Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Lame-ing out.

So anonymous left a comment telling us not to lame out with the posts.


check THIS out.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

H-E-L-P

So.....i was thinking. Since Bethany doesn't really blog anymore (shes waaay to busy) and since i still like to, i was thinking that i should either, rename this blog (although this is special because its really about her and I) or get a new one.

I need help. Im not good at thinking of cool/clever/interesting names as you can tell from the superb name of this blog, so i need help choosing another name.

Here are some things that i love that maybe could be incorporated.
my name
mcdonalds
africa (especially UG)
books
reality tv

HA! Not really much to go one but thought i'd give it a try. Also, i'd like to give a shout out to Jena who thought me and bethany were the Amy and Bethany who pioneered adoption in UG. I looooove Jena's blog!!


Webale!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Erin- I copied you. Amy Blog





I am: a singe white female

I think: that i didn't prepare near enough for my 5k race May 11th and that i'm really going to regret that 2k's into it.
I know: i need to go to school and get a 'real' job, but sometimes i think i'll never get this time back and maybe is should go back to UGanda and worry about school later.
I want: to write a book, go to every country in sub saharan Africa, have a wheaten terrier named juma (after my rafting guide on the nile river) and have a room in the attic of my house that i'll buy one day and be just like my mom one day.
I hate: road rage, hot when i'm sleeping, plane rides home from Uganda, when peole ask my dumb questions about Uganda like "so do they like, have cars there?"
I miss: Rachel Arielle Michelle and my cords that i left for a friend in Uganda but still think about all the time.
I fear: bears, driving under trains, having all my limbs cut off, never going back to UG
I feel: like sometimes i talk too much about Uganda and people get bored of me.
I hear: sophie laughing when she would come over to sleepover with georgie and they would tell the tv they were going to beat it.
I smell: like i didnt wash this shirt the last time i went running.
I crave: lays wavy regular chips and helluva good chip dip. constantly. also mcchickens.
I search: on google. for everything.
I regret: nothing. except maybe not sucking up that extra 500 bucks and going on safari with Beth just because i know she would have loved it.
I love: my 3 pillows, new socks from costco and when i'm sitting in the ice cream shack and its raining and i know i can get a lot of solid reading in.
I ache: for sophie and her dad whose missing out on the best girl in the world.
I care:
I always: write chapters of my book in my head and then try really hard to remember the things i wrote but never can.
I am not: good at saying sorry.....right beth???
I believe: me and beth are going to be old ladies one day,living in the same nursing home, and she'll still be trying to get me to learn how to play crib and i'll still be bossing her around and cleaning when we have visitors.
I sing: all the time and i make up songs all the time.
I cry: only when i'm super upset or watching Extreme Makeover Home Edition.
I fight: with my sister all the time about dumb stuff.
I write: random stuff i hear with my pointer finger on my right hand all the time. and if my hand is in use, i'll use my right foot. and sometimes, i really like to write words inthe air with both pointers simultaneously.
I win: at everything. and if i dont, i get mad, and try to ruin whatever it was i didnt win at, for the winner
I lose: rarely and if i do...watch out!
I never: can sleep good if a fan isn't blowing cold air into my face. even in the winter.
I listen: to chrisitan music on the sundays i dont go to church because it makes me feel less guilty that way.
I can usually be found: checking MC and Jacksons, Phin's, Christopher and Katies, Mia and Joeys, and Rachel and Arielle's blogs. daily.
I am scared: that i'll live an ordinary life.
I need: to look at my africa photos a little less than i used to....
I am happy about: the fact that i can look at my africa photos a little less than iused to because i think that means i'm learning to be content.
I hope:that i can make a difference.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

BEST NEWS EVER

Phin Hope and Kevin are going home next week!!!!
Our precious phin is going home. He's really going home! After way way way too long (over 16 months long!) Hope can finally bring her son home. Phin's gramma can finally meet him. They can go home. How cool!
What an answer to prayer!

What a blessing!!

YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Monday, March 31, 2008

oops

Erin told me its a fake sight. HALLELUJAH!!!!!

FYI

Hi. Its amy blogging.

I was reading a friend of a friends blog and came across this gem of a website.

www.medicaladoptions.com

At first i thought it was a joke. Some mean, weird, twisted joke. Then i found out it was real, that people stoop this low, and i wanted to barf.

In the FAQ's part it says this "There are an estimated 400,000 orphans around the world." Umm..... I'm not entirely sure on my numbers but i'm pretty sure there are nearly 2 million orphans in Uganda alone....

"Imagine a dearly loved child who appreciates you enough to help save your life. What’s in it for the parents is the love of a child in ways so rich it can save your life."

Imagine, someone buying a "gold package" child because its cheaper than a platinum child.

"How old will my new son or daughter be?
Children are generally not younger than four-to-six years old, but may be as old as seventeen. As long as papers are signed and marked prior to the child’s eighteenth birthday, we can still move the paperwork forward. The advantage to the “nearly adult” children is a shorter period of child dependency, as well as a better match of organ in size."

