Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The end of Off Tu

I have been wanting to post something for a while but have not really been sure what to say.

Yesterday was our last day at Off Tu. We went to one of the slums of Kampala to visit the homes of two of the girls who now live at Off Tu. The slum was heartbreaking. Tiny homes, built so close together, dirty water that attracts malaria-carrying mosquitos flowed everywhere. The water they drank was also dirty, as were most of the children. The girl's mothers were very kind though, and we had time to pray with each one. The girls were both happy to see their families and pretty sad to leave again after such a short visit.

When we got back to the Mission we played with the children and then had an amazing dinner. It was our farewell dinner so everyone came, we ate delicious Ugandan and German food, and several people (including me) had to give speeches. I almost cried at the end of my speech when I tried to tell the kids how much we love them and how wonderful it has been to be their "aunties". When it was time to leave I held Martha in my arms and she wouldn't let go of me. She started moaning and saying "Auntie, don't go". I really just wanted to take her with me, back to UCU and then back to the U.S. on Tuesday. Martha, and all of the Off Tu kids, is so precious and loving and fun to be with. I know that I am going to miss them so much and it breaks my heart that I might not come back to Uganda to see them.

It has been wonderful and beautiful to love these children. To know them and play with them and connect with them. To hear their stories and see their homes and to imagine their future. But the downside to the deep attachment that we have made is the eventual pulling away. The inevitable detachment that occurs when we leave. I will always hold them in my heart but I will miss holding their hands.
(the one in the front is martha)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

SaSCU has a piece of my heart

"I can see the son of man suffering, oh my Lord
No one cares for their lives, street kids all over the world"
This is a song that the kids of SaSCU (Save Street Children Uganda) sang for us on our first week of visiting them. These kids are all former street kids who now live together (all 43 of them!) with a few "uncles" and "aunties" to care for them. We have been there every other Tuesday to play, sing, preach, share and dance with them. Today was our last Tuesday there and it ended bittersweetly. Bitter because I care a lot about these kids, got to know some of them well, and know that I probably won't see them again. Sweetly because we got to take two of the girls with us, to move into the Children's Center at Off Tu Mission. It was exciting to see these girl go from a temporary home to a more permanent, stable place to live.

Monday, November 30, 2009

15 Days left

Things I did this past week:
-Made pumpkin bread and banana chocolate chip muffins with friends-3 hours of chilling at Mark's house listening to good music with good friends
-Celebrated Thanksgiving by giving a presentation in class, playing football, and eating lots of good food, especially delicious desserts.
-Played ultimate frisbee ALL DAY on Sunday with a bunch of friends. We beat the Peace Corps and ended up 3-3 after the tournament. It was exhausting but very fun.

Things I am doing this week:
-Worship tonight!
-Writing final papers for my three classes: African Lit, African Traditional Religion and Faith & Action. Not really ready to write any of them....
-Eating dinner and spending the night at my host family's home in Mukono
-Spending Saturday in Jinja (it's our last weekend!)

Things I am looking forward to doing when I get home:
-"Jumping" (on the trampoline) with Ty
-Getting my wisdom teeth out, and then watching lots of movies with my siblings and eating ice cream and iced coffees
-Finally seeing Matt for the first time since MAY! I almost tear up when I think about seeing him again (For those of you who know how not very often I cry you know that is a big deal!)

Things I will miss about Uganda:
-Off Tu-everything about it. But especially cuddling with the girls before nap time and dance parties after dinner.
-Faith & Action class: so challenging to the way that I think and I act. I have learned so much from this class and the teachers and other students.
-Taxi rides, walking the streets of Mukono, going "rolling", watching soccer in the DH, movie nights, shopping at markets, fighting off grasshoppers, sleeping under mosquito nets...basically our Uganda university life :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"How can I ever say enough, how amazing is your love"

Happy Thanksgiving!

In honor of my favorite holiday, here are some things I'm thankful for:

-My families: First, of course, my family at home: Mom, Dad, Matt, Brandon, Pete, Ben, Tori & Ty. Secondly, my Ugandan families: My Mukono and Soroti host families and my Off Tu family.

