Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Oh my goodness, it was amazing! But it’s kind of funny/sad. I knew before I came to Africa that I was kind of a chicken, but that has all been heightened to like a million since I’ve been here and especially on this safari. It all started with the Rhinos, wait hold on, it actually started with our drivers. Jack was the man. But he liked to drive fast… and we’ve seen so many car accidents here because of this very same thing. Driving is always a spiritual experience here, you have to pray so much, it’s better to just not look. At one point we were going over 120km/hr. I don’t know what that is in miles, probably not as fast as I think, but in a rickety old van and African roads, it’s a very scary speed. Anything over 100 just gave me this creepy feeling. But no more about driving. We survived and Jack did an awesome job on the actual safari, we had the front row view for all of it, amazing! And only broke a few laws =)
So, the Rhinos. Those things are huge! I think they said some of them get up to four tons! Their horns actually weren’t as big as I thought, but their bodies definitely made up for that. So we’re in our vehicle headed for the rhino’s so I think we’re going to drive to the rhinos and see them through our cars… no. we got out, and on foot walked this little/long path into the raw African terrain to seek out some rhinos. We were so close to them, some people got about 15ft away. There were two of them. One from Kenya and one from America. Oh and some crazy facts: there are only ten rhinos in all of Uganda and none of them are native. Rhinos were poached to extinction here and they are just recently starting to bring them back. Oh and another funny fact, the first Rhino was born in Uganda since they were all killed and guess what this new little Rhino baby’s name is… Obama. Yup, that man is like a god here, it’s ridiculous. But, moving on, so we’re standing here in front of these two giant rhinos, on foot, in the middle of who knows where and our guides don’t even have a gun or anything! This is where my chickenness comes in. And this is where you can meet William.
William is the guy who watches over one of these rhinos (all the rhinos have someone who watches over them right now so people don’t poach them). But yeah, he was my buddy, I hid behind him in the moments when I thought we were going to die… which happened to be many. Rhino’s are just so huge! And then you here of Rhino’s charging and I’m like, well I don’t want to be charged/gored. So then they tell you not to worry because if anything does happen just climb a tree, well maybe if there had been big enough trees close enough that would have comforted me but we were surrounded by all these little twigs. The Rhino’s were being shaded by a rather large tree but there was no chance of running to safety into that thing, it would have been easier to ride the rhino (or trampled by it) than to get in that tree.
But thanks to all my praying, we all survived =) And the rhino’s were pretty cool to see, they were kind of complacent/boring by way that they didn’t really do anything, but in my mind I imagined them doing many things so I would not ever claim to have been bored while we were there. I was either praying or thinking of ways to escape, I took a few pictures too.
But man mom and dad, what did you do to make me such a chicken?? I just don’t understand it. There is this part of me that wants to be adventurous… but it is far less dominant than my fear of actually doing it. I think I just have to accept the fact that I’m not brave, it’s a sad sad reality, but I must face it. I’ll take it as my way to be holier =) Just kidding =) but I do pray a lot when I’m scared =)
But now for the rest of our safari! Especially since we haven’t even reached Murchison National Park… I think that’s what it was called. Our specific place was Murchison Falls with Matoke Tours… combined to create the name matoke falls! But oh my goodness can you imagine a water fall of matoke… well probably you can’t because you don’t really know what matoke is, think a water fall of really hard mashed potatoes… yeah. And this waterfall we saw oh my goodness it was the most raging giant crazy scary beautiful waterfall I’ve ever seen. Imagine the entire Nile, all the millions of gallons of water that it holds, and squeezing that down this narrow path that drops… and that’s Murchison falls. It was just raging. Beautiful and crazy. I loved it. And the boat tour we went on to get their was just amazing too. Well actually it was slightly traumatizing… I prayed a lot there too. But to me it seems understandable cause we were in this little boat and were like surrounded/on top of these huge hippos! And sometimes we get stuck on the bottom and sometimes there’s crocodiles around us too… It was beautiful and amazing but oh man, I just saw the million ways in which a hippo was going to bump our boat (which happens quite often) and we were going to become it’s lunch, well more like it’s chew toy because they aren’t meat eaters… just meat killers.