Its a good thing that this site takes into account a shorter period of child dependancy because almost every one i know who's adopted wants kids specifcally so that they can hae a shorter period of child dependancy. Who doesnt love early retirement??

Also i'm glad that they've recognized the intellecutal function of a 4 to 6 year old. What 4 or 6 year old WOULDN'T understand someone saying "ok, so theres this SUUUUPER great family that needs your bone marrow. Its not really THAT painful, just a bit but you'll be in america so its fine. You'll get to watch little einsteins all you want! their willing to pay a hefty price for it too. so......thumbs up???

Now i know everyone is going to be going straight to the pricing page so i've pasted the link conviently into our post.

http://medicaladoptions.com/adoption-pricing-based-on-child-preference-and-medical-needs/


This makes me sick.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Video Post!



This video was taken to show Mama Vaughn (beth's ma) just how happy and grateful these kids are. Beth's Mom was so generous and donated Christmas money that she would have gotten, but instead, gave it to Beth to use for STAO. These are just 6 of the 60 kids at STAO that benefitted from her generosity.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Why we love the Littleton Family.

Bethany and I had the extreme priviledge of meeting the mom of 2 of our all time favorite Amani kids, Erin Littleton. Her and her husband Scott, volunteered at Amani for 6 months right after they got married and fell in love with Jackson and Mary Cameron (MC). In December, we were able to see the awesome reunion of Erin and her 2 awesome kids as she pulled up the driveway at Amani and litterally jumped out of the van before it even came close to stopping. MC and Jackson ran faster than we'd ever seen them run, and all 3 collapsed into a big, laughing heap on the driveway. It was so cool to see.

Anyway... Teeny Beany (christina), Melody, Sophia and MC were our favorite little girls to hang out with at our house and had them to sleep over at our teeny tiny house once a week for the first couple of months. MC was always hilarious, always happy, sometimes obedient (ha!) and always always always being silly and making the other girls howl with laughter, as well as Beth and I.

In January Erin called us from Amerwica as MC calls it, and we got to have a little chat with both MC and Jackson. It was so cool and so neat to hear their adorable ugandan accents mixed with a little bit of south carolina! So here are some of my favorite memories of Erin's kids, MC and Jackson.

- December 1, 2006- my final day at Amani of my first trip and i was wearing jeans and a tee shirt both of which were CLEAN for flying home in. I went to the toddler hoouse and Jackson climbs up ontoo my lap and a couple minutes later my nice clean jeans are soaked with pee. I had a nice reminder of Jackson and Amani right on my lap the whole way home.
- a couple weeks after i got home i got a nice patch of ringworm on my chin and it was from Jacksons head. He had a big path of ringworm right on the top of his head and every day i would hold him and rest my chin on his head.
- when MC was sleeping over with melody, Sophie and George and we had spagetti for them and MC always got to sit at the table with the aunties and she slurped up every last bit of spagetti in about 2 minutes without even taking a breath. We have a super cute video of that that i'll try to post later.
- MC and Melody sharing a bed in the 2 foot space between me and beth's bed in our cramped tiny bedroom. We put our duffle bags that were full of clothes to give away, underneath them and MC would not sleep in a bed with us, she wanted to mini bed on the duffle bags.
- that same night i woke up to find her almost the entire way underneath my bed with only half of her face and an arm sticking out! Soooo cute.
- i was giving meds one morning to the kids and the toddlers always get lined up after breakfast to go on their potties and there was Jackson, with his huge belly, sitting on his potty singing at the top of his lungs to the kids praise cd that was playing.
- Michelle (another volunteer) took Jackson for the night after Phin's 2nd birthday party and we got to hear the great story of how Jackson ate 2 plate fulls of food at Raoul's house and slept like a log beside Michelle until she woke up with Jackson stroking her face and saying "teek a two, teek a two" over and over and when she went to rub his back, she got a handfull of diarhea! It exploded through his diaper, through his pj's, up his back and all over her bed!!
- when erin called us in january and we asked mc where she was and she said "i am at amerwica."

I check erin's blog multiple times a day and have gotten several of my friends and family hooked on their blog too. If you get a change to read it, please do. You will be hooked just like i am! http://www.thelittletonfamily.blogspot.com/.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pray Pray Pray!!

This week is full of court dates at Amani and many families are arriving to (hopefully!) pick up their kids and bring them home.

2 specific families we can all be praying for are Todd and Jenny who are adopting Christopher and Katie, and Tim and Leala who are adopting Melody and Joseph.

Pray that the judge will rule in favor of their court cases, that they will rule swiftly as well.
Pray for health of the parents and the kids as they go through a huge transition period.
Pray for safety of the families as they travel to kampala and back several times to pick up documents and visas and passports.
Pray for strength, endurance, and patience.


The end is near! We are SOOOOOOOOO excited for these kids to home!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Life...or something like it.

