Saturday, May 29, 2010

Making the Newspaper to Dirty Underwear and Everything Inbetween

It’s amazing how time seems to escape me here! It feels like I have just posted a blog, but now I realize that it has been some time. Much to share, last Saturday I had the opportunity to attend a preliminary World Cup soccer (football) game, Uganda vs. Kenya! It was an unbelievable experience to say the least. Football is such an idol for the people here, all the children and men play it. The game was at the Mandela National Stadium in Kampala. We got AMAZING seats that just happened to be next to the President of FIFA and FUFA for 20,000 shillings (10 dollars). The crowd was very enthusiastic and loud. Instead of cheerleaders there was a group of Ugandans that wore tribal attire and played drums. They were dancing, chanting, and even playing the drums on their heads. It was something that you would normally see on the Discovery channel. Before the game began, they played the Ugandan National Anthem, it was very respectful and quiet in the stadium. It was neat because here I am in a country that is so far from being developed with numberless needs and troubles to be managed, but yet at that moment it felt like all that went away and the country was actually unified. It really is hard to explain, but it was enough to send me chills. I bought a skewer full of barbequed meat that was very tasty, however I am still trying to figure out what kind of meat it was-could’ve been rat for all I know. Behind us was a group of three European men that bought all of us whistles. We all got very into the game and almost for a little while I felt like we fit in and weren’t just spectators. Uganda won 1-0!! Whooo…

I am starting to get into a rhythm here I feel like, a very fast paced one at that. Fast meaning that the days go by so quickly, I feel like I wake up and next thing I know is that it’s time to retire to bed once more. Although my wake up calls are not getting any easier, I say this because the fist few weeks I would wake up to this loud squealing noise, and then I placed it…we live right next to a pork joint. This now leads me to say that my continual wake up call here in Uganda is the wonderful sound of pigs being slaughtered each and every beautiful morning. What a treat… NOT!

Music is a huge thing here; their favorite artists would be Beyonce, Shakira, Rhianna, and my favorite…Celine Dion. Haha. One time I was working with a group of boys and I heard one singing to himself, “all the single ladies, all the single ladies…” I started CRACKING up, not a song you’d expect to hear in Africa. In Lugazi, once a day they play “My Heart Will Go On,” (yes the Titanic theme song) on loud speaker throughout the entire town…bless their hearts.

I did my laundry in a bucket, like a real African woman! However, I am convinced that I am still wearing dirty underwear though.  Surely, this is largely due to the fact of my inadequacies. I was not very skilled at it. I scrubbed, but my skirts and shirts still had dirt on them. Maybe I’ll get better? Pray for me and my lack of talents.

OH on Sunday I received a calling in church, I am officially the new Gospel Principles teacher. I am stoked about this, especially with all the new members! We also had a baptism for a young boy and an older man. It was so neat, they both bore their testimonies afterwards, and the Spirit was so exceedingly strong. You could see their joy and happiness.

On Tuesday, in Mukono, was Election Day for a new member of their parliament. We had to be in by 4:00 to be safe. They announced the winner around 11:00 pm. A few of us were still awake at this time and David, our guard, made us turn off all the lights and pretend like we weren’t home because there were riots outside our house. It wasn’t really dangerous, but people are starting to learn where the Muzungus live so we wanted to play it low…and well stealthy! It was eerie however.

On Monday we had this brilliant idea to start our own business, so we woke up early and created a Muzungu Pancakes stand. It was a hit, we were able to sell out and make a slight profit within 1.5 hours! I think we owe a lot of this to the fact that we are white, people were rather curious to find out what the Muzungus were up to. Along with having the pancake stand, I built a handwashing station out of a jerry can and taught the people waiting in line how to properly wash their hands. The best part about all this is that we made the newspaper, may I let you read the article:

All the Hot and Sleazy Gossip In What The FCUK

Whites Open Pancakes, Bikomando Kafunda

IF YOU THOUGHT Indians are the only ones controlling Uganda’s business sector, then you better watch out. Our snoops shockingly landed on a group of whites who have taken over the pancake and chapatti business in Mukono town. Snoops told us, “It’s been just a week since they opened their place in a shanty Mukono area but they sell out each day. They are making staggering profits from baking pans.” We are told now local chapati makers are threatening to be-witch them if they don’t go away. However, the truth is that these whites are around for humanitarian reasons and all proceeds will go to a charity organisation based in Mukono. But at this rate, most of the Basoga people might have to resign their most treasured jobs. Hahaaa……!!

This is hilarious in a number of ways, let’s analyze:
1. The misspelled words
2. We did it for one day, and one day only NOT a week
3. Us running people out of business?? Seriously?? HAHAHA
4. “Staggering profits,” we made a total of 300 sh=15 cents
5. We are going to be “be-witched”….

Well that is it for now; tomorrow will be a busy day! WE ARE RAFTING THE NILE RIVER!!! Stay tuned to hear more, love you all.

