Sunday, July 22, 2007

Coles Notes on Life in Uganda

Here are some little things that would have made our transition to life here a touch easier if we knew them before hand!

- when you need to susu (pee) don't count on a nice white tile bathroom, count on a hole in the ground, a weird cement trough urinal, an empty side street, the side of the highway or- if your lucky, a pitch black 'normal' toilet stall with no seat, no TP, the foulest smell alive, and a jump rope cable dangling from the tank sitting 5 feet up the wall behind you that might flush if you yank it enough times.
-it's totally normal to see various forms of poultry in your compound and for them to make wicked noise at ungodly hours.
- your not a christian if your are baptist or don't attend 'overnights' (10pm to 6am) prayer meetings every friday plus church on sundays, home cell on tuesdays and fellowship on thursdays
- have a cold, cough or an infection? its acutally called 'a little bit of malaria' and if you acutally have malaria, you call it malaria too and you can look forward to about 2 bouts of it per year.
- medicine in pill form are called tabs
- white girls get to look forward to a really sweet kissing sound as they pass men- dont worry though- it translates from lugandan to mean " your a mzungu and i want a mzungu friend"
- your not pretty, your smart
- your not smart, your clever
- you dont get food for take out, you get food for take away
- if you want take away juice, you get it in a plastic bag knotted at thetop and you bite a small hole in the bottom and suck thejuice out.
- you dont go on the internet or check youremail, you surf or browse
-EVERY price is negotiable.
- you dont barter, you barGAIN
- taking a small child on the back of a motorcycle, sitting side saddle is normal and even safe. taking a bicycle and sitting side saddle over the back tire with a kid is even safter but runs the risk of A) having to get apush start as bodamen laugh at how fat you are B)have to get off at a a particularly steep part ofa hill because its acutally faster for you to walk or C) almost pass out because of the smell that emits from a man who's been biking up hills all day in the blazing african sun and doesnt wear deoderant.
- its normal to go to a resturant, ask your server about a dish thats on the menu and have them stare blankly at you and tell you they've never heard of it and so you just order tea for dinner once again.
-when asking if you like something, ppl will say "do you take....." not do you like....
- you dont smoke, you puff
- your not scared of things,you fear them
- its not hurting you, its paining you
- cooking on a 1 element gas stove outside is luxurious and a super white thing to do since 98% of the populaion doesnt use refrigeration and they cook on charcoal or with parafin
- the following items are best and most easily transported on the back of a boda bicycle 1) small children 2) 4x2 wooden shelf units ...4 at a time 3) 2 twin sized beds standing lengthwise and tied with bits of rubber 4)small fridges...big ones are best suited to wheelbarrows 5) TV's
- Benny HInn is a miracle man who attracts more ppl to his crusades in uganda than nelson mandella and you will deeply offend anyone who you tell that benny hinn is really a money laundering crook.
- the singer R. Kelley is a pedophile in america but in uganda he's a much loved gospel singer
- the majority of people will answer you by saying FINE to your hello.
- a package of pure glucose is a normal snack for small children (a litteral package of PURE glucose)
- its safe and totally legal to have a ride at a fair be made out of rotten wood and rusty steel. A big swing like at west edmonton mall, swing of the century style. this one has about 20 too many seats and probably about 500 llbs over capacity but its packed none the less with people bumping into eachother for the price of 30 cents a turn. YOu sit in your bucket seat thats hanging 6 inches off the floor of the ride, (10 feet orso off theground) and you just pray that your legs dont get mangled on the jagged rusty steel like the people in front of you and it almost makes you thankful for your updated tetanus shot.
- don't be alarmed if you see a man on the ground, surrounded by 15 other guys who are beating him up because he stole and he should have expected thiswould happen.
- children will hold any manner of nasty cockroaches, praying mantises, poisionous toads, geckos, snakes or huge dragon flies, but if a dog comes around or they see a stuffed animal, they will scream bloody murder.
- some weights can be measured in terms of small puppies
-there is no distinction between between male of female in coversation. you are called either this one/that one or guay meaning you.
- its logical to have street lights on during the day and off at night.
- driving downhill is called sloping
- you dont turn down the volume, you decrease it. and you dont shove over or move down, you extend or push up.

this is just a little funny post for all you! we're doing fine and having blast still!!
love amy and bethie

Thursday, July 19, 2007

butterfly kisses

hi everyone,

just wanted to put up some photos for you all to see! this first one is of my baby georgie porgie. i love him so much. he was just on my lap but he fell asleep and was too sweaty so i put him on the couch.

this one is me and ame when we went to kikondo, musas village across lake victoria. please note the sweet braids. amy just took hers out last night but im a little more patient and im keeping mine in for a little longer.

