Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wave for Jesus!

video

So the day has come. I booked my flights back "home"to Jinja yesturday and boy does it feel good! I leave at 8:30pm on monday Nov 5th and get to Entebbe Uganda at 2:50pm on Wed the 7th. I am so so so so so excited to walk out of the airport and into the arms of my kindred spirit Bethany, and see my awesome friends Katie, David and JP who are all gonna come pick me up!

This video i've uploaded is from Deliverance Chuch Jinja, me and bethany's beloved church! We love this SO much. The pastor is such a gifted speaker and even though we can't understand it sometimes, it definately feeds our souls like no other church we've been too. This video is a typical praise and worship song at DC complete with clapping, waving, jumping, and dancing. People REALLY know how to get into worship in Uganda, and its awesome to be a part of.

It was weird being home for church last sunday and not clapping once! I texted my friend JP from Uganda and told him that we didnt clap one time and he texted back saying "what kind of church do you go to!?". I think that really shows the difference between north american church and african church. There are bad and good parts to both but one thing i think we really need to get over is our reservations about really getting into things. David in the bible danced before the Lord so why shouldn't we?!

Ugandans are VERY passionate people and one thing they are very very very passionate about is their relationship with Christ. People are just so into the bible, so into bible study, so involved with their churches that it makes me a little embarrassed when i have to use my concordance to find a verse or even my table of contents to find out where Habakuk is! These people are so joyful in the face of all circumstances. Wallowing in self pity when something bad happens to you is just not kosher. When beth and i got hit by the car (SO FUNNY NOW!) David, JP and like 5 other guys came to the hospital to make sure we were ok. David was in the exam room with us and beth was sobbing with George and i was panic attacking with Ruthie and he just kept saying "dont cry, you will be fine". Ugandans dont cry unless someone dies practically and to have me and bethany cry at weddings there, cry when we get an email from home, cry when our friends are just so wonderful to us, cry when we've had a hard day, cry when we're mad at eachother, cry because we dont have power and all was want to do is cook in light, is really funny. When i bawled my eyes our when we i found out i had to come home for surgery, David and JP just stood to the side looking SO uncomfortable. They had no idea what to do!

People just dust themselves off and pick themselves up! Our church collected blankets and clothes and housewares for the people up north who have been devastated by the worst flooding Sub Saharan africa has seen in 30 years. My church did that! My church where some people dont have enough clothing or blankets for themselves! People are generous and loving and beautiful and passionate.

When someone says 'i'll pray for you'- they mean right there and right then. no fooling around. Prayer is so so serious. On Tuesdays and Thursday Beth and I attend Bible study. On tuesday's we meet at Davids house and on thursdays we meet at some persons garage. At both places there is no power point, there is no guitar, drums, microphones, piano. There is NOTHING. YEt we sing and dance and pray like our lives depend on it....and they do! We sing songs like "Blessed is the name of the Lord, he is worthy to be praised and adored. So we lift up holy hands in one accord, singing blessed is the name of the Lord." I can't tell you how beautiful it sounds to be ina garage with 4 other people all singing like its their job!

Tuesday fellowship begins with intercession. For 20-30 minutes we stand in a big circle and all at once, pray out loud. It was distracting at first but i really love it. Its so beautiful to hear 30 other prays while i'm praying. If theres one thing Ugandans know how to do, its pray! There is no kidding around when people pray! Its AWESOME!

Needless to say, i really can't say enough good things about Africa, Uganda, Jinja, Deliverance Church, my friends etc...Its just home.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Some few photos...

I always get people asking for more photos so here are some! Erin, here are the photos of your babies you asked for...they really couldnt have put on much of a cuter photo-shooot.






This is Mary Cameron and Jackson.
















Worlds biggest picture smile..












"AUNTIE!! MY TOOTH IS BROKEN!!!" - mary cameron on my lap when she sees this picture..













Sorry Erin, this ones the cutest but i took it the wrong way!! Maybe you can save it to your comp and rotate it there?