The scariest/most amazing part was when we this family of like four elephants were on the shore. So of course we got as close to them as possible. And getting as close as possible to the lions meant floating right into a hoard of hippos on all sides and basically right where we floated too. I was examining where we would go/how close we could go and saw two hippos stick their heads up and then go under water again, and where did we go… right where those hippos were. We just continued to get closer and closer…we had to have been on top of them. And then this huge crocodile swam beside us and then we were stuck on the bottom of the Nile for a while too. Being stuck on the bottom when you’re surrounded by elephants on land, and hippos and crocs in the water… is a slightly creepy experience. Have you seen a hippo? Those things are not something you want to mess with. They make the crocodiles look friendly.
And at night they would often come into our campground. We are sleeping in tents. A tent stands no chance against a angry hippo, or a hungry warthog (which were there all the time). And neither do I. It was so scary. I could have sworn I saw a huge hippo the first night walk past the back part of the campground. Nobody believes me. But I about peed my pants I was so scared. I was shaking all over. I didn’t want to die by a hippo mauling. There was a really funny encounter with the wild animals though too, before my hippo sighting a warthog stole Drew’s backpack! It was sitting in front of his tent and the thing just grabbed it and ran. Drew had to chase down the warthog! It was hilarious. Poor drew only had these cheep shower shoes on his feet. But luckily for him the beast dropped it after awhile, but oh my goodness it was just hilarious. There went this warthog with a bright red backpack in its mouth. And those things are ugly. Pumba was much cuter looking. Disney deceived us.
But now for the best part, we went on two game drives. It was just amazing. We saw so many giraffes. They are such beautiful creatures. And huge! They were my favorite I think. Just so interesting to look at.
Now the Lions, they came with the best adrenaline rush. You could just tell that they knew they were ‘bad’ and untouchable. The first day we like stalked them. It was awesome. Apparently you get a fine if the rangers see you go off the path so what does Jack do? He waits for all the others vehicles to be out of site and drives us right in front of a male lion with two of his little ladies. It was such a blur. I was so scared it was going to like just jump into the vehicle and eat us. We were so close. Like 15 feet from them. It was awesome. And then the second day we saw two more lions. First a female was in the road and then a male was just posing for us a little later. It was awesome. And yet again, Jack made sure our van had the best view of the lion. It ran right in front of our van. It was so exciting. But it’s also kind of funny because as soon as someone spots a lion like every vehicle in the park comes to see it too.
The second day we also saw this huge hoard of elephants, there were at least thirty elephants right in front of us. They were so cute. Mommas, poppas and babies. Just struttin their stuff. But of course me and my nervousness was slightly creeped out and prayed that all the elephants wouldn’t decide to charge us. But we were safe… I attribute it to my constant praying =) lol!
We also saw water buffalo, water bucks, bushbucks, jackals, tortoises, all kinds of birds and antelope, monkeys, baboons, and I’m drawing a blank on all the rest. The two things we didn’t get to see that we wanted to were snakes and cheetahs. Jack said that black mambas and anacondas were the most common snakes there, but sadly they only move around at night. The cheetahs were hiding too, they said you can usually find them in trees but sadly we never found one. And we didn’t get to see Zebras either, but that’s because they don’t have them in Murchison, not because we missed them.
It was such an amazing trip. Definitely a highlight of my time in Africa. I loved it. But I'm sorry, there are just seriously way to many pictures to look through right now so I’ll just post this one… I took it, I’m proud of it. And I'll show all the other one's when I get back for anyone who's interested!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Oh my goodness I ate two grasshoppers!
They were fried and their legs and wings were ripped off.
It's not that they tasted bad, they just looked nasty
And made my stomach feel not happy
I'm sure most of it was psychological, but I just felt nauseaus.
Joy ate like ten of them though.
She's a pro.
Bet you never thought I would do that did you!

