Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Call me Sasquatch

Walking on the road one day, Karis saw this!

I don’t know if you remember Transformer, but my kids have been wanting another chameleon since Transformer had to be left in Kampala.

This was all of them with Transformer a year and a half ago.

Anyway, it was funny to watch the kids though. After so much time had passed since holding one, they were all a little skittish.

I broke a stick off a bush on the side of the road and put said chameleon on the branch, gave it to Karis, and off we went.

We were going to a presentation/dinner at our teammates house, and with all the food out (covered, of course) there were flies everywhere!!

We put the new pet on top of a covered dish, and he did nothing.

He didn’t eat ONE fly!!

In fact, he turned dark black. That’s not a good thing, right?

Afterwards, we carried him/her home on the stick.

Doug brought in our small, small ficus tree, and put him on the branches.

Doug started reading on-line: What do they eat? How do they drink? etc.

Well, turns out they like to be left alone. Really, with three kids in the house? Alone?

They don’t drink out of a water source, supposedly. They gather droplets of water off of leaves, so we started misting the tree.

The kids were great at finding insects and putting him/her where it could eat them.


I never saw him/her eat once.

Karis got the privilege of naming this one because she saw/found it first, so “it” became “Climberella.”

Caleb was NEVER satisfied with that name and refused to call “it” by that.

(I have no idea how to tell the gender of a chameleon, but since it didn’t have “horns” like Transformer, they were sure it was a girl. I think my kids don’t realize that female species of things can have horns, too. Oh well.)

‘She’ moved so s…l…o…w…

On the cement floors, it was so funny to watch ‘her’ ice skate across the floor, with nothing to grip onto.

We just let ‘her’ go wherever ‘she’ wanted. The fun thing was trying to find ‘her’ in the morning.

Well, morning #2, I forgot to look for ‘her’ before setting the table for breakfast. Oops!


It was the loudest, most horrible sound to my ears. I was sure my foot had broken every bone in ‘her’ body.

I was even sure ‘she’ was dead.

Nope…but most definitely hurting.

Doug put ‘her’ in the tree (I was afraid to touch ‘her’).

‘She’ turned black…go figure.

But......Here ‘she’ is a week later (still alive) hanging in the tree.

Maybe it was ‘her’ form of traction for ‘her’ injured back.

Well, every great story has an ending, right?

We were leaving home for some days, and we didn’t know what to do with ‘her.’

Nationals don’t like them and kill them on sight (which is why they are difficult to find). This would be where I could insert another story about Alice coming to our house one day while we took Kristin to meet her transportation back to the airport. I had called and warned Alice, but she still had the watchman come in and put it in a bucket while she was working. It really freaked her out a little.

We thought about putting Climberella in a tree outside and just look for ‘her’ later when we came back, but…

By this point we had already sadly discovered Climberella was blind, so we knew that it would be difficult for ‘her’ to survive long anywhere (even in our house – although there are probably enough insects in there for ‘her’ to live on while we were away – scary, I know.)

Maybe that’s why we found ‘her’ under the refrigerator most mornings. Maybe ‘she’ liked the closeness of something around ‘her’ to protect ‘her’…from Bigfoot/Sasquatch Momma in the mornings.

After keeping her for two weeks, just two days before we left, I found her in the morning, put her in the tree, and she died a peaceful death.

It was a blessing that we didn’t have to “put her out” on her own, but it was still sad for Karis.

Here’s to Climberella.

Walking home

We visited an abandoned church while walking home from the school.

My piki driver Jack just happened to see us going in and came over to look with us.

The 10 commandments are still on the wall, except it looks like #6 was forgotten and squeezed in later.

This is the cemetery care taker.

Jack and his friends are parked outside under this pretty tree.

Caleb ran to tackle him and got tackled back. They love Jack!

Caleb wearing Jack's glasses.

Then Karis...

Walking home. Caleb taking usual.

Kylie and Kristin.

Pencils delivered.

Good morning.

Home for lunch.

Delivering Pencils

This is Doug, Kylie, Karis, and Caleb walking to the school where I used to attend Kindergarten classes. My cousin Kristen and I were lagging behind.

A company trustee brought a bunch of pencils that Central Park Elementary in Aberdeen, Washington, and kids from her church collected to be distributed here in Uganda.

The first class we went to was mine and Doug's old Kindergarten class where we used to sit in to learn language.

Yes, this is ONE class. 150 kindergarteners for ONE teacher.

Wouldn't see this picture on the wall in American schools.

While the principal interpreted for me all the words I didn't know, you can see other classes outside hanging on the chain-link covering of the windows...making a lot of noise.

