Thursday, November 27, 2008
The month of November has been crazy and I can not believe that it is already almost over. This has been a world-wind of a month, between doctor visits, school, grades, and family it seems that my life here in Uganda has become much like that of my life in America. My ear has been treating me well, these last couple of weeks. My doctor has informed me that the plane ride back home, will be free from complications and problems, which is a wonderful answer to pray. School has been extremely crazy and I have had to fight with myself to stay on task and go to class, but other than that school is wonderful. I have about one more week of classes and then a week of finals left, before I come home. The idea of coming home is wonderful on many notes, but extremely sad on others. I keep reminding myself that I will not be in Africa again, unless it is in God's will. My relationship with my host family has become extremely deep and I enjoy each moment and time I spend with them. The other day, my host father almost made me cry when he said "Katie, I will you my daughter when you go to America." When my two little brothers say good bye to me in the morning I can not help to think about how many more time will I hear them say that. Just the past weekend I was looking through my journal reflecting on my time here and I noticed some amazing things. I looked back to the time where I was so scared, frustrated, and confused here, to the time where I felt alone and just wanted to go home. I realized that God not only lead me through those difficult times, but also gave me some amazing memories of His promise and love for me. I looked back to the goals I set on my first day here, they mostly include funny things but one major goal was to develop a deep relationship with my host family. My host family has been the most amazing part of my experience here in Africa, I love coming home to my father who hands me two eggs or money to go get two eggs. I spend hours just sitting talking with my host father, helping him cook, or helping him tend the cows and chickens. Each morning I love been woken up by my father, who polite asks me how was my night. I love the hours I spend with my two little brothers playing games and eating the white ants on the ground, I love spend time watching TV with my older brothers and sisters. I realized after reflecting about my time here in Uganda that all the stress, homework, and worries I felt were me just being selfish and naive. God taught me the importance of giving Him all these worries and allowing the rest to just fall into place. So on this Thanksgiving day, I just want to thank God for allowing me to come to Uganda and learn and experience the things I have so far and will continue to learn in these last couple of weeks. I am extremely excited about coming home and spend Christmas with my family and then seeing my friends. On another side note, some funny things have happened in this world-wind of a month. I was told by my doctor that I would increase my bride-price if I would get rid of the mosquito bits on my face, or what we Americans affectionately call zits. A group of us girls decided not to shave our legs for no-shave November, let us just say that the flies here love my nice hairy legs. Our water at my host home has ran out, so I have reverted to showering about once a week here. I am proud of my skill of mastering swallowing pills, I still have some trouble but am getting better. I have about a million canker soars from the half of a pineapple my family gives me everyday. Life is happy, wonderful and full of fun, what can I say I could not ask for from God.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Hello to everyone back home who is praying and have been praying faithfully for me in these last couple of months. I just want to share a conviction God has been laying on my heart this week. Since being here in Uganda my relationship with Christ has grown greatly but at the same time i feel disconnected and distracted. With only about 5 weeks remain in my stay here in Uganda I want to make this time the most beneficial, rather than focusing on going home. Lately God has been showing me all the things and possessions I can live without and do not need. This week God has been convicting me to do something about these lessons and my remain time. I have been trying to figure out how I can spend this time to focus on God and prepare myself for the transition home. After talking with a friend, I feel that God has been calling me to fast, don't worry in a health manner. Therefore for my remain time here, I am going to fast for many reasons. One to help me focus on living in the here and now, while in Uganda. Next, to prepare myself for the many changes and