Since i've been home i've found it hard to journal..which is rare for me because basically i've journalled every day of my life since i was old enough to hold my own pencil. I have stacks of old journals from years gone by, which are fun to read now, giving myself a glimpse into the person i once was. Mostly i recount all out brawls with my sister while our parents were at work that went something like i stole something from jan's closet and hid it in my room and lied about taking it, daring her to "just look around, see if you can find it in here" and she'd barge into my puppy and kitty pink wallpaper and bordered room and tear around without finding anything and scream I"M TELLING MOM!! Then we'd both wait at the back door and as soon as we heard her drive up, burst onto the deck and push and scream our way to her car door and greet her with a tandem ..." MOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!"
Anyway.
In Uganda it was so easy to journal because i became obessed with remembering the most mundane and tedious details. Bethany can vouch for the fact that about 3 times a week i'd sigh, close my journal and say "Beth BEth Beth!! guess how many pages i just journalled! 17,756!" I would write down the color of sophie's shirt, the shapes in the clouds that day, the song playing across the street from the Source Cafe that my bionic hearing would pick up and bethany would sit dumbfounded as to how i could hear a song, start singing along, when she didnt even realise music was even playing.
At home, i get home from work and chill. Then i read and go to bed. In Uganda i'd get home from "work", chill, read my bible, journal, chat with beth, then go to bed.
So i started something different. I often find it hard to read, recreationally, the good ole NIV, so i dragged out an old Message and have started at the beginning, a very good place to start.
I thought i'd be depressed, heart broken, ripped in two and miserable coming home....but i'm not. I'm ok. I'm happy. I'm content.
I also know that this time at home will be filled with new things. New things to learn, new people to meet, new things to do, new things to challenge me.....
I'm learning that being home, in canada, in the first world, is ok. Its not as bad as i spent 6.5 months thinking it would be. I love my family. I love my new nephew. I love my new friends.

I miss jinja, i miss my church in jinja, i miss the mama's at amani, i miss the heat, i miss our dogs brownie and blackie, i miss my friends SOOOO much.

But i know that somehow i'm not done with Uganda yet. And thats good enough for right now.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Where we're at.

As much as were both really glad to be home, its a really hard adjustment. Everyone keeps saying that culture shock is way worse on the way home, but I think for us its not as much culture shock as just really seriously missing Jinja. Sometimes its really hard to explain our entire seven months to people in a 3 minute conversation. Everyone is so curious and wants to know what it was like, and for lack of an appropriate question people often say, "So, you had a good time?" and were like...ya..i guess? I mean lots of times were good but lots of times were also really hard...kind of like everything in life!! Its really hard to sum up seven months.... Its hard to be motivated to look for jobs or pursue career stuff when all we want to do is look at pictures or listen to african music or reorganize our african stuff or think about africa ALL the time. It kind of feels like being transplanted out of one body and into another. I miss my old body because i really belonged there and i had a special place, and in my new body no one knows who i am and all the other organs are nice but none of them are saved and sometimes its just hard to not have a really close saved organ friend. Okay i pushed that analogy too far but you know what i mean...We just left such an awesome christian community and its really hard to find that kind of community here in canada - in Jinja we could go to bible study 6 nights a week if we wanted to and I cant find a bible study here to save my life. It is really good to be back in my church but at the same time this first sunday back was really hard for me. The energy was totally different and I kept wishing I could look across and see my friends Ronnie and David and Em and Peter playing and singing, and George Haumba with his eyes all squinted shut dancing away, and papa clapping slowly the way he does, and elder ben in his sean john dragon shirt, and stanley in his bow tie, and mama giving me a big hug during the "sometimes i feel like greeting" part. Its the weirdest feeling - so good to be home, yet so hard to be away. We miss EVERYTHING about africa. The sun, the food, the people, the culture, even the dust. I miss never having to be on time. I miss washing my feet at the end of the day and always sweating. I miss POSHO and BEANS. I miss our dogs brownie and blackie. I miss my deckers and my house. I miss bodas. I miss Pauline. I miss DC Jinja. I miss thunderstorms that sound like warfare. But most of all I miss my babies and my friends. We expected to work with babies and love the culture, but we werent expecting to make such amazing friendships. Our friends tell us that theyve never met white people like us before and that weve made such a difference in their lives...theres just no way to explain how whatever difference we made to them, the difference they made to us is 10 times that big. And I think thats the biggest reason that its so darn hard to say goodbye. As hard as we try, we'd never be able to express the change that happened in our hearts and lives. We'll never be able to tell people what its like to walk through the baby's home gate in the morning and have Brian book it over to get a hug, how it feels to cuddle sophie and george as they go to sleep, how incredible it feels to be singing along to Raoul leading worship in Lingala, how at home we felt. The relationships we made with all our friends are like none we have here. They are really indescribable. We just love our friends there in a totally different way. They got to know us so deeply and we got to know them so deeply. We are so thankful for the support that all our friends and family gave us while away. There have been times where we needed your prayers so badly and felt them. We couldnt have gone without the financial support that so many of you offered. We just can't say thank you enough. So from us, we say thank you and God bless you. We're going to continue to post so whenever your bored...check us out. Until next time....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Snow removal.....the Dave King way!