Friday, November 27, 2009

I am sick of writing papers I just want to eat chocolate and exercise!

Okay, that was my rant.

Now I'm going to go buy chocolate.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Ten things I never realized how thankful I was for them until I went to Africa.
1) A real hot indoor shower. Wow, I’m getting excited just thinking about it. The cold splash bath that doubles as a ‘short call toilet’ just isn’t the same. Short call means the #1 or going pee. And yes, you did read correctly. Joy and I had always kind of thought that our bathing area kind of smelled of urine sometimes… well I learned the hard way. So I’m out there splishin and splashing, getting clean… when all of a sudden I hear someone going pee, and the next thing I know there is a river of pee flowing down the edge of my bathing area… as I bathed! I don’t really understand this because the latrines were right there, they were standing in front of them. And personally why not go in the hole, at least then it doesn’t splatter! But nope, they were peeing in my bathing area.
2) Which leads me to why I am thankful for shower shoes… I don’t think I need to explain any further why.
3) I also never realized how thankful I am for clean drinking water. This water container gave me Girardeau… not a pleasant thing. If you can remember back to my entry ‘my poopy night’ that was due to this lovely little parasite. Let’s just say I don’t brush my teeth with that water anymore.
4) Now this one is the one I think I took the most advantage of: the toilet. Oh my goodness, I never knew how grateful I was for our good old, indoor, available at any moment, with toilet paper, a toilet seat and flushing American toilets. Especially when you have Girardeau, or other ridiculous stomach issues that I have been so blessed with. Please, remember to be thankful for your toilet, it really is a beautiful thing!
5) The Point Loma Caf. Wow, if you ever hear me complain again about it, make me eat rice and beans for a week, for every meal… and I’ll remember.
6) Washing machines. My goodness, I rub the skin off my hands every time I do laundry. I literally bleed and scab… it isn’t pretty. And it makes your back hurt like crazy because you’re bent over in this crazy position for hours. Nothing like a little African washing to make waiting in line on the second floor of Klassen where girls will remove your clothes for you and put them who knows where if you wait too long to take them out, look appealing. 4 months is not long enough to get African hands. I’m very thankful for the washing machine.
7) American bugs. I have gotten so many mosquito bites here. African mosquitos are like mosquitos on steroids. They itch like crazy, it's painful, I don't know how many times i have wanted to chop off my feet. The mosquitos here are like hunting lions. They stalk you, wait for the most opportune time to bite (which is like all the time) and then pounce on the most inconvenient places. I never thought I would wish for American mosquitos... but they are a lovely thing. These guys here, they just aren't nice at all. And they can give you malaria, that just isn't cool.
8) Seasons! Oh my, it's really weird sweating on Thanksgiving. It's the rainy season and all so it's slightly cooler (and way more humid) but it's not the same as bundling up in pants a long sleeve shirt and scarf. Chilly weather just puts you in the mood to be all thankful. It's just a vital part of the season.
9) My family! Oh goodness I miss all of you. And wow, I look really different in these pictures. But words cannot describe how great you guys are. I can’t wait to see you all again, to hang out with you all again. I hope you are all having a

wonderful Thanksgiving. I would say something sad and depressed like I’m going to have to eat matoke and rice again tonight… but oh no, we are having a thanksgiving meal with all the USP students and expats. There is going to be like 80 of us! I’m really excited. Not that it can compare to our amazing thanksgivings but it’s an American meal… we’re all super stoked…and will probably eat ourselves sick. Don’t forget to go around and say what you’re thankful for!!! It’s tradition!! I love and miss you all!!!!
10) But I’m also thankful for Africa. I guess it's a good thing that I miss all these things because it made me realize how I never appreciated them fully before.

Happy Thanksgiving!!
I get to eat cookie dough today! And Turkey! And gravey! And mashed potatoes! And all that other good stuff! I'm so excited!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

American Food!