Mabaggala, from the Teddybear clan
Aka Me.
(I have officially earned a Ugandan name by a headmaster from a local school, I am legit!)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Also for more pics check out the blog I am following, HELP International Mukono Team

Count your many blessings name them one by one...

Oli Otya? Hello one and all, I am still alive and not looking like a red Muzungu as much!! Things are progressing well and am finding out that I am grateful for a number of things (in no particular order): 1. Aloe Vera, 2) mosquito nets, 3) French toast, 4) construction workers, 5) band aids/Neosporin, 6) stealthy security guards, 7) volunteers sharing similar feelings about pets, 8) phone calls from the States (you know who you are), 9) being in the future, 10) chicken and fish free taxis in America, 11) the invention of lying

Now let me explain…since the last time I wrote quite a bit has happened. I attempted at being a construction worker-hence my # 4 blessing-it didn’t go over too well. My group and I went to Liahona High School in Jinja to build an Adobe stove, these stoves help with directing smoke out of the kitchen and they use 1/3 the amount of wood. It was amazing to see the amount of smoke that lingers in the kitchens because of poor ventilation. To put it in perspective, I literally walked in and stood for approximately 2-3 minutes and had to walk out because my eyes and lungs stung! But these poor ladies stay in the smoke infested rooms for 8 hours at a time cooking; I can’t imagine what this does to their health. Anyway, being in Jinja was neat to say the least; it is where the source of the Nile River begins. So I am one of few Idahoans who have probably had the privilege of fetching water from the Nile River! Making the Adobe stove was hard stinkin’ work and not to include very, very dirty! We were covered in Adobe and mud by the end of the day. OH also, while I was there I ate a GRASSHOPPER!! You pull off its legs and wings and pop it in-it tastes like…popcorn.

I have been assigned to be project lead on four things this summer. I will be doing HIV/Aids and health outreaches in local schools, orphanages, and communities, I will be putting on health camps for the elderly, building hand washing stations, and putting on approximately 3-4 eye and dental community outreaches. I will also be shadowing in hospitals and putting on ‘field days’ in about 10 different troubled schools. So my work here is progressing well. Yesterday I spent a few hours in Lugazi meeting with and planning logistics for a few health projects with their Country Directors. This leads me to blessing # 10-the lady to the right of me in the taxi was holding a box of fish and the kid to the left of me had a bag of baby chickens by my feet. NOT MY STYLE OF CRUISIN’ ALONG! (Ps. When I say taxi, I mean an old, half broken down mini van that they pack anywhere from 15-25 people).

We have a lady named Edith who cooks for us everyday except on Sundays. So this last Sunday was my day to have dinner duty, we wanted something substantial that didn’t include rice and beans so we made French toast (blessing # 3), eggs, potatoes, and fruit salad!! So delicious.

My sunburn is coming along nicely to a tan, but blessing # 1, I am sure glad I brought aloe! I am currently rocking the best Chacos tan line in the house, each of you should be real proud! I am also leading the most proposal of marriage in our group to a total of three proposal, this leads to blessing # 11-I lie and tell them I am already married. Last night I fell asleep to two 3 in long grasshoppers flying around my room and I woke up to one dead on my mosquito net-blessing # 2 because that could’ve been dead on my face or something. I have two pretty nasty open blisters on the bottom of my feet-blessing # 5. Our land lady offered a puppy (blessing #7), quite a bit of us turned that adamantly down within 5 minutes (me being a large advocate-thank you Doug) However, we have decided to get chickens to eat named Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper and a goat to mow our lawn named Aberforth Wilberforce-best decisions yet!

I am still getting used to Ugandan time; we are 9 hours ahead (Mt. time) so I can assure you (M.) that the sun WILL come out tomorrow! Also, the people here have no clue of time management, you may have a meeting with someone at 10:00, but conveniently (supposed to be read with sarcasm) the meeting won’t begin till 11:00. Oph to touch on blessing #6, we have an awesome stealthy security guard named David. He lives in our guard house behind our house and he was formerly in the military. During the day he sits outside our house and watches for creepers and at night he puts on his uniform and massive gun and guards our house. He has a tendency of hiding behind corners and scaring us. He has become more like a friend than anything; he eats dinner and hangs out with us. He also looks for the creepy man in Mukono whom we call George Washington, he is literally CRAZY and tries to hug all of us-last time we saw him he was wearing a white wig and a drum from his dress…priceless.

The children are adorable as ever, they are constantly saying bye. I think it might be their way of saying hi, but we’ll be walking down the street and we’ll see kids running after us yelling, “Bye Muzungu, Bye Muzungu.” Also, the kids that look through our bushes learned a new phrase, they now yell to us, “Muzungus, Muzungus…come and playyyy.” It is the CUTEST thing ever!!

Okay this is the end for now, lots to share but I’ll cut it here. Oh and last but certainly not least, blessing # 8. I love getting phone calls and hearing how all of you are. Hope you’re enjoying the summer, I know my family is with the opening of boating season this last week-kinda jealous. Love and miss you all!