Saturday morning I, Amy, decided to shovel the driveway so i took the good ole John Deere out of the shed and took her out for a spin.


This is me driving the tractor and doing a little snow removal.....or its my dad driving it. who knows! :)





There are many benefits to borrowing a tractor to shovel.

1. time saving. In the amount of time it takes to do a regular drive way, you can do yours, and your neighbors...plus a little of the street too!

2. If you've over exerted yourself during the week, no problem! now's the time to pop in the ipod and chill. Comfy seat and heat included.

3. the best part of it...driving the tractor through town to get it the 4km's from the farm to the house! Nothing says hick like borrowing a tractor to shovel your driveway in the city! I love my dad!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Where we're at.

As much as were both really glad to be home, its a really hard adjustment. Everyone keeps saying that culture shock is way worse on the way home, but I think for us its not as much culture shock as just really seriously missing Jinja.


Sometimes its really hard to explain our entire seven months to people in a 3 minute conversation. Everyone is so curious and wants to know what it was like, and for lack of an appropriate question people often say, "So, you had a good time?" and were like...ya..i guess? I mean lots of times were good but lots of times were also really hard...kind of like everything in life!! Its really hard to sum up seven months....

Its hard to be motivated to look for jobs or pursue career stuff when all we want to do is look at pictures or listen to african music or reorganize our african stuff or think about africa ALL the time. It kind of feels like being transplanted out of one body and into another. I miss my old body because i really belonged there and i had a special place, and in my new body no one knows who i am and all the other organs are nice but none of them are saved and sometimes its just hard to not have a really close saved organ friend. Okay i pushed that analogy too far but you know what i mean...We just left such an awesome christian community and its really hard to find that kind of community here in canada - in Jinja we could go to bible study 6 nights a week if we wanted to and I cant find a bible study here to save my life.

It is really good to be back in my church but at the same time this first sunday back was really hard for me. The energy was totally different and I kept wishing I could look across and see my friends Ronnie and David and Em and Peter playing and singing, and George Haumba with his eyes all squinted shut dancing away, and papa clapping slowly the way he does, and elder ben in his sean john dragon shirt, and stanley in his bow tie, and mama giving me a big hug during the "sometimes i feel like greeting" part.

Its the weirdest feeling - so good to be home, yet so hard to be away. We miss EVERYTHING about africa. The sun, the food, the people, the culture, even the dust. I miss never having to be on time. I miss washing my feet at the end of the day and always sweating. I miss POSHO and BEANS. I miss our dogs brownie and blackie. I miss my deckers and my house. I miss bodas. I miss Pauline. I miss DC Jinja. I miss thunderstorms that sound like warfare. But most of all I miss my babies and my friends. We expected to work with babies and love the culture, but we werent expecting to make such amazing friendships. Our friends tell us that theyve never met white people like us before and that weve made such a difference in their lives...theres just no way to explain how whatever difference we made to them, the difference they made to us is 10 times that big. And I think thats the biggest reason that its so darn hard to say goodbye.

As hard as we try, we'd never be able to express the change that happened in our hearts and lives. We'll never be able to tell people what its like to walk through the baby's home gate in the morning and have Brian book it over to get a hug, how it feels to cuddle sophie and george as they go to sleep, how incredible it feels to be singing along to Raoul leading worship in Lingala, how at home we felt.

The relationships we made with all our friends are like none we have here. They are really indescribable. We just love our friends there in a totally different way. They got to know us so deeply and we got to know them so deeply.

We are so thankful for the support that all our friends and family gave us while away. There have been times where we needed your prayers so badly and felt them. We couldnt have gone without the financial support that so many of you offered. We just can't say thank you enough.

So from us, we say thank you and God bless you. We're going to continue to post so whenever your bored...check us out.





Until next time....

Thursday, February 7, 2008

7 months in the blink of an eye...

Hi everyone!

Just wanted to let you all know that after 45 long hours of travelling I am back in Canada safe and sound! It was a really long trip but I'm glad to be back with my family and friends. However I definitly have a jinja shaped hole in my heart...im not sure when I'll make it back there but I miss it very much. Thanks so much for all your prayers for us as weve travelled, weve been in a lot of situations that should have been worse than they were but we arrived home healthy and safe. Thanks so much! God bless you all.

I'm not sure whats going to happen to this blog but if we can find interesting things to write, we will!!

Until next time...

Thursday, January 31, 2008

home life

Today at 3ish pm i arrived in Edmonton. I just recieved a phone call that i left my passport at the airport so i get to make the 50 minute drive tomorrow to go pick it up! YEAH. Basically the flights were uneventful although i did think the plane was going to crash at many points from London to Edmonton due to wicked turbulence. PTL that never happened! I burst into tears when i saw my parents because i was heartbroken that Uganda was over.