This was at my sweet bible study birthday party they had for me...at ugandan parties the birthday celebratee cuts half the cake into little pieces and serves it to everyone. I got to sit in the special chair and everyone sang happy birthday to me...twice... On the left is our darling friend Blessing and on the right is Florence. My friends and my darling Katie had a surprise party for me also on my actual birthday which was really fun - except for when it POURED and the lightning was so severe that everyone was an hour late and I arrived at the same time as half of




This is me and my baby Georgeums. He's recently started answering me when I ask him how hes doing...he never used to do that. He never used to talk at all actually. But now he does. And when I say "Georgie nkwagala nnyo!" which means "i love you" he says back "nwaagawaawaa" which is about the cutest thing ever in life.







My good friend the monkey we met at the Entebbe Zoo. These guys are cute but you have to be careful - they WILL reach through the fence and scratch you...don't ask how I know.













Me and my bestie who I miss so much! Shes coming back soon though, please keep praying for her!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Oh God of mine, who holds the nations

video

So I'm home all alone, bored, missing Bethany and my babies, my home in Africa, my friends and thinking how awesome my life has been so far. How blessed am i! I've been spending my time meticulously updating my ipod and this song- is one of my new faves. Its by Rita Springer

Oh God of mine, I'll have no idols. Oh God of mine, come lead the way

Oh God of mine, I'm greatly humbled. This sinner's heart you came to save

Oh God of mine through storm and trial.Oh God of mine through death and grave

Oh God of mine, in resurrection. Your scars display my soul's refrain

Oh God of mine Who holds all nations.Oh God of mine who saves the day

Oh God of mine, your grace sufficient.Your tender mercies new by morn

Oh God of mine, forever faithful. Oh God of mine, forever stay

Oh God of mine, forever after. These eyes upon your face will gaze

I'm left with a lot of time on my hands. I walked an hour to my surgery follow up today to feel like i was back in Uganda and walking everywhere. I've been looking into schools closer to home. I'm accepted to Trent University for the compressed nursing program but I'm not sure anymore if that's what i want. I'm leaning towards international development so i can do something so cool like be an ambassador and write books on poverty and living in Africa and be on Anderson Cooper 360 talking about my sweet orphanage I'm going to start (one day!).

I'm not down with living apathetically anymore. I want to be a proactive citizen whatever country I'm living in, getting involved right around me. I want to change the world. My great friend Katie says shes "sometimes working in a third world country makes me feel like i am emptying the ocean with an eye-dropper. and just when i have about half a cup full of water, it rains.'' Its so true.

How do you help 2 million orphans? How do you spread your love to each of them? How do you make people understand your incredible, crushing love for a continent the world's forgotten about? How do you show your amazing Ugandan friends that they've done more for you in 6 months than you've done for your friends in your life time? How do you change your selfish, proud self to humble and selfless? How? How do you look in the eyes of your beautiful daughter and see a life of struggle of sickness because of Aids? How do you reconcile your wealth?

I come home and wish for a night with no electricity. A night where I'm sitting in Tuesday fellowship at David's house, with the rain pouring down so hard on the roof we can't hear the sermon so we just worship for 2 hours. I come home and wish i could transport my church here. My church that is alive. That's loudly proclaiming the gospel to its members, that's passionately loving the community, that's praying in hospital wards for dying people, that loves justice, that you have to bring your bible to, that encourages scripture memory, that's dancing and praising and praying. My church where people are poor- compared to our western standards, but more richly blessed than we could believe. Where people have so little, and are still willing to give it all up for Christ. I come home and am so thankful for my family, my house, my freedom but yearn for the people I've left my heart with.

My God is mighty to save. He is bigger than Aids, he's bigger than poverty, he's bigger than corruption, he's bigger than death. My God conquered the grave!

My God will help 2 million orphans. My God will spread his love to each of them. My God understands my incredible, crushing love for a continent the worlds forgotten, and HE hasn't forgotten it. My God can change my selfish proud self to humble and selfless. My God will comfort my Sophia when she's sick, when she's angry about having Aids, when she's lonely and i can't comfort her. My God is big enough to heal her.

I am blessed.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Are you ready for Chogm?