-The longest summer ever! I have been able to enjoy the same warm weather from May-December.

-Amazing friendships: I am so thankful for my friends from home who have stayed in touch, encouraging me and loving me. Also, I'm thankful for the great friendships I've made here. I have had so many challenging conversations and lots of fun with friends here.

-God's amazing creation. Rwanda and Uganda are both so beautiful and I am so thankful that I have gotten to see so much of His creation; mountains, valleys, waterfalls, sunsets, flowers, and so much more.

-Thought provoking classes and reading. My opinions and views on issues have been challenged here more than any other time in my life. It is sometimes frustrating to wrestle with these issues but I am so glad I have had the opportunity to do it.

There are a lot more things I am thankful for (and those were really general categories) but I am running out of time. I am doing a presentation in my African Traditional Religions class today (Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Uganda so we still have school) so I have to go do that now. Then, I am baking desserts with my friends (from Eastern University) Angela, Redmond and Davis. Then, we are playing an American football game and eating Thanksgiving dinner with the ex-pats on campus! Hope your Thanksgiving is as good as mine!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

No one on the corner has swagger like us

We are currently suffering from a plague of grasshoppers. They are covering the ceilings of our bathrooms, especially the showers. They like to jump on us and people like to fry them up and eat them

This is me and my friend Nicole and my new boyfriend: the Chamuka keys man. He promised me a neon Rav4 if I drink the right soda and I gave him my heart. It's a happily ever after kind of story.

For realsies tho: we were on our way to Touch of Class, a very...classy restaurant on campus that we eat at several times a week. We get pretty tired of rice and beans at the DH so at Touch of Class we eat chips (fries), smoothies and occasionally chicken.

It's been raining ALOT here. Basically every day it rains for an hour or so. This is me in my poncho:

It was about as protective as wearing a ziploc bag.


This is me and my friend Meghan at a Sipi Falls. This picture is really for my mom, cuz she loves waterfalls.


In other news: I got my hair braided. They add fake hair and it takes about five hours and as a result I have 140 small braids on my head. I think it makes me look like the child of shane claiborne and one of the daughters from the cosby show (can't remember her name...) Here's some photos to explain better:

The song "Paper Planes" by M.I.A. has been stuck in my head for weeks now (hence the reason for the name of this post). Partly because we recently watched Slumdog Millionare and partly because it's so dang catchy. I also have some songs from "Fiddler on the Roof" stuck in my head...("Tradition!" "Do you love me?") At night we like to watch a lot of movies and tv shows on our laptops. Me and a few others girls have been working our way through episodes of "the office". We started at season one and are just beginning season five tonight.

Right now I am sitting in the computer room trying to fend off the advances of a very agressive Ugandan guy...I should probably leave now before he asks me out again.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


"The more I pursue the light of Christ, the more He illumines the diseases of my heart, and the dysfunction of my soul." -Mere Discipleship by Lee Camp

Amen, Lee Camp.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Off Tu Weekend...

Caitlin and I spent the weekend at our favorite place in Uganda: Off Tu Mission.

Friday Night:

We got to Off Tu, drank tea and played with our favorite four Ugandan girls (Martha, Lovis, Anitah and Allen...if you are a regular on my blog you've seen pictures of them before) then headed to the home of Off Tu's founders Catherine and Johan. They are a German couple who started Off Tu about 17 years ago. They have a beautiful house at the mission and three great kids; Claudy (15), Friedham (13) and Caleb (11). We got to eat dinner with the family which was wonderful! First because we have not had sausage, cheese, homemade bread, and raw veggies in a very long time. Second, because we are so immersed in university life that we rarely get to enjoy family time. Also, Ugandan families typically don't talk while they eat, nor do they all sit at the same table while eating. We all told funny stories and laughed a lot and it reminded me of eating dinner with my family at home. Then the girls (Caitlin, Claudy Leez and I) headed up to Leez's room and watched movies. We also learned how to wrap a scarf like a sudanese women, where only the eyes are allowed to show. I scared Leez dressed like this! Don't worry, I will teach you all how to do it when I get home :)


