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!