This is little maria, a girl who is the definition of mischevious. we took her to get her hair done and at first she didnt like it and refused to look in the mirror but she loves it now. i took a million pictures of the process but she wouldnt let me take a picture of the finished product because she was mad for some reason. sorry erin! she looks ADORABLE though.
this one is melody, we took her to get her hair done and she was reeeeally really cute. she got a little fussy at the end but was a realy trooper. she LOVES chicken and soda and when we asked her what she wanted she just kept saying soda. and chicken. i was like melo what KIND of soda, and shes just like "chi-cken!" and so chicken and soda it was. She was soooo proud of her new hair and was telling michelle- another volunteer and our good GREAT friend- to be careful putting on her jammies so as not to mess up her hair.
While we were at Quick step, waiting for mel's hair, Michelles boyfriend Raoul, came over with 2 boys he had picked up from the village named steven and daniel. Steven is 12 years old and weighs about 20-25 pounds. his growth is severely stunted and he had a head to toe raised, very angry looking rash. Raoul was taking him to Rippon Clinic but we have to go because they have to restart the server so uintil next time!!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Note to self: NEVER steal in Uganda!

We found a house! I think Amy forgot to write about this yesterday so I'm just going to write a lil tidbit about it. Its perfect for us, its actually one of two basement suites in the downstairs of this mansion. There is a lady who lives upstairs (janet, our landlady, nicest woman alive) and then the downstairs is divided into two suites. A mzungu (white) man lives in one and we live in the other. Its one bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. Small but we dont really need that much space. AND it costs half as much as our guest house we were at before because were sharing a room now. Its on a really beautiful compound with a super nice pool (!!!) and its really safe, big fence and gate and three guard dogs who we love! Blackie who is brown, Brownie who is tan, and Skippy who is black. We like skippy the best. Shes really cute.

Um okay funny sidebar. Everyone in Jinja loves to blast music out of their shops so you can hear it when you pass by. Right now there are two different songs being blasted out of the internet cafe were in...I kind of feel like im going to have a seizure. One is Jehovah Jireh straight out of 1995. Its just too funny, like no one seems to notice that were listening to two totally conflicting BLASTING musics. I love Uganda!

Oh and heres a funny little cultural tidbit for y'all. Yesterday we were waiting with our friend Michael and he was telling us about how his house was broken into not too long ago and he saw the theif leaving. So what do you do in Uganda when you see a theif running away from your house? Why you chase him down and beat him to a pulp, of course! If someone sees and calls the cops, and they manage to get there in time, the theif may escape with only a severe beating. If the cops dont get there in time, you die. No big deal. Thats how it is here. I asked Michael what happens if you kill someone and he said, "that depends. did you kill a theif?" Me and amy were shocked. Michael said that theyre trying to reduce thievery in Uganda... no kidding. Anyways, we made a mental note never to steal anything here!

Today we went with Amys friend Musa to his village across lake Vicky (victoria) called Kikondo, but pronounced Chicondo. We were actually MOBBED by the kids, like 40 kids all grabbing at our hands and pulling at our was a little overwhelming. There was one point near the beginning where we were sitting on Musas front step overheating because of the 40 sweaty children packed around us all grabbing our arms (they think its really funny that when you push on our skin it goes white for a second and then back to normal) and yelling at us in luganda, I thought I was going to have a panic attack. But after a bit I just adjusted I guess, and I was fine. They LOOOOVE to have videos taken of them and then look at them...they scream and scream and laugh. I took some pretty cute vids of them singing and doing calypso dancing.

They played this funny game with us where everyone stands in a circle and holds hands and they sing this song in luganda and when it gets to a certain part in the song you do this little dance move. And you go around the circle and everyone takes a turn. Lucky me I was near the beginning and I got to wow them all with my incredibly WHITE girl dance moves, they almost died laughing at us...haha. They actually have a lot of games that involve some form of dancing and me and amy were singled out a disproportionate number of times to dance. Embarassing.

Oh and Musas family made us this HUUUUUGE two tables FULL. This was my first experience with really african food. So far I havent eaten anything too too exotic, we eat in mzungu restaurants because its more foodsafe, its not recommended to eat in a lot of places here for our weak white stomachs. They made for us whole talapia fish. Like WHOLE fish. Like I had to break it in half and pull the meat off.. Im fairly sure i swallowed like 15 fish bones. They also made a dish called Chata which basically is a steaming ball of brown dough that just looks utterly repulsive. Musa was so exicted, Chata is his "best dish" and was so pumped for us to try it, so i did!! It wasnt as bad as it looked but not the best thing ive eaten here for sure! Also we ate rice, beef (so tough i couldnt chew it into two pieces to swallow so i almost choked on this massive hunk of cow), pineapple, apples, mangos, carrots, cucumbers, and potatoes. I actually really enjoyed most of it! And we had to eat EVERYTHING on the table...we were ready to pass out by the end of it. Yummy but its hard to eat like an african.

Well my times almost up so I should go. Please keep my (bethany) family in your prayers, my aunt passed away yesterday and this is a tough time for my family and for me being so far away. Until next time...