Okay, so last Saturday Joy and I made dinner for our family. Chicken and rice soup with mashed potatoes. Joy was the expert soup maker, and I just did what she told me. And please, don't be jealous of our cooking area. I chopped and peeled a lot. But the soup was so good. It had chicken in it (chicken that you could just eat, you didn’t have to pick through bones or fat… beautiful) rice, lots of carrots,
celery, onion, green beans, turnips, potatoes, garlic, and I’m probably missing something, but that’s all I can remember. And then the mashed potatoes, so good. I was really impressed by how well they mashed considering our mashing tool was a like ladle strainer thing. I’m just glad I didn’t break it. But yeah, as Joy held Enoche during his circumcision cleaning process, I finished the mashed potatoes. Garlic and Blue Ban, that’s what we added to it. It was actually a lot better than I was expecting, Blue Ban adds a pretty good flavor actually to mashed potatoes.
But yeah, so I’m not really sure if our family liked it. I don’t think Rebecca liked it (this is her), but she’s really hard to read… kind of moody. But it was just funny because to them soup is not a main dish it’s like the sauce that goes on top. So they would pile their plate high with mashed potatoes and then put a little of the soup (the good part, with all the nutrition and flavor) on top. I don’t know if it’s because they just didn’t like the soup or they thought it looked gross. It did look kind of strange because the rice got kind of overcooked, but I thought it still tasted great. It had flavor. I found it funny because they talked about how IMME student’s food in the past has been flavorless, but I find African food rather flavorless and redundant. I love different perspectives. I think American food has tons of flavor. So yeah, it was a fun night. It took us like 4 hours to make. Oh and we also got a pineapple for desert so there would be at least something they liked.
As we cooked Elijah and Rebecca told us all the idioms they knew. They knew a lot. Some of them I had heard of and some of them were completely new. It was fun.
There was so much soup left over. It kind of made me sad, I would have liked to eat it again, especially since we’ve been only having matoke and g-nut quite often. Joy and I think that because we stopped eating it they are forcing us by making it our only option… but that’s probably not the case. But seriously, apparently matoke is really acidic and bad for people with stomach problems, which is why we stopped eating it… but nope. We must continue.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Great return of the hair! and all else that happened during that time

I’m so glad to have my own hair back. It only took about 7 hours of untwisting and two hours of brushing… but I did it. This was our before picture (Joy got her hair done too, you'll see it in the end)

It was quite a process. Joy and Rebecca worked on me first and did like the whole bottom half of my head. I helped too but I had to work on the front because it was way too hard for me to work on the back, everything just felt like giant knots (which they probably were) and I couldn’t tell what was going on. So yeah, Joy and Rebecca were awesome.

Oh but before they started helping me take out my hair we ate jack fruit. A LOT of Jack fruit.
I attempted to help cut it but as soon as I grabbed the knife this random school boy that has never been to our house before stole the knife from me and cut it himself. It’s not because he was trying to be helpful, he just wanted a piece of it and by cutting it for us he was allowed to have a piece. So that’s me with my sad rejected by the jack fruit face with the boy cutting it instead. They wouldn’t even talk to us either, they were strange.
But then the next day (Friday) we had an ATR field trip to a mosque. Well, they said it was to a mosque but it was really to a Muslim nursery classroom where we got to sit in yet another lecture. The classroom had tons of posters on the walls and stuff, like any normal preschool classroom, but this one had the best poster of all. It was titled, dangerous objects and then had pictures of razor blades, broken bottles, knives, barbed wire and things. It was hilarious.
But I untwisted some more hair on the way to and from there. I didn’t do too much because that giant bus we were on made me nauseous, and I don’t usually get car sick.
Here's me about half done! I cut the braids to my length of hair so it would be faster to untwist. I actually liked it alot better this lengh, and this thickness.
Then we had our missionary dinner! It was so much fun. And Abigail and Deanna helped untwist my hair on the way to that. It was so much fun. We ate American food. Pasta, both meat sauce and alfredo sauce. Broccoli salad. Bread sticks. And for desert. It was beautiful. Two plates of this like peanut butter and chocolate goodness. It was beautiful. We all ate ourselves sick. Which made the ride home and that night painful, but to make up for our pain we sang the whole way back so it was tons of fun. Just awesome.

So at this point my hair is like ¾ done. It’s now Saturday. I earned some major community engagement for this one. I was definitely uncomfortable and engaged. I had a little five year old, cute little Maureen, decided she wanted to help me take out my hair. I mean, she did an okay job, she did remove some twists. But there was just so much tangling and ripping and desiring her desiring to use the scissors… It made me nervous. I wasn’t sure if I’d have any hair left from the side she was working on.
But that didn’t really matter much because when I bathed all my hair fell out anyway.

This is me right after all the twists came out with the pile of hair that used to attached to my head.
It was massive.