Ps. An unnumbered blessing, The Lion King, we watched it on Friday night…how many people can claim that they have actually watched The Lion King while being in AFRICA…

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New Pics!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The red Muzungu:

Okay so I have to apologize for my last blog post. I understand that it was totally random and not very well written. I have to pay for my internet time and so I was just writing my thoughts as they came. PLUS the keyboards here are horrible; it is a British keyboard so the keys are off and hard to get used to, hence the entire thing was in lower case. ANYWAY, lots and lots to share, I’ll just start from the very beginning with my flight.
My flight took a total of 3 very full days! I flew from Boise to Minneapolis (3 hrs), Minneapolis to Amsterdam (8 hrs), Amsterdam to Uganda (got 1.5 hours into the flight and the left engine started going out…great huh? I saw a Castaway moment flash before my eyes...turned around, another 1.5 hours and spent the night in Amsterdam), Friday we left again for Uganda and we successfully got here that night (8 hrs).
Can I just say that Amsterdam was amazing! I was with two other HELP members and we got everything paid for (food, hotel, transportation, and a free whole 5 minute phone call!) Downtown was beautiful, with old churches and buildings everywhere. People ride bikes there like cars and every taxi was a Mercedes. I even walked half a block into the red light district, took a picture of a coffee shop, got asked if I wanted marijuana and turned right around; I was sure not to stay very long! It was kinda disappointing though, because the town was pretty dirty. Eww, there were pigeons everywhere eating garbage off the streets. It was a great mini vacation though, because I was able to take an unexpected long and hot shower before Africa.
NOW onto Uganda, currently I am sitting in my house typing this up and I hear “Muzungu, Muzungu,” (white person) coming from the outside of our front gate. The little children wait through the bushes and call for us until we come out. People are going crazy over us here, for the first time I understand what it feels like to be a minority. We stick out like a sore thumb, we don’t blend in anywhere. Our first day here we went out to lunch and a girl in my group ordered a fish-when you order a fish here, you get the entire thing, head and all! That was a good first welcoming. The culture is so very different than America’s but I am beginning to get used to it. Some odd things here are that boys hold hands down the street, there are no street signs and people drive up on the sidewalks, the police carry HUGE guns and they look like they are 14 years old, it is beyond humid but unbelievably beautiful skies/clouds, there are people everywhere coming and going but I have yet figured out where they are coming and going to and from, the butcheries here have hanging meat with flies all over, woman breast feed on boda bodas, showing your thigh means you are a prostitute, and we (meaning girls) can’t look men into the eyes because it means that we are flirting with them and they will want us as a wife, polygamy is common here, and I waved a little girl over like you wave a prostitute-not a good thing!! I also slept next to a gecko on my wall last night, took my first bucket shower and rode on boda boda!—nothing typical for an Idaho girl.
Today we went to a rural town outside of Mukono and helped build a medical clinic and hand planted a ‘garden’-more like a farm. I realized out grateful I am of modern technology! Thank you John Deer! Often times I would be looking down for awhile and look back up to nothing but lush green plants everywhere and monkey calls, only to remember where I am- I am in Africa! I feel so blessed to be here. Although I went there not wearing sunscreen, bad idea…I am fried! Pretty sure the people here have seen black people, white people, but probably never a red muzungu before!!
I am getting more used to the food, but I am still struggling with it. I have eaten a rolex (a thick fried flour tortilla with eggs, tomatoes, and peppers-kinda like a breakfast burrito, delicious!), matoke (banana that is steamed and mashed-their staple food-gross), posho (a grainy flour substance of ground maize that is mixed with water and cooked-gross), porridge (posho and water, as a hot drink-tastes like liquid grits-bland), and pineapple (which is AMAZING). I also went to the store and bought Nutella, pretty much the only American food that you can buy here.

I am very, and I mean very slowly picking up on the language. The ‘a’ sound as in attempt, ‘e’ as in employ, ‘I’ as in import, ‘o’ as in only and ‘u’ as in blue. Here is a list of some of the words I can say:
•Oli Otya?-How are you?
•Bulungi-good (like I am good)
•Weebale-Thank you

Okay this is getting fairly long so I’m going to end it now, but I miss and love everyone. I think about you guys often. I appreciate all the thoughts, prayers, and support. Know that I am very safe and am starting to love it here. SIIBA BULUNGI!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


I made it to Uganda. About three days later, my plane on our way from Amsterdam ran into problems (the left engine was going out..not good) so we had to turn around. Bad but good too,I was able to spend the night in amsterdam and go downtown. ANWAY,I made it. IT is beautiful here!! I can describe this place but I could never do it justice. It is beautiful, so green with red dirt! geckos are everywhere and i have already been proposed to, ate a chipatti, almost got ran over by a boda boda, and had my butt squeezed by an older man. The children are absolutely cute and beautiful, they just smile and wave to you and call you mzungu, "white person". It poured today and i got drenched cause i didn't bring an umbrella. Okay more to come next time!