Friday, July 13, 2007

New Things In Jinja

Hey Everyone. This is Amy posting here! So some exciting news! We got 3 new babies at amani this week. One is about2 weeks old andweighs 1 kilogram. Thats about 2.2 pounds. crazy!! Hes in our incubator but it has no temp control and hes not on oxygen or any monitoring systems. He was kept warm at Mulago hospital with a kerosene lamp and now he has some sort of gas poisioning from the gas fumes and his skin is really grey. His new name is Isaiah. We also got a little boy whos in the toddler house named Nathaniel and he is the fattest kid in there! hes soooo precious and cute buthe has these sores all over his arms and on his back. He was just found abandonded. Holly is the new baby 2'er and shes about 18 months and was abandoned also. The afternoon Nate came i held him for an hourand he looked so sad andjust how you would think an abandonded baby would feel andlook. He's healthy though so thats good.

Today i took Debra (a 4month old) and Tolofina (a 20 monther) to theclinic because Tolo probably has TB and Debra needs this lesion on her belly button burned off. I took Tolo on one hip and Debra in a sling around me and set off in the blazing heat for the clinic. Tolo saw 2 dogs and started crying her loud cry and stopped just as we got to the clinic. There were these 4 mormon missionaries in the clinic and this old lady was so so nice and took debra for me while i took Tolo out side to jokokuba her (litteral translation is a bit scary- to beat her) but i just lightly smacker her leg. I didnt use the jokokuba stick :) She cried and Cried and cried and sobbed because last time i took her there last week- she got an injection and didnt have too much fun. I think she remembered this andthats why she was have such a spaz attack. I called bethany and over tolo shrieks told her to GET OVER HERE AND HELP ME!!!!!! meanwhile that nice mormon lady had taken debra into the doc's office while she saw him and then waited till beth got there to help me.

I took sophia into town today and got her hair washed and plaited (braided) at Quick Step Hair Saloon. my friend Roger did it for me and for 5000 shillings. THats about 3 dollars. This is an interesting little tidbit. My friend makes 80,000 shillings every 2 weeks so he is getting paid 60 CENTS an hour. Isnt that ridiculous? He takes care of his 4 sisters andpays rent andschool fees on that salary. And thats a GOOD paying job.

Bethany brought george ( who we affectionately call George MIchael and Georgie Porgie) over to the salon to hang out while soph got her hurr did. We are trying to teach george careless whisperer right now but so far hes only mastered the words aunty and no. but today i put his dirty nappy in the garbage at oiur house and he said " aunty caca in there". caca means poo. and susu means pee in lugandan.

OK so i have 4mins left of internettime so i'm going to wrap this up. PEace out all. We are LOVING life in jinja!! UNtil next time...Wey ba lenyo.

Love Aunty Emily (no one can say amy here) and Aunty Bethan ( no one can say bethany either)

Friday, July 6, 2007

Soooo we are finally here!!!
Sorry for the delay in updating the blog but the internet cafe isnt really close to us so its kind of hard to get to. THis first week has been kind of crazy....meeting a million people and getting to know the babies. I should probably say that i have a really fussy baby on my lap right now so this may be shorter than id like...hes soooo precious his name is Adam and hes for sure the cutest baby in the preemie room. Amy is next to me with little Katie on her lap sound asleep...Katie is too cute her hair has grown and it looks EXACTLY like Mr. T, which i like to call her!
We really are having so much fun. amy is loving seeing all her old friends and im loving meeting them all. Ugandans are such amazing people. They are so content with what they have, which most often is nothing. Some of our friends live in one bedroom (literally) shacks with curtains for doors and cook food in a little stove in the corner and they are sooo happy.

Yesterday we took some kids to town and took them out for dinner...Maria and Emily. Maria is going to be adopted with another boy named Musa and is such a little character! She loves to pretend shes mad at you and then when you ask her whats wrong she laughs hysterically. And if you dont ask her whats wrong she will actually become mad at you...super funny. They were just wired (could have been all the candy we gave them) and were screaming and laughing and showing us how to calypso dance. It was soo so fun.

Oh and we got our hair extensions! My hair is sooo long now and it toook forever...9 hours for me and 8 for amy. Its super low maintenance though so we like it though. And we are currently in the process of looking for a house. RIght now we are staying in a guest house which is nice but 6 months is a long time to not really have your own space so we've decided that were going to try to find somewhjere else. Right now we;ll live just us and michelle and then when rachel and arielle get here well live with them. We've had a tough time finding something that meets all of our specifications and is safe enough but I'm sure we'll find one soon.

And for those of you wondering about amys bags (which have been lost this whole week), apparently they are here and we are sending a driver to pick them up tomorrow which is such an answer to prayer! If they get here that is....lets just hope they arent opened and nothing is missing.

Um so i dont know what else to say! I know theres a million things i could say but its so hard to explain in an email and adam is getting reeeally fussy so i should go.. but feel free to comment on here and ask questions we can answer. Thanks for all your emails we miss you all are thankful for your prayers.