Hey friends! Just a quick post of pictures that I have taken at various times of random things or events that happen in Uganda which probably would not happen in America.

Women waiting for a meeting to start. Meeting was scheduled to begin at 10, did not start till 2. Their solution was to sleep.


No tent, no walmart, no problem!
Jess, Laura and I wanted to go camping, so we improvised and used our mosquito net.

Pig outreach.
Actually, I was just reading, and Mr. pig also wanted to learn.

Ostriches that attack. There is a place by my house where you can "ride ostriches." We tried to do so, but they were not tame, and I think this one in the picture was trying to eat us. Needless to say, we did not end up riding.

Child size bike?



As I was sitting in my ‘House” this morning drafting this blog, I turned by IPod on shuffle play and “An American in Paris” started to play. This made me laugh out loud as I wondered what the music piece, “ An American in Uganda” would sound like. There would be many differences one being that instead of the trumpets and oboes imitating car horns they would have to shout things like, “muzungu!” or “give me money” or “you are my size” (the most common pick up line in Uganda, although I am not sure that it ever works). This is an old picture, but its one of my favorites and I wanted to put it on here. These are three of our students listening to classical music on my ipod.

My schedule has been keeping me on my toes these days. Children of Uganda has been getting many short term volunteers coordinated by Talitha and Cassie, two amazing sisters (an their equally amazing friend Tim) who have been helping COU in so many ways. They are all an inspiration to me! Check out their website at: http://tandcinuganda.livejournal.com/ They have now left Sabina and will soon return to America as “summer holiday” is over. I will miss them SO much. Gonzaga, the university student interning with COU, has also gone back to school which has meant that we have been working VERY hard to get as many home visits done as we possibly could before he left. Our hard work paid off as we reached nearly all of the homes. I feel like I could write a book about every home we visited, each family having their own tail about overcoming obstacles with love. Today, I want to share two stories with you.

Story one: Mentodi, an elderly man, guardian and grandfather to Mugenyi. Mugenyi is a student of COU in second grade who has lost both of his parents to AIDS. Mendoti used to repair shoes but it too sick to continue his work, so he is now farming potatoes and kasava to sustain himself, his wife and grandson. Farming in Uganda is not like that in America. It is usually done for survival and always by hand. Mentodi moved to Ssanje in 1956 and reports that “since that time, I have never taken medicine!” One of the questions we as all of the families is if they boil their water before drinking. When we questioned Mentodi about this, he stared at us blankly. I thought perhaps I had not correctly translated the question. After a few silent seconds. He said in seriousness, “I never take water, only local beer, but when Mugenyi is home for the holidays, we boil water for him.” Needless to say, I was shocked. However, he must be doing an okay job raising Mugenyi as he is one of the sweetest kids I know.

Earlier this year, Mugenyi’s sponsor sent extra money as a birthday present. We asked him what he wanted to do with the money, remember he is in second grade. He hold us that he wanted to use the money to fix his grandfather’s house because it was falling over. After this, there was still a lot of money left over so we asked him what else he would like. He said, “I would like to pay someone to help my grandfather in the garden because he is to old to do it by himself, and I am just to little to hope, also a chicken so my grandmother can eat eggs, she likes eggs.” How many second graders do you know that would be so selfless?

Story two: A couple of weeks ago, Gonzaga and I were off on yet another home visit, grumbling along the way about how hot it was and how tired we were when we came to Jaja (grandma) Berna’s home. Unable to stand, Berna scooted herself to the door to greet us. Most homes here don’t have a lot of material things, but this one actually had nothing. No furniture, no dishes, no pictures on the wall, no games to play, nothing except for two well worn mats and a bright pink, very well used tea cup. She greeted us about ten times each, it didn’t take us long to find out why she was so excited to see us. She is the elderly grandmother of one of our boarding students. We couldn’t figure out how old she was, but she told us, “I was able to do many things by 1920.” She was the mother to 10 children, all of whom, including her husband have passed away. Overcome with grief she collapsed into tears. She is now the guardian of four grandchildren, all of whom are at boarding schools. This means when school is in session, she is all alone. Unable to farm, she has no means of getting food or water. She is subject to the mercy of her neighbors who kindly bring her food. However, people are forgetful and sometimes she goes days without eating or drinking. She has no money for medicine and was very ill. She quietly confessed to us that she still thinks God is so great, but is confused why He has left her in this situation, why should someone have to burry all the people she thought would bury herself? Her body lapsed into heaving sobs. I have never given out money here before because I don’t want to be seen as a “rich, white bank” but I just felt something telling me I should make an exception to my rule. I pressed a 20,000 shilling bill (equivalent to 10 US dollars) into her hand and it was as if she had won the lottery. She immediately started praying and thanking God for giving her 12th and 13th children (myself and Gonzaga). Suddenly aware that my face was wet as I weeping with her.

After she settled down, she entertained us with stories of times past, all without any pause. I am sure this was her way of making us stay longer. She told us of how she prays the Rosary every day at her home because she is no longer able to go to church. She told us about how she bought her pink tea cup before Idi Ami name into power. She also told us a story of the time she feared for England. After King George died he left now sons and she did not know what would happen. Elizabeth took the throne and everyone here though that surly, England would fall, but she has done a “pretty good job.” We had to pry ourselves away as it was getting late, but promised to return soon. There was no grumbling between Gonzaga and I on the way home.

Since she couldn’t get to church, I returned the following Sunday and decided to take church to her. I went with a small group; Cassie, Tim, Gonzaga, Deborah and myself. We say, laughed cried and pried with her until it was nearly dark. Jaja Berna kept thanking us for changing her life. I thought this was odd, because I couldn’t find the words to tell her how much she had changed mine.

Tim Cassie, random kid, Gonzaga, Deborah, Jaja Berna, me after the prayer session.

Jaja Bena and me.
(she was leaning on my leg with her bony elbow, I couldn't figure out how to tell her this in Luganda)

LIBRARY UPDATE: My dad reports that we have almost 9000 out of 12000, so we will be breaking ground tomorrow!!! We still net to get the last 3000, but I am optimistic we will get there.

Thats all till next time (or thats allllllllllll folks!)

Love, love, love,