Friday, November 30, 2007

the woof is on fi-yah

This afternoon, in a moment of sheer craziness, i- amy- decided to take 6 todd's to town. i found a skipping rope and in true day care fashion...we marched 35 mins into town holding onto that rope singing songs and the alphabet as we went. Halfway there, auntie fefany came piki-ing along and so she stopped and came to join us.

We marched to the source cafe where the kids had soda and ice cream and me and beth had a light lunch. We then marched to the cafe where the kids greeted uncle raoul and uncle david and sang THEM songs! Auntie Fefany taught them "the roof is on fire" and they sang it "the woof is on fi-yah!" pretty darn cute.

The 8 of us marched up main street to caltex where we spent WAAAY to much money to get a taxi to take the kids home in a "moto cah". After a quick stop at central market to pick up 50 bags of pop corn, we were on our way, and everyone was pretending to drive and being so very adorable! The kids hopped out at the amani gate and were very polite in saying bye bye to uncle driver.

After distributing the popcorn to all the amani staff, there were a few bags left over and all we sat the kids down in pairs and they all share their popcorn. A nice, fun afternoon.

Right now bethany is working at the cafe while David is at choir practice and i'm keeping her company and updating the blog.

Oh!! This morning Paul and Olivia left Amani with their new mom and dad, Lisa and Mark. Its sad to have them gone, but awesome that they are orphans no more! Praise the Lord for that!


until next time!

More Photos!






Amy and Andrew in Tororo after we sang in the wedding.













Amy and Beth, looking very pretty in our wedding finest!












The happy couple! Paul and Barbara!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

pictures......FINALLY!



Amy and Bethany in our gomesi FINEST! We looked pretty spectacular i'm not going to lie!
















Carol, Beth, Blessing, Amy and Scovia with the flower girls!














Our dear dear friends Carol and Mr. John Paul Okwi.
















Amy Blessing Bethany in the lineup for food!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mukama Yebazibwe

This week has been so incredibly busy that we havent been able to post photos. Its 15 mins to 9am and we are having a meeting at 9 to figure out who is going where today. We have 12 schools in jinja disctrict that we need to get information to, regarding the Jinja Youth Sports Frenzy day on dec 15!

Yesutrday Paulson and I -amy- were running around town for a good 5 hours. We went to TASO (The Aids Support Organization), AIC (Aids information Center) and the town clerk. Meanwhile, bethany was hard at work here in the cafe getting the pledge cards ready and doing her own work for being TYT's secretary. While i was at TASO with Paulson he was asking me questions about Canada and AIDS and he was so shocked when i told him that the first person i never knew with HIV/AIDS was sophia here. There are 24 million people living with Aids in Africa. CRAZY! Everyday i'm just so thankful for being born in canada and having the life i've had but at the same time its hard to deal with the guilt that we feel for that same reason. Why us? Its a hard thing to deal with.

Last night bethany lead praise and worship and intercession at bible study and did an amazing job. She is definately a talented girl! Next week i'm speaking and i'm a bit nervous. i'm just praying that God will give me something really relevant to talk about...i have some ideas though. Every day we are reminded just how faithful God has been to us here in Jinja. Our trip would be totally different if we didnt have the friends we do here. They are truly quality people and we are now closer to some of them than many of our friends at home!

yesturday we got our final dress fitting for Sharif and Edith's wedding on Sunday the 2nd. Its hard to believe that its almost december already! Sharif and Edith are a couple we met through bible study and we dont know them really at all but we're the bridesmaids so that will be interesting! our dresses are thick heavy satin so its just soooooo comfortable when we're in the hottest time of the year (35 plus every day!). And in a counntry with no air conditioning, we are going to be dripping the whole time. FUN! Weddings have really yummy food though, so at least we'll be well fed :)

All the 10 Amani kids who are being adopted have their parents here in Jinja and are really loving having mom and dad around! Please pray for all these 5 families. Pray that the visa office would be speedy and diligent in getting these kids visa's ready. That the passport office would be able to keep track of all relevant paperwork and be able to process the kids passports quickly. Pray for patience for the families. Its so hard to be waiting 2 years already, and have to push back flights still.

These parents are awesome! We are so excited for them to be able to board those planes for home, with all the other family and friends waiting for them at the airport and at home! How exciting!!

Pray for little Emily, she is going to so lonely without her best friend Maria at Amani and she will probably be really upset and confused for a while. Shes old enough to understand that all these kids will be soon leaving and she wont.

