Friday, May 18, 2007

Goodbyes are hard!!!

It was probably the hardest thing to do! Some of the mamas started to cry as I was saying goodbye. The children were asking over and over when I was going to return. They had a going away party for me up at the school in the two classes I taught in and all the kids made me cards! They were so cute, it was the quietest party I have ever seen when it comes to kids though. They all just sat there eating their cookies. I was good, I didn't cry until I had completly walked away! I had such an amazing adventure and learned so much! I can't wait to go back to visit or live, I could see either one happening.

I arrived in Ukraine to visit mom, and neither one of my bags made it! However mom was still there waiting, as I tried to talk to someone about where my bags were. It's a quick visit but we already walked around downtown today and I got to see alot! I will see you all soon!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

I tried it!!

One of the delicacies in Uganda is a flying ant (termite) that comes out in swarms. When they come out everyone goes around and collects them. They are about an inch long and after they have flown out of there hill they loose their wings. After being collected they are put in the oven or grilled with onions and then eaten. It is something that happens twice a year and everyone gets very excited. A small swarm of them came out last week, and the kids went crazy trying to collect them all. I was asking one of the families a question about them as they were collecting and Tendo walks up to me and hands me a handful of them. They were crawling everywhere! Ugandans also get a swarm of grasshoppers and they enjoy eating these as well. There is an area in Kampala where they attract them with lights and then it makes for easy collection. Well Stu (one of the Rafiki Overseas Staff) likes the grasshoppers and so he got a batch of them today. They take off the wings but when you get them they are still moving around. He then baked them with a little salt added. He brought them out to the soccer game today for the mamas to all have one. I had said that I would rather try one of those as opposed to the ants. SO I DID! It had the eyes and everything; it was very crunchy and salty. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but not something that I would want to eat a lot of. At least now I can say that I tried it! So kangaroo in New Zealand and grasshoppers in Africa!!!!!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Wow time flies!!!

Well it hit me today that I only have 8 more days of teaching (we have Monday and Thursday off). I also only have 18 more days in this country. I am leaving a bunch of things here so I will have a suitcase empty that I am using to take product back to Rafiki. They have a store in San Antonio where they sell the products that girls have made. I was told to bring it up this next week so it could be packed! That is when it really hit me!

This week however it was really neat to see how God works in these children. Rick the little boy that I have been tutoring since I have been here has really made huge gains in his learning. He has built up confidence and is now screaming out the words as he reads. He came to Rafiki only a year ago at the age of 7 and he did not know English or Luganda. So it is amazing to hear him read! It is working with these kind of children that I will miss. Today Mama Anna and Auntie Edith asked when I was going to come back, and they said they would pray for my return. It really just touched my heart as well as all of these children have. Africa has grabbed a hold of my heart and these children will remain with me forever!!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Amazing Animal Adventure!!!

Mom and I just got back from our 5 day gorilla trek and safari. After a 12 hour car ride with 3 hours on roads that were almost completely washed away so it was extremely bumpy, we arrived in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. We arrived just in time for dinner, ate and then went to bed because it was early to rise the next morning in order to start trekking. We woke up and walked down to the meeting place, there were three different families of gorillas and so we spilt up into the three groups. Another couple was complaining because they wanted a harder trek so we switched with them, which was a wise decision we found out later. So back into a truck we drove for an hour until the part of the forest where our gorilla family was. We hiked for about an hour through grass as high as our shoulders but not to steep which was good. Our family had 20 gorillas and we were able to see 13 of them! It was amazing to be around these creatures. We followed them for an hour (you can’t stay any longer) the guides would cut down the brush for us to get closer. They were literally two feet in front of us. One adolescent got right in front of me and puffed up acting like he was going to charge me. I jumped and all the guides laughed at me, he was just playing and after he did that he walked on off. It was a little scary but I can laugh at it now. After the hour was up we hiked back when were almost to the bottom it started pouring so we were drenched by the end but it was all worth it!!! The next day we were off to Queen Elizabeth National Park this is where we would go for a game drive safari. Our lodge was beautiful you could look out over the lake and the scenery was just gorgeous. About 10 pm I heard a really loud grunting noise, it sounded like it was right outside. Sure enough when we looked we had a hippo in our back yard. After taking some pictures it came around to the front and was right in front of our door. We took some more pictures and went to bed! Our safari was wonderful we got to see buffalo, elephant, lion, water buck, Ugandan cob, baboons, giant forest hogs, hippos and tons of birds. I have tons of pictures, can’t wait to show everyone!!!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

IDP Camp

Well alot has happened in this week. I have been staying with Downie and Bobbie (my boss's daughter) in kampala. They work for Food For the Hungary International and so I got to see a little of what they do and have experienced city life in a third world country. My trip to Gulu got cancelled and it is probably just as well however FHI was driving up to Soroti where there is an IDP camp so I was able to tag along. We drove for about 4 hours and stayed the night in Kumi it was hot and had lots of mosquitos but I used my net anyway! The next morning Marc (the intern from Phillidelphia) and I got into a mutato which is a public taxi, I have been scared to drive in one but this was the only way to the IDP camp. So they crammed 21 people in a 14 person van and we were on our way. After an hour of driving in an uncomfortable position we had reached Soroti. Once in the town we had to take a bicycle boda boda another form of transport to the FHI office. Those who know me, know how I am with bicycles (haha) needless to say you had to sit sideways in a skirt on the back of this bicycle that took you through bumps, grass and anything else you could think of! I made it with only one little fall where he tipped me over, but I wasn't hurt and neither was he so I was on my way!

We arrived in the IDP camp and at first I couldn't tell much different from the other poverty that I have been seeing. This camp is where displaced people from the war have been put to live since they can not live at home anymore. Where I was is about 5 hours away from Gulu which is where most of the war took place. This goes to show why it is hard to believe that the rebels came down this far to make people leave their homes. The camp has 5,300 people living in tiny grass huts. This is a small camp the one up north has 35.000 people at it. However it was still sad and poverty was there. The hardest part for me was their water situation something that we all take for granted. There access to a bore hole was taken away and so they drink from a pond with minnows and algea all in it. That is the only water that is there. Food is scarce and that is sad as well. However the children were so happy to see us, we sang This little Light of Mine and just treated them like they were one of us. The sad part is that they have seen so many white people that have come in and looked and then just left and so they still don't have any hope for the future. The kids aren't in school and there is no medical help or treatment anywhere around. I also was told that one of the kids there had died that day and the local government provides a car for transport back to their village, but no gas or coffin. So the people who have literally nothing helped and supported the family and collect coins to help in anyway possible. It was a very hard thing to see knowing that I could not do anything to help and really due to political corruption no one really can. All these people want is to be able to go home and they can not even do that! Im glad I got to experience and see the need, but now what, all I can do is pray!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

This is Victor and his family, This is the little boy who runs over to tell me hi after every meal! It is so cute!