Monday, September 28, 2009

This past week has been packed. I felt a lot more like an African… well maybe more like a lame “baby African” as my brother Sam (well technically he’s just a friend but he’s always at the house so it’s just easier to say brother) would say. Africans are tough. They don’t mess around, or complain. They just do what they have to do and they do it well. Take laundry for instance. The first time Joy and I did laundry, we didn’t really do it… Maureen and Ivan did the real work and Joy and I just sloshed the clothes around three different buckets to rinse them. But last Tuesday, pretended to be real Africans and wash them ourselves… It hurt. My back hurt from bending over for almost two hours and then I literally rubbed the skin off my knuckles from rubbing the clothes together. It’s an intense project. Not for the faint of heart… or fingers.

On Thursday it we began of learn how to cook. That’s the day when we leave from school early to help Maureen cook dinner. We didn’t do much, and it was kind of awkward, but it will get better. So, first thing we learned to make… oh my, it isn’t for the faint of heart either… they call them –greens. The first time we had them I was just excited because it was a vegetable, then we learned how their made… I had to gag them down at dinner, I tried chewing without letting it touch my tongue, and then just swallowing without chewing… it’s horrible. So what are greens made of you ask? Well, let me tell you. It’s like green onions and something like spinach (some dark green leafy thing) deep fried in oil for a while, then while the onions and leaves are simmering and all hot and soaked in the grease we proceeded by adding an uncooked egg mixed with some floor and water. So in the end you get this like pasty green veggies in a strange milky looking sauce. I’m very grateful we have only had them twice… and hopefully never again. But the day was all bad. We got to learn how to peel and cut sugar cane. I didn’t know that we had to eat all we prepared though, and so my stomach was not happy with me after that, not at all. It hasn’t really been happy with me much lately. This whole past week I have been waking up around five or before to horrible stomach pain and nausea. Bathrooms are not easily accessible at that time, which makes it even worse.
Oh sister, you have spoiled me with your amazing cooking. On Friday we had a bunch of American styled treats at a missionary’s house… it just made me home sick, it couldn’t compare to yours. Or African food is dulling my sense of taste, things just aren’t as flavorful here.
Oh on Friday I went to part of an all night prayer thing in the Cathedral (where I go to church here). It was weird… not what I expected. I thought it was going to be more of a personal prayer/devo time with times for singing and such, not really. I didn’t feel at peace really any of the time. There was a whole lot of shouting, and even a lady falling on the floor screaming. I mean, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, it just really shocked me. I was not prepared for it. And I was really tired so that probably didn’t help. And it was all in Luganda so people sat around us to translate, which was nice, I was very grateful. Until the boy asked me for my email. He even wanted me to write it in his Bible! That is one thing that drives me crazy, you can’t even talk to African guys without them expecting you to in return give them your number or email. It’s so annoying. I told the boy he would be fine without it, and then left.

But Saturday was by far my favorite day in Africa so far. We got to cook with Maureen! And a bunch or her family was there too, we got to meet two of her other children besides Ivan (the oldest) her younger son Reagan was there and then her littlest, Maureen was there as well. She is 6 and super adorable. We played football (aka soccer). And Reagan took tons of pictures for me with my camera. But yeah, we made matoke! They are a very sappy banana. We peeled them (with knives) and then cut them in half. We cut banana leaves from the trees next to our house and even picked a few po-po (still not really sure what that fruit is but we had it in our soup and it tasted okay). Then we wrapped the matoke in the banana leaves, the craziest thing is that after they cook it comes out looking like you mashed it… but you don’t! I was so shocked.

Then we made cookies! And they actually came out well! They looked more like miniature ho-cakes but they tasted like cookies.
Recipe for the ‘Best Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Cookies’:
2 cups floor ¾ cup butter 1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp baking soda 1 cup brown sugar 1 egg
½ tsp salt ½ cup white sugar 1 egg yoke
2 cups chocolate chips
Recipe edited African style:
2 partially full mug lids of flour
2 pinches of salt
a few shakes of baking powder
1 small tub blue ban
1 partially full mug lid of sugar (they do not like it really sweet)
1 egg
2 crumbled up milk chocolate bars
Cooking Instructions:
Once you have the dough, roll it out into small ball and then flatten like a little pancake
Light charcoal on outside cooking stove
When charcoal is ready, place sauce pan on stove… and pray
Place dough on pan and cover with lid for 2 min
Flip cookies with a fork or sauce pan avoiding at all cost touching the sides of the sauce pan because it’s around a million degrees and hurts like crazy (I didn’t do so well with that step) recover and then let them cook for another two minutes.
Remove scorching cookies and place on a plate to cool
Repeat until all the dough is cooked

It was tons of fun, and they actually tasted pretty good! Our family even liked them and wants us to make more! I was very excited, it was so much fun!