challenges that God is going to be doing in me when I return home. Next to discipline myself in being more connected and more desiring of God and His will for my life and time here. I am writing this blog as a means to ask those of you back home to help me in this process. I want this fast to be a meaningful time, therefore i am asking for your prayers, encouragement, and strength during this time. With my remain time here I am going to seek to bring God the glory in honor, so during your meal times i would ask that you would pray for me and that God would reveal His purpose and plan for my life. God has definitely been using this time to change my perspective of my life. I pray that during this time God would reveal His plan for my life in the next semester and coming summer. Again thanks for all your prayers and support, i look forward to seeing you all very soon. Love Kaitlin
So the past week I went to go on my rural home stay. Which involves living Mukono the village I currently live in and drive about four hours into the country to stay with two strangers I have never meet. My rural home stay was an adventures one to say the least. I arrived in the beautiful rolling hills of Kaptarwa on Friday night to be meet by my 5 little brothers and beautiful mother. The night constited of dance parties, crazy pictures, and looking through magizens. On Saturday i spent the majority of the day picking coffee and with Ann my mohter. Ann is a wonderful woman of God, she is what you would general describe as a Proverbs woman. As I watched Ann pick coffee, feed her children, and work i was amazed by her joy, completness, and beauty she radiated. I spent hours just watching Ann work, this is a woman with five BOYS and yet she had the most peace I have ever seen. She woke up at five in the morning every more to pick coffee and then went to school to teach for up to 10 hours, and then she came home and cooked dinner for all of us. Throughout the week I continued to watch Ann while also feeling drawn to her beauty, I desired deeply to share in her beauty and love. God taught me so much through Ann about what it means to be a woman of God. My 5 brothers were wonderful, on Sunday they took me on a "hike" which involved going through caves, climbing a hill that was made of pure mud, and running under a waterfall, all while being barefoot. It was fantastic and I was greatful for their adventures spirits. However on Monday my week changed, before going on rural home stays I had a bad cold, not wanting to be left behind i simple ignored the cold. However on Monday I woke up with a terrible ear ache. My father Freddy who was worried about me called my supervisors, they came and brought me ear drops. That night I did not sleep at all because I was in so much pain, I had taken many drugs to help with the pain but they seemed unable to work. On Tuesday I called my supervisor and told them i was in great pain, they came around noon to take me to the hospital that was about an hourand a half away. We we finally got to the hospital i was struggling not to cry from the pain. When we went to see the doctor he told us that he was not avaible until six p.m. Thus for the next four hours i sat in a resturant hugging a pillow and praying that the drugs would help with the pain, but side note i got ice cream out of it. My superivisor seeing that i was in intense pain called another doctor I was able to go to him. He told me that my ear drum burst and that everything would be fine, I wanted to hug him. He gave me drugs and the pain soon ended. For the rest of the week my pain continued to have pain but it was minimual, however me ear did start to leak blood and crazy liquid. When I came back from rural homestay I went to a doctor in town and found out that my ear was in worse condition than i thought. I have gone to the hospital everyday this week and magically also caught pink eye in both eyes, oh and i also have a cold. So needless to say I am one draing machine. On Monday of this week i am pretty sure i was ready to just give up and say take me home, but i thought back to when i was in rural home stay and Ann and Freddy prayed for me. In the time were i was in the most pain, Ann and Freddy brought me hot towels to put on my ear and reduce my fever, they prayed for me and told me it would be ok. The comforted me and reminded me that in all things God works. This week has been a long week of pain, annoyance, and upsets but my ear is healing and my eyes are clearing up. Sometimes I feel like Helen Keller, since my hearing and eye sight are not back yet but I am still living and happy. Thanks for all your prayers and concerns, pray that my ear will heal quickly and that God will give me patience to continue on this trip He is leading me...