Mukama Yebazibwe means Praise God and the common answer to that is Amena. for amen. neat hey.

until next time....

p.s i WILL be putting up photos just as soon as i have time!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

a bit of china in the middle of uganda

Who knew that theres a little bit of china in uganda?! we sure didnt so yesturday and the day before as we drove 3 boiling hot hours in a van packed with 13 people, 2 keyboards, a guitar, mixer and 13 peoples baggages, and saw km after km of rice patties, we were shocked! Who knew!

Today Princes Charles and Bill, and Steven Harper are joining bethany and i at our house for kraft dinner and crystal light. We are going to catch up and then possibly play a game or two of skip-bo by candle light. Then at the end of the night Beth and I will fight over who is going to marry Bill.

We are ready with our canadian flags for when they roll down Kiira road on their way to the source of the nile where a big, invite only, party has been planned.

So the last 2 days have been hectic and long and dusty and sweaty and fun! We drove with our 13 friends to Tororo, in the eastern part of Uganda, near Kenya, for David's Aunties introduction and wedding.

Introductions are kind of like our engagement parties but really really cultural, long and huge deals. WE got to wear gomesi, these really cool traditional dresses and shook slowly slowly to greet the bridegrooms family with Davids aunts. It was so cool! They treated us like family and it was really so cool to be a part of something so traditional and culturally Ugandan. It was really long though and those gomesi are not the coolest things to wear!

The wedding was the next day and it was held at a church in Tororo town at a church that was at the base of a huge almost mountain style hill made out of rock. It was stunning. Weddings here are so cool. They are the same as we have except really loud, really fun and everyone screams and there are always about 10 random people standing in front of the bride and groom taking photos while the maid of honor powders the brides face. We sang bethany's sweet solo song, Run to You, and our friend Raoul's congolese song that was especially great since me and beth are fluent in lingala! We had 4 others practised that were so good but something at the reception got wrecked and we couldnt do it. It POURED at the reception for maybe half an hour and after it the rain stopped, i helped the brides sisters put back all the flowers that had fallen from the stands and organzised the place again.

Me and bethany entertained ourselves with photo shoots because we were looking so so smart and then we slept for a bit on eachother and before we knew it- 4 hours had dragged by and it was time for food! 500 guests and not a fork to be seen. Beth sneakily grabbed some spoons that she found and we were able to forgo the eating with our hands thing that we are just not that coordinated at yet.

When we were leaving, we danced a bit with some ladies for their tribes traditional song and then we packed into the van again, all 13 of us with our equipment plus 2 random people who needed rides. SO comfortable for the long ride home.

Our friends Rachel and Arielle posted new kid photos on www.olegirlsmission.blogspot.com and i'm going to post some when the internet is a bit faster!

A lot of the amani parents are here and some kids are gonna be going home in the next week! So exciting! PTL

until next time...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

p.s

please read erin littleton's blog entry titled, a few more good ones. there are 3 photos taken as she was reunited with her kids and they are heartbreakingly beautiful! www.thelittletonfamily.blogspot.com

Chockorate Brownies

yesturday we ran into Erin Littleton, Gig and Erin's kids, Mary Cameron (MC) and Jackson. They were on their way to the source cafe for some brownies made of chockorate as MC says. WE stopped and chatted for a bit. It seems we never see the kids whose parents are here anymore...probably because they are all with their parents! Which they should be but its still somehow sad. We are going to be so happy but so so so sad when they leave. MC and Jackson are two of a kind. It doesnt get much better than those kids! Jja Jja Rod and Amy- you are going to have a BLAST with MC- shes a real firecracker.

Yesturday night bethany and i met up with Carol, David Raoul, Roger, Andrew, Blessing and Michael Mark for choir practice! This thursday and friday we will be in Tororo, about 3 or 4 hours away for David's aunts wedding. She asked if David would put together a choir to sing for her, since she heard the TYT choir once and LOVED it! So we are singing the Ntambula song that me and beth are obsessed with and so so happy that we get to sing it again. We are also singing I will never be the same again, power of love, woman of love and run to you. I LOVE LOVE LOVE run to you for some reason. Roger told us all that we need to smile and look happy when singing Ntambula because its such a happy song but me and beth really dont have a clue what we're singing but we just smile and fake it like ole pros. Beth has a solo in Run to You and shes a bit nervous because she has to ad lib but its gonna be great!

This morning was church and Bethany, myself, Rachel and Arielle took Dan, Sophia, Asherife and Steven respectively. Sophia wore my neice Ava's pretty yellow dress and it looked So beautiful on her! She really comes out of her shell when shes with me and i acutally told her to be quiet because she was laughing so loudly, something i've never had to do yet!