In the morning Caitlin and I woke up early and cooked french toast for the staff and children who live at Off Tu. Though I ended up with several oil burns the french toast turned out great and the kids loved it. Then we went to an introduction with the staff of Off-Tu. One of the female staff members is going to be married in January so it was time for her introduction! An introduction is a ceremony in Uganda where the the families of an engaged couple formally meet. It is held at the bride's home with the family of the groom being introduced to the family of the bride. It is a really special ceremony as it is an opportunity to honor the Bride and the Groom individually as well as their families. It was really sweet to see how excited each family was to be accepting a new member. From the time we got there and sat down until the time we got to get up and eat it was about SIX hours! Caitlin and I were super hungry and very uncomfortable in our Gomesis (traditional Bugandan women's dress) but it was a great event to see and when we were bored we just joked around with our Ugandan and German friends from Off Tu.

Caitlin and I really feel like family members at Off Tu (how could we not when the kids call us Auntie!) and we know that Off Tu is going to be what we miss the most when we leave Uganda :(

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ugandan Proverbs

A few Ugandan proverbs I found while writing a paper for my African Traditional Religions class:

  • A child does not laugh at the ugliness of its mother
  • A full stomach does not last overnight
  • A stick which is far away cannot kill a snake
  • Feces is the food of flies
  • People get fed up even with honey
  • Two friends share the white ant (people here actually do eat white ants)
  • Whoever comes last drinks muddy water
  • He who has diarrhea knows the direction of the door without being told (my personal favorite)


Thursday, November 5, 2009


So we got back from Soroti on was a great week.

Things I did in Soroti that I have never done before:

*Slept in my own mud hut
*Milked a cow
*Carried water on my head, and on a bike
*Slaughtered chickens (one on my birthday and one on my last night)
*Farmed: uprooting cassava and sweet potatoes which I then peeled
*Carried a baby on my back like a real village woman
*Helped my little brother make charcoal and make mud bricks
*Shelled ten pounds of ground nuts
*Peeled and ate sugarcane
*Cut down speargrass with a scythe

I have pictures of all of these you wish you could see them :) Too bad I can't upload them now...

Anyway, I also visited the school where my papa teaches, went for walks, enjoyed gallons of milk tea, held my baby brother miracle, played in the rain, explored a fruit farm of pineapples, oranges and tangerines, had dance parties with my mama and brothers and spent time just thinking and praying and reading "Letters & Papers from Prison" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (my thoughts on that book will result in their own post later, when I finish it.) It was a wonderful week and though I really missed family and friends and all my USP friends I really enjoyed my week and could easily live in that little mud hut forever...if you all lived in neighboring huts :)


I would like to briefly offer some thoughts/shout-outs to my home life and people (homies, if you will)
1. The Phillies were in the World Series and I didn't get to see any of it. Disappointing. My friend Redmond and I attempted to get our director to let us watch a game on his satellite tv but he wasn't going for it, especially since the games started at 4am Uganda time.
2. On another sports note, OSU is playing penn state this weekend and I am really hoping for a win. Praying, actually. (Lord, please give Jim Tressel wisdom, give Terrelle Pryor skill, and give the entire defense strength, Amen.)
3. Congratulations to Adriane and Mike on getting engaged! Adriane: you are gonna be a great wife. Mike: You are a lucky guy :)

Okay, that's all. Love from the pearl of Africa!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Headed east

Tomorrow I leave for Soroti, which is in eastern Uganda and is much more rural than where I live now. The family I will be living with will not have electricity or running water and they will have a latrine (most likely far from the home) and will eat with their hands. I am really looking forward to not only the new experience but also the break from classes and writing papers.

I will not have any contact, phone or internet, with anyone besides my family for a week and I will be away from UCU for ten days so this is my last post for a while.

Please pray for our safety while traveling six hours to get there, that I get along well with my family, and that I handle the language barrier well as it is unlikely that most of my family will speak English.

(This is me with some of the students of Off Tu Academy)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Praise the Lord!