Thursday, October 16, 2008
So lately i have been having some trouble finding some quiet time, which is actually a big problem for me. I am one of those people who tend to do a million things and I never sit down to listen to what God has been telling me. I have been noticing in the past week or two that my irritation level and frustration has increased dramatically, the source of this my lack of being quiet. Rather than taking the time to go for a walk or sit down for ten or twenty minutes and just pray for people and my time here, I spend it getting frustrated and angry at people. I spend an hour complaining about my homework load, or how i miss my friends. I forget that the reason I am feeling this way is because I fail to come and meet with God, I fail to tell Him my frustrations and worries, rather I tell others around me who lack the understanding and wisdom He has. Satan is great at getting me in this trap, he drags me into do more homework, talking with friends, and avoiding what I really desire and thirst for some alone time with my Father. However the other day, Satan did not win in this process. I decided to leave school early and head home for an omelet and some tea, I planned on going for a walk of sitting in my room before my two little brothers came home, there is no silence when they are home. When I got home I had skipped the omelet and tea and went directly on my walk. As I viewed the beautiful mountains and hills around me, I stopped to think about how many times a day I walk this path and yet each time I am to busy to even notice the beauty around me...needless to say I was kicking myself. Well I found a cute rock that overlooked the whole valley so I decided to sit there for a while and just think and pray. However while praying I kept getting distracted by two weeds in front of me. The first weed was bent down in a humble manner over top a smaller weed. The first weed was soft and calming looking. On the other hand the smaller weed stood straight and firm. As I sat there watching the weeds I began to notice how the strong weed was so firm in its ways it would not bend or move to the other humble weed. It was so defiant and proud. I began examine my life, how often is God bending down reaching out for me. He is trying so hard to talk and help me, but instead I think I am strong enough to handle the wind on my own. I stand firm and proud, never letting my guard down. It is amazing how two simple weeds can make you realize what a jerk you are. As I walked back to my house I felt ashamed that I had been so prideful and rude to God, how dare I act like such a brat in front of Him. I realized as i sat watching those weeds, how badly I need to shut up and be quiet sometimes... so if you would please pray that I would make the effort to be quiet and listen to the still, small whisper of God. How dearly I need to hear His voice... thanks for all your prayers...love you
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Ok I just wanted to say sorry for the lack of blogging I have been doing lately, the reason being the I have been crazy busy doing mass quantities of homework and having some amazing times here in Uganda. Let me give you a glimpse of what goes on here during the weekends. Ok the first weekend was a couple weekends ago, our group of about 14 American students took a trip to Bwindi, which is about 15 hours away. So on Friday we left at 6:00 a.m. this involves getting up at 5:30 in the morning and packing last minute (I know bad planning) and then rushing to school which is like a ten minute walk. Finally once on the bus, we take the most bumpy ride I have ever known in my life for the next 15 hours, it is actually kinda of fun once you learn that your broken seat is really great for getting all the kinks out of your neck. Once in Bwindi we had a 9:30 p.m. dinner which actually was not served until 10:30. Which actually turned out to be the best food ever, pasta, garlic bread, and chocolate cake, wait that all contains flour. Therefore I had fish and rice, which was actually wonderful and then they brought out a pineapple ring for me it was sweet. The next was the best ever here in Uganda. We first woke up and I had an omelet which was amazing and perfect. Then we went on a two hour hike up in the mountains, which before that we feed some crazy monkeys some bananas the monkeys literal took the banana right out of my hand. Once we finished our hike we arrived in the middle of the jungle to build a mud house!!!! :) I know it was amazing we used sticks and reeds to make a frame, then came my favorite part the mud, I got to literal jump in a hug thing of mud and mix it with my feet. I was the happiest girl in the world. Then we proceed to throw the mud to each other making an assembly line of mud throwing, it was priceless. After that we watched a man make fire out of two sticks and only two sticks. Then we preformed a crazy dance, which literally meant dancing like a made person and having a great time looking like the crazy white people we are. After that came a day of not so much fun, yet still was very funny. The next day I woke up with diarrhea, great I know. Well it just so happened that day we had to hike for like 3 hours to our church. Let just say that about ever 10 minutes I had to ask a person our guide to ask some random person to use there bathroom. Get this we even had to pay these people to use their holes in the ground. Needless to say these various bathroom breaks lead to some amazing stories, one in which the pig and me had a fun time together in the bathroom. After my day of fun and bathrooms we went to the market to buy some gifts... I had no money so I sat with some men and learned how to carve a gorilla it was a blast. Then that evening I met some Spanish guys who taught me how to play a card game called "Broom." It was a fun day. Then came our long journey back home, fun day we a flat tire in the rain, three more people had diarrhea, and then we did