A more detailed update is coming but i thought i'd add some photos for your enojyment!
until next time...




Me and Bethany in Bukaya with Mama Rukia`s family.













Our favorite Congolese family ever. Raoul and his sisters from left to right, Deborah, Linda, Marie and Natalie. Raoul`s desire is to be a pastor and do village ministry in Congo again one day. He is an incredible person and we love the Mugosa family SO SO SO SO MUCH!








Ronnie Kiryowa, Me and Andrew Oundo at Entebbe Airport...so sad.













Rachel, Nina, Amy David Bethany, Melody and Michelle. The 6 of us girls learned a dance choreographed by Melody for David`s going away. It was a hit!













At David`s going away party. Left to Right, Philip, Nina, Bethany, Me (amy) and Ruth












Melody, Rachel, Me, Nina and Ruth at our last bible study.














Bethany Andrew and Amy












Bethany, Florence (Our African Queen) and Me















Amy Michael Mark and Bethany














Yeah!! We made it!










A church in Kigali where 2000 Tutsi`s fled from the MRND. The RPF got a tip that they were there and the MRND was going to kill them and the RPF got them out safely.













The beautiful Rwandan country side












At the hotel where Hotel Rwanda happened.














We were pretty pumped!! Thanks Anne Marie!













One section of Mass graves at Gisozi Genocide Memorial in Kigali Rwanda.




















ADORABLE Brian!

















The best dog in all of Uganda and my best non human friend in the whole world. Brownie Bear.

Monday, January 28, 2008

CUTEST PHONE CALL EVER IN LIFE

Yesturday evening, as me and our dog brownie where having a photo shoot, Erin Littleton called and gave us a little update on Mary Cameron and JAckson and we GOT TO TALK TO THEM ON THE PHONE!!! it was sooooooo cool to hear their little ugandan voices all the way over in America.

We asked MC where she was and she said "I'm at america" and Jackson told us he was making rice and beans but would make us pizza and noodles if we wanted. It was the cutest thing ever. We are planning a trip to visit them this spring or summer. If you haven't checked out Erin's blog, you need too because its the best thing on the internet and i check it every day to see how the kids are doing. They have the cutest photos of MC and Jackson all decked out for a basketball game (i think!) and an excellent story about dog footprints and poop.
www.thelittletonfamily.blogspot.com

trust me- you'll be hooked!

until next time...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Rwanda

So were back from Rwanda! Leaving I have to say I dont think we really knew what to expect. At the last minute we decided to call Timothy, a friend who is a journalist in Kigali, to see if he could meet us and help us find our way around. Good thing we did, I dont know how we would have managed without him!

So monday morning we were on the internet googling all of the things we wanted to do in Kigali (the capital of Rwanda) and looking at the website for the Hotel des Mille Collines (the hotel from Hotel Rwanda the movie). were super expensive and we decided it would be best to just stay in a cheap guest house. As we were discussing, Amy gets a phone call from the lovely and wonderful Momma King telling us that her lovely and wonderful work friends have donated the money for us to stay in the Mille Collines!!! Needless to say we were ECSTATIC!

We left for Kampala in the afternoon to go catch the Jaguar night bus to Kigali. We were hoping to catch the 1am bus but unfortunately for us it was full and we had to wait for the 3am. We spent the evening with my old pal Justin who I havent seen in like 4 years and is randomly in Kampala studying. Then we watched I am Legend in the theater (SO SCARY!) and then headed to the bus station for a long cold 4 hour wait outside for the bus. Our seats were really small but we arrived in Kigali excited though somehow tired! We taxied to our hotel and Timothy came and met us and showed us around the city.

FYI This is going to be a really long blog.

Okay I just have to describe how beautiful Rwanda is. Breathtaking. For sure the most beautiful place I've ever been, and you'll be hard pressed to get me to admit that anywhere is more beautiful than Victoria. Rwanda is called the Switzerland of Africa because it is all green rolling hills. The road from the border of Uganda to Kigali winds all through the mountains and you are always on one side looking far down into the valley. The roads were so windy that we joked that if you could drive from the border in a straight line to Kigali it would probably take about 15 minutes, but because the roads wind so much it took 2 hours!

We expected the city of Kigali to be something like Kampala but it couldn't have been more different! EVERYTHING was clean, there was no dust, no traffic, no bodas weaving maniacally through the traffic. There was order and safety regulations and trash cans! All things that are not typical in Kampala. Actually every last saturday of the month all citizens have to help clean the city...no joke.

We had a wonderful night in the Mille Collines and took full advantage of the room service and complimentary breakfast (yum). The next day we got up early, shopped for like 3 hours in the craft stores, and then met up with Timothy to go to the Gisozi Genocide Memorial. There are several memorials around Kigali, but after visiting one we definitely did not feel compelled to visit others.