Then we made Chipatti!!! It’s good, but so greasy, partly why my stomach hates me so much at the moment. Fresh homemade chipatti’s are the best way to go, way better than bought ones. These one’s I even really liked because they didn’t have as much oil on them because we were running out.
Saturday was just a giant day of baking and eating. We were all stuffed. But Sunday was tough. Combated with the fact that I haven’t been sleeping well my little brother is just driving me crazy. I want to love him… I like him when Maureen is around… but he seriously sucks the life out of me. For one, he doesn’t really understand us and when Maureen isn’t there and his momma is never there, there is no one to discipline him, and he knows it. He cries all the time and wants our undivided attention at all moments. And he likes to beat us. He throws things at us and punches us, he has even bitten me in the but… twice, and he doesn’t release until you smack him and pry him off. And nobody does anything about it, certainly not his father. One of our USP friends Abigail came over on Sunday and she witnessed the Anoche that we live with… she finally understood… she felt bad for us. He is just constantly pulling my hair and kicking me, it’s exhausting trying to keep him happy. And last Sunday, I was not in the mood to try. But I did get to learn how to make g-nut sauce. I love that stuff. It makes the food taste so much better.
Oh flashback to Friday, Dean and I went to Monkey Hill! And saw a bunch of monkeys!! They were so cute! Had super long tales, way longer than their body and had these super cute little white cheeks. There was at least ten of them there, it was awesome. A nice break because we have been reading and discussing ‘The Primal Vision’ by Taylor and it is seriously an intense book, there is so much in it, that with all that I’ve been learning about new interpretations of the Bible, especially parables, it has just been a lot. It was like the perfect little break from work.
One more thing to add my crazy life in Africa. Joy and I are living with a rat. I walked into my room this morning after ironing and a rat ran down my pants and onto my shirts and disappeared (my clothes are hanging on the wall). It was a huge rat… and ugly. There is rat poop on the curtain where my clothes hang. Then, I was like shaking my shirts to see if I could find it, and all of a sudden… thump… it fell out and hit my chest… I hate rats. We told our house lady and she laughed at us and then asked if we had had tea yet. Now the rat is under my bed, probably eating my tennis shoes or books. We told our momma and she said they would get poison. African rats are creepy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oh my goodness, how could I have forgotten this part of the Jinja trip. It was seriously the best part ever. So we were at a Baptist Church in Jinja last Sunday. The best service ever. So not only was the service amazing. Davis (a guy from our group) was the preacher. Africa is like that, when you come as a guest, you come with the idea that somebody is going to be preaching, that you are going to be up front singing/even leading worship, and you come with a few testimonies to share. So yeah, enough with the background. But we went to both services. The first one was much shorter, kind of like a practice round for the main service, and it was all in English. In between services, we broke up into Bible study groups and talked about a passage. Oh my goodness I loved it. They presented John 15 in a way that I have never ever heard before. And it was really cool. While it was a lot of discussion, that pastor had a direction in mind, and he took us through this chapter by breaking it up into three seasons: fruit, more fruit, and much fruit. If your using the NIV his interpretation doesn’t exactly work because it says much fruit twice instead so their aren’t three different seasons per say, but it was still very interesting. His thing was when you have Christ, you have fruit. Then he went into what is fruit in our lives, which lead us to Galations 5:22-23 (the fruit of the spirit). He said that the first fruit is love. That it must come first. That out of love you can then find the rest of the fruit of the spirit. And you find the rest in the next two seasons of life (referring back to John 15). That through remaining in Christ, his version said abiding in Christ, that then more of God’s fruit will grow and then the third season, remaining in Christ words produces much fruit (even more of the fruit of the spirit). He displayed faith as a progression. A learning process, you except Chirst then you remain in Him and learn from his words. That each step brings you closer to God but then also has outward, physical effects on your actions. I just like all the new interpretations of stories that I’ve heard a million times and they just see them so differently.
But now for the greatest part of the service. The kids had a part in the service. They sang a song and recited a verse. But the song was stinking hilarious. I hope the video of it works because it’s amazing. It doesn’t completely capture the amazingness of the show, but yeah, it was priceless. First off, they were lip syncing the song:
“One thing, I know, Everybody’s got a seed to sow”
And this one kid was like their leader and he stood in the front. And then all of a sudden he just starts busting out his moves in the middle of the song. Michael Jackson moves. And he was seriously standing right in front of the pastor. I was sitting right behind the pastor so it just looked even more hilarious. It looked like he was shimmying in the pastor’s face and just shaking his thing. Oh my goodness, best church service ever. And what just made it more awesome was the kid just kind of looked more reserved when he announced what they would do, and his voice was higher and stuff, and then the lyrics he was sip syncing to had a mature white man voice. And then, the icing on the cake, the kid is busting his moves and all of a sudden one of the church members comes up and sticks money in his pocket! Like a stripper of something. It was hilarious. Then they put a basket out for people to give money as well, I put in a little, they deserved it. I loved it. Best Church Service Ever!
Sorry, videos don't upload here =( I'll show you when I get home.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Jinja Trip!

