Monday, April 19, 2010

Apparently, people know we are here

Last Saturday night, the girls stayed over with some college girls down the road, so Doug and I decided to take Caleb out to eat.

There is a inn/restaurant right around the corner that we had never tried, but we thought it would be a good night to do so.

We had come to this place every Friday to get sodas for "movie night" at our house, but we had never eaten there.

I walked over and placed an order for the three of us, and then I walked home to do some chores. I had heard it usually takes an hour to get your food, so I knew I had time.

I hadn't been home five minutes when there was a visitor at the gate.

Doug went to the gate, talked a while, came back to the house, and told me what had happened.

The manager from the inn had come to our gate to tell me that the fish I had ordered was what? Was finished. (that's how they talk here).

He wanted to know what I wanted in place of whole tilapia (which is not what I thought I had ordered, as in tail fin, eyes, scales, etc).

Doug changed the order to fried fish fillet (pronounced fill-it here).

This may only seem a little weird to you, but my first thought was, "How in the world did he know where I lived?" Did he go down the street saying, "Did you see where the mundu in the red shirt went?"

Or, more probable, did he just know because everyone here knows everything?

People come to my gate for money because I'm a mundu (foreigner).

The man came to my gate selling cheese last week because he knows mundus like cheese, although I had never seen him before in my life.

So, whether we think it or not, we are being watched...and that's a good thing.

I hope they can see the hope and life that we have, and they will want to know why we're different.

So, people I haven't even met yet know where I live...

I'm sure the whole town will be buzzing to know why we won't be here for the next month.

On second thought, who am I kidding? They probably know my schedule better than I do.

If I don't post again before leaving, have a great month of May.

Pray for us while we are at 40/40 to become more like Jesus and to learn all that He has for us. It will not be an easy journey, but we hope to come out on the other side, looking more like our Savior.


Sarah has arrived! She sleeps everyday on Karis' bed while Alice works. I'm having to get used to a crying baby in the house again.

Alice gave me another tip (remember the "drinking lemonade" trick for losing weight?) She said all African women, after they have a baby, take hot water every night and rub it around their waist and squeeze very hard. She said it makes the baby weight go away.

Aren't you glad I'm here to gather all these tidbits for you?!

Parts of my neighborhood

If you look out our front door, to our right, there is a Sudanese family that lives next to us. On the other side of them is a school. (See above). This was taken after hours, when some kids just stayed around to play ball. So imagine all the children that have already gone home, and then imagine them all in this two-room building trying to get an education. You do the math.

Next door to that primary school is this nursery school. It holds even more children, but I guess since they are smaller in size, they thought they could build a smaller building. They are blessed with some semblance of play equipment in the front, which is a first for me to see at a school in Africa, so that is nice.

Just thought I'd show you part of the street I live on.

fresh chicken

Doug went to visit our watchman Jeremiah the other day, and he came home with a chicken tied to his handlebars. He felt very African.

It's a good thing we learned about killing chickens. I knew to immediately start boling water. Patrick got to work on killing, and with my water, began plucking it. Since we were leaving in such a short time, we ate the meat that night. But the real reason we had to kill the chicken immediately (before Doug even got his backpack off) was because Lee and Matata (the dogs) kept nipping at the chicken's head on the bike. It would not have survived 3 minutes in our yard. So, we opted for fresh chicken meat.

New things for me

There are a few things to get used to here.

Everyone in the country “takes tea” every day, no matter what the temperature. I know they do the same thing in England, which is where this tradition came from, but it’s not 90-100 degrees every day in England. On the hottest day of the year and any other, they will be boiling water for tea around lunch. And, they don’t sweat when drinking it like I do. In fact, I never see them sweat, and I am a perpetual faucet. Oh well.

I miss music in the house. I think we are going to look for an ipod speaker that runs on 220V when we go to Kampala. That will make cooking in the hot kitchen a lot nicer.

One of my friends put this on her blog, and I had never put it into words before, although I had noticed it. Everyone picks their nose, and they don’t mind who sees them. It is not done discreetly like we “may or may not” do it in the States. It happens in important meetings, in greetings, or in just walking down the street. Everyone picks their nose. Maybe I'll join in...

Geckos and spiders are a welcome sight. They are all over the house, and we don’t bother killing them in hopes they will help us control the mosquito population.

I ride in a car only one day a week, and that is where the only air conditioning is in my whole city – in vehicles.

I have not had ice in a drink since I left the States in January. When I made my first trip to Germany in college, I remember really missing ice in my drinks. I mourned ice my whole trip, but now I live without it every day, and God is really sustaining me. I rarely think about it. He is good.

I have not see iceberg lettuce since I left the States. Boy, I miss a good salad. I ordered a salad the other night when Doug and I went out on a date and it came with cubes of tomato, cucumbers, and red onions. The end. No lettuce.

