Saturday, September 22, 2007

It's been some few days.....

Amy Here! --One of our favorite sayings here in Uganda is "some few days/minutes/hours/weeks" Its used instead of "a little while ago". Another favorite saying is "ok! Nice time!" which is used instead of "see you later".

So much has happened since Sept 14 and yet not a lot. Time flies here. Parts of the country are under a state of emergency because of the torrential rains that have come with the onset of rainy season and the forecast shows no relief until mid november. Some districts are totally wiped out. Imagine living in a mud hut with a grass roof and have hours of rain a day. It reminds me of the sunday school song "the wise man built his house upon the rock". Although here- there is no option so everything is built in mud! Needless to say, thousands of homes have been washed away and many bridges linking crucial northern and eastern areas have been destroyed or are impassable.

Here in Jinja we've been experiencing some frustrating power outages and water shortages. Last week we were without power for 5 and half days. And the night the power came back on, the water was cut off. We didn't have water or power last night which was espeically handy since we have brought Sophia and Melody over for a playdate/sleepover with Phin. Bethany had to go to town to do some important emailing so i was left with the 3 hyper kids for a couple hours. After our dinner of macaroni and rice (yummy and creative i know!) i put them all in the shower area in 2 buckets. Soph and Mel shared the big bucket and Phin had the small one. I just sat back and watched as they all went wild with their cups in the 6 inches of water they were all sitting in. AS sophia was getting out for me to wash her hair, she slipped and fell and hit her face on the tile floor which made a nice little hole in her lip! I picked up my poor dear girl and was hugging her and just as i had her covered in a towel, the power went out! Sooooo convienient. So as i was holding a sobbing sophia, and while both Mel and Phin were screaming "candle! Candle!" i somehow managed to find my way to our match stack and lit a candle. I put it in the bathroom and then got my headlamp and tended to soph's bleeding lip. Then phin came out and i got him ready for bed while i let mel just relax and chill in the tub. So Aunty Befamy came home and we put the kiddo's to bed and finally had some time to relax and chill ourselves.

This is our nightly routine: Make phin supper, play with him, bathe him, put him to bed. Crack open our cold sodas, grab our "u and me's" (chocolate bars from dubai), light the candles and sit at our table playing skipbo for an hour or 2 or 3- depending on our energy level. Then we read and go to bed! Every night!

Bethany and I are starting to get more involved here and are doing more leading in Bible study on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Next week Bethany is sharing at the big 40 ppl cell on Tuesday and i'm sharing at the smaller 15 person cell on Thursday. We are both a little bit nervous but it'll be fine because its just what you do here.

Today our dear friend JP leaves for Entebbe and things will definitely change. This guy is so sweet and genuine and Godly and a great leader in the church, in our cell and in our group oif friends. HE'll be missed for sure. And as much as me and Beth HHHAAATTTEEE going to kampala, we'll definitely make the trip to see our great friend! Ok until next time...

Friday, September 14, 2007

The photo above is of (from right to left) Madrine, Ronnie, Paulson, Raoul, Andrew and JP in the hat (the person the party was for)

The two guys are Paulson, and Raoul. Raoul is the one smiling and him and Phin are best friends.

The 3 girls are Carol, Sylvia (people say sileeviah here) and Blessing.

Last night was definately in the top 5 funnest times we've had in Uganda so far, and not much will be able to top it!

So we have this amazing friend John Paul (JP). He's our cell group leader, friend from church, an amazing preacher, and just a spectacular person! We're very very sad to say that he's resigned from his job in Jinja and is going to go back to school for a really cool program that he's going to do so good in. He's moving to Entebbe for that which is about an two hours away if you don't include in the 'jams' that can add another couple hours that.

So last sunday, bethany and I had our friends Carol, Blessing and David over. Jp was supposed to come but he couldnt make it which was excellent because while Carol and Blessing were watching 'dream girls' me and beth and david were huddled in the kitchen planning a sweeeeet suprise party for Jp! Whenever anyone celebrates birthday's here they sometimes say its a sweet 16 so we planned Jp's going away party as a "super sweet 16" (thank you for the inspiration Mtv!)

Bethany and David and I planned all the details and texted everyone on the guest list the details. WE made up a whole big elaborate lie all about how David was going to tell him that he was making pork (which is a super big deal here) at our house and the 4 of us were going to hang out with Phin and a watch a movie and eat supper together. Thursday nights is fellowship across town so the majority of the guestlist was at that fellowship that JP was also at. We were very careful to tell people that this was going to be a big surprise and to keep it that way.

At 7:30 Jp and David show up at our gate and we are not ready at all! Everyone is up on our balcony but the candles are all lit (yeah for no power nights) and everyone was talking and being loud. So i ran up on the balcony and Carol and Blessing helped me blow all the candles out and everyone ducked down.