This is for everyone who has complaned about caf food. =) Point Loma has an amazing caf. And mom, you have amazing food =) Not that I don't it, the food is actually very good. But no variety. Eating something once a week would not be considered repetitive, it would be considered rare. This is our lunch pretty much every day. The Matoke (yellow stuff: mashed plantains steemed in banana leaves) could be exchanged for rice and the g-nut sauce (purple stuff: basically a peanut sauce) could be beans or this green pea sauce and the posho (white stuff: corn flower and water) is always there. And that is our lunch basically every day. And our dinners are very similar. G-nut sauce is very good though, I really like it. We have it at home alot.
Now for our Jinja!!! It's about an hour away from Mukono, but has such a different feel to it. It looks like a big city but feels like a small town. It used to be like the Beverly Hills of Uganda. It has these beautiful huge homes everywhere and nice roads. Indians and British really built it up, and then Idi Amine kicked them all out and took all there money and gave the homes to the people (who didn't know how to take care of it) so now all the beautiful homes are just run down and grungy. It gives this weird feeling to the town. It almost felt like a ghost town, but not because people still lived in it.

Africa is so randomly amazing. Here we are going down the road, there is all this pretty scenary and trees and fields and then there is this huge billboard advertising Nile Beer. It was pretty hilarious. And then when we were on our tour of Jinja, there were all these birds in the sky, but they weren't birds, they were bats! Everywhere! One of the trees was just full of them. Apparently they are a delicacy here. People will catch them and then sell them for like 6 or 8 thousand shillings in town. That is either three or four american dollars, which is alot for food over here.
Houses along the way! (this was not the way the Jinja houses looked though) This is more of a typical African home, or even maybe even a little nicer.

Traveling to Jinja! We had 26 people in that van, African heat and no air conditioning. It was beautiful. When your traveling it's okay but when the van sits in the heat for awhile and we all get on and it's not moving yet... wow, that's 26 very sweaty bodies.

Are these not the coolest hotel rooms or what!?!?! They are actually little honey moon sweets. They are super cute but I wouldn't want my honey moon there, it would definitely be a very bonding experience though. There is no door on the bathroom, and our toilet didn't flush. Denise (my roommate for the trip) and I had some fun =)

This is the source of the Nile! Where it meets up with Lake Victoria. Some of the water here was running and some of it was still, so I'm not sure if that caused it but there were a lot of spinning whirl pools in this area too. It was so beautiful. Later that day we got to take a boat ride into it. So beautiful! One of the guys in our group drank the Nile... not sure how smart that was, but he hasn't died yet and it was a few days ago, so he must be okay.