This is so hard to write about and explain. The genocide happened 14 years ago in Rwanda, and they have come a long way since in terms of infrastructure and stability. The city is amazing. But I don't think that the genocide is really very far from anyones mind. The first week in April is the memorial week and every year people relive the horrors and remember the lost. It seemed to us like a tradition like that would make it hard for people to move on, but I think the bottom line is that there is no good way to cope after a genocide, you just do what you can.

In 1994 one million people were slaughtered in Rwanda. A country with two tribes that once functioned perfectly with one language and one history, was divided by european colonizers and pitted against each other. 40 years of ethnic strife evolved into genocide, and a million (plus!) people lost their lives as a result. The memorial was a beautiful remembrance of the history of the tragedy, the cost of international indifference, and the stories of those who died. After walking though a long hallway that tells the story, we passed through rooms full of pictures brought in by survivors of family members who were murdered. There were probably aroujd 1200 photos that people had brought in and clipped to the walls and every day people bring more. These are sometimes the only photos people have of their family members and friends. We witnessed a man sitting, cradling a picture of a woman that he pulled from the wall, crying and grieving. The next room was dark with glass cases lining the walls. IN each case there were bones. 4 cases were full of skulls, many with holes in them, whole sides missing, and some in peices. It was awful to imagine the force that must have been used to create such injuries. 2 cases were full of femur bones from adults and children. There were hundreds. The last room had clothes hung up behind glass that had been taken from people in mass graves. There was s childs size I LOVE OTTAWA tee shirt and a superman sheet. Playing on a big tv screen were survivors talking about forgivness and if they could in fact, forgive the people who did this. ONe woman talked of how she watched her sisters be beaten and thrown to the bottom of an outhouse, already piled 10 bodies deep and then rocks were thrown down on them until they died. She said she didnt know if shed ever be able to forgive. Amy kept thinking of her neice and nephew as she walked through the room with the stories of dead children. The photos had a plaque underneath the photo that had info like the childs favorite food, favorite sport, favorite school subject then it said how they were murdered. One 9 month old was hacked to death in his mothers arms and a 2 year old girl was smashed against a wall. There was even a small glass case with the chain that was to chain 4 brothers together as they were burned alive.

The end of the center consisted of information about other genocides that have happened in the world, such as Namibia, the Holocaust, Armenia, Camodia and several others. This was followed by information on genocide in general and organizations that have set out to prevent it.

As we walked outside, we looked over the balcony onto rows of mass graves. One of the mass graves was not sealed yet and you could see where new coffins lay, covered in white and pruple cloth. They center said that as many as 30 people could fit in one coffin because of the brutal way people were killed. People around the country are still - 14 years later!!- finding parts of bodies and random bones as they cultivate fields, dig foundations and just go about daily life. AS a result, about 4 new mass graves were being dug at the memorial site to house these. They are surrounded by gardens and we walked through the gardens past what must have been thousands of bodies and fragments of bodies all buried in mass graves. Needless to say we left the memorial very sober and with a lot of questions. It was strange because the whole time we felt like just bawling but somehow we couldn't, they just weren't our tears to cry. It almost would have felt disrespectful to sit and watch videos of survivors bravely telling of the horrors they saw and then cry, as if we have anything to cry about.

We left early the next morning after a fun night hanging out with Timothy and his family and traveled back to dusty Kampala. We had a really good time in Kigali but it was good to be back in Jinja. I guess we came away from our trip with a newfound appreciation for Rwandans and their strength and courage, and also a bit of shame at what white people have done (or not done) in the world. It was so frustrating to be in the memorial and be able to clearly see all the info that had been laid out for the west to do something about the genocide, even before the killings happened, and yet because of beauracracy, red tape, and pride, we say by the tv and watched the news show their 30 second blip on ethnic strife in Rwanda, sandwiched between the sports and the weather.

Its hard to believe that we stayed in a hotel that had once housed thousands of tutsis from crazed militia men waiting with machetes outside the gates to kill them because 50 years prior, colonoizers had separated the country based on the amount of cows one had. Unfortunately for the Tutsis, having less than 10 cows would one day get them killed.

Amy leaves on wednesday at 4;20 and get home thursday at 240. WE are both excited to go home but heartbroken to leave our friends. We said goodbye to the church yesturday and Amy cried as the elders came and prayed for us as the congregation stretched our their hands and joined in prayer as well. AFter church we went to our friends house and hung out with 6 of our friends and spent 4 hours doing karoke. It was a blast. WE are definately going to miss the babies and espeically george and soph but the friendships we have made are one a whole nother level and will make it that much harder to leave. Tomorrow night is our last bible study and im sure it will be full of tears. The one thing everyone says after we say we are going home is, but your going to come back soon, not so? One day soon.

Until next time....