not get back home until one in the morning, which is really late here. Well all in all it was great weekend I felt closer to God than i ever have here in Uganda. Working on the house reminded me that our hands and feet are often far better than the words we try to get across to people. That day we, our team, was literal the body of Christ. Ok jump to last weekend... another crazy event. It all started Thursday, we had Friday off because it was independence day. Thursday night I went to another student's house and helped cook and prepare food for a group of Ugandans coming to there house later that night. When we arrived at the house there was a tent and chairs and mass quantities of food. We served some amazing food, three different types of potatoes, pineapple, and water melon, it was like heaven. After that we had the most crazy dance party ever, I know not Bethel appropriate but yeah when in Africa do like the Africans do. Well it was probably the best dance party ever old woman with huge dresses were dancing like crazy people, they even video taped me and my friend doing some crazy sweet dancing. After dancing the night away we decided to watch P.S. I love you, which turned out to be a pretty good movie, Oh and another cool thing I got to talk to my mom for like 5 minutes. The next morning we went to Kampala the capital and went to the sweetest market ever, it is one of those things you see in China with million of stands and food and crazy stuff. I literal went to a bunch of different stands and tasted peanut butter from a huge bucket the size of myself. I probably went to ten different stands just to eat peanut butter, what can i say i like my protein. The only problem with this market was the fact that everyone and there brother thought it was a great idea to grab and pull on my arm. I felt a little harassed at times but it is just the culture i guess. Next we went to New York Kitchen, and i had some yogurt and granola, do not worry it was gluten-free :), it was great and i miss my American food some times. After lunch we went to some shops and got some gifts. Then finally we went home. At home I made a full dinner, pasta, sauce, fondue and garlic bread all using a fire... it was sweet at least that is what my family told me. Then on Saturday me and my friend went and waitresses at my mom's restaurant. It was a little crazy we were literally cooking in the alley and mom is a hard manager she kept me moving. But it was a blast I learned how to cook some fun food and even managed to learn more Luganda. Sunday was a nice day for some rest and about 10 hours of no-stop homework. All in all i had a blast with my family and friends. I love coming home and playing games like hide and seek and baseball with my little brother. It amazes me how little these people have and yet they find so much joy in the simplest things. Take for example my to little brothers i gave them two plastic gloves that i blow up, they loved them and they also love scare me when the power goes out with them. Then i love to trick them like the other night i took my hand sanitizer and rubbed it on my hands, then lit them on fire. Don't worry it is all safe and does not even hurt, but i was a blast to see their faces. I am loving learning to spend more and more time with my family, as the days continue i feel more and more excited to come home, but at the same time i feel sad to think that i will be leaving my other family behind. Uganda is a wounderful country filled with beautiful, i just had to open my eyes and see the beauty behind all my fears and worries.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Ok for all you who are reading this, I am just going to worn you that this is a very informal and non-serious blog. Warning this will be a little graphic...beware if the contents of poop cause you to vomit, turn green, or feel nausea please....please do not read. In Africa pooping is a major event. It involves first finding toilet paper, which can actually take a lot longer than you think, because first you must find the toilet paper, whether it be borrowing from a friend or stealing some from some odd known place. But this issue of toliet paper is not over yet, next once you have the toliet paper you must then decided within that moment how much you will need. See the issue is that if you take to little, well needless to say you all know what happens. However if you take to much then the next time you have a "long call" you will be in major trouble. Once you have the toliet paper issue underhand you next step is walking the 5 minute walk to the restroom. All while holding your legs together as tightly as you can, because you are about to burst at the seams... Once you have finally reached the bathroom, oh by the way here if you say the bathroom people will take you to the shower. Here we call it the plain old toliet. Ok so you have reached the bathroom, which is one of two things 1). A hole in the ground the size of a small book 2) a porclain pot that has no seat on it BUT it is elevated off the ground. Ok so in the first situation you must be very percise, because if you miss will then you will be forced to use your toliet paper for other matters. In the second situation the issue is not with aim, rather it is with time. See here in Africa there is no such thing as having the time to just sit and wait for you b.m. because if you were to wait your legs would fall off. So that is a little about pooping in Africa, see you might think that pooping is a usually occurence. It is not. Actually it is a rare and happy occassion. Seriously as I am sitting here there is a peice of paper on the wall that tallies the number of times we as a collective team have pooped. So here in Africa we are constantly talking about when we pooped, what we have been eating and whether or not it has helped with our pooping mission. These are some of the insights to how we as Americans are involving ourselves into the world of Uganda...the end...