We got a devotional tour of jinja by missionary Ben Langford. It was really good. This was my favorite stop. He talked about how the Nile provides life for millions and millions of people, that the water from the Nile is so important to Egypt (The Nile supports like all of Egyptian Life) that if Uganda does not let enough water out of the dam, Egypt will send missles over and blow up the dam. Intense. He also talked about how important finding the source of the Nile was. How many explorers died in search of it. And the little devotional he did with it was just like, what are you searching for? What have you set your life's goal as? And what are you doing to get there? It just seemed so peaceful there. It seems like this whole trip I have just been bombarded with all this information, all these new ideas and such. It was just nice to sit back, and think -so what am I searching for? And honestly, at the moment I have no idea. But in that moment, it seemed okay. I don't really know how my life's going to look, but I'm just going to keep going. Being around the Nile, floating on it, hanging out there, just helped me to relax. I finally felt like I could breathe. It doesn't really make a lot of since, but just being in the presence of something so important, something so crucial to so many peoples lives. It was just really cool. And I can't wait until we go rafting on it in a little =)

Oh and just so you know, there are three monkeys in this picture! The first monkeys that I've seen in Africa so far. I promise you they're in there. Three of them. They were pretty cute looking too.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Ugandan's have the hardest time saying my name. Every Ugandan that I have told my name to thinks my name is holy. In there accent holy and holly sound exactly the same. It's quite funny. To this moment, some of the people I have met still think my name is holy, it just got too hard explaining. Some of them wouldn't even attempt to say it because they knew they would mess up. I would have never thought it. It's quite intertaining.
Oh, and now the moment you've been waiting for!!! I'm actually posting pictures!!! Sorry for the delay =)

This is my house!! I like the little blue square in the front best. I also realized after the first downpour why the roof is so slanty. The rain is seriously intense here, I love it =)

My room! And Roommate! Well half of her. Joy is amazing! We've had some pretty good times in this room. Like the fact that if you have to go to bathroom in the night.... you can't go outside... we made our own toilet =)

I told you I was an African at heart! I held it for like a minute!! That feels like a lot longer than it sounds.

This was our first meal in Uganda. My first hard boiled egg ever! and bread with just butter on it. But actually it's not bad, we have it all the time here. The eggs and banana's are so much better here than in the US, they really do taste different. And the eggs, they have white yokes, they aren't yellow. It's crazy.

Sorry, these pictures aren't really in order. But the Equator!! I would have checked to see which way the water flushed but... it's rare that the toilets here flush, if they even have the ability. So I guess you could say it just went straight down =)

This weekend we are going to Jinja and we'll see the mouth of the Nile River!! I think we even get to swim in it!! We get to swim somewhere, I'm not sure.

