Thursday, April 24, 2008
Holidays are here. Well not officially until Monday but the exams have been given and these last few days while teachers are marking are called "lousy" (aka lazy) days and the kids get to relax. They are preparing now for The Day of the African Child to present a song and poem. Please pray for safety and no idleness to get into trouble. With 90 kids it is hard to keep an eye on all of the kids all the time.
Also, 2 kids have "red eye" which i am pretty sure is pink eye. Pray for a miriacle that this contageous "sickness" doesnt spread throughout the kids. It took the chicken pox 2 months to finish here. So, we need quick healing, wise handling, and the protection of the Lord to keep sicknesses out.
And continue to pray for baby Gift who was burned last week. We, staff visited her monday and the whole front of her tiny body was burned (from face to knees). Pray no infection and complete healing. And pray for mom, annett because she was not herself (who could blame her). pray against what ifs and for the peace to still and calm her mind... that she would know that He is God and cares.
Thank you prayer warriors. THis ministry wouldnt work without you
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I realize that it seems as if you get a lot of updates at one time. Sorry, but the internet is not always faithful or speedy, or the computer is occupied and when I am not teaching. I am looking at the options for internet in my room, but currently it is a bit expensive, so pray for more options or more funds. Maybe the Lord will provide and I can stay more connected.
There is a funny sight to see as the rainy season is really kicking in. I wrote a few weeks ago about the kids making noises at the ground to “call” the white ants (aka huge termites) out. Well, these days the white ants (and rain) are in abundance. Every morning I see people at the side of the road, with sticks, digging in the ground. The funny thing is it is not just the kids searching for these bugs, it is adults and children alike. They have their baggie or their cup.
Once enough have been found or the sun gets to hot to bear, then they will go home, wash them, let them dry and then fry and eat them.
LCH is no exception. Every morning before school the kids are out looking for white ants. The pathways of the school are covered with the wings of these insects and kids are so happy being kids, digging in the dirt, and picking up insects. Plus the reward is great, a “sweet treat” for break time. And yes, even I have eaten some.
It is fairly common that Pastor and Mama will have someone bring a gift to their home. Usually fruits or a chicken. Well this special week we had two cocks brought to the house. The orange one, having arrived about 2 days earlier, was not very welcoming when his new friend, Mr. Whitey, came and was trying to claim the territory as his. We usually tie the hens and cocks to these poles and all is fine. Well, not today because they decided that they wanted to fight.
After trying to stop them, we realized that it was more fun to watch them. So we held our own cock fight at the house. We would place Mr. Orangey across the courtyard, waiting for the new intruder to cock-a-doodle and then the attack would happen. I see how this could be a thrilling activity in the States but so illegal, because if we would not have stopped them they would have fought to the death.
BULOLELO WOMEN’S GROUP
Last week I was invited to attend a “women’s group” for one of the workers at LCH, Annett. Always curious to see and experience new things of course I went (also feeling very honored because many times I think people fear to invite me to more “village-ish” things). The essence of this group is that women from the surrounding area gather about 2 times a month and “host” all their friends at their home. The ladies combine their funds to help pay for food and buy the host something that she is needing, whether chairs or iron sheets for the room. They also have the “health inspector” of the group inspect the sanitation and structure of the house, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and compound and then make comments.
Timeliness is not exactly understood here. The invitation said events began at noon. Me and my friends from LCH arrived at Annett’s house at 1:45, only to see that we were some of the first ones there. But we did receive a warm welcome from some of the ladies who ran to greet us on the trail shouting their “aye-ye-ye-ye-ye-yah!” I like that.
But when there is music playing, there is only so long one can remain sitting until their feet start tapping and they have an overwhelming urge to get up and move to the music. So of course we danced.
To keep everyone under control and the kids out of the party, security was resent and ready to use her power.
And like any good party, food was served… rice, matoke (un-sweet bananas), chicken, gnut sauce. One interesting fact is that when you are at an event such as this (or a wedding) then there are no eating utensils because your fingers do a great job at scooping your large portion of food into your mouth. Another interesting fact is that it is very common to use banana leaves to steam food and then to cover it to keep it warm.
There are two popular waterfalls near Mbale. About a month ago I visited Sipi Falls, but my new friends invited me to join them on a day trip to Sisiyi Falls. With all the rain, things were so beautiful!
These are my new friends. They are working as teachers at a missionary school and I eat pancakes, play games, and spend the night on Fridays with them.
