunately it wasn’t too bad and I was able to help him put the chain back on the bike. He was thankful and his sweet smile made my afternoon. As he peddled away a caught the eye of a man that had been watching us, I waved with my greasy hand and he smiled in a way that made me feel like he was genuinely appreciative of what I had just done. (side note: the bike was way too big for him. It was a man’s bike so he put his leg under the bar and held onto the seat instead of sitting on it. It is a crazy way kids around here make do with such big bikes.)

I sat at Kope Kafe (the restaurant Jolly and Jamie started as a way to fund HEALS) I wrote a few encouraging notes. The great part about writing those sorts of notes is that you get to read all the wonderful promises of the Lord that you want to remind your friends of. I was reminded that the Lord loves me and has a plan for me and will take care of me and draw near to me. Then I headed to St. Mary’s for a roundtable meeting. The meeting went well and they are planning to do an active strategies workshop that I will attend next week.

Sarah and I left St. Mary’s together and headed to St. Jude’s orphanage. I hadn’t been back since the day Samuel died. I had been wanting to go back but hadn’t found the time when I had the emotional energy to be there again. As soon as we got off of our bodas we were greeted by little ones who were ready to play. They grabbed our hands and we were off. We sang and danced around. I sort of made up this game were we would walk and say “low low low low” and crouch down and then say “high high high high” and jump up and down. We would walk the length of the house and when we got to the end we would clap. We did quiet and loud, fast and slow, and shaky and straight. It was so fun and they loved it. Of course they wanted to do that game over and over again but that was ok with me because I was just soaking up time with them. When the older kids got home from school the girls changed and we met with them in the book room. Karen and Raysa had come to teach them some American dances. We did the Macarena (we didn’t have loud enough speakers so Raysa sang) and the electric slide (we just danced around with no music). Then they showed us some of their dances. We each had a teacher or two and then we had a dance off. It was pretty funny. Then the girls sang and danced a few songs for us. Afterwards they broke up in partners, older girl and younger girl, to read together like they have been doing for the past few weeks, a program Jen and Michelle have started. They are very hopeful that the twice a week club will continue.

Karen and I left together and headed to Kope Kafe for movie night. Of course that was a bit of an ordeal. We had to switch computers, boda home to get a different movie, and wait a while for the food we had put in an advanced order for, but by the end of the night everyone had a good time and good food. After the movie Trisha and I looked at old pics from 2 summers ago and remembered some hilarious stories.

Like I wrote, it wasn’t one big awesome thing it was just a great combination of productivity, interaction in the community, encouragement, and fun.

Send off

Last weekend was the first time I went to Jinja and Kampala and did not leave. I travelled with group 1 and Catherine to Jinja sat. morning. We stopped by the craft market briefly and met with with Emmy Jolly’s husband to get some money and then headed to Jinja. We arrived shortly before dinner and enjoyed a delicious veggie burger on the deck overlooking the Nile.

Then the next morning we all got up had breakfast, some bungeed, and most headed to raft. Lisa and Lindsay and I went on the jet boat. Its like a jetski/boat. It works like a jet ski, sucking up water and spitting it out to propel, but it has 8 seats plus the driver. I thought we were going to go down the river but we just pretty much stayed around adrift doing donuts and skimming inches past rocks at 50 miles an hour! It was pretty insane. We went up a few rapids and went airborne. I think it was much scarier than rafting. It was about an hour and then we headed over to meet Catherine by the pool at the hotel next door. It was absolutely lovely.

We made the trek back to Kampala after the last group of bungee jumpers jumped. The normally 1 ½ hour drive took 4 hours because of all the traffic. There are tons of vehicles in the city now for the African Union and tons of security so traffic was insane. We took a vote and decided to go to Lotus, an amazing Mexican restaurant in Kampala and skip the hotel buffet of beans, rice, and chapatti, thank goodness! So we dropped our things at the hotel and went off to dinner. Dinner was delicious! Cindy, the mango margarita was sooo yummy! Fresh mango from Uganda cant be beat!

The hotel we stayed at seemed kind of like a haunted house mixed with the labyrinth. There are so many stair cases and it is so quiet and empty. I learned later from Jolly that her house is actually not far from there and right next door is a member of parliament that she is good friends with. We didn’t really hang out at all once we got to the hotel. The rooms were spread out and only one or two per room so we just got in, cleaned up, and went to bed.

Catherine and I got up around 4:20 to see group 1 off. They were all trudging down the stairs with tired, happy faces as they started off on the last leg of their journey in Uganda. (read Amber’s email post to know more about that). We waved good-bye to them and headed back to our room to catch a few more hours of sleep. We got up around 8, packed our things, and headed down stairs to meet James the driver for our ride to Nakumat. Nakumat is a shopping center in Kampala right beside Garden City where we always go the first day in Kampala to get money and shop. Nakumat is so much better than Uchumi (the grocery store in Garden City). Also in the same shopping center is a restaurant called CafĂ© Javas. O my goodness! I can not explain to you how delicious our cinnamon banana pancake and fruit salad for breakfast was. I actually had an awful headache so I fell asleep for an hour and a half and Catherine sat and drank coffee and made lists. She was so good to me and wanted me to feel better before we went shopping. I know you are all amazed that I could fall asleep in such a loud public place…haha.

We left and did some shopping and walking around and then went back to get lunch/dinner before we headed with Andrew (from IC) and Molly (the new intern that had just arrived) back to Gulu.

I have to share what I got. I ordered a tuna fish salad sandwich and it was AMAZING! On whole wheat toasted bread with these delicious masala fries! It was exactly what I needed to get over my headache and get amped up to start my last 2 weeks in Gulu.
Driving back in an IC truch was SO nice compared to a matatoo or (I can imagine) a bus, so that was a plus. The rest of the week was pretty normal. We have had a ton of rain but that African sun dries it up pretty quickly.