Greetings from Canada!
Its 1:09am here and i can't sleep. maybe because i've slept like 40 hours in the past 2.5 days. My war wounds are slowly but surely healing and in no time i will be the proud owner of 4 new 1 inch stab sites in my abdomen. A special shout out to Cindy, my moms boss, who brought over choclocate mint girl guide cookies for me tonight. YUM.

So i made it through the surgery just fine and dandy and have a followup appointment on tuesday at 12:30pm and at 12:31pm, iwill be booking my flight back to the motherland. (aka UGANDA) This will hopefully take place ASAP. Meanwhile i'm hoarding used clothes and selling things to my sister at seriosuly inflated prices to get a couple extra shillings in my pockets. This is a note to all my Ugandan Friends-I haven't bitten my nails yet.


I just talked to Bethany and Katie and heard about beth's fabulous 22nd surprise birthday party thrown by Katie and David. She is the envy of every young adult Ugandan male we've come in contact with and her position as a "beautiful mzungu with hair the color of the moon" wont soon be won by someone else.

I've taken the liberty to upload some new goodies on the site whilst recovering. The first is of me and beth saying so long at the airport.

The next is of my 4 stab sites and SERIOUSLY bloated stomach from all the gas they pumped into me!













This is my 3 year old Niece Ava making faces to cheer me up.















And this is the face she made when i told her to smile.

This video features Francis (sterling), my soph, beth's george, snotty nosed arnold, katie (mr. T) and...i think weiss. cute stuff.



Until next time....






video

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Whats better than Puppies and Orphans?

There are some times here when I just cant even express how much I love my life. As much as I've been a little stressed...okay a lot stressed with Phin and Amy leaving and everything - I just cant complain when I'm sitting here with beautiful Sophia who is just babbling away something about chagodas (not a lugandan word...) and she keeps looking over and telling me "Gwe! Jo kokoba!!" Which means "You! I'm going to beat you!". And then saying "AUNTIE YOOKAT CAKE!!" and is eating nasty cake crumbles from a paper bag and is SO pumped because of the pink Barbie backpack I bought her for like 4 dollars at Big Bazaar. How can I really complain??

Plus we have the two cutest puppies ever...we were with Katie in Buziika the other day and Amy saw a dog that had quite clearly given birth recently...and so we decided to go hunt for the puppies! We found them in a house nearby and asked if we could take two. After spending half an hour sitting on the dirt floor trying to determine which ones were for sure the cutest - we ended up with our two newest family members.....









Matoke.....

















and Tula!!!








ARENT THEY PRECIOUS! They are really cute and definitly the cleanest dogs in all of africa...its funny because people here just do NOT think of dogs as pets! No one can understand why we tote them around in our backpacks and let them lay on our beds and feed them human food. I think its the equivalent of walking around Canada with two nasty rats in a backpack and talking to them and naming them and taking them to Western Union with you. Its really funny but we love them anyways! Tula is a girl and Matoke is her brother. Tula (too-la) means "sit" in lugandan and Matoke (ma-TOE-kay) is like a kind of not-sweet banana that is boiled and mashed - not my personal favourite dish here...Anyways it just makes us that much weirder that we have dogs named Sit and Banana...

And good news!! I got a call from Amy saying that the surgery is over and it went well and she is hoping to be back in 3 weeks or so!! PTL! Please keep praying for a speedy recovery.

Okay maybe this was a super boring blog but I'm going to put some pictures up too. I just really love my life here - like so much. I love Africa. K picture time!





Okay so this is when we went out for lunch with our pals David and JP - we ordered fish and it came ugandan-style...pretty much just dropped in the deep fryer fins, face and all. It takes a little getting used to but we ate it! Or most of it...Amy's had really big eyes so she had to put a cucumber over them so it wouldn't look at her while she ate it.











Ame likes to eat the face first and save the fins and tail for last...YUM.

















This guy drinks like a FISH!









Okay my sister wanted to see pictures of our house so i took a few...unfortunately I wasnt smart enough to remember to take them all the right way so some of them are sideways...sorry!!







This is our bedroom...we have bunk beds (aka deckers) . Amys is the top and mines the bottom. Id take a better picture but my back was like up against the wall - our room is small!