Monday, January 21, 2008

SUPER QUICK UPDATE

Hi everyone!
Just wanted to say a super quick update, so quick in fact im putting it in point form to save time!
  1. We are coming home so soon! Amy in 9 days and I leave two weeks today. We are sad to leave, but so excited to see our families and everyone.
  2. Were going to Rwanda! Right now. For two days. Were going to visit the genocide museums and see the Hotel Mille Collines (the one from Hotel Rwanda the movie), and hopefully go see some volcanoes.
  3. We would appreciate your prayers in our last few days here that it wouldnt be too hard to leave our babies and our friends...were a little nervous about leaving them and are wishing we could sneak sophie and george home with us.
  4. Okay thats all! Love you all!
  5. Until next time..

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Some favorite photos and a short update

Hi Everyone! We've been very bad at blogging but with only 13 days left for amy and 17 for bethany, we are spending as much time away from the internet as possible. Today our friend Tillas from Nairobi arrived for a little visit. His school started last week but he said that it was still too dangerous and he didnt want to risk it. Also our friend Lawrence who is from the kamba tribe in kenya, arrived yesturday after being away for several weeks. His took an Akamba bus from Nairobi to Jinja (the same one me and beth took to nairobi many months ago) and the bus had to have a military escort because now that Kibaki has elected a kamba vice president (or something like that, don't quote me) the kamba tribe is now being targeted with violence. Needless to say we are so thankful both Tillas and Lawrence have returned safely and we are praying for Kenya daily over here.

My baby Sophia's 4th birthday was yesturday. Although shes 4, shes a shrimp and wore my neice Ava's 2T birthday dress. I bought her a really cute beaded necklace which she was very excited about. A bunch of us volunteers took Amberly, Teenie Beanie, Melody, Anna and Steffi to lunch at the source cafe and Danyne was very kind and let us take the van! She hung out with me all day and we had a great time. She even came to fellowship where George and Ken from our favorite group here, Sauti, lead worship. It was AWESOME and they sang my new favorite song from Zimbabwe. Everyone was so pumped and it was so powerful. Hope talked about cultural lies and it was so amazing too. Everyone thought that was the best fellowship yet! Hope is a gifted speaker, espeically to university aged people. Soph slept over and was so kind to wake up at 6am dragging her little fingers through my knotted hair! So cute, i love that girl!

In sad sad sad news, but good good good at the same time, our ugandan best friend, David, left for school in london england on monday. We went to the airport with David, his mom and dad, and our other 2 friends steve and richard. It was so bad. we both cried a few tears but last night, our friend Emma brought over David's new phone number in London and tonight we are going to the calling center to ring him up! We're also planning a summer reunion so that gives us something to look forward too.

Rainy season started yesturday in fine fashion with a nice long heavy downpour and several thunderstorms. Its SUCH nice relief from the overwhelming heat we've had for the last 2 months. Before the rain yesturday, it litterally hadn't rained a drop in 2 or 3 months. Bethany had a nice bath in the pool today as we had no water yet again. good times!

We are both beginning to get VERY excited to come home, particularly for new clothes :), but also to see our families. We are going to be heartbroken to leave as we've made a really nice life for ourselves these ends.

Enjoy the photos, until next time...




This is what it looks like every afternoon now.

















our favorite photo from Kikondo village.
















BEth and I at STAO Mafubira hanging out!
















Christopher's ADORABLE smile.

www.jesusbabies.blogspot.com











Baby Katie Rae or Katie Bug.















Big fatty daniel. He used to be sooo grossly skinny but not anymore!

















Nicole. She is one half of the twins we got a few weeks ago. She is 13 months old and when we got her she weighed 10 pounds.






















Mama Teenie Beanie.













Smellody, melly or melode as we like to call her. Her favorite saying is "auntie emmy (or auntie feffany), auntie arielle is where?"










Georgie porgie and Asherife.

Friday, January 4, 2008

"we will never forget you"


That is what little Kijambo said to Bethany and I in the car today as we were driving 6 STAO kids home from a day in town.

Yesterday Bethany and I distributed 30 basins of towels, sweeties, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes and sandles. The kids were all so happy and thrilled that they each had something of their very own, with their name on it even! Last week we were told that there were 45 kids at STAO and then we asked for a list of the kids with ages, sizes and names but that wasn't going to happen so we wrote down the names of the 45 kids plus an extra random 15 and when we got to stao to distribute, children appeared from the woodwork and there was another 15 or 20 who needed bins. So we are making more and bringing them early next week.

This morning bethany and i drove to STAO and picked up 6 kids to bring to the international clinic for treatment of some nasty infections. Only 2 of the kids had ever been to Jinja Town and were thrilled at all there was to see! Marion is about 4 or 5, we dont actually know and she came to town and spent the whole day with no shoes. When we got to the hospital the kids took their shoes off at the door. It was pretty cute but heartbreaking because they thought the hospital was so beautiful, they should take their shoes off. Marion peed her dress so we put her in a HUGE men's teeshirt that she wore as a dress till we could get her something else to put on. The kids got HIV tests and all came back negative.