This is me after I dry brushed it to try to get out a bunch of the not attached hair and tangles.

It was huge.

Then I washed it (an hour long splash bath). And it all fell out :( My hair is like half as thick now. You would be making a sad face too if it happened to you.
It was seriously just falling out by the handful. It’s a good thing I had enough hair for ten people before this because now I’ve got just enough for myself. I was afraid there was going to be nothing left. Sorry, I was thinking of maybe doing this again before I came home so you could all see it, but yeah, I can’t strip my hair that much again, I’ll go bald if I do. But it was fun. It really made me appreciate my own hair. I missed it, even it's shortness.

Here's all of us with our new hair! Joy and Elija chopped their off (eventhough Elija's didn't change much) and mine back to normal! I tried taking this picure like three times before and was always either copping off the tops of our head or cutting mine in half. Joy conquered on her first try.

And now me and Enoche! He didn't get a hair cut but he did just get circumcized. Which involves a much more serious cut. Poor guy, but he's a trooper.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Ruaral home stays was amazing. Just amazing. It was peaceful and relaxing. The perfect getaway from school, especially since it's been so crazy there lately. We had no contact with the outside world. None at all, besides myself, Rachel was the only other white person I saw or talked to the whole week. We had no phone, no internet, no tv, no electricity. It was beautiful. Our family did have a radio which they liked to blast at very early hours of the morning, but I enjoyed it.

This is my and my amazing roommate Rachel! We had so much fun together. We battled a giant killer harry crab spider together (I had three nightmares about that thing eating me that night), had nightly squatty potty outings together (that squatty potty had the smallest hole, the room was way bigger, but oh man, that hole was a challenge) and slept under these crazy travel mosquito nets (like little head tents, they were just weird, and quite obtrusive).

Now for our parents. Momma Ann greeted us as we arrived and then Freddy, our dad, came later and ate dinner with us. Freddy was like the only one who ate dinner with us, which was kind of strange. The family ate in the kitchen house and we ate with our dad in the house house. I would have liked to eat with everyone but I couldn’t have stayed in the kitchen house that long, it got really smoky and my eyes and throat would burn, so it was fine. The kids would randomly pop in and out and eat with us, so we weren’t completely isolated.
I also drank my first cup of coffee there. After the 50% ratio of sugar to water I put in, it wasn’t half bad. But it was pretty exciting because we had a hand in the entire process of making that coffee. We picked the beans, put them through the separating machine dried them, roasted them (I learned that coffee beans are black because they are burnt, they are naturally a tan color), then sorted and peeled off the outside shell thing, and pounded them. I was supposed to bring back coffee for everyone… but our family was kind of on Africa time and the USP pickup team was not. So our family had planed us to roast and pound a bunch of coffee Friday morning (pickup day) but Rachel and I got picked up first, at 9 in the morning, so yeah, didn’t happen. We were also supposed to take a family photo. And we kind of did. This was our attempt. But it’s missing a bunch of the family because Seth arrived to pick us up and so we had to just take it with whoever was there at that moment. Which is missing most of the boys because they are always working in the garden or with the cows. But I guess it’s better than nothing.

Here's the boys! We had four brothers. Richard a 13 year old (he technically wasn’t related but he lived there), Elija who was 12, Celeb who was 9 I think, and Abbey who was 5.

And cards! These guys love to play cards. And it’s funny if you ask what game we played, it was just cards, there is just one game, and it's called cards. It’s kind of like Uno, but this version had no rules except color or number, no cards with special meaning or anything. But they loved that game. We played all the time, it was fun. So I gave the boys my cards at the end of the week, they don’t really have them available where they live, and they were using them way more than I did.

These kids will pose for anything.

The boys took us to this amazing cave. It was so much fun. And the journey there, wow, I have never hiked in a skirt before, it's an adventure for sure. And this isn't just like walking along a path hike, we had to climb up and down these rocks and stuff to get there. Tons of fun. And, it poured right after we got to the cave, which was perfect because we were sheltered by the cave, and it had such a beautiful view of the valley looking out of it. But it made the treck back very muddy. We had to do laundry afterwards. But I loved it.