It was a small hike to get to the base of the waterfall. Once we reached there, we climbed around on the rocks to make our way up a boulder near the falls to sit and chat a bit.
After lunch we did more hiking and adventuring.
And even got to pet a monkey. It is the owners monkey that has been tamed and was tied to the tree. We were a bit nervous at first, but ceased the opportunity to get near and touch a monkey. All in all it was a great day.
Friday, April 18, 2008
But until then here is a little more news in and around LCH. Last week workers come out and dug a boar hole (water well) in the middle of the garden. This week they returned to test and see if water was really in the whole. Praise the Lord that running water is there. For three hours they had a generator set up to the hole and were pumping water that they then would take for testing to assure that it is safe. It is the simplest things, like fresh running water, that we so often take for granted but are such a necessity of life.
Next week students will begin exams and as of FRIDAY we will have holidays for one month. I am really ready for a break and to be able to just go to the home and play with the kids. Also, teams begin arriving May 14. I can't believe summer is already here. I imagine life will be fairly busy coming in a months time. But praise the Lord that He is sending out workers to harvest the fields. I am excited.
I can't tell you how my heart falls more in love with these kids each day. Today they surprised all the staff and teachers with a presentation. They wanted to do something to say thank-you, and seeing as they are kids and all they have is what we give them, they decided that since they don't have the means to buy gifts then they would do something they are very good at. So, they called us all together and Allen was the MC of the presentation. She welcomed us and told us that there was a special singing and dancing group from Kampala coming. Sure enough our kids were all in role and dressed in their street clothes (rather than uniform). They sang and danced. I love African dances. Lots of movement and skill. So precious and such a joy to get this gift from them.
That is it for now. Keep looking for another update with pictures and stories.
Prayer request: one of the workers (who washes clothes)- her baby had a lantern fall on her and parafin poured on Baby Gift and she was burned pretty bad. She is still in the hospital. Pray no infection, and quick and complete healing (no scars). Also pray for mom to not be ridden with guilt.
Friday, April 11, 2008
- At church last Sunday we had elections for the youth and I was nominated and voted in to be over the sports activities of the youth. This means (I think) that I make sure that we have all equipment, I plan tournaments on Saturdays with other churches, and generally plan and host fun. I think I can handle that. In all honesty this is an answer to prayers because I have been seeking God as to what my role and involvement should be at the church. I think it is vital to be plugged in and serve (instead of always taking and going) but I have not been sure to what extent. I feel like this is a divine placement because Camp has well prepared me with a storehouse of games and activities in my head and so I can use my “talent/skill” to bless the body. So, please pray with me as I will initially be focusing on building teamwork and drawing youth back into being involved in the youth group (it has somewhat sat still for awhile).
- I went to my second overnight prayer last Friday. They hold these the first Friday of every month and church members come from 8pm on. I arrived at 10:30 and spent an awesome night of praying, singing, hearing teaching, singing, praying, and more singing. I pray that the Lord was blessed by that night and our sacrifice of prayer. I stayed until 4am. It is a good challenge and great refresher to spend such an extended time seeking the face of God and in His presence. He is truly a LIVING GOD.
- Today is day 2 of drilling a well at LCH!! Yes that is right, they are drilling a boar hole (meaning a well that you will manually pump water from). I knew the plans were one the drawing board but things moved very fast (surprisingly) and yesterday I arrived to see 3 huge trucks with serious equipment on them. They started quickly in the morning. Of course all the children were enthralled to see what was happening, but when they started up one of the big trucks to drive it to the exact spot for drilling, a kid named Davis ran away shouting, “I am sorry, I am sorry, please forgive me!” Ha, I don’t know if this kid might have been up to mischief in the morning but he definitely thought his punishment had come. The workers spent the day drilling the hole. I had a few chances to stand by and watch, along with about half of the village kids and old men. It is very interesting. They have one truck that has the drilling machine and one that has a sort of generator/air compressor. When they begin drilling, air blows dirt all around. They drilled 39 meters yesterday. It was a great spiritual picture of “if this is what man can do, how much more can God do?!?” Just as the machine broke though different levels of the earth to get to fresh water, so the Lord breaks through all matters of junk and issues in the heart to bring forth Living Water.
- As awesome as the drilling is, half of my garden is now destroyed because the big truck drove right through the middle of it. HA. Really it is no big deal but kind of amusing.