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
So it amazes me sometimes how the Devil works (am I suppose to capitalize his name?) Oh well, so just as I began to love every aspect of being here in Africa, he hits me harder than I can ever imagine. Africa is wonderful I am truly loving the people, the landscape, and history. I have been inspired to love deeper, forgive stronger, and be a better Christian while in Africa. Each day brings a new fun memory, last night was the cutest thing ever. After having a long day of classes 8:30-8:00 p.m. I arrived home to find me two little brothers, Joesph and Stewart run up the high and hug me as I came home. They were saying "Katie, umfodayo" which means welcome home, we are glad to see you. I was so overwhelmed by their love and excitement that the days stresses just melted away. What I would not give for one of their hugs right now. Today was a day of great sorrow for me, I learned that one of my best friend's dad passed away over the weekend. As I sat being a selfish brat, complaining about class going over twenty minutes late. I realized that life's little problems are so meaningless. Here I was thinking my life was difficult and hard, when I was unaware of the pain that Dayna was feeling back home. As I sat here crying about what I read, I hated that I could not be with her, to comfort her, to just be a friend. What am I suppose to do? How am I suppose to be there for here? As the hours continued I realized that again I was thinkng in a individualistic manner. I realized actually just as I was writing this that although I may be able to comfort Dayna it would not be enough. My love would not heal the wounds she was feeling, I could not say the words she needed to hear, only the Healer and Provider of the world can and will do that. Even though it pains me like no other to be so far away from my friend who is in pain, I realized that God always has her. He knows what He is doing and the love that I may not be able to provide to her right now, He will provide. I realized that I needed to fall down and realize how weak again I am. I think I am going to be learning this lesson over and over again, I am stubborn and it takes a while to get some things through my head. Thanks for being patient and presistant God. I am realizing that everything, literally EVERYTHING is His and His alone. One of the girls in this trip, Kurty, was just singing a song that perfectly describes what I needed to hear today. It goes " Your name is a strong and mighty tower, Your name is a shelter like no other." His name is the name we all desire to hear. Trust Him to hold, protect, and comfort you.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Since being here in Africa, I have started to read the book "Captivating." It is a wonderful book that has really been making me think about myself and my purpose as a woman of God. The last couple of chapters have really hit me hard. In Africa there is a rule that as a white person you need to be inside by 7:00 at night. The reason being mainly for protection and safety. I HATE this rule. I struggle with wanting to just be free to walk down the street at night and do what I want. I admit I am not the smartest person when it comes to being safe and careful. I think sometimes I create the image that I am invincible and that no one can touch me. Well while reading "Captivating" I realized that the reason I create such a tough exterior is because I am trying to prove to everyone that I am not weak and that I do not need help. God has been really working on me with this issue here in Africa. Normally I never cry....I am just not a crying type of girl. But since being in Africa I have cried more than I think I have imagined. I have had to admit numerous times to my fellow American friends, that I am scared, tired, lonely, and afraid. I realized that I am truly weak to the core, I am unable to hold myself up. I need God to be the center beam that runs through me, without His help I will fall into shambles. Today this lesson became even more really while doing my daily devotions. My devotions talked about the door, the door to your heart and will. God is knocking at that door and might have been knocking for a while. But it is up to me and you to allow Him to come in and see all or mess and clean it up. I realized that I was keeping some of my doors shut. I allowed God to have control over certain areas of my life but there was areas that were mine and mine alone. I realized that I did not want God to just come in, I wanted him to break down the door. I wanted Him to remove the door completely. I wanted to stop trying to fix everything on my own and plan my future and how I think my time in Africa should be spent. I want to walk each day knowing that this adventure and day was made not because of what I did or didn't do. However, I desire to live this day in the light of God. Yesterday God really showed me this. As I walked home yesterday... like any other day... I decided to use this time to pray for people back home. I realized that many of the Ugandans think that I am already weird because I am white. Add on top of that a white girl who is talking to herself. I decided I did not care. As I was walk-praying a little girl came and ran up to me. She was probably about three years old. She grabbed my hand and continued to walk with me. I did not see here mother around or that she belonged to anyone. I did not know what to do, should I let go of her hand or continue to walk. I looked around to double check to see if anyone knew the little girl, it seemed that she was alone. So I continued to walk on up the hill to my house with my new little friend in hand. She never looked back, never question my judgment, she just took my hand and let me lead the way. Her hand remained firm in mine. Think about it what if we were that little girl and God was a strange white girl walking through your village. Would you have enough faith and courage to walk over and take His hand? Would you allow Him to lead you up a path that is unfamiliar and strange to you? It is a hard question and sometimes I know that I am to prideful to let God lead me up the hill of life... I still need to learn to let go and just hold His hand... by the way... the little girl's sister ended up being behind me the whole time... it just so happened that the two girl lived up a couple of house from mine...