Our sister Immaculate, everyone just called her Imma was 16. She is usually at boarding school but she had gotten malaria right before we came so we got to spend the weekend with her. She was amazing. I loved her. We went to a wedding, church, picked coffee, and just hung out together. Her birthday was the week after we left so we made her a birthday card. I hope she gets it. I wish we had gotten more time with her but when she left I got to know Nancy (our other sister, that wasn’t technically a sister) so much more.

!!!!!!Nancy is amazing, she can do anything. She is only 17, was born on a Monday in 1992 but has no idea what her birthday is. I got to do a few tasks with her.

One of the days we went to pick matoke. Nancy was a beast. So first she cuts some banana leaves and gives them to me to hold. Then she cuts off a huge bunch of matoke and then slays the whole banana trunk because if you don’t people will steal them, and they feed them to the cows.
This is the picture I drew of us walking back to the house. Everything Nancy is holding is insanely heavy, what I’m holding… not heavy at all. I was only holding the banana leaves but then one of the matoke banana’s fell off so I picked it up too. Everything I was holding, not heavy, just one of the things Nancy was holding, very heavy and then the other, very very heavy. And we were going over fences, and under things, it was hilarious.
Then Nancy and I went and picked coffee together! It was such a beautiful area and great weather. It was also apparently a day for cows to give birth. Our cow had its little baby that morning and then as we were walking back from their coffee field we noticed this huge group on the side of the road. It was because a cow was having difficulty having its baby. It looked so painful. By the time we got there the cow had given up strength and people we pulling on ropes attached to the calf, but that calf was not coming. Then later on in the day we could still see the crowd from our home and there was seriously like a group of 20 people half at the front of the cow and the other half pulling on the rope attached to the calf. Both sides were pulling just as hard as they could, it looked dreadful, that poor cow. Then it started raining on them (and when in rains here… it pours). I don’t know if either survived the battle, it looked brutal. I didn’t actually see the outcome but I did see them like dragging something much later in the day. It didn’t look promising. Poor cow
But that was not the important part. The best part was the time I spent with Nancy. She’s an amazing girl. She’s starting tailoring school to earn herself a living outside of just working at the home. She can do any traditional African woman chore around the home like a seasoned veterend… but she never even completed primary school. Just such a different life. She taught me to sing a song while we worked! It’s the “this sings my soul my savior God….” But in their native tongue. It goes like this (well I actually have no idea if I’m spelling these right or dividing the words correctly, I just wrote it by ear)

Sabonyoni cante ticaste baba
Unyuni wo, unyuni wo
Sabonyoni cante ticaste baba
Unyuni wo, unyuni wo

It’s so much fun to sing. It took me forever to really remember the song, but now I’m a pro :) I’ll sing it for you when I get home.

I learned how to pick coffee. Don't I look like a pro :)

We also learned how to make a bunch of Ugandan food. So guess what family, get ready for Africa night!! It’s going to be fun. And remember keep an open mind, because if I could eat this for four months, me the pickiest eater ever, then you can eat it once :) But that does not complete the food adventure. Breakfasts here were the most elaborate and way way way to much food meal. We would get at least two roasted corn, chapatti (sometimes two but after the first time I ate two at breakfast, it didn’t end well, and did not do that again), a bowl of g-nuts, at least two pieces of bread each, sometimes four, but they also had this delicious g-nut and sim sim spread to put on the bread, kind of like peanut butter but not peanuts and more liquidy. There was also sometime boiled eggs and tea. My stomach was in a constant state of bursting. Food babies everywhere. But for the most exciting food story. The slaughtering of the chicken. It was gruesome, and sad because it didn’t even taste good, but to Ugandans chicken is the most prized meat, if only they could taste American chicken, they would know a real delicacy. But yeah, so the slaughtering process. It’s not the wack of the head and watch the chicken run around till it stops dead, it’s much slower. First Momma pulled out the feathers on the neck. Then she took a not very sharp knife (because they don’t have super great quality knives, not because they want to be cruel) and then slit its throat halfway. The chicken is alive for all of this by the way. They let the blood drain into the grass, literally folding the chicken neck in half so the living head is touching its body, and then they cut it all the way. It was sad. They wanted us to eat the gizzard… but Rachel took care of that and was like, no thank you. So our dad ate it. Ugandan’s just have strange delicacies.