Of course, you can’t buy shredded cheese here. I bought blocks of mozzarella cheese in Kampala when I arrived in country and have kept it frozen in my freezer to use (the cheddar does not taste the same and there are no chips to make nachos anyway). Two weeks ago, mozzarella cheese was found here in an Arua grocery store! Also a man came to my gate last week with a warm wax ball of mozzarella that he made in his “laboratory.” I bought it, and it was okay. I’m all out of cheese now, because we’ve had to clean out our fridge. We are unplugging it tomorrow while we are gone away.

We really miss chips and nachos. I have been shown that you can cut and cook chapatis (tortilla-type things) in the oven, and they become pretty decent chapati chips.

Sometimes we miss Dr. Pepper, but we’ve found another drink we like (Krest Bitter Lemon), and it has become a fast favorite.

People asking for handouts is not new, but it’s frequency is. We knew it would happen, but you can never be ready. I walked out of the grocery store yesterday, and a girl said, “You give me 100 shillings.” They don’t really have a word for “please” or a soft way of putting things. Since I had just seen her shopping in the store, I gave her nothing. Last week, Doug bought a bus ticket for a man to get back to Sudan. This morning, I gave money to a man to help pay for his brother-in-law’s funeral (he says he will pay me back next month). Yesterday, I contributed to a wedding fund, and Doug was asked for money while riding his bike to Bible study. You get the point. All of the above was just the last week and a half. We have to say, “No,” a lot, but sometimes we say, “Yes,” depending on how the Spirit leads.

So anyway, those are new things for me. When I think of more, I'll let you know.

Home - pictures by Karis

Matata waits so patiently by the back door. She camps out there in the morning until I open it, and then she sleeps by the screen door all day. I feed her out that kitchen door. What can I say, I've got a friend.

We seem to have many meetings, so we bought more Lugbara chairs. We love sitting out here in the morning and all throughout the day. We just wish the mosquitoes weren't so bad at night, so we could sit here at dusk.

Karis is getting a bicycle for her birthday when we go to Kampala. I'm very excited all this pavement is in our driveway because with all the holes in the dirt roads, it would be hard for her to learn anywhere else.

In case you are wondering, Karis borrowed my camera, and she took all of these pictures and wanted you to see her view of things. The thing I notice in every picture is the absence of leaves. EVERY morning, starting at 6am, the watchman starts sweeping the leaves, and he does so until he has done the whole yard. He then burns some and composts some. Every national does this every day, so it is just habit for them.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More smiles

Erin and Cole sent the kids and Doug photo albums to put their African adventures and memories in. I got a magnetic "to do" list to hang on the fridge. Does she know me, or what? I'm loving it!

What I've been using is torn off scraps of paper from a 20 cent graph paper notebook I bought in town. I tear off part of a sheet each week to write my list on.

The one good thing about my lists is that I'm able to write about half of them in Lugbara now. I even ask questions and talk to the people in the market in Lugbara. Wanna know what the response is?

After they laugh, they answer me in English.

I think I'm going to have to get out to the villages to practice my new language. There is too much English in the "city."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Smiles in April

We received TWO packages in the mail today. One was a bubble envelope sent March 15th and one was a very small box sent March 18th. Two other girls on our team received Medium Rate boxes today that were mailed at the beginning of NOVEMBER. They contained their Christmas gifts! So I'm feeling very blessed! God is good.

Gloria surely knew how to pack that envelope. My kids are going to get mac & cheese tonight for dinner, and they are all excited about taking baths to see their foam safari animals grow. The bonus for me is that she took everything out of it's original packaging, cut out the instructions, and put it all in ZIP LOCK BAGS! I might just throw one of my old ones away, just because I can! Thank you SO, SO much!

One more bonus is the instant cornbread. I've been making it from scratch, so this will be so much fun!

Gloria, the girls were out picking mulberries for a cobbler, but Caleb was inside, and I wanted to make sure you got to see at least one of the smiles you helped create. Praise the Lord! (He was asking to take a bath at 3 o'clock in the afternoon).

Package 2 was blessed school supplies. Thank you, Carol B!

If you know me at all, you know my favorite stores are a toss up between Office Max and Office Depot. Office supplies just make me giddy. (Anyone else out there besides me and Kylie?)

I know. I know. These are school supplies for my kids, but I get to use them, too, and I'm thrilled!

The Easter candy was perfect, too, since I had none to give my kids. Oops! Four packages are missing from this picture because my three and another girl devoured them before I could take a photo.

One of the things I knew that couldn't be sent easily was a white board. Our small one is falling apart, and we use it every day for spelling.

The journeygirls here let me in on a secret they discovered, and then...they gave me the white board they had made.

It is a frameless picture frame with a white piece of paper stuck between the two pieces of glass. Clever, huh? Except for the painfully sharp edges, it's pretty ingenious! So now we have two boards to use with our pretty new markers.

Caleb is demonstrating below.

Carol, this smile is for you!

And , in case you didn't notice these beauties, I took a close-up.

Jalapeno pepper seeds!

On the wish list I sent some of you, I need to add "Cans of Pickled Jalapeno Peppers, nacho slices." We really miss those (although we don't have any decent chips or cheese to make nachos.) The peppers would be good to put on lots of things.