- End of term is coming in 2 weeks. Then we will have a one month holiday. We are also gearing up for the summer teams to coming. Starting in May, we will have over 15 groups coming to Uganda. It is exciting. Pray as there will be a few people coming to stay at my compound for an extended time. I am very excited about this.
- The kids are good. There was about 3 months that chicken pox swept through the entire bunch, but I think that season is over now. Praise the Lord. Pray continued safety over the kids and the grounds (from insects and animals).
- Rainy season is here and (except for this past week) it rains everyday from about 2:30-3:00 pm or 4:00-5:00. So this is good for the crops and good to cool down the weather. The road to LCH is starting to get a little sloppy though, especially when it rains everyday and if there is no good sun to dry it up.
- This weekend I am planning to go to Pancake night with the American group and then spend the night with some of the girls. On Sat, I will go to the market and buy stuff to make pico-de-gallo. MMM. I had a dream last night that I was at an enormous dinner buffet with all of my favorite food, so my taste buds are already wet. To accompany my hint of Mexico, since there are no tortilla chips in Uganda, I am going to learn how to make posher chips. It should be interesting.
- My heart is good. I can’t believe that this month makes it 6 months of being back and in May it will be one year of friendships with the Ugandans. I still really love everyday that I am here and the kids are such a treasure to me. Surprisingly I have not been too homesick. There are occasional days that I really miss the depth of conversation or getting to hear funny stories and comments, but overall I feel at home here. I am really looking forward to the summer teams coming because it is fun to get to interact with them and be renewed with their enthusiasm, and because I have a handful of really special people who are coming with some of the teams that I just can’t wait to see!
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
user name: natalierolf
(note: there is no "e" at the end of my last name on this)
So, maybe this will be a way to connect with more of you. I hope so.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
On Sunday it had been raining in the morning. As we were coming back from church there were a couple groups of kids who seemed to be laying down in the middle of the road. As we passed they moved but left behind plastic bags that were being held down with stones. Curious as to what was happening, I asked. Glenn told me that when it rains the white ants (which are these big ants with wings that kids collect, wash, “fry”, and eat- and yes I have tried them and they taste like burnt popcorn seeds) hide in the ground sometimes. If you put bags over their holes and make loud noise then it attracts them up and you can catch them in the bags. The most amusing part of it was when I got out of the car I could hear tiny, high-pitched, screeches from all the surrounding streets. The noise was like an echo throughout our neighborhood so there must have been quite a few kids out trying to call the ants up from the ground. Who knew?
Sunday night there was a concert of local Christian artists at one of the hotels. Some people from church were suppose to be performing, so I went with a group of friends. Well, a few things to know about my concert experiences here in Uganda is 1) most of all the singing is in Luganda or Swahili, which I don’t speak. 2) I am pretty sure that EVERY song that is performed is by lip-singing (which makes things fairly amusing when words are coming but the lips of the person are not moving because they are dancing), 3) People are not shy to walk up (or dance up) to the stage to give money to the performer. In fact it is very common to appreciate your favorite singer. 4) I was one of 2 mzungus there, so I automatically draw a little attention from the kids, which is no big deal but amuses me.
Well, I had been sitting nicely, kind of dancing in my seat to the musicians who had come up. There was one performer who the crowd went wild for. His song was lively and upbeat and he brought about 20 dancers on stage with him doing local dances. So people from the crowd were flowing to the stage to give him coins. One of the Bible College students that I was with then put a coin in my hand and said, “Natalie, we go.” Not much of a choice in it he grabbed my hand and we started walking. Let me paint a little more of the picture. The whole time I had been sitting in the front and now it was dark, so not all of the kids had seen me there. I was still somewhat unnoticed as I walked with my friend to the stage. But then we reached the area where the spotlights for the stage also brought light onto the ground. Well, if you know me and music that has a fun beat, it is hard for me to stay still and not dance. So, of course at this point I am dancing as I finish my way to the stage and give my coin to the singer. But as I turned around and was shaking my shoulders in the local-dance-move way then you could hear a slow eruption of giggles from the kids in the crowd as they saw me, in the light, dancing. Ha. It just made me smile and I finished dancing to my seat. I won’t lie though, my heart was beating fairly fast once I sat down. Not from over-dancing but from the adrenaline of drawing attention. When in Uganda, do as the Ugandans. (One of the Bible college guys said on our way home that his favorite part of the night was seeing me dancing. And it was a fun memory for me too.)