Friday, August 23, 2013

Love Us Some Rolex!

 This second week here, as my hub tackled the world of international ministry, I tackled the art of homeschooling.  Talk about a breeze.  Going from teaching 20 to teaching 2?  Candy from a baby, people. Grace loves going at her own pace, and Sophie loves learning off the iPad (having it READ books to her...GENIOUS!!)  We even scheduled in time for my girls and I to help out at a local babies' home.

In fact, the hardest part of our school day got it - lunch.  Where are my cafeteria ladies? This is not America where you can pop something in the microwave. Peanut butter here is for the birds.  Leafy produce is sketchy because I don't trust myself to clean it properly. Deli meat? Don't even think about it. Not available or way too expensive if it is.

So eliminating every quick fix food item I know and short of having to prepare and cook a full on meal everyday - what's a mom to do?  Enter ROLEX.

Oh my. Our sweet friend, Ruth (above), offered to make us some homemade Rolexes after she heard we had been buying them off the street. At 2000 shilling (less than $1), these babies are greatness no matter how you get them!  But hers......oh my.  It's chipate (a thick tortilla that's common here), fried eggs, tomatoes and seasoning all rolled up into a huge burrito-like concoction.

 Number 1 Fan!

And I would be remiss to mention my near 2 year addiction now to the greatness that is Africana tea. It's sanity in a cup. It's my best liquid friend.  It's a lifesaver in a day where I wake up to ants on my toothbrush, my bath's water pressure is more like someone spitting on my head, and I'm on mosquito bite #10 for the day with no malaria meds in my system.

Oh Africa. Why is it so hard for me to settle in this time?
I ask myself this daily.
Then I answer.

Because I just need to give of myself while here and know there's things to be learned from this experience. And sometimes, we just have to say "yes" and trust that the reason may not be known for years....or ever.

Up next for me? More homeschool. Helping out in the Bwerenga schools when they are back in session in two weeks. Figuring out the best way I can help the overworked teachers at one of our facilities. And most importantly, loving my hubs who is working so hard each day.

My homeschool gals....

Saturday, August 17, 2013

First Week Expectations Vs. Reality

 Grace at the Babies' Home

I try to be completely transparent on my blog ( I think ).  There's times of sweet highs that I share and times of lows that, although I could be tempted to leave out, find a place here.  Looking back at those times, I usually see how God carried me through them or even showed me victory on the other side.

This week, I'll admit, was a struggle.  Mostly by expectations in my head that, in reality, were not met.  My husband went straight to work this week, having daily meetings, people to meet, and field work to do to get up to speed with the organization of 60 Feet as it stands this year. Me, on the other hand, not yet starting homeschool, found myself full-time momma to my girls without the usual "activities" and friends that kept us busy in the US. It was definitely not the "straight to work" that I'm used to. It was a lonely feeling!  I asked a friend back home, "Why did you not tell me that stay-at-home mommyhood can be lonely?"   

Oh....I know. Big problems. Especially when I took my girls to a babies home in Kampala and we found ourselves smack in the middle of caring for 45+ orphans, each one begging for attention, right at dinner and bathtime.  Grace loves spending time at the babies' home.....
 Sweet One Ready for Bed
 Slowly, though, I came to realize that life will be much different than our two months here last summer.  More of a slow journey, not a quick "get it all in" trip.  Full of busy times. Not so busy times. Work to do. Times of rest.  School. Vacation. Breakfasts/Dinners/Lunch. Markets.  Administration work. Field Work.  Laughing. Crying. Boredom. Excitement.....

And that's it. It's just life. In Kampala, Uganda.

The Bottom of Our Hill (our Walmart, Basically!)
 We Buy Fresh Pineapple Weekly
 So what's up for us in the next few weeks?  We will hopefully be moving into our home soon. Right now we are living in the 60 Feet Guesthouse which hosts teams that fly over from the US on a regular basis. It has exceptional Wifi so my girls are taking advantage of it by facetiming cousins (and me, blogging, of course.)  I will start homeschooling this week.  Boog will be busy meeting with the "Powers That Be" of 60 Feet as they fly in to help line things up for the year.  And of course, facing the near daily challenges that arise with the work that is to be done here.....more about that later.

All in all. Week one has been simply getting used to life here. Please pray for Boog, as he has to play many roles here: husband, father, worker, leader, counselor (to me, mostly!), etc.  Pray for my girls to find friendships here.  Pray for me to clearly see my purpose.....