Our church is in the midst of raising money for our new church building and today at the fundraiser we were able to raise 77000 shillings. Thats about 42 dollars. We had an auction and the only item up for bid was a live chicken that had its legs tied together and was held up at the front by the auctioneer man. Its crazy to think that a few months ago i had all the money they needed to build the church right in my own bank account! its definitely puts things in perspective.

After church we took the kids out of lunch and then me soph dan and beth went back to our house where i removed sophie's terribly shabby hair. her hair was so dirty that my fingers were acutally brown. like dirt.we all watched the incredibles with bethany enjoying it the most and me getting bored halfway through so i cleaned!

Mama Vicky Lowe had mentioned to Rachel how we hadn't mentioned her of Arielle on our blog yet so let me introduce them formally. Rachel and Arielle are here for 7 and 9 months and I met them last year at Amani where we hit it off! We are now ugandan bff's. Rachel and Arielle are constantly cracking jokes.

They've been told they have grown fat since the last time they were here so now all 4 of us are working on "reducing". people get a kick out of that here. Rach Air and I tried to run the 1km from their house to mine and we got a little past halfway. It WAS uphill the whole way though so keep that in mind before judging our ridiculous lack of endurance.

Anyways- until next time!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Judge Said Yes!

Mary Cameron Littleton said this on monday when Erin, her new mom, came running out of the van in the driveway at amani and was litterally bowled over by MC and Jackson jumping into her arms. I (amy) was eating posho, rice, cabbage and chicken in the toddler house and saw all this happen. I guess i'm just a little emotional this week but i burst into tears of joy because its so beautiful to see 2 kids who have waited 2 years for a mom run into the arms of the mom who has waited 2long and hard years waiting for that exact moment. Beautiful! I love it! Michelle Gennaro and Mark Tatlock are also here at Amani picking up their kids to bring home, Joseph and Duane, and Olivia and Paul. Praise God the judge said yes!

Bethany and i would like to give a shout out to Gigi's Samantha who is religious follower of our blog! Thanks samantha for reading and being interested in our time here in Jinja! When we come to North Carolina to visit MC and Jackson this summer (hopefully) maybe we'll get to meet you!

YEsturday was so good. I went to Mama Lois' house for tea after spending the day at amani and Mama Robina was there too. Mama Lois is having surgery in January and was unable to pay the 2 million shilling price tag (about 1100 dollars) but while i was home, some very kind and VERY generous and VERY VERY lovely people donated and i was able to tell Mama Lois that she doesnt have to worry anymore! That all her expenses are now covered! She was overwhelmed and said she will never have the words to thank the people who gave so generously to a woman they dont even know.

It was her daughter Steffi's 3rd birthday and i was able to bring back some pretty cute presents which she was THRILLED about last night. I brought her an umbrella and 2 shirts, a pair of shorts, a dora the explorer towel and face cloth and a princess blanket. I also brought a beautiful hand card from MY mama which Mama Lois thought was just so beautiful and kind. I brought her a big pink robe that she loved, that she can bring to the hospital when she has her surgery so she can be nice and comfy. We ate casava chips and chapati and had yummy yummy tea!

After that i went to bible study and everyone was so excited to see me. During testimony time, i testified about how the Lord kept me safe during my surgery and how the prayers of everyone in jinja and at home must have had a huge part in the reason i recovered so fast.

After bible study was done, Mama and Papa Jack (our friend david's parents and whos house we meet at for tuesday cell) brought out a beautiful pink cake that said Welcome Back on the top. I got to sit in the special red chair while everyone sang This is the day that the Lord has made, and me and bethany cut the cake and everyone ate rice and beef, cake and sodas! It was so fun and sooooo kind of them to think of me like that. After Papa Jack took me aside and we talked for a few mins and he said how they think of me and bethany as their daughters, how they love us and what we are doing here and how we are to think of their house as our house. These 2 people are some of the greatest there are! We love them!

Today we are bringing our 2 friends, David and JP to STAO with us. It's gonna be funny because our ugandan friends see us in town and at our bible studies and at church but never at the orphanages we work at and it'll be interesting for them to see us in OUR element.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17

until next time.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Well the first and most exciting news I have is that my darling Amy is back with me!! We are so happy to be reunited after a long 3 weeks and 2 days. She is totally healthy and recovered, and the proud owner of four lovely incisions on her abdomen. She came back with a care package from my family, the rest of her wardrobe, and a ziploc baggie FULL of McChicken sauce from McDonalds which we carry around with us now for when we eat french fries...