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The days here in Africa are never the same...one day it can be beautiful and marvelous...yet the next can be depressing and draining...but I realizing that the simple steps are the best...Ok so everyday I walk to my house...which is like a 20 minute walk...well it just so happens that their is a shack among the many...but this shack is special...because of one little boy... his mom, Sarah, owns the shack and sells wood and coal...So hear is the funny part..her son which is about 2 years old is terrified of me... I have done everything I can imagine to make him like me... I have bribed him with candy...talked a little in lugadan to him..but the same thing always happens... the minute he sees me he screams...like with terror...to his mom and will not stop until i reach the top of the hill... it is partly funny and partly sad at the same... Sarah kindly told me that he is scared of my skin...well today on my way to school...I walked past Sarah hut... and he waved to me... it made me the happiest person in the world...it amazes me how the little things in my life make me happy... i also got to cut my toe nails today which was like heaven to me... i am excited to go to bed tonight and not walk up with my legs all cut up.. and my last little moment of joy today was washing my feet... i had to scrub for like 10 minutes but they were finally clean at least the best they can be... this brought to like the image of washing of the feet... so there are my highlight for anyone who wants to know clean feet, cut toe nails, and a wave... keep looking for the little things in life for God will suprise you with the most amazing things..
Friday, September 12, 2008
OK, I am going to apologize for this long post, because I already know it is going to be very long. Where do I start, I guess with the honest and humbling truth. When I left for Africa I was excited thinking that I would never want to leave. I was excited and ready to see a new world, people, and culture. Well, when I got here I found myself only wanting to go home. Which is really weird for me because I would never had thought I would feel this way in a million years. I was frustrated that I was unable to connect with the people, I missed my friends, family, church, and school. But at the same time I was frustrated with myself. Rather than being in Africa and enjoying each and every moment, I was counting down the moments. What was wrong with me I thought? I was not talking with the other American students, I felt alone, frustrated, and defeated. But the sad thing was it was all me. I was allowing myself to feel sad and alone. Rather than being open and truthful. I chose to put on the image that everything was fine. I pretend that these problems would go away. I was trying to be tough. However, it did not work. I could no longer hold myself up anymore. I was coming to a crashing end. Yesterday, it rained here. Actually it poured, in more ways than one. God showed me through the rain and the mud, which is extremely difficult to get out of by the way, that I need to let go. I had been focusing on the problem and let it rule me. As the ran came down so did my pride, my strength, and my stronghold to controlling everything. I had been comparing myself to everyone around me, how they were communicating and getting to know the Ugandans. I could not measure up to their abilities. But a friend emailed me and opened my eyes to some things about myself. He reminded me that my beauty is shown when God shows through me. If I want the Ugandans to see God's beauty I need Him to make me radiant. God brought me to Uganda with a purpose and reason. While the first couple of weeks did not turn out the way I thought they would be, I am learning. Today was just day of learning for me. Lately I have been running with the Ugandan track team, let me just tell you for future reference they run FAST!!! Yeah I know that is like the most obvious thing in the world. But I am blonde and sometimes I do not think. Anyways, Safari, my running partner, and I were running this morning. We came to a hill as I looked up I felt my stomach turn with hate. How in the world was I am able to run up this hill, I was already tired. Well as we began our assent, Safari looked over and probably saw my face of dread. He said the most heart changing words. He told me to take it slow and steady. He reminded me that if I try to do it really fast I would get burned out once I got to the top and would not be able to enjoy it once I got there. So even though it was harder to take it slow sometimes, I did I slowed my pace down and focused on each step. I made it and Safari was right; rather than being out of breath I was able to look back and think I did it. I made it. Well this started me thinking about my life here and God's presence within all this. I can try to run the hill He gives me as fast as I can, but then I would never make it. I could just stop and give