This is how you separate the coffee fruit from the seed, I guess that's what you could call it. But it's hard. That crank is so hard to turn. I looked so lame, even the fivfe year old showed me up. Yeah, embarrasing. I did a good job holding the bag though, I held it up like a pro. And coffee here, it's like a dollar fifty for a kg of coffee.

We went to town. And it rained... alot. This is us hiding for cover under the eave of somebodies house. It was getting dark and I was holding this like 5lb bag of corn flour that we had gotten ground at the grinding place. By the time we got back we were completely soaked, completely covered in mud, especially Rachel because she fell in front of the ginding mill in the mud... she took the prize for most muddy, she had it everywhere.... everywhere. And my arms hurt so badly, my right one was was stuck in this cradeling position and also was trying to cover the hole that was in the bottom of the bag. My left hand was cramped into this fist. The bag was just a regular like grocery store bag, so it didn't really close on top, and because it was so full you couldn't like tie it shut all the way. this would have been fine nomally but because it was raining I had to grip the top the whole time trying to keep the flour in and the rain out. They might have just gotten a bag of chipatti dough... but I think most of it survived. I hurt all over, and was freezing and dirty, but I did get to by a cool African wrap. Definitely a memorable experience.

I also attempted to milk a cow! I failed :( But at least I tried. It was fun. I made the cow angry and it smacked me in the face with its poopy tail. Everybody found it very entertaining. I guess it kind of was.

Oh Gum boots. We lived in those things, and this wasn't even close to their worst muddyness. We seriously would have like 5lbs of mud on each foot, it was amazing.
This was the view from our home. We were on the side of the mountain and it looked over into the valley, it was such a gorgeous place. Loved it.
And this is me coming out of the infamous squatty potty. Some people told them that Africans only use the squatty for long calls (#2) and they go in the shower for short calls (#1). I sure hope not because one of the times I showered barefoot. It was always muddy in there... I really hope that mud wasn't pee and dirt instead of water and dirt. But I never even saw any of my family go to the bathroom the whole week. I don't know how they do it. They drink tons of tea, and they eat alot. I went all the time. Africans bodies are seriously something else. Like how are momma could just pick up burning coals with her bare hands and pick up pots that had been cooking over the fire. Our drink tea from milk or water that had seriously just been boiled. They do not feel pain.
Our final look at home. It was such a good week. and such an amazing family. We had an amazing house. And it's kind of funny, my home in Mukono has a blue patch on it too. I miss them. But our weekend at Sipi falls after was just so fun and amazing too. I'll try to post something on that soon!

My poopy night =(

Last night was the worst night of my life. It was practically the most dreadful night imaginable. The details are too gruesome to be revealed. It really was the most embarrassing, painful, nasty, smelly and pathetic night ever. And it even extended to the morning. It was just bad.

And now hopefully I will be able to tell you about my rural homestay experience soon. It was amazing. The assignments due and then my night of death delayed the process, but I’m really going to try to get it up by Friday. Sorry, I love you all!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My African Hair Adventure

21 hours and 45 minutes.
A total of four days.
3 days in the salon and one day of just me.

I thought the Nile was intense… no, this hair ordeal was the most draining and time consuming thing I have ever done in my entire life. I’m just so glad I like it, cause if not that would have really sucked. Jill and I were an amazing team. We must go by Nochewala (Jill) and Nantungo (me) now, because you just can’t have a white name with African hair like this.
All I have to say is, These African women who do hair… they are beasts. They are so tough. I was insanely exhausted and my back hurt like crazy, and also super anxious to be done… which took forever to be a reality. Luckily for Nochewala, she finished on the first day, she had much less hair than me and she wasn’t able to go back like I was, so my ladies stopped working on me and finished her. I was glad she got through though, and I really did need a break. But it’s still a stinkin’ hilarious story. I’ll take it day by day so you get the full affect of how great/horrible it really was.

Day one: Friday 10/9/09 12 hours. 8am to 8pm
Jill and I got to the Salon around 7:40 in the morning, we would have been there at seven, but Ivan was really late picking us up. I found it hilarious, they continually told me how I had to much hair, but then they decided to do the braids that would take the absolutely longest time imaginable. I seriously think some of these twists only have like five hairs in them, maybe even less in the front. It was ridiculous.