And in not-mayonnaise-related news, after several weeks of searching we have finally found exactly what we are looking for! We had made the decision that we felt our time at Amani was coming to a close - as much as we love the kids and the mamas with all our hearts, there are always a lot of volunteers to help there. Amy and I both felt like our time would be more valuable somewhere else that didn't have quite as much help. Hope actually told me about STAO - an acronym for Save The AIDS Orphan. It is a little orphanage in a district called Mafubira just outside of Jinja. It is totally ugandan run which we love, and the pastors who work there are really so nice. There are 45 kids, 25 of which have AIDS. It is by far the poorest place we've been so far but there was something really special that hooked us from the second we arrived yesterday.

Oftentimes when we visit places here that are outside of Jinja, the people arent used to seeing white people, and the kids will scream MZUNGU!!! and run up and ask you for money or sweeties. We drove through the gate for the first time yesterday and instead of yelling the kids started cheering...they were so appreciative that we had come to visit. As soon as I stepped outside the car there were eight little people throwing their arms around me. I started asking them how they were in Luganda - not expecting them to speak much english - but to my surprise they just laughed and said "I'm fine...whats your name?" I was like oh...haha...im Bethany...and the boy I was talking to said "Nice to meet you. I'm George Bush." I just laughed and asked him if he was THE George Bush, as in the president of the United States, and he looked at me as if that was the most obvious answer in the world and said..."Yeah! I'm a mzungu... cant you tell?" So then George Bush gave us a tour of the compound. Its honestly about the size of my property at home - not that big for all the kids that lived there. But there was something that really caught me and Amy's hearts about these kids...

For the first hour we sat singing and learning Luganda words. They love when we show interest in learning their language and are so thrilled to sit and teach us songs and words. We went through about every song that we all knew in both english and luganda when George Bush asks us if we have heard the song "Children of Africa" and we, unsuspecting, say that we haven't. He began to sing and the first verse goes "Children of Africa, we were not born to suffer." As we sat there with these precious children singing such a profound and beautiful song we looked at each other and both our eyes just filled with tears...it almost seemed ironic that these kids almost dont even know how much they are suffering because this life is all that they know. And you will never for a second hear them complain.

After we sang they took us around the compound and George Bush tried to make us Calypso...I almost gave the kids a hernia with my calypso moves. Its hard! They dont understand that white people just cant dance like they can...After calypso we did taught them red rover which gradually evolved into Lay-low-ah, laylowah, we call MUSTAFA! Cute.

At 4:00 every day they have a little church service in this brick building with wobbly wooden benches, no windows, dirt floors, and the most expensive sound system I've seen since I've been in Uganda...it must have been donated and it looks really hilarious to be in this dirt brick building with this super nice mixer and keyboard...we sat there on these benches surrounded by 45 beautiful children all putting our singing to shame. It really makes you think twice about what kids are capable of...I sat next to Janet who was 11, and Maria who was probably four. Maria kept leaning into my side and so I started rubbing her back and I just kept thinking that this little girl may very well never have a mom to rub her back and straighten her dress and play with her hair while they are in church.

Its kind of strange - we've been here for four months working with orphans and for the most part you get into a routine and dont even really think of them as orphans, they are just kids. But every once in a while God just breaks your heart for these people and this country. Yesterday was one of those days. At the end of the service we sat and prayed for the kids up in the north that are being kidnapped and forced to be in the LRA and I was overwhelmed at how powerful it was to be with all of these kids praying their little hearts out for their brothers and sisters in the north - many of whom have been rescued from the north themselves. Just when I thought I couldnt be any more moved we all were asked to pray for our neighbours, so I prayed for little Janet and Maria and they prayed for me. I dont know how many of you have been prayed for by a four year old african orphan, but it was one of the most amazing experiences I've had in a long time. It was all I could do to not dissolve into tears and I looked over at Amy, sitting with little Fatuma on her lap and I knew that she was feeling the exact same thing.

We knew right away that STAO was a place that we were so comfortable at, and felt so welcome, and are so blessed to be able to go spend time with those kids. We are so excited to start going regularly and are already planning out christmas presents for the kids! As we were leaving the kids were thanking us for coming and I wished I could explain to them how we are blessed a million times more by them then they could ever be blessed by us...

Anyways, this blog was way overdue and is longer than I meant it to be...but we are just so excited to be in such a wonderful place. We are still going to be at Amani a few days a week to see our babies, and speaking of amani TEN OF THE ADOPTIONS WENT THROUGH! It is soooo exciting, Mary Cameron, Jackson, Paul, Violet, Chloe, Noah, Joseph, Dwayne, Vince, and Bekah are all going home! We are so thrilled for all the families that are taking their little ones home finally!! God is good. All the time.