I made dill pickles last month and used some pili pili peppers I found in the market.
Can you say H. O. T.!? I had to give all but one jar to the guys house (because Doug doesn't eat dill pickles). The jar I kept is the one I experimented with by leaving the pili's OUT. After I grow some jalapenos, I can attempt to dill some more pickles, and I'm very excited!

We love being thought of and remembered. Thank you Carol and Gloria for taking the time to love on us through a package. Thank you also to everyone who comments on my blog and sends me emails and facebook messages. I know it is easy to forget about the little things in your busy lives, so it really means a lot.

What did you think it was?

We were invited to the 10th annual Easter Monday goat roast at the Mayor's house. Everyone brought side dishes, and there were many foods represented: German, Dutch, Ugandan, American, British, and...goat stomach parts??

Doug and I passed that bowl up, but it was definitely interesting to look at.

Before the prayer, we were told that even though people used to sacrifice goats this was not a sacrifice. This was a "roasted goat."

Caleb and I went to look at the goat, and Caleb said, "It looks like it's running."

I was thinking, "It didn't run fast enough."

So, yes, it's a goat. What did you think it was?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Last time

Last pics of Murchison for this trip, I promise.

I just got my photos off of Doug's computer from our first game drive, and there were some new things to show you.

The first is a Jackson Heartbeast. Our guide said this was the "ugliest animal in the park." Well, I know all of God's creation is beautiful, but God was definitely thinking of something crazy with this one.

Love this picture.

Yes, we let our kids hang out the window jut like the guide (can you see her in the front window?).

The national animal - Ugandan Cob

Cape Buffalo and Egrets (hanging out just like they do by the cows in Yoakum)

Aren't those spots amazing?

Dung Beetle. We saw this guy rolling his ball down the hill just as we drove up.

His beak is the color of the Ugandan Flag.

OK. Now I'm finished. Thanks for humoring me.

Palm Sunday

These girls followed us from our house to the piki stop. Notice, they have palms, too.

(This is the crowd leaving and coming between services)

Starting the Friday before Palm Sunday, palms are being sold and attached to bicycles all over town. By Sunday, every person in town has a palm branch. Our watchman bought one for each of us. The kids carried theirs to church Sunday.

I volunteered to be part of a new ministry at another denomination’s church that will send us into people’s homes who suffer from HIV other sickness, so we can pray for them. This last Sunday, we went to be introduced to the congregation.

This is a rather large church, and Palm Sunday is more popular here than Easter, so ushers had saved us seats in the front row.

About 800 – 1000 people all came in to sit down, everyone with their Palm branches waving. The minister announced that we would be reading from Isaiah 50 and Philippians 2, but before we did that, everyone needed to go back outside and line up in front of the post office next door, so there could be a processional with the palm branches.

Caleb and I stayed seated as did about 100 other people, but everyone else filed outside. This was so amusing to me, because as people exited on one side of the building, late-comers came in the other side and took over half the seats of the people who had just left.

The processional had no music, it was just a mad dash back in after about 25 minutes outside in the sun.

The part that was different from America is that not a sound was heard when the people re-entered. There was no, “Excuse me, you are in my seat.” “Excuse me, my family was sitting there before we went outside.” The nationals just figured if there were already 16 people on a row, surely it would hold 10 others, and they just kept scooting together closer and closer.

Communion was taken at the end, but the church doesn’t have enough money to provide wine for the congregation except once a year at Christmas. So the minister took the wine for the people, and everyone else just had a wafer.

We met with some officials after the service about the home visitations, and I’m hoping to hear something soon.


I thought this owl met his end with an arrow, but my kids tell me Patrick killed it with a slingshot. Patrick said it makes awful noises at night and chases other birds away. I never heard the owl, but there is a bird that sits outside my window ALL NIGHT LONG squeaking that I should let him know he is free to have target practice on.

And, yes, that is my son loving on the dead bird.


Our watchmen keep a bow and arrows on the property, and Caleb is fascinated. So one day, Patrick (our watchman) made him his very own. Shortly after, the girls had one, too. Very fun. The kids then took grocery sacks and tied them to their arms with string so they would have a quiver for their arrows.


We received an email awhile back saying that the boat our crates were on would arrive in Kenya on March 23rd. I’ve been tracking the ship on a ship-tracking website, and the last time the ship “checked in” was on March 11th, north of Morocco. So, I don’t know where it is, but at least it left the US.

I have also heard the customs agents will want to unpack every item in our crate in front of us and attempt to re-pack them before letting them travel to Arua. I have no idea how that will work unless much prayer is involved. It took 7 hours to get all that stuff in the first time, and I think it only fits one way.

Ode to the Sanitation Department

Oh how I miss thee picking up my trash and carrying it away.
All of our rubbish is in our backyard.

If it can be burned, it is. If it can't, it just sits there in a pile.
No recycling here.

My bread dough went bad in the fridge because of lack of electricity.
I threw it all out into the food pit in the back.

My "smart" dog at all of the raw, moldy dough, and
Then he threw up in the front yard.

Oh, how I miss you, Sanitation Department of the USA.