If you were lying on the floor, this is what our kitchen would look like.















This is if your back is facing our kitchen - our front door and sweet green dustbin that says "i love africa" on the lid. I dont know why but I like it. I love our house that is the cheapest place on the planet!!











Okay and this is Christina aka. Teeny Beeny or Rice and Beans. There really aren't words for how stinkin' cute she is. I wish I could tell you what she was doing in this picture...but honestly I just dont know...its kinda scary...







UNTIL NEXT TIME!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Moodoodoo!!! Jandoo!!

So today is a sad day - my bestie amy is gone! She left yesterday night for edmonton where shes going to get her surgery. Its okay, its only sad when I think about it! It feels really weird here without her, but I'm okay. I was talking to my sister today and she was being concerned for me because i'm "alone in africa" but i jsut wanted to say that i'm really not alone...at all. I have so many amazing friends here who i love so so much and as much as i miss Amy a TON I dont really feel alone because my friends here are just too great. I've already gotten like 5 phone calls from concerned friends. And I have my dearest darling friend Katie from Nashville who knows Steven Curtis Chapmans kid's. We are taking this week to plan what were going to do in Buziika and then next week are going to start doing all kinds of fun stuff with the kiddies there. I'm pretty pumped - in case anyone didn't know yet...I kind of like kids a lot.

Theres one superly cute boy there - hes one of the street kids and his name is Adam and he has down syndrome and is WAY too cute. White people here are called "mzungu" (mz-OON-goo) but he cant quite pronounce that so he calls us "moo-doo-doo." and instead of saying "jangu" which means "come" he says "jan-doo! jandoo moodoodoo!". Its basically the cutest thing thats ever happened on the planet. The other day I was swinging with one of the kids on my lap and I couldnt understand a word she said but she kept pointing to the sky and wanting me to swing higher and I was making her laugh by saying the few lugandan words I know. Seriously, kids are the best people on the planet.

I think that we are going to be in Buziika from monday to thursday, and then fridays at amani, and the weekends for spending time with my friends and going to the hospital ministry they do on sundays.

I've been getting texts from Amy during her flight - she is loving the first class treatment and lounges and is right now between amsterdam and toronto. Please pray for her, she might be having surgery as early as tomorrow.

I'm going to put up more pictures soon - my sister was complaining that there was too much detail and not enough photos so I'm going to take some photos of my house and my new roomie Katie and post them soon.

Until next time...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Saddest news of our lives.....almost

At 8:10pm on Monday the 15th, I (amy) will be on a plane home to Edmonton Alberta for emergency surgery to have my dumb gall bladder removed. Apparently its too dangerous to get it out in Uganda and the complications could be bad so i'm flying home with a sweet(hopefully) nurse escort named Mario! The only things that are good about this are
1. i can eat a McDonalds McChicken meal 3 months earlier than i had thought
2. a month of Mtv
3. a new set of clothes to bring back

Other than that, it sucks big time and i'm going to miss out on SO MUCH here. The Youth Together (TYT), a local non profit that our Ugandan friends made and run (www.theyouthtogether.blogspot.com) are planning the next big event and i'm going to miss out on a month of that! We are planning a big seminar type thing for AIDS awareness and sensitivity among youth ages 13-25. We are working on getting it sponsored by some really big people like MTN- one of Uganda's major cell phone companies. It's looking to be really big, and really cool.

Tomorrow we have 'prayers' at deliverance church jinja and then we are attending an outreach at Nakanyonyi school in Jinja. Then after that i'm probably going to cry for a long time while we have friends over and then the next morning we are heading to Kampala to buy small bibles from the street and then board a plane for home.

Not fun. but apparently necessary if i want to live. Just kidding! I"m going to be giving updates from canada and beth will continue to update from Uganda. Ok until next time!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Happy Independence Day!


Hi Everyone! Today we are celebrating the 45th year of Uganda's independence from the British! YEAH!This photo is one of the primary schools in Jinja during the parade this morning. On Sunday in the paper, they had a big section on events that have shaped Uganda's recent history since independence and its so interesting to hear the way people think of Idi Amin here. At home everyone takes him for a murderous, tyrannical leader but here, people don't really think that way. They see the roads he built and the many hospitals he built and the free medicine he gave people. So its funny.

