Saturday, October 30, 2010

A visit to ORA

We went to ORA (Orphans Refugees Aid) today for a birthday party for Leejay, who turned 5

and his sister, Lucy, who turned 2.

Their family is from New Zealand, and they work for the ORA organization here in Arua. It provides foster care for orphans instead of having an orphanage.

They live in a house on the base with no electricity, no running water, no oven, one small sink, and a long drop toilet, etc. (and they are truly happy, blessed people) They are amazing.

They are here for just a little while longer. They came for about 6 months to check on everything that they had built and organized three years ago.

Look at this beautiful mural Kim painted inside the piat three years ago.

Kim is also a nurse, and wouldn't you know it? Caleb needed some attention today. He seems to be drawn to nurses...

I wish you could see some of the wounds Kim has treated here and kids she has helped. One boy last week came with severe burns on his arm that his mother had wrapped in rabbit fur. It took her hours to clean the fur out of the wound. Here's what she wrote about it:

"So many kids around here die from burns like these that are either not treated or inappropriately treated with traditional local village beliefs, like covering them with dead animal skin or urinating on them (yes you read that right. There is a belief by some people in this culture that if you urinate on a burn regularly it will heal it!!!) There are also many kids that have badly disfigured limbs or huge lumpy scars from burns that were not treated properly. So to know I am making a difference in at least Jonahs wee life makes every moment of our time here worthwhile."

If you want to see a "during" and "after" photo, look here, and scroll down past the giraffe and lion pictures, and you'll see the picture. She is an amazing lady.

All the children got together inside the piat to play a game.

During the scavenger hunt, I only thought it was a little crazy, until...

I realized that Sam (Lucy and Leejay's dad) put one of the clues on himself!

I've definitely never seen that before.

The kids loved tackling him.

Sam is very handy. He built this swing set last month. Over 100 children come each weekend and hang out on their compound, so it gives the kids something to do.

He also designed a jeri can shower so his wife can have a shower instead of having to cup water over her head from a basin. This is a guy who truly knows how to love his wife.

I hope they will return again soon to check on ORA. They are a sweet family, and we love having them around.

...Plus, New Zealanders have such a cool accent! :)

Americans and their storage

Our crates arrived back in June, but we weren't sure if we had any projects around the house that needed the wood from them, so they remained on the carport intact.

Doug decided we could make them into storage. They were already half built, right?

He built two piano dollies (that project alone took a whole day because he had to find wood and wheels in town), and then he bought cinder blocks. I only assisted him a little, and my strong man moved the crates and put them up on blocks. That all took place in August.

Last week, he bought materials for framing, a door, a covering, etc.

He attached three of our crates together, and cut doors in the two walls. You can see the doors right here, if you know what you are looking at. Kylie's head is "in" one.

Once our inverter gets here from the States, we will be able to put the final wall on.

That seems funny, but the wood for the walls is on top of the roof covering the solar panels. We were told it's not good for the panels to be getting full sun when they aren't able to charge the batteries.

The crazy thing is that we don't have that much stuff, but yet, storage is needed. Why do Americans always seem to have more than enough - us included?

We are going to put suitcases, bicycles, and empty boxes from unpacking out here so that our "garage" that was originally going to be a school room can be an office, of sorts. The kids prefer to do school in the living room.

So here we are, in Africa, representing America well with our "storage shed."

Dispicable Me

Warning: This is one of those posts that only grandparents will care about.

Kelli and Alissa left a box of chalk here for my kids when they left, and my kids decided to use them to the fullest.

Here are some of the fruits of their labor after four hours!

Caleb with Missing Link, Ginormica, and B.O.B. from "Monsters vs. Aliens."

Karis's re-creation of "Dispicable Me."

And Kylie's...

Karis' armless Snow White.

Kylie's armless Snow White

Caleb's "Sleeping Beauty."

There was so much more, but you get the point.


It rained.

They didn't even care. They went out the next day for four or more hours, and went at it again.

Caleb's "Monsters vs. Aliens"

Kylie's "Monsters vs. Aliens

Kylie's "Dispicable Me"

Karis' "Monsters vs. Aliens"

Patrick, our watchmen, even got involved.

When our other watchman, Jeremiah, arrived, he drew some pictures, too.

These guys are great - especially with our kids.

When Jeremiah came in the gate yesterday on his bike, Kylie asked him to ride with her for a minute, and he took a couple of spins around the driveway with her.