up, or I could take it slow. As I run the hill God is the one who is going to give me the strength to continue. He is going to remind me that my strength means nothing. It is His power and strength that He provides that keeps me going. Without either of them, I would just fall. It is humbling and a challenge for me to accept this truth. But as I think about the joy and strength I felt when I finished that hill, it makes me think of the joy and happiness I will feel knowing that God realized my inabilities and despite these faults He helped me accomplish something for His good. Slow and Steady!!! To simple words but they mean so much more. My day here in Uganda has been fantastic, I do not feel tired or defeated. Rather I feel energized and hopeful to see what more God is going to show me about the people and country here. I want to keep moving in His direction and I can't wait to look back in 3 months and see the hill He helped me climb. It is His hill that HE put in front of me, I can chose to take it or walk away. I chose to take it with God at my side to encourage and keep me going. He is going to be my feet when they can not move. He is going to be my legs when they are to stiff to move, and He is going to be the core the continues to flow through me. Wow I am excited and can not wait to be at the top of the hill I am running.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Africa there are so many words that could describe it....beautiful, tough, majestic, friendly...Since arriving here at Uganda my world has been one adventure after another. It started with two days of traveling, which turned out to be fun... I watched a lot of movies and got to know the other 43 students who are also joining me on this trip. I love the group I am with there are 14 students who are considered IMME-meaning they stay at a house with in Mukono like me. Btw Mukono is the village I live in. Um after all our flying the whole group went to Rwanda. This was a difficult but exciting trip, it involved a lot driving in a small, crapped bus, but it was a fun way to see all the different parts of Rwanda. Our group stayed at 5 different places. We meet victims and killers who were invovled in the 1994 Genocide. We went to a church where 10,000 people were masacared with knifes, machetes, and raped. When we walked into the church there were piles of clothes all lined up, it was a difficult and very sad thing to see. We also saw a lot of memorials that depicted the effects that the genocide had on the children in Rwanda. The amazing thing though about this trip was that even though we witness horrible, sad, depressing things there was the most amazing amount of hope and love. We meet three people one day, two of whom were victims and the other a killer. The killer had actually killed the entire family of one of the victims, the amazing thing is that these two individulas were friends they had rode on the same bike to the church that day, they were even neighbors. Here is an amazing story I heard while in Rwanda. There was a woman and a killer, the killer took the woman's child, her only son and burnt him over a fire like a chicken and made her watch. Then a month later he came back for her husband who he lit on fire and then chopped to death all in front of her. Well after the genocide the government held Gaccaca trials. The man in this stsry told of what he did to the woman and the crimes he had commited. Well the judge looked at the lady and asked her what she would like to do with this man. Amazingly the woman replied she would like to do three things: 1. She first wantd to let him know that she forgave the man 2. She wanted to take him back to her home and love him like a mother should and 3. She wanted to hug him in the middle of the court room. So this story just made me think about forgivenss and how often I hold a grudge. I get angry at the simplest things and think that no one understand how angry I am. However these people murder other peoples family memeber and they are able to forgive and love each other. I truly witness God love and forgiveness in Rwanda and I will never forget the people and stories I heard. Ok so on to some funny things... first um there are some fun challenges involved in living in Rwanda 1. sleeping with a mosquito net ( you wake up in the middle of the night afraid for your life thinking that something has you and you can never get out) 2. Peeing a hole that is smaller than a journal (p.s. the first couple of times you end up missing the whole and completely getting yourself) 3. Being called a white person 24-7 and then being asked for money 4. Eating food that you heard earlier clucking away 5. Having to wear shoes outside (Ugadans take there dress code very seriously you must have ironed clothes and very clean shoes) 6. Taking a shower under the stars (you might lose the soap a couple of times but no worry) Oh an add on, bucket showers are amazing... seriously I really do enjoy them 7. Boys and