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Back in UG (again!)

Okay. So it's literally been a few seasons of life since I last posted.  My last post was on my thoughts upon returning from a two month stay in Uganda, Africa. This post, ironically, is about what is now our first weekend of an entire YEAR stay in Uganda.  So, to catch up, what we thought was going to be a leisurely family summer of a Wyoming vacay and relaxation, turned into a whirlwind of praying, fundraising, planning, and packing after accepting the offer from Sixty Feet to return to Uganda to help the staff in country....for a year or more. Did I already mention a year??  Let me say it again. A year.

Now, to well-traveled people, missionaries, or adventurous folks - a year in Africa sounds uh-mazing.  But to me - homebody, lover of all things Chipotle & Chick-fil-a, not to mention my great job......a year was too big of a commitment. But God had other plans and after talking it over, and praying (yeah, don't forget that!), we decided against most all our families' wishes to go.  So......we go.

And here's a pic of we going.   My girls' memory proved strong as they traversed familiar territory in Dubai, our layover city...things weren't quite as "scary" as they were the last time.  But one thing was different - both my girls got airsick this time.  At the same time! The poor souls around us just watched in horror as both my girls gagged away in plastic bags, turning shades of white & green.  It was wonderful.

This pic is obviously BEFORE the incident

For me, the trip was very familiar.  Third time here. The first was totally new and unnerving. The second was a little easier.  This time - it was total calm. Even as we arrived in the Entebbe Airpo rt in Uganda, I whisked the girls off the plane to the familiar smells & sounds of Africa.  It was almost like this was just like any other trip. Except it wasn't.

We spent the first day getting acclimated.  The team had already set up our rooms with a few groceries and toiletries.....and then - we slept. And slept.  Jet lag seriously caught up to us.  Day two was good fun.  We spent the morning worshipping with the heart & soul of Sixty Feet - Bwerenga Village.  Church lasted, ahem, over 3 hours....but hugging the necks of Momma Catherine, Pastor Earnest, Boaz and all our friends was truly, truly precious.  We surprised them. I think they are used to Americans visiting. I don't think they are as used to Americans coming back.  It was a morning full of hugs and well wishes.

The school below is a part of the Bwerenga Village. I taught here last year and plan to again some this year.  It's been painted purple & orange, but the kids were the same. They took a few seconds to look me over and then immediately, "Teacha Flo, Teacha Flo!!"  I can't begin to tell you how amazing it was to see some of the same young, sweet faces....just a year older.
The School
Grace caught part of the sweet action when one of the many babies in the church (who are incredibly patient throughout the 3 hour service!) crawled into her lap and planted himself there. It was love.

And below is a picture from last year and one from today of myself and my cutie patootie friend.  I was SO glad he hadn't forgotten me. In fact, he never let go of my hand until we got in our car to leave.

So.  What to say about this first weekend?  It's had it's highs and lows.  I can't lie and say it's been easy.  High points have been the miraculous way God has just calmed my nervousness. I have felt more at ease in this city than I ever have before. I think I'm ready to attempt driving here in a few days (which if you saw traffic here, you'd realize what a feat that would be!).  Other highs include the Sixty Feet team being so welcoming and gracious and accepting of the help we are here to provide.  And Sophie....little Sophie earned the trophy in our house for acclimating the easiest. She's had no trouble whatsoever here. None. She's slept like a baby, ate well for her picky self, and has generally been just smooth sailing.

Lows, to be honest, include a late night talk with Grace as she was shedding tears from missing her family back at home.....God provided the words for me because I'm not always the best communicator. (I do better writing!)  I know this will be hard for her because this year, she's 9.  And 9 is close to the age where you can start seeing outside your start needing your friends and stability.  So I know that I will have to be extra cautious about her needs here.  Lows also include a tinge of the "insecurity" attack.  There is SO much to do and things to be done with 60 Feet's ministry.  Administration needs, prison needs, team needs, and hundreds more. What will we be able to help with here? Are our strengths and gifts lining up to what Sixty Feet's ministry really needs at this stage in their growth?  Can we do all of this AND keep our marriage and family in good standing AND be able to handle being away AND.....the list goes on.

Thankfully, we have prayer warriors at home. That term is so overused, but I know that those people who keep those call lines to God busy morning, noon, and night are keeping us covered. So our strength and purpose here will remain in tact. And to shorten a thought from C.S. Lewis, " My confidence lies not in who I think God is, but who He knows himself to be."

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