Kudi Kayo! Welcome back

My trip to America came and went in what seemed like only a fraction of a second. The days were filled with more hellos and goodbyes than pineapples that grow in back of my house here in Uganda, and believe me, there is a lot! I spent my two weeks running around visiting loved ones (and one day of pj’s, movies and Chinese food with my mom) and of course, doing my best to be a bridesmaid in Missy and Dave’s wedding. It was a beautiful wedding and I couldn’t me happier for the two of them. I also spent some time raising funds for the library. I was completely blown away by the support and love I came across. It made me realize yet again just how blessed I am to have such generous, loving, caring and absolutely wonderful friends and family I have. We still have a long way to go on the funding, but I am positive it will happen. My only regret from the trip home is not being able to spend more time with everyone. So get ready for a big party in December 2008. Te reverse culture adjustment was a bit shocking at first, as I am sure my family and friends who came to the airport can attest to. ;-) Overall, it was a great time.

Although it was a little bit hard to leave friends and family, I am glad to be back in Uganda. The kids welcomed me back with thousands of hugs and a few who shyly confessed, “Auntie, I cried every day when you were gone,” and “my heart was sad with out you.” This was more than enough to convince me I had made the right decision to come back.

Work is going really well. I am currently organizing a day in August to have all of our children at Sabina Home as well as their guardians and families tested for HIV/AIDS. Also, we are in the midst of trying to visit all the homes of the guardians of the children in the COU program. Our goal is to empower the families with more knowledge about health and the development of children as well as collecting background information that will enable us to better help the children. The visits are carried out by myself and Gonzaga, a Ugandan intern with COU. While come homes are near in my village, others are far away. So we hop on our bicycles and ride through the hills. With no maps we use big rocks and mango trees as our land marks. This makes for quite a comical experience of a mix of guessing and asking to find our way. This experience so far has been eye opening and heartwarming. House after house we are welcomed into homes with big smiles and open arms. Most of the homes are dirt floors and mud walls. Furniture is rarely found, but the spaces are all filled to the brim with love.

Along with this, I am still teaching a conglomeration of things two days a week at the school. Most of the classes I am teaching are health and life skills, but I am also teaching a few music and English classes. The kids, who were very bashful at first, have really begun to open up and ask great questions. One of my favorite being when a fifth grade student asked “Aunt Sarah, how can we stop the spread of sex?”

These days I am beginning to notice the similarities between Uganda and the USA: The way the leaves sound when the crunch under your feet; the noise wind makes as it moves through the trees; the way the sun warms your body; the way children spread germs. :-) Yes, these are all little things, but lately they have been making me happy.

I am posting some pictures below of my work commute. It is something quite different than my or most people’s commute in America.

I start by taking the road around the sugar cane...

passed the pineaples...

through the weeds ...
round the bend (sometimes there is a traffic jam, during rush hour you can even be blocked for a minute by a local cow or biker)

Then, two minutes after the trip began, I arrive at work, ready to start my day :-)

Well, my friends, that’s all till next time!

Katonda Yebale! (God bless you)