Friday, May 10, 2013

Tuesday and Wednesday

10/2 & 10/3

I'm creative I know... If I was a better blogger I'd have great titles thought of for every day - but considering it's taken me 7 months just to finish writing about the trip.. just know the pictures are worth the read!

On Tuesday we did well child check-ups all day. It was crazy to think that we were almost done and getting ready to finish up and head home. The most exciting thing to happen all day was that we were able to give one of the girls that goes to school at COTN a bike! We had a little extra money left over from Center Day and we had heard her story and voted to buy her a bike. Something so simple, and yet so life changing. 

This sweet girl has sickle cell anemia and malaria. Because of sickle cell she is viewed as "defected" and her family is not there to take of her. She walks miles to school and basically lives alone. Her parents both passed away, her uncle and brother are her "care takers" but because of her sickle cell they want nothing to do with her. I'm not sure what you know about sickle cell, but it is painful. Her story is just one of the many heart breaking ones that we heard but to be able to help her, even in such a small way as offering her a bike to keep her feet from getting wet and keeping her from getting cold, was such a blessing for us. She was so humble and thankful. I just have to make a note that all the other children came around and they were so excited for her. It was so cool to see them happy for her - not one, "where's my bike?", "why does she get a bike?" etc etc. They thanked us for her, how cool is that!? Such a blessing to share in her joy and the children's joy for her!

Not going to lie, we were kind shirking on our check up duties and spent a lot of the day playing with the kids..

I basically really love this picture... Oseana's camera had a fish eye function and the kids LOVED it!

Wednesday we were able to go back to the market and pick up our skirts - which still weren't ready BUT I was able to add a bag for my sister... next time I'll be ready with a list of things that I want to get for people. It was hard because I started to buy for one person and then thought of 10 more people that I should get something for... so I'm sorry if you wanted something and I didn't deliver!

Since our skirts weren't ready and we some extra time.. which I'm not really sure if we had extra time or if we just had some Africa time... which was still nice! So we were able to walk around the market which was very busy. 

such a sweet little baby - I'm sure this woman thought I was nuts asking if I could touch her- she was only a month old! So cute! It was so hot - it baffled me that they still covered the babies in quilts!

I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts.. err... bananas

we totally blended in!

tuning the adungu 

the internet cafe - I think it was like 300 schillings for 20 min.. 

We had the pleasure of doing staff check ups that afternoon. Since we were finished with the children we wanted to see them as well because I can guarantee that they will send one of the children to the hospital for treatment before themselves. And it's just expensive for them. We had a lot of fun - it was actually kind of funny and ironic that the teachers teaching english still needed a translator during the checkup.. 

“What I am anxious to see in Christian believers is a beautiful paradox. I want to see in them the joy of finding God while at the same time they are blessedly pursuing Him. I want to see in them the great joy of having God yet always wanting Him.” ~ A. W. Tozer

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield.
Psalms 5:11-12

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Shopping Extravaganza

Today was the day that we had been waiting for! Going shopping! Us Americans and our addictions... we were itching to get out look at the shops! Jimmy and Christopher drove us to the back of some buildings where the Women's Fashion Centre was...

Whoops - the Ladies Fashions Centre..

There were a couple shops where you could pick out fabric for a skirt, or outfit to be made for you. Since I didn't even own a skirt before this trip - I opted not to get a skirt made and instead decided to get a bag made. Because I don't have many opportunities to wear skirts.. I don't even really carry a purse half the time but it was nice to be able to pick out fabric that I liked and have something made and support the women of Uganda. 

The wall of fabric..

After we went to town and picked out our fabric we headed to Otino Waa. This is an organziation much like COTN, but they have been in Uganda since the early 2000's and have had more time to establish themselves. COTN is modeled after Otino Waa. They have a sponsorship program as well, and children that live on site and go to school there. Their school is in the top 3% of Uganda. They had a computer lab as well as vocational training for their students. You can read more about it and what they're doing by clicking on the link. I hope to see COTN reach this point of self sufficiency one day. I know they're close! 

They had a medical and dental clinic that was in place for not only their children and staff but also open to the town. And a full time staff that was available. 

They had a really cute cafe where you could get homemade goodies and ice cream. They also had a little shop.. You know we were more than happy to support! They also had a little gift shop where almost everything for sale is made by the students or the Mama's at Otino Waa and the money goes back into the organization to support them. 

They had these little signs all over the property. Just a little motivation.. They had one - I can't find the picture but it said "don't harass girls" we all kind of laughed but I suppose it was a very serious reminder. A cultural difference I suppose. 

The computer lab... 

Getting the tour from Bob - he and his wife Carol, are the founders.