Well, this was after the efforts of three days.

Yesterday, I went to the "office supply" store and bought another whole box for $1.00. You can't beat that for entertainment.


Doug got a call from our one remaining journeygirl a few mornings ago to say she hadn't slept well.

The reason being was that a bat had somehow found its way into her room and became quite lively during the night.

She finally located it hiding on a bottom shelf in her room.

It's that yellowish-looking thing attached to the wooden wall in the picture below.

This is after the Tupperware container that was next to it had been removed.

He was a tiny little sucker.

My heroic "batman" came to the rescue with his own set of Tupperware.

I think every good super hero should be armed with Tupperware (but don't let Doug know I said that)

Cute, huh?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Our trip to Kampala was not for re-stocking, so instead of running around looking for what we needed, we got to have little fun exploring.

In one store, I found I bought it.

It was really good, especially when served over ICE. Our friends the Skuza's in Kampala have a freezer cold enough to make ice because they don't lose electricity at night. It was so nice.

The next day, we found a store with this...

I will confess right now, that we spent way too much money on Dr. Pepper, but you must know that this was the first one we had seen since before we boarded the plane in Houston, January 4th.

That's really a bad excuse, but that's all I've got.

Each can was $1.65.

We bought 3 for everyone, and would probably do it again given the chance.

We carried them back to Arua, and we are using them sparingly.

The sad part is that I thought Dr. Stripes was just as good as Dr. Pepper.

Doug says that is blasphemous to say, but I just think it's sad because maybe I've lost my taste for it.

The good news is I found this, too.

It was heavenly, and so much cheaper than Starbucks.

Let me tell you another reason we had time to leisurely look around for these luxury items...

Doug and I were on a date. For real.

Lynn and Jan Skuza kept Karis and Caleb, fed them and played Uno. Sandra took Kylie with her and some other ladies to the Ndere Center where Kylie watched again the dance show we had taken her to in June.

This one.

And this...I have no words for...

Our reason for going to Kampala was to take Kelli and Alissa to the airport. Stan and Pam blessed us before they left for America by giving us money to take the girls out for steaks. They chose to eat at Spur, and the steaks were really good.

There is even a trampoline inside for the kids to play with.

Another treat was getting to go to the movies for the first time since Zambia in May. An appropriate movie happened to be showing, so we went. You will see evidence of the kids having watched "Dispicable Me" in a later post.

Rhino Sanctuary

Our team leader is in America, so when the time came for two of our journey girls to go home, it fell to Doug and I to take them to the airport.

On our way to Kampala, we all stopped off at a place we hadn't visited before.

The Tiwa Rhino Sanctuary.

This is the only place rhino are in all of Uganda.

You pay a park entrance fee. Pay for a "tracker."

And then the tracker drives with you in your own car somewhere in the bush.

There are 9 rhinos in Uganda.

This is what happened to the rest of them during the war.

Horrible, isn't it?

There are three dads, three moms, and three calves.

The first baby born here was named Obama. His mother came from Disney World in America, and his dad came from Kenya. :)

(By the way, Obama is pretty much a rock star over here, but that's beside the point.)

Our tracker radioed to some soldiers who are assigned to guard the three families. Three soldiers radioed back to say that one family was near.

We parked and started our trek through the bush.

Let me stop here and say that there was a sign we read when we arrived.
1. You must be wearing long pants
2. You must be wearing close-toed shoes
3. (I forgot #3 - we were already failing at the first two)

I got my kid's tennis shoes out of the back end of the car.

We all travel in flip flops, except for Doug. He wears Chacos.

We couldn't do anything about the long pants, and no one said anything, so we went on.

Doug had some alternate shoes to put on, but not me.

I was graciously loaned some boots -

in fact, all the girls were.

Pretty, huh?

Found the mom...

Found the dad...

Walked around a tree, and we saw the whole family.

This is not Obama and his family, by the way.

So close.

Pretty amazing, huh?

It's a good thing they were all napping. Our tracker said that if the baby hears the clicking of the camera, he walks over to inspect it.

Momma again.

He crouched down to look.

Then I cracked up.

He took the position of a lion about to pounce.

Pretty much all of them were napping now.

Kelli and the kids. Can you see how close we were?

In 15 years there might be enough rhinos that they can re-stock the national parks here.

That would be nice.