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!


  1. Hi Holly,
    sorry I haven't posted any comments but I have been following your blog. I loved the picture of you and Nancy carrying the bananas. It's great. I'm so happy you and Dean decided to go to Africa. It looks like you are having the most amazing adventures. Take care,

  2. Holly,
    I just love your sense of humor....The pictures are fabulous!!! I'd love to hear about the wedding and your trip to the falls.
    Miss you like crazy.
    = ) Mom

  3. holly this is amazing. i absolutely love your guys blog. they keep me so occupied out here. i hope to see yall soon ok.
    love, brogan

  4. Hi Holly - It's me, Nancy{the other Nancy}. Just pulled up blog, 2nd time - will have to read the whole thing. Looks great!! You have done a great thing!
    God Bless you - Nance