Kindergarten class room #2...not much better...140 students.

We took a break after the kindergarten classes because the principal invited us to her office for a Coke. You can see the hoards of kids following my cousin, Kristin, as she walked in the school yard.

More classes...multiple 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade classes...all packed out.

Each kid got ONE pencil, and you would have thought they were receiving an ipod touch (if they knew what that was).

The principal liked to get in every picture with each class and their teacher.

You never know what surprises are held for each day.

I was impressed to see this blind boy with a braille typewriter in one of the classes.

Me and Mrs. Karen in her office at the end of all the speeches we gave in each class. I talked about her once before HERE when I attended her step son's wedding last August.

Thank you Audrey for bringing all those pencils to brighten the days of some very special kids, and thank you to all the kids who brought and collected pencils for her to bring. You made some kids very, very happy.

Ditch diggin' - Road fixin'

Well, our road does need fixin', but no one is doing anything about it.

What you can't see is that down past our gate, the road is impassable to cars, so only bikes, motorcycles and foot traffic can get through.

It really is worse than it looks.

The poor condition of the road is caused by run-off.

All the drainage ditches are filled with years of caked mud and grass, and so water jumps the ditches and runs down the center of the road.

Enter Doug Taylor. My amazing husband.

One Saturday morning, he got out there with his tools to see what he could do about the drain.

It really was bad and needed A LOT of work.

(not so much this end, but the other end where he is - water and dirt never got this far because of the "caked" effect where he is working)

As he worked, he began to draw a crowd.

First, Sunday (a watchman from across the street). Then Kylie.

Digging out the ditch...

Then hauling the dirt to fill the holes in the road. (a temporary solution)

Then Caleb realized he could put on his gum boots and join the fun, so he did.

Plus, he got the added bonus of holding a real, live tool.

As it neared lunch, more people were stopping.

Geoffrey (in the white) ended up spending the rest of the day helping Sunday and Doug, and his outfit was not so white at 5 o'clock.

And even though Karis came out, she and I didn't do any actual work.

Moral support, my dears. Moral support.

Geoffrey and Sunday created some interesting tools to get the caked-in dirt out from under the cement-covered ditch.

This is one of a few "new" tools they adapted.

Well, the good news is that many hours, several wheelbarrows of dirt, and a few buckets of water later, the ditch was completely clean.

Fast forward one week...

Enter God with an amazing rain storm.

The ditch did great and stayed clear, but...

the rain was in such abundance, it ended up jumping the drain in the same old place where some rock has worn away, and it washed our road out same as always.

In my humble opinion (because I AM the humble-est), a little cement might do the trick on that break in the drainage wall, but it looks like that might be another job for Doug, Sunday, Geoffrey, Kylie and Caleb, because I feel led to be moral support...

and the picture taker.

Don't forget, I do it all for you guys, so you can see riveting stories like this from the continent of Africa.

Here for you... :)

City Mouse/Country Mouse

There are many things I like about the city of Kampala, but I was really troubled by what I saw on our last trip there.

I know what I saw occurs on a daily basis, but maybe the light at the intersection was long enough that I really pondered this situation.

Obviously, it was long enough, because I even took photos.

Every 15 to 20 feet on the sidewalk, I saw one of these...

They had a girl/slave driver (my word) "watching" over them, but not really. She makes them hold their hands up to receive begging money, which I'm sure she takes all of.

There were too many of them.

One is too many, but you get the idea.

This one little boy (picture below) was nodding off continually, but he made sure to stay in the sitting position so he wouldn't get caught sleeping.

Children NEED naps, but the "watcher" would not allow it.

Soon after I took this picture, she came and shook him and showed him where his hands should be.

UP! Ready to catch spare change.

What a life!

What a terrible life!

Where can he go from here?

I really needed something to make me smile after seeing those children.

Then I saw her!

Notice how they purposefully stretch out the hips on mannequins...

Now that this "lady" was trying to cheer me up, I started looking for other things to make me happy.

Like this cell phone ad...

Or this man crossing the street wearing a woman's silk robe.

Then we got further out of town, and I saw a truck carrying a ridiculous amount of un-stacked chairs.

Then I saw a mother truly watching over her child, the way one should.

Happy times!

And who doesn't think it's funny to watch a monkey eat a mango?


You know what this means?

No, of course you don't, but I'm going to tell you.

This hippo pool is only 2 hours from our home. We were getting closer...

I never get tired of this sight.

Lugbara-style huts...almost there.

No more city life for now.

Ahhhh! Rural Uganda. You can smell it in the air.

I won't tell you what it smells like, but you can definitely smell it in the air.

(I'm really kidding. It's not that bad.)