Jp and David are terrified of our dogs and so we held them at the gate by telling them we had to put the dogs away before they could come in. So they get out of the car and we tell them right off the bat that we need them to come quickly help us move these beds that are on the balcony just to keep them from the rain if we need too. We walk up the steps and onto the balcony and everyone yells SURPRISE!! and we totally got him so good. He was so happy. He had never even had a birthday party in his life before. Hes 26.

Beth and I kinda went all out and bought happy birthday signs, food, streamers, balloons (BYOOOOOOONS!!!! in Phin's language), and prizes. We played really funny cheesy party games like 'I have never" which got fairly intense and even included some broken couch arms. WE played this game called Matthew Matthew Mark Mark and you have to keep this beat and say like Amy Amy Bethany Bethany while clapping your hands and hitting your knees and keeping time and it sounds lame but its really funny and hard. I (amy) was out on the first round because clapping and hitting and talking and keeping beat at the same time is just a bit out of my reach at this point. We also wrapped some prizes all relating to JP in newspaper and layered it like crazy with tape and stuff and then split everyone up into 2 teams and all you had was a fork and spoon to open the package and you cant use your hands. One person is trying to open the package while the person next to them is rolling a dice and trying to get a 6. When they get a six they grab the package and utensils and pass the dice to the their neighbor and so on.

The prizes were a tie with dogs on it because JP is ever wearing a tie and he haaaates dogs, an onion because he has many layers (stolen from shrek and also a last resort), water wings because Jp is a terrrrrible swimmer, and a chocolate bar because he's such a sweet heart! Shout out to for her care package which provided the chocolate bar free of charge to us!

For the party we prepared Papaya, Pineapple, Bananas, Carrots, Cucumber (chukumbah as is said here), gnuts (same thing as peanuts but we have to roast and salt them ourselves), no bake cookies, batambuze buns with blue band, jam and peanut butter, and Carol made the pork and Blessing came over and cooked "irish" which is what people here call potatoes. I helped her make it and we packed banana leaves around the inside of the pot to keep the steam in and keep them from burning!

At the end of the night everyone took turns saying things about JP and not just your typical "oh hes really fun and nice and cool and a good friend" but really sincere, genuine heartfelt beautiful things about him. Then after everyone was done that, he went around and said a unique and genuine, sincere thing about every single person there. Bethany and I were fighting tears the whole time and while this was going on Phin was so helpfully gathering all the empty pop bottles from around the balcony at our feet. He was a trooper the whole night.

When we were all saying goodbye, Blessing (her name suits her to a T) came up to me and hugged me, thanked me for the party and said that she's never met 'whites' like Bethany and i. She said she has never seen white people so interested in making real friendships and helping people not just by throwing money around but by actually physically helping. We put chairs away and sound equipment away after the concert we helped with and people could not stop talking about how humble we are that we stayed till the very end. I started crying because i felt so awful to be white at that moment and be part of a race thats done awful things to these people. I told her i was so sorry white people have made them feel that way and i'm glad that beth and i can just love them like theres no difference. because there isnt. at all. Some of these friends are life long, we can tell. So until next time...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

School and Meds

So we thought we'd just write a quick lil update about how our various amani activities are going. As far as preschool goes, things are pretty good! We are working right now on making a little packet of info for people who are coming to help us because we're trying to be really consistent with the kids. Its easy for volunteers to come to amani for a short time and really coddle the kids and let them get away with anything, but especially in preschool we really aren't doing them any favors by letting them misbehave. So we are making some rules so that we can all be on the same page in terms of how to manage behaviour (and misbehaviour). And we are writing little profiles about the kids as well so we can all be on the same page in terms of how each child tends to behave. We also are trying to make scheduled lesson plans with goals for the week for each group in school. I'm really enjoying being a part of it...sometimes progress is slow, and some days it even seems like were going backwards but all in all, i really like it.

So the mumps is still making its rounds through Amani. Joyce has recently come down with a wicked case and her little face is soooo fat! She looks like fat albert. or she's in a fat suit. Its really funny.

As far as Phin news goes...we are having a good time. He likes to talk about things that are "gone", like one night we saw a frog and then it hopped away so he said "frog gone!", and when he finished his beans he said "bean gone" and when we flush the toilet he says "poop gone!" its pretty cute.

And right now we're in our friend David's internet cafe and Phin is running back and forth between me and bethany, all the while calling both of us Amy! He still can't seem to grasp the concept of 2 different names. We have a good friend Immy (pronounced eemee) and Phin has a pretty easy time when we're all together because he calls us all Amy!

Uncle Raoul just got here and him and Phin are like best friends in the whole world now. Phin drags him around through the supermarket next door and tries to get him to buy him ice cream. It's pretty cute seeing them together.

Ok so we should go put our little loaner munchkin to bed! Until next time!

Slowly, slowly

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, “Thus says the Lord!”

O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
Just in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!