This morning while Beth and i were on main street eating fruit salad and drinking African tea, a BIG marching band came down the street with a big parade and it was so cool. I took a video of it so that was fun.

Yesterday Bethany and I went to Buzika to Canaan children's Home, which is run by a man named Pastor Isaac. Our good friend Katie works there and is doing amazing work! The village of Buzkia is pretty small and about a 25 minute piki ride outside of Jinja and kinda in the middle of nowhere. The ride there is absoluetly breath taking, with some stunning scenery.

We hung out with the kids all afternoon and went on a 2 hour walk around the village. The dogs from Canaan were following us and one was good, James and one had "very very bad manners" (in the words of the kids) and his name is Solomon. So we go past one of the many mud huts and a family has their sheep tied to trees and Solomon goes chasing after the sheep and one runs itself into a tree, and the other breaks free and James and Solomon start chasing him and then jump him like a lion jumps on their prey. Solomon is at the poor sheep's throat about to chomp and kill it when Bethany, Katie, myself and the 4 10 year old Canaan girls we were walking with, run and start kicking the dogs off the sheep and the sheep just sits there playing dead and we have this lady telling us we need to buy her a new sheep and the girls keep kicking Solomon for having such bad manners! Ugandans are VERY polite, so even a stubborn dog is cause for embarrassment. The sheep lived and no one had to pay.

Ugandans (i'm not sure if this is true of Africa as a whole) used to think that white people had mythological power and thats kinda the thinking still in rural village settings. The kids go crazy for white people and will chase and yell A MZUNGU! HOW ARE YOU! Mothers with babies will hold their babies out for you to hold because they think its like a blessing kind of for the kid.

Ok Enjoy the photos!!!
Also check out this blog, www.theyouthtogether.blogspot.com. This is one of the ministries we are involved with.



These 2 sweethearts are JAson and Bobby. There are about 8 toddlers that hang out after breakfast and are "potty trained", but its more like they just hang out. Jason is handicapped somehow and Bobby is HIV positive. Jason is hilarious and a sweetheart. Bobby is cute too but a bit reserved.










Here is giant Phineas in a bucket bathing in our bathroom, with Melody in the other bucket splashing about.
Sophia was also sleeping over this night but she had just smashed her face on the tile and was crying in my arms. Then the power went off!









This is a typical dumpster. As you can see it isn't really doing its job, thanks to the giant holes in both sides. It smells as good as it looks when you walk by.







This beautiful creation was killed by our dogs in our compound. I have big feet, size 10, and this rat was longer and wider than my foot. Notice the nice intestines that were spilling out the side. Its tail was probably as thick as my middle finger and a foot long. A nice little surprise to come home too! PTL for Blackie and Brownie who saved us from this monstrosity!









These are the bestest friends in the whole world! Our dear Phineas and his best friend, Raoul Mugosa. Raoul is one of our dear friends, SUCH a great guy. We love his sisters too! Phin always talks about Raoul and whenever he leaves, Phin cries or says over and over over, "raruwal gone".













There are numerous stunning storms like this one. Thanks to bethany's excellent photography/camera tools navigation skills, we got these beauties! It was even more beautiful in reality.









The power was even out this night so you can't see the few street lights and house lights of our neighbors.










This is Mweru (steven) and one of the best mama's at Amani, Mama Harriet or Mama Senga! She LOVES Mweru and he is soon going to be reunited with his father and moving to the village to be placed with his dad and his new family! He may have autism or something. He is SUCH a sweetheart!







Mommy King- this ones for you! Here is Joyce who is enjoying her desert of cake after she scarffed chicken and chips and soda! I gave her 4 dress choices and she picked this one and was so pumped to wear it and look "so smart!"









The 2 blogging beauties themselves rocking out to Beyonce on the way to the surgeon's office in Kampala! We were on a coaster where you should be sitting 3 across but they stuff you 4 across. People liked the lip syncing and dancing we were doing!