grown men peeing off the side of the road 8. When you ask someone a question and they raise there eyebrow that means that they are saying yes 9. Learning how to sit like a lady in a skirt ( I still struggle with this) 10. Meal time is fun dinner is at 11 at night and usually consist of food that is all the same color and texture (although I have to admit the Ugandans make some amazing tea...I LOVE IT!!!) 11. Realizing that the supermarket actually has American food, it is like Christmas 12. Never needing an alarm clock because the rooster is consistant ever morning to wake you up 13. The family chicken that loves to live in the house 14. Seeing woman carry a million things on their head, with a baby strapped to their back, while dragging a cow ( It puts us girls who say we can multi-task to shame) 14. Cell-phone service on a boat in the middle of the World's deepest lake (can hear me now...good) 15. Realizing that the cross walks mean absolutely nothing.. well there are just a few glimspes of Ugdana. Even though these things may sound a bit negative the country overall is wonderful. The people hear are so freindly they are constantly trying to get to know you, help you out, and learn about america. The country is beautiful and I am so blessed to walk to school everyday and enjoy it's veiw. The children ate the sweeties, adorable things in the world (I seriously have to remember that I can not adopot them all). These first two weeks have been a rollercoster of events. While I love Uganda I find myself missing my family, friends, church, and pillow. But the days are getting easier and I am learning how to take each day a little at a time. God is showing me that I am seriously nothing without Him. I am learning to trust Him with helping me get to know my family and learn how to get to know the people and culture here. I am excited to see how the weeks play out. Thanks everyone for your prayers and I love you a bunch...
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Ten days from now I will be leaving for 4 months in Uganda...wow... I have always wanted to go to Africa and can't believe that God has been so gracious in allowing me to spend a whole semester there... but lately as I fill out paperwork, buy different items I need for my trip there, and pack for what seems like the tenth time, I wonder am I ready? Sure I have everything I could possible need and more material wise for my trip, but what about my heart, is it ready for what is going to happen? What about my eyes, am I ready to see the hurt, pain, and joy of those who live in places and areas that I would have never dreamed of even stepping foot in. And what about my ears are they ready to hear the sound of people rejoicing and singing on the top of their lungs to God about how wonderful He is, when I sit here and complain about the little things in my life that I take for granted. To tell you the truth I am not ready and that makes me upset and sad, I want to be used SO bad by God, I truly want to serve Him whole-heartedly down there, but that means nothing if I am not ready to serve Him. So for the next ten days I am going to pray that God would prepare me in His way for the time I will be spending in Uganda.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Tomorrow will be a day filled with ambiguous emotions. While I am extremely excited to see my family, who I have not seen since Christmas, I am also so sad to say goodbye to the amazing friends I have made this summer. Sometimes I wish I could have everything... Uganda, friends, family, Bethel... I know that God wants me in Uganda and my time there will be life changing. Don't get me wrong I can not wait, but at the same time I dread leaving my friends and family, the very people who make me laugh, challenge me, build me up, encourage me, and push me... I think what makes it so hard is knowing that I have a groups of amazing friends and family who I know and can count on to pray for me while I am in Uganda. Every time I think about this I just want to cry. What else could I ask for, my friends and family mean the world to me and without them I could not make this trip. So even though I am sad to leave them, I know that they are always there for me and God has amazing plans in store for my time in Uganda... I need to be willing to be pushed, pulled, and broken all for His sake... Man I hope I am ready for this... Thank you for all your support and prayers... they mean the world and more to me... love you
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Ok so today I decided to get a blog site for Africa... well Adam Cramer and Danni Sev. decided to help in this process... needless to say we ended up creating a blog for Steve Matteson... here let me explain... I am working for Dino Matteson today. As we were creating the blog site we were unaware that the email address we were using was actually Steve's... it made it even better that the name for the blog was "White Girl in Africa"...