Monday, September 10, 2007

The many faces of Phineas David Howard Little

So we had a little photo shoot with Phineas the other day...we were at a wedding and after he was being really cute. He makes this funny face that we just call "the face" and its just too funny to not put up pictures of it. He really is devastatingly adorable...we love him! So far we've had a really good time with him. Its tiring but we love him to bits. Enjoy the pics!!!


"The Face"


"The Face II"

Just plain cute.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Pictures from the past week

Momma King, this is your sweet joyce holding up the leaf and cracking up. Christina (teenie beanie) is on the left.

Check out the difference between our amani babies and these kids from the village. I love this photo.

This is me and some of my friends from Kikondo. The big lake in the background is Lake Victoria where Katie and I fished for Tilapia and caught 9!

Here is a photo of some kids in the village of Kikondo where Katie Davis and I went last friday. She has a good blog too, THese kids are so adorable and we love going to visit them.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

We never get tired of being taken advantage of!!

So today me and bethany wanted to trade out 2 twin beds in for deckers, or bunk beds! We thought that i would be an easy task but it has yet to prove itself as that yet....

Bethany and i left our house at 10am and went to Iganga Road where there are some furniture shops and we pull up on our bodas, hop off, and begin to chat with our new "friend" Ronald. We brought him back to our house to take a look at our twin beds to see how much he could give us for them.

I reached into my bag and pulled out a 1000 shilling note and told my boda man to give the 500 balance to beth's boda man. He refused and said it was 1000 shillings to take us from iganga rd to our house on kisinja road. We started into our usual schpeel about how we are not tourists("see? this is our house, NOT a hotel!"), and we know the price of things ("we know this ride should cost us maybe 300 shillings but because we are white you charge 500") and i politely by quite firmly asked for my money back and i would give him my 500 shilling coin. He refused once again. Things got a little heated and after about 7 minutes of solid arguing the boda man biked away with us yelling at him " you are cheating us! you are a thief!". The remaining 2 boda men were so kind to us and were apologizing for that guy and so we gave them 2000 shillings each which is a solid 1500 shillings above the price of our boda ride. THe men were so appreciative and we said, make sure you tell your thief friend that we gave you so much extra because you were kind and didnt cheat us.

Ronald came in, looked at our beds and we agreed on 60,000 shillings and we added on another 30 thousand for the deckers, plus 8000 for transporting the beds. We also agreed that we could pick up the beds at 3:00pm the same day. Now, many times in Uganda we have noticed that people will tell little white lies just to tell you what you want to hear and when someone says "yes it will be ready at exactly 3pm" it really means, " i dont want to lose your business or money so i am going to tell you what i think you want to hear even if it means its not the right time."

So bethany and I visited Hope and Phin and chatted about some last minute details regarding Hope's leaving and our taking Phin and we also picked up the new Harry Potter book thats been circulating around our group of friends! (slim pickings on reading material here and we almost bought the new HP in Nairobi but couldn't afford it) AT 4 we decided to go back into town and check on our beds.

So we get 2 more boda men and take the same 8 minute bicycle boda ride from Nile Cresent to Iganga Rd and hang the 2 men 1000 shillings to split between them and the SAME THING HAPPENED as about 4 hours before! so bethany marches across the street, gets 2 500 coins for the 1000 note and plunks the money into the boda mans hands and we leave, slightly annoyed, to say the least!

AS we walk up to the shop i say to beth, "nothing has been done". We talk to Ronald and he tells us that since 4 hours before he had been getting some timbers. We get into a discussion of how he had told us 3, we REALLY need them beds because PHin is moving in with us, and finally we decide on midday tomorrow (12pm sunday). We leave but before we do i say to him, "if these beds are not ready at midday, you are giving us our money back and we are going somewhere else."

Sometimes its frustrating to be white here. People think that just because you are white, you are rich and we're like "no! really! in canada we are poor university students with buckets of debt and we're too old to be under our parents insurance so we have to pay for our health care and car insurance and even though it looks like we have loads of endless money, we had to work ourselves raggad to come here!"

And even though the difference between paying 500 and 1000 shillings is 30 cents, its the principle. Its not cool to cheat people, here or in canada. and Sometimes we don't care because whats 30 cents here and there but when people are sooo rude and so blatantly cheating you, it gets old.....real fast!!! It happens every single day and that combined with the endless marriage proposals, it wears on you.

But fear not! Tomorrow is another day and we even found our beloved cheese sauce today so we will start the day fresh and new!

We are also fasting and praying sunday and monday for Hope and Phin, that a miracle will happen. That the judge will grant favor on her adoption request and that She will have the time to get Phin's visas, a plane ticket and she will be able to go home this week. Anyone at home is welcome to join us. We are fasting from midnight tonight till 6pm tomorrow, and the same thing the next day. So please join us as we ask for a miracle! God Bless you all!

p.s....we still LOVVVVVVVVE Uganda!