And oh my goodness, if any of you ever go to Africa, bring anti ich cream!!!! Since we just wear skirts and sandals all the time my legs and ankles so just covered in these horrible bug bites. I have them on the bottom of my foot! It's horrible. The mosquitos here are so creative, the seek out the most horrific spots to bite you and then go crazy. I have like the hugest bite on the side of my butt as well, it's just dreadful. I don't know if Africans are just used to it or what, but I never see them scratching or anything. Maybe white skin is thinner and easier to bite, I don't know. But I'm bitten everywhere. Anti ich cream is essencial. I definietely recommend it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sorry, I keep forgetting to post pictures =( I think I have some time tomorrow... it's hard, the internet only works sometims.... and I just forget.
This morning I brushed my teeth next to two fighting ants. I find it funny that the ants are so big here that when they fight I take notice of it. They kind of reminded me of like two rhino’s in a head butting contest with each other, it was a pretty intense battle.
Yesterday it poured. Raining cats and dogs doesn’t even begin to describe it. It was perfectly sunny and nice and then all of a sudden there was a river flowing through our backyard, and then, when it stopped, I don’t know how, the ground must be like super absorbent, but after it stopped the ground was like fine to walk on, barely even muddy, only in a few spots. But Oh my goodness was it beautiful. The rain like washed away all the dust and made everything so crisp and beautiful. The dirt was this richer red color and the green form the plants was so bright. It was beautiful. And then my lovely little brother took his muddy red dirt stick across my white shirt…. I’m very glad I bought those stain remover pens now.
This past weekend was tough but it got better at the end. It didn’t help that I my stomach revolted against me all Saturday and I had the worst reflux of my entire life, but it still would have been awkward regardless. One bummer about it was that because this whole Kabaka conflict and riots and such, we couldn’t go into town or anything so we were basically just stuck around the house. Joy and I did a whole lot of homework, and on Sunday even studied a little with our mom which was nice.
But oh yes, Saturday was laundry day, and a good thing because we hadn’t really done laundry the whole time we’ve been here and so everything was dirty. It was a four person task. Maureen did the first washing, her son Ivan did the next washing and then Joy and I did the rinsing (we definitely got the easy not experienced part of the job). But yeah, it took forever. And the whole starting process was really awkward. We brought out all our clothes, two heaping piles in our wash buckets and laundry detergent. And kind of started to wash… but not really. Maureen started showing us how and then she just left and cleaned the house, and made matoke… and we just kind of sat on the porch waiting for her, and waiting, and waiting. She told us to wait, but we weren’t sure if she was ever going to come back. But she finally did, and our laundry was eventually done. Our whole backyard was full of Joy and mine’s colorful clothes. I should have taken a picture… next time. But I looked like a mess afterwards. My dress was soaked and my legs were muddy and grassy, Maureen made me bathe… I really did need it. Hopefully I get better at washing in the future. But for the moment, I’ll save my Saturday bathes for after the laundry.
But family life is so different here. Kinda weird. I’m not sure I’m a fan of it. Our father basically lay on the couch and watched TV all weekend and had everyone else bring him things and prepare everything. It was weird. Elijah does everything. We try to help him out, but sometimes he won’t let us. I rinse the dishes for him now. It’s fun. And Joy and I helped him peel potatoes. We need to Iron our clothes. And find some better system of hanging our clothes in our room. Our room looks hilarious. Clothes are everywhere. And the mosquito nets are quite obtrusive; they really chop off a whole lot of the room. The bed is basically just for sleeping in because it’s too much work to get in and out of it. Drew just gave me peanut butter on a shortbread cookie…. It was so beautiful. I miss peanut butter, it’s just amazing. Like heaven on a cookie stick. The cookie (or as they call here ‘biscuit’) was pretty good too, but the peanut butter made it so much better.
I also really miss salad. Veggetables are not a popular dish here, and when we do have them they have been like deep fried. It's pretty intense. Everyone talks about food they miss. I think we're having pizza tonight at the directors house.... that is one of the foods i don't miss. But it will be a nice change to I guess.
I have my first class presentation tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This has been such a crazy week. They weren't kidding when they said it would be tough academically. It's not that the subject matter is that hard, there just isn't any time to do all the reading and assignments during the day. And it's hard getting used to doing things with the family, we have to ask everything. And I really miss you mom. We have no mom at our house right now, it's just a dad, brother and little brother... and I really miss having that motherly care. You always made sure I had something to do when I was bored mom, even when I didn't want to do what you suggested. I miss that. But hopefully we'll get more used to it here, develope more of a rutine, and help out more around the house.... so we're not just sitting around being attacked by a little three year old that throws cars at our heads.


But last night... I was a little scared. We had heard about there being riots in Jinja and Kampala, but last night they were in Mukono, (aka the town I live in). Joy and I definitely were not bored last night. Our dad couldn't make it home because roads were closed due to the rioters buring tires on them, but there were still eleven people in our home. We had seven extra people staying at our house because they couldn't get home. And they all had a lot to say. They were very imformed. It kind of creaped me out, this one lady, her name was Peace, came in crying because they tried to burn her because she was from a different tribe, her skin was a lighter color and the boda-boda driver who saved her told her not to speak because they would hear her different accent as well. She was scared. Her husband had to hide in the bush somewhere last night too because whatever town he was in wasn't safe either. It was just crazy. When Joy and I got close to to home a bunch of gun shots were fired, it seriously sounded like they were coming around the corner towards us, so we ran the rest of the way home, but that was the only time I felt I was in danger. I felt very safe in our house, nervous, but safe. We got to see rioters drive by, that was a little creapy, but we were always safe.