After the hospital we piled the 8 of us in the car and drove to main st. where we ate chicken and chips at source cafe. Each kid got a big glass of milk but they were all much more intersted in the soda.

After they had finished eating the little girls knelt on the floor and thanked us. It was so sad that they were overwhelmed with a plate of food that wasnt posho and beans.

Then it was off to our house for Charlottes Web and a good bath. The kids wanted to check out our compound and as they rounded the back, they all started chattering in Luganda and Kijambo asked me "auntie- that is what?", referring to the swimming pool. I told him it was like a big bathtub full of water and you could swim in it. Shamimu got on the ladder and climbed down it till she was halfway in, getting herself soaking wet in the process and loving it the whole time! they all started splashing water on themselves and cleaning their heads and faces, like they would in the shower. It was precious. After that we bathed the kids, put them in new clean clothes (denise got a pair of my neice ava's old shorts for 9-12mth olds, shes about 4) and loaded everyone back into the car.

On the way back to the village, Kijambo said that he did not want to return, and they all wanted to stay with me and bethany and live at our house. How do you explain to a 12 year old boy why he can't live with us? How do you explain the extreme difference in standards of living?

After we left the kids at STAO we drove home with our hearts heavy and our minds reeling. We love it here, we love every kid we've met, dirty, sick and smelly as they may be. But our hearts are sore from breaking daily and its time for a break.

We're planning a short 3 day trip to Rwanda to see the 1994 genocide memorials. It wont be that much of a break because we're going to be going to 2 churches where in one- a thousand people were slaughtered with machetes and then left, in their exact same positions for 13 years. They are piles of bones and clothes now and it is said to be very disturbing and haunting, but something we must see. Thats the plan so far.










Mariam with her basin in the girls room














Fatuma with her sweetie!

















the outside of the main building in STAO.














Fatuma's gross skin infection on her head, with pus coming from the wounds. You can't really see it that well but it looked angry and sore.










3 or 4 year old Marion's infected ear and body rash.













Maria and Denise enjoying their chocolate chip cookies and milk!













Shamimu with the thumbs up,
Maria with the mango
Fatuma with her face covered
Kijambo in the washington shirt
Denise in the blue polo
Marion in the overalls







Until Next Time!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Shout-outs and Shoot-outs


So what happens in a little town like Jinja on the first day of 2008?? Why a rocking christian music concert of course! As most of you probably don't know, we have a favorite band here in Uganda called Sauti. (pronounced Sa-woo-tee) Our friends here know how much we love them, and how every time they are in town or near town, we go to the concert. Last night was no different. We headed over to town hall with a bunch of our friends for a concert that this dancing group called God's Army was putting on. They are INCREDIBLE dancers and we love seeing them as well. The concert got off to a slow start, but we kept hanging in there knowing Sauti was coming up.

After about 2 hours of boredom, Sauti takes the stage, and we are as enthralled as ever. So much so, we decided we just had to go after, introduce ourselves, and find out how we can get a copy of their cd to bring back to canada! We met them and they were so nice and we exchanged "contacts" so that we can get a cd later. When they came back on for their second set they made our WEEK with a shout out before our favourite song..."This one goes out to Amy and Bethany!" So of course we had to stand up and dance and being the only white people in a group of 600, I think we may have stood out juuuuuust a little! Needless to say it was the best night. Ever.

Okay on a more serious note, we want to give you a quick update on whats going on in Kenya right now. On december 27th there was a presidential election. There was a lot of controversy over the election and accusations of a lack of transparency, fraud, and vote rigging. The new president, Mwai Kibaki, was sworn in less than an hour after the election results were posted, and there has been chaos ever since. Already 100,000 people have had to evacuate or flee their homes because of the violence, and the death toll has risen to 300; including 50 people seeking shelter in a church who were burned to death.

Just to put this in perspective: Kenya is one of the most stable countries in Africa. It has the biggest economy in East Africa, and black tea stocks (their biggest export) have already fallen 5%. Being in Nairobi feels exactly like being in Vancouver or Toronto...its a huge city with skyscrapers, nice cars, wealthy buisness-people, movie theaters, and restaurants. This is a really big deal for all of East Africa. Uganda gets all their petrol from Kenya and since the election, violence, and subsequent closing of the border, fuel prices have risen from 2500 shillings per litre to 8000 shillings per litre...about $4.85 per litre!! Needless to say we are doing a lot of walking...

The scariest part of all this is that the violence is exposing ethnic tensions, in particular between the Kikuyu, Kibaki's tribe, and the Luo, Odinga's tribe. In case that doesn't mean anything to you, its comparable to the Hutu and Tutsi tribes of Rwandan genocide 15 years ago.

We just wanted you to know whats going on over in our neck of the woods, we are totally safe don't worry, but please just be in prayer for Kenya. Bloomburg.com has good articles if you want to learn more.

Until next time...