Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this : to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. -James 1:27

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hodge Podge #2

It is definitely a season of visitors, which is fun. Usually it is the mission teams that I get to visit with on Sundays before they spend the week doing hut-to-hut, but sometimes people come for longer. There was a wonderful woman named Susan that was here teaching music and the past month I have made a great new friend, Lauren, who is doing her college internship here- living life in another culture. She is about my sister's age and we have had a fun time making jokes, talking about life, and just being silly. I am so blessed that God has been faithful to bring great girls that have a simular personality as me (Haley and Lauren) in the past 2 years. Just sad that they always seem to go. Maybe one day I will have a long term kindred spirit to work and play with. But this is Lauren and I with Marium, Beatrice, Norah, and Naula.
I also hosted my own team. They were part of a group, Global Journey, and had previously been in China and India. They came and were a bit of a sickly team, but God quickly nursed them back to health in a little more comfortable conditions. Glenn graciously offered his house for us to all stay at and we had such a great week. It was wonderful to hear their stories of what God had done in the other places and also wonderful to catch up with my friend Sarah, that I know from TbarM. The team did a great job working on painting the kindergarden classroom block. And we had fun at night playing games like Cranium and making cinnamon rolls together (thanks Kara!)

While the team was still here, I also had my dear, sweet, wonderful friend Erin come to visit me!! How blessed I am!! She spent the past 5 weeks in Ethiopia and I said that if she was on my continent then she was required to come visit me. She gladly did and will be here until the end of July.

So, while Erin, Lauren, and the team were all still here we went to Sissiyi Falls. It doesn't matter how man times I have been there or hiked that mountain, I love it every time. It is really one of the most beautiful places in Uganda (that I have seen).

The River Nile.
I have been confused as to why we call it the Nile River in America but clearly the words are reversed here. What is the real name? But after I took this photo the army man jumped up and shouted something at me. It immediatly brought me to a flashback of the army man that tried to take my camera because he was corrupt. Not this time!! I told Glenn to just keep on driving, quick.

I love the house moms. They really take care of me. Auntie Ritah is always up for a good laugh.

Music Competion PRACTICE:
The kids have spent the past week and a half practicing for music competion. There are 8 areas to present including: western piece, sight reading, drama, original composition, traditional composition, original dance, traditional dance. They have been working really hard and it is so fun to hear the deep-soul-beats of the African drum ringing through the air as I am down at the school. These local instruments are really my most favorite Ugandan music. I have no skill at it, but it was fun to have the kids try to teach me something.

What a huge, amazing, fun, exciting, and wonderful blessing it is to have a new library. Well, when I say new it is true but it is not like we had a library before, just a few books scattered here and there. For the past year Mike Thrasher has been collecting books and organizing to send a container (via ship) full of books/resources/school supplies. Two weeks ago his team was here to "unlock" the boxes of burried treasures and build shelves for the library. The whole team worked so hard to set it up and the outcome is almost unbelievable. What a blessing. They taught each class how to use the library, look for a book, and check it out. AND we had a huge party for the official opening. I really can't speak too highly about it. It will be a blessing for generations to come. Thank you to EVERYONE who contributed time, money, books, resources, etc. They are greatly appreciated by everyone here!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A hodge-podge of updates #1

So, internet is moving a bit slow right now and refusing to upload all my photos. So, here are some updates and there are more to come soon.

Overall, life is very good. It has been VERY busy with visitors at LCH, my new friend Lauren who is doing her internship here for a month, the Global Journey team that I hosted, and my sweet, dear, wonderful friend Erin who has been doing work in Ethiopia who is now in Uganda until the end of July to visit me. But I think things might be calming down a bit.

I really have so many more small updates and stories, but they will come with time (and internet speed).

Put a smile on my face:
On the day I was about to pick up my great friend Erin, we had a little time in the big city, Kampala, until we had to head to the airport. We were walking from one shopping center back to another and on the sidewalk in front of me I saw this man. I was greatly amused when I saw this man. If you notice closely you will see that in his little woven bag on his back he has a goose and a chicken AND a turkey around his neck. Right in the middle of the city. It made me smile.