Our home consisted of Joy and I, our Brother Elija (who also had a difficult time getting home from school and had to hide places along the way) our little brother Anoche, our house lady Maureen and her son Ivan, two stranded school children Katheryn and Noah, A married couple Sharon (who was actually in the IMME program two years ago and stayed with our family) and her husband Michael (Ugandan husband, they met while she was on her rural homestay) and Peace. It was crazy, but I liked how there were so many people. They say it's supposed to get worse. That on saturday the king of is supposed to come. Peace is worried that it is going to be about tribes, because is was for her last night, she compared it to the begining of what happened in Rwanda, which was slightly alarming. But the school is taking good care of us. There is no need to worry. I was just very glad I didn't have to go to the bathroom last night because I did not leave the house after we got in there at like 6:45. It helped that I like didn't really drink anything either, but yeah, it definitley would have been a pee in the waterbottle night if I had. Well, I will try to keep you as updated as possible. I won't have my computer over the weekend but I think I'll have time on Monday. And hopefully I'll have time to post some pictures then too. Sorry it's taking so long, it's been crazy. But I love you all so much! I learned a new word, Kulikayo, it means welcome back. So that's what I expect to hear you all say when I get back =)

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Oh my goodness, there is so much to say about our trip to Rwanda. It was the most eye opening thing I have ever encountered. I'm sure you have heard about the Rwanda genocide, but I don't think you can imagine what actually took place there. I certainly did not imagine what I saw, I never even fathomed it possible.
We went to this church where ten thousand Tutsis saught refuge from the Hutu's that were killing them. We heard the testimony there from one of the only seven people that survived. He was eight at the time and only survived because his brother smeared him with the blood of bodies around them and then hid him under them. People paid to be shot ( a quick death) so they would not have to be hacked to death and die slowly by machettes and clubs (took three days) like the rest. Covering the floor of this church now remiams the clothes of all those bodies, in some places it is a few feet thick. 57 people there were burried alive there in the back and there were boxes upon boxes of bones. And skulls that showed the traces of machette hacks and breaks.
But what I found most amazing, was Charles's story (the survivor that showed us around). He saw it all happen, his mother die, his father's limbs removed, found his brother decapatated and he stood there and told us that God is in contol. It was amazing. I have never ever in my life seen such hate, fear or torture, but yet at the end of it, I have never seen his kind of forgiveness, faith, trust or love. This man has every reason in the world to be bitter, yet he chooses to forgive. It made me feel really foolish about all the things I've held on to in the past. We also got to hear alot about the restoration that's happening here, it's amazing.
Uganda is quite different from Rwanda. Rwanda is alot prettier, plastic bags are illegal and everyone lives in the country so it's all green and spacious, it's also very hilly there. Uganda has a lot more city and alot more people. But the Island we stayed at last weekend in Uganda was absolutely gorgeous! Not city like at all, and we were pretty much the only people there besides the few workers that worked the restraunt. We played cards with them, it was fun, they taught us a game they play, it's just like uno but they play it with regular cards, and you only get three cards in the beggining so it's over really quickly. But there was this giant rope swing on the island, that went into the water.... so scarry. It took me like forever to go, but I'm glad I went when i did because if I had seen the girl hit the ground before the water that happened after me... I would have never gone. It was so scarry... I tweaked my middle finger and now it's bruised and crooked... but it was worth it. I don't think I'll have another chance to swing into an African lake from a giant platform again.
And now I'm back in Mukono. My first class starts in a couple of hours, and soon I'm going to go to lunch and eat carbs. That is the staple of life hear. So all of you trying to fatten me up before I left... I think the African diet is going to do that just fine. We might not eat as much junk food here, but I have never had so much carbs in my life. Bread, potatoes in all different forms (and fried like no other), rice, noodles, chipati (fried tortilla) and bananna and beans. That is what you eat regularly. Every once in a while the meat is good. Or we'll have eggs or pineapple.
But I'm having an amazing time! I got to meet my homestay mother!! Her name is Momma Irine. She is so nice, I can't wait until she's back for good in November. And Momma Maureen is the lady that helps out around the house.
It still hasn't really hit me that I'm in Africa.... it's not as different as I thought it would be I guess. But I'm loving it! I can't wait to see what's to come! And don't worry mom and dad, I'll try and keep my finger injury as my only injury =) LOVE YOU!!