Arnold, Mathias, and Duane are all enjoying 3 of the 40 bags of pop corn (or "pon con" as the kids call it) for a little Tuesday afternoon snack! Arnold is often refered to as Arnie or Grampa because he has the weirdest shaped head and an old look to him, but he is sooooo cute! Mathias is a ridiculous child who has a head that looks a bit alien and scream talks 90% of the time. Duane is a cutie who's being adopted!









Auntie Erin and Uncle Scott! THis ones for you! Beautiful Mary Cameron Littleton with Joseph's pants on her head!












This is the new Mr. and Mrs Opio! Bethany and I sang at their wedding with our friends, a lugandan song and it was so so fun!










A Phin Sandwich is what we like to call this pose.












My beautiful sweet girl Sophia enjoying some long life yogurt! YUMMY!












Here is a "modern" clinic where we are waiting to get an xray for the child who lays almost lifeless on bethany's life. He's bounced back now and healthy as ever! This is the xray room.









And this piece of machinery is the xray machine!















MMM....we love the smell of burn cure! the gross jelly that we had to put on our many road rash spots. My knee is swollen here along with my calf and now its healed. Thankfully i have a sizeable red scar to commemorate getting hit by a car! Oh the fun we have here!









Best friends at one of our Ugandan best friends, JP's, work party!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Surgery and Assault

So boy do we have lots to write about!

Well for those of you who know Amy, you might know that she hasn't been in the best health for the last six years. It turns out that her health issues have all been related to a gallbladder problem, and after a few really bad episodes in the last few weeks, its been determined that she needs to get surgery to have it removed. Originally we thought it would be best to go to Nairobi to get the surgery there, but after talking to the surgeon (Dr. Moses who vaguely resembles Dr. Benton from ER) we decided that getting the surgery in Kampala makes more sense. I'm sure some of you are thinking that we're crazy but the hospital in Kampala is really good, the surgeon we met with had just finished assisting on an open heart surgery...this hospital is more than equipped to do the surgery she needs. Its called laproscopic surgery which pretty much means that they cut three little holes in her stomach; one for the gallbladder-cutter-outer, one for the camera to see what they are doing, and one I think for putting air inside her to see whats going on. Its only a 45 minute procedure, and she'll only have to be admitted for like two days so it should be no big deal.

Of course this complicates our situation with Phineas, I don't think I can manage to take care of both Amy and him, so our dearest darling friend Katie is going to take him and Hope is trying to get a flight out here as soon as she can. It sucks, but we're in a bit of a tight spot. Amy will be in bed for a week after and lets face it, I'm only human! Please keep Hope in your prayers as she scrambles to get ready to come here sooner than she had anticipated.

So thats that. Oh and I was kind of sorta assaulted by our piki driver last night...we were in Kampala all day with our friend JP getting the surgery all organized and arrived back in Jinja at 10:00 after 4 hours on a coaster taking the longest detours to avoid the infamous Kampala "jams". We hopped on a motorcycle piki (which we take like all the time) and he drove us home. When we got home I gave him 1,000 shillings which is how much it costs and he starts telling me to give him more money, and saying that I only gave him 500 which was a lie, and then he gets off his bike, starts walking over to us. Our big gate has a door that our escari (night guard) opens to let us in at night and as I try to walk through the door the piki man grabs my waist and tries to drag me back out through the door!! I started screaming and pushing him and trying to get him to let go and then Amy starts screaming too and then I finally get free and were YELLING at our escari to close the door and lock it but the man pushed his way in and kept threatening us, it was super scary. I just went inside and Amy and Immy our ugandan friend who was taking care of Phin yelled at him in Lugandan, and he finally left. It was really scary, my legs were shaking pretty bad! But I'm totally fine though, he didnt hurt me at all. God was definetly protecting us!!

Anyhow, thats all for now...please keep Amy in your prayers, its funny because I talk about "our surgery" and "when were in the hospital" like were both getting surgery...but I'm going to get a bed next to her and wear a gown and do everything she does so she wont be lonely. But in reality its really just her being operated on so please keep her in your prayers! We're being admitted on monday and the surgery is tuesday morning.

Until next time....