These are just some photos that I liked. No particular story or reason, they just say, "Africa" to me. Enjoy.

So I brought some seeds again and had asked permission from Mama to plant in her inside "flower beds". Well, first off I was a bit skeptical because the soil was full rubish and glass. Second, there was only one set of little hand shovels in Mbale at 35,000 shillings and I refused to spend that much. So what is my next best option? A spade used for "scooping" cement onto the walls and making it smooth. The spade worked pretty well. But seeing as it was a small space to plant I choose those things that didn't have huge vines. As I hoped (despite the soil) things grew really well and extra big. But i also realize that I planted some of the least usable vegitables. Things like okra, lima beans, and too much lettuce. Now my lettuce has overgrown and is about as tall as I am. Who knew lettuce could grow that tall? But I still have some seeds and do plan to plant them at some point.

Arabian/Indian Wedding:
A few weeks ago Glenn informed Lauren and I that we had a wedding reception to go to that night. He is friends with the dad, and seeing as Lauren needed to attend a wedding for part of her internship curriculum we all became really excited. Well, the weekend came and after showering to be ready by 3:30pm, Glenn tells us that the time has changed to 6pm. Ok, typical Ugandan style. Well, when it came down to going, we were finally told to show up at the hotel at 8pm. We got dressed up and arrived, only to find that the chairs were stacked at the location of the ceremony. Not sure whether we had missed the wedding or whether it was starting even later, Glenn went to ask someone. When he came back he said that it was scheduled to start at 9pm, but he wasn't sure what sort of wedding it was and if he would be able to attend. We were a bit confused as Glenn continued to report what the worker said. "We men will be leaving before the ladies arrive because our sisters will be undressing." WHAT??? What does this mean? We were all really confused, but it was confirmed later that indeed, only women were invited to the wedding reception. So, sad for Glenn (but at least he had another guy who was misinformed and sat with him, inside the hotel). Lauren and I joined some other Mzungus who were staying to the hotel and went out to the reception. We just sat there for a long time until around 9:30pm when the music started and a group of woman got in the middle of all the tables and started dancing in a "mamba" type line but with some serious shaking and hands moving gracefully through the air. There was about 20 minutes of this dancing when the oldest mzungu on the team was beckoned from one of the Indian ladies to join in. She did with full enthusiasm. Then we all started joining in. It really was a lot of fun because these ladies got a kick out of teaching us mzungus how to shake it like they were. We danced for neary an hour, then sat because we were exhausted. It was during this rest that Lauren and I realized why the man said his sister's would be undressing. Seeing as they were from a Muslim background the women are required to keep their heads wrapped in some sort of cloth. They were considered "undressed" without the head covering because in their religion their husband is the only man allowed to see them uncovered. And we also decided that it is during these "women only" ceremonies that they are able to really express their own style and show off their beauty (and feel really beautiful). These women had thier hair done up and were wearing beautiful prom like dresses. Really stunning to be honest.
So time continued to pass and all the mzungus went back to their rooms but Lauren and I had waited this long already. We really wanted to see what would happen when the bride arrived. Well, at 12:45am we said we would wait for 15 more minutes. As we were getting up to leave we saw the bride's car arrive. We were told she had spent all this time getting her hair, makeup, and henna done. After she had walked to the front stage it was a time for her just to pose for photos. We had heard word from the other mzungus that they were requested to not take any photos but as the bride was up their I looked to Lauren and said, "If we have waited this long I am going to get a photo." We went up to the front and snapped some photos until one of the Aunties came over in a mean voice and said, "No recording! No recording!" Well, we already got the photos. So we left the reception at 1:20am. And that is when things were just going to get started. I have no idea how long it lasted.
God is good:
I am still amazed at what God is doing here in Uganda. He is definitely making his name great. I am so blessed each Sunday when the I Choose You children have a "special presentation" for us. They are so cute and proud. God is faithfully restoring Hope and fathering the orphans and widows here.