This is Aisha (on the left) and Florence (behind me). Aisha owned the place. She started working on me, and then Florence started a little later on the back. Florence worked on me all of Friday, and Aisha would pop in and out. I tried to do homework during this adventure. For the first six hours I managed to read one and a half chapters of a book and some packet readings. But after their lunch break, Florence showed me how to twist too, and I did that for the next six hours. So I worked on all the twists that Aisha had done half way (she would just start a bunch of them and then move on, it made it go much faster once I learned how to twist as well, and honestly, I’m a horrible person for thinking this, but I’m such a perfectionist that I felt like I did a better job twisting than they did, they did it faster, but I made sure my hair didn’t stick out… I know I’m horrible, they really did do a great job). They were all impressed by my twisting skills. I couldn’t tell exactly what they were saying but every once in a while I would here “well done mzungu” and they would show off what I had done to the people who stopped by. It made me happy =) I feel like I should definitely get some community engagement hours for it. Then at 8 at night they stopped working on me and put this enormous bun on the top of my head, it was literally a second head, I think I could have hidden a baby in it, or a bird could have made it its nest.

Which then leads me to day 2Now on day 2 I only spent two hours in the salon, from 7am to 9am. Everyone was supposed to meet at seven to work on me but only Aisha was there. All the other ladies you see in the picture didn’t arrive until 8. But look at this, count how many ladies are working on my head. There are 4 ladies twisting around me, and myself… that makes 5 people! It was intense. And I still wasn’t even close to being done.
So yet again my hair was wrapped up in this giant monstrosity upon my head and I walked straight to school to leave for our weekend trip to Luweero.
Luckily for me, since I did know how to twist, and there were many partially twisted strands, I got to spend another three hours that day working on it on my own. Two on the bus and one during our only hour of free time. Everyone was quite impressed with its massiveness.
Which brings me to Sunday. My growth got to go to church with me, it was the best catholic mass I have ever been to in my life. I didn’t have a clue what was being said (it was all in Luganda) but the priest was so relational, so enthusiastic and vibrant that it didn’t even matter, we were all hooked. And the congregation definitely exemplified the Father Gerrie’s genuine heart and passion as well. The music was amazing. The service was just about three hours long, but that didn’t even matter. It was awesome! My head did start to feel like the weight of the bun was going to make it fall off, but I survived and was able to relieve the pressure by taking out the bun on the bus afterwards.
I twisted for another hour and a half on the bus, until I started to feel nauseous and Dean made me stop. And then for the best part, when I got home, I slaughtered the beast! I cut off like ten pounds of extra hair on the ends. I spent 45 minutes cutting, with a little bit of twisting here and there. It was amazing, I felt like I had been freed from this horrible bondage. My hair still wasn’t done, but it looked so much better, and it made the last day go so much faster (and I got it to look how I wanted it to J ).
Day 4: Monday (your birthday mommy!) And victory day for me and my hair! It just took 2 and a half hours, I was so relieved. Aisha did do the braids way bigger, but I didn’t even care, I was just so glad to be rid of the bun. Aisha tried to put my hair up in a pony tail and I was just, please, let me wear it down… she finally agreed.
So, once all the hair was completely done, we trimmed off some ends and then dipped my hair in boiling water to like seal it I guess. It made the ends look so much nicer, they weren’t all frizzy and looking like I was struck by lightning anymore.
And so 21 hours and 45minutes later, 14 hours for Nochewala…. And we finally finsished! It was tons of fun. People keep asking me if it was worth all the time it took. Part of me was like no way! Bigger braids look just as good and they take a third of the time, and the other part of me was like, this is a stinkin’ hilarious story… yeah, it was worth it.
So now, I’m working on the head pat. These things make your head itch so bad, and you can’t scratch! All you can do is either beat your head, or just press down hard and rub. I prefer the second but sometimes the first comes in handy if I’m angry… JK J This concludes Nantungo’s African Hair Adventure. Sorry it was so long, but it was a very long process. I hope you enjoyed it! But… I wonder what’s going to happen when I try to take it out???