Meg and I getting our "romantic" pic in the trees... Making fun of the "newlyweds" Brian and Michelle

$1 USD = 2580 schillings today... you do the math.. I need a calculator... and math just really isn't my strong suit. Just know that in American dollars - everything is really cheap. One of the few countries where our dollar still means something... 

After Otino Waa we had our host dinner at Auntie Jane's house. She pulled out all the stops for us and had prepared a huge meal of chicken, sausage, potatoes, greens, pineapple and avocado. I think that this is where my love of avocados went over board. I recently realized how much I love guacamole and even more recently liking plain avocados but now I LOVE them... I need them with everything. Eggs, on salads, or just plain... they're just delicious. So anyway, I love avocados.. if you take anything away from all this I hope you understand how good the avocados are because I could just go on and on. There was a huge storm coming in just as we were getting there so we all piled in to her two room house where she had set everything out for us to eat while the rain came down. Their rain really is beautiful and makes everything so much greener and brings in a wonderful much needed breeze. After Dinner we did what we do best (next to shopping) - we had a photo shoot!

The avocado that I love so much! (okay I'll stop now.. I realize it's getting a little weird)

"friendship in unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival" C.S. Lewis

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 
 John 15:12-15

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

So Blessed!

We had officially been in Uganda for 7 whole days! Eeks - it was going by so fast and yet so slow at the same time! We all woke up to get ready for church - church in Uganda starts at 7am... and it can go all day... We didn't show up until 9am and they had reserved seats for us up front. There was a lot of singing and dancing and waving of banners and loud whistles. It was more of a celebration. It was awesome. The thing that I loved about the African people, is that it really doesn't matter if they can sing or if they're on tune - they really just shout for joy to the Lord. Literally. We were also able to partake in communion with them. It was so lovely. I was hoping that we could hear Pastor James - the head pastor of COTN speak but they had a guest speaker - kind of the Dave Ramsey of Uganda. He has books and everything.. It was very interesting and kind of hard to follow because he was speaking in English and then there was a translator speaking in Luo.. it was wonderful, blissful, chaos. Like no church service I've ever been to!

Our "family" after church on sunday 
top (L-R) Brian, me, Naomi, Meghan, Steph, Julie, Papa Dave
bottom (L-R) Michelle, Brittany, Oseana, Shelby, Jamie, Michelle, Mama Jean and Amber

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
Psalms 98:4

Some of Jimmy's sweet family

Sunday lunch.. I bet you were wondering what we ate - well you were right - rice and beans and the yummiest peanut sauce you'll ever eat..

A little post-church, post-lunch nap

After church and lunch we were scheduled to visit the local hospital, we were a bunch of nurses after all. We were informed that we had actually not been approved to visit the hospital in Lira and there was a quick change of plans... imagine a complete 180 from the hospital.. That's right - I know you were thinking it already - we were going to visit a prison instead... Pastor Richard - another volunteer with COTN knows the warden of the prison SHE goes to Truth Fountain Church also. I know a lot of people - but talk about an inter webs of people knowing other people! They know people all over! And not just know "of" them, but know them! And she was like legit military. Anywho... the prison.. So change of plans. Um, sure, okay. A prison!? But we were assured of our safety and that Pastor Richard frequented the prison often and it was not a high security prison.. (we had passed a prison earlier in the week where certain detainees - if you will - were allowed to go to the market as part of privelages) Most of the boys were in for fights and theft - also in Uganda you are guilty until proven innocent. So the closer we got, the less reserved I felt. I was definitely nervous, but up for anything. As nervous as we were, and made even more nervous when we weren't allowed to bring anything in with us except for our Bibles and all the boys were in the courtyard and there weren't many smiles... We were all piled into a small meeting room and we were placed to sit in front of all these boys and men and it was just a moment of umm.. what next!? There was no plan.. (note: there is hardly ever a plan set in stone - such came the term TIA - this is Africa - you just go with it..) So we were encouraged to share our testimony, or a word of encouragement - and when I tell you that the holy spirit just took over and led our little get together - he took over y'all. I myself did not speak but I know listening to everyone speak I was just blown away. I wish that I could've video taped or at least taken pictures - Shelby - one of the coolest chicks you'll ever meet - y'all I couldn't tell you two words that she said at this point but it was not from her and she knew it wasn't from her, and we knew it wasn't her but I was speechless and there wasn't a whole lot to say after that. So we did the next best thing - we sang songs. And that was wonderful. Here we were in a place, in a room and we couldn't understand one another but God knew our hearts. It was so awesome to listen to them make wonderful music with their adungu's - a type of harp that had a soprano, alto and bass and some drums... And many of the men came forward to be saved. This unplanned, kind of unwanted (just keeping it honest) trip to the prison became one of my favorite things that we did in Lira. 

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound:
Isaiah 61:1 

We spent the evening and ate dinner at the Children's home.