There is an endless song,
echoes in my soul,
I hear the music play,
and though the storms may come,
I am holding on,
to the Rock I cling,

How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing

I will lift my eyes
In the darkest night
For I know my Savior lives

And I will walk with You
Knowing You'll see me through
And sing the songs You give

I can sing in the troubled times
Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step
And fall down again
I can sing 'cause You pick me up
Sing 'cause You're there
I can sing 'cause You hear me, Lord
When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath
Sing for I know
That I'll sing with the angels
And the saints around the throne

Praise the Lord:
-I went to the doctor today and though it was painful, my ear is now cleared of all fluid and junk and I can hear!
-Tonight is worship and watching the office: two of my favorite things to do :)
-Tomorrow I will be at Off Tu all day

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Off Tu girls

This is a picture of me with three of the girls who live at Off Tu's children center. Their names are Anita (5), Martha (5), and Lovis (6). This picture was taken by the fourth girl who lives at the Children's center, Allen (5). Caitlin and I really like playing games, eating dinner and sharing brownies with these girls. They love the game "Monkey, Monkey, Lion" (our version of Duck, Duck, Goose) and they call me Auntie Faith!

Highs and Lows

So, this has been an emotionally low week for me. I have had my fair share in the US but I have definitely found it harder to handle here, being so far from those who love me the most and know me really well. If you would like to share a verse with me I would love it as I am trying to soak up all the spiritual encouragement I can. :)

I feel like there is not much new to share. We are settling into a comfortable routine here; classes, internship, eating dinner, occasional movies and viewings of "the office". It has all become normal, though I am missing a few things about American college life: Ohio State football games, leaves changing, wearing sweatshirts, powderpuff football games, and coffee dates with friends.

On weekends we like to travel into Kampala, the capital city, because there is not that much to do in Mukono. This requires us to walk to Mukono and get a taxi. Taxis here are actually 15 passenger buses that stop frequently to pick up and drop off passengers. Taking a taxi usually means having to sit veryvery close to strangers (some of whom smell), a trip that is sometimes twice as long as just taking a normal car, and not being 100% sure that you will end up at your destination. But, if you go with friends it can be fun and it only costs about 75 cents each way. Anyway, last weekend we went into Kampala on Saturday to shop and eat American food and on Sunday we went to go to a pentecostal church...and eat more American food :) Tomorrow (Sunday) I am going there to play ultimate frisbee...a few of my friends go and though I have tried to convince them that I am not good, Angela is dragging me along anyway.

I also went to Kampala on Thursday (tho not by taxi) to see a doctor about my ears. They got a lot of water in them when we went in the Nile and have been getting painful since then. Well, the doctor gave me eardrops which have actually served to make my ears more painful and completely clogged so I can't hear very much right now. Hopefully, you all will have some sympathy as my friends here have enjoyed laughing at me asking, "What did you say??" all the time.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm "Off Tu" my internship!

Every Tuesday and Thursday I spend 14 hours at Off Tu Mission where I'm doing my junior year social work internship. This involves several differant activities:

*Teaching at Off Tu Academy: They just started a school that is Baby Class (ages 3-4), Top Class (5-6) and P1, P2, and P3 which are equivalent to 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade. Apparently, being an American college student is qualification enough to let me teach classes on my own...I thought they were crazy at first. But I teach Baby and Top class PE, P1 Music, P2 Reading and P3 English. It has been a little overwhelming to be thrown into teaching with basically no preparation, but it has had some funny moments.

The best one yet was in P1 where they are absolutely crazy...especially with new teachers who only speak English. They were totally taking advantage of us (me and the other intern Caitlin) being new and overwhelmed and they were going nuts. The teacher had given us a stick to use (they regularly beat children in school and home here) so I picked it up, whacked the table to get their attention and said "Do your teachers beat you?" they all said "Yes!" and so I said, "Do you want me to beat you?", hoping to scare them into submission but they responded, "YES!" and began sticking their bottoms under the desks and begging me to beat them. It was the last thing I expected and at that point I realized I had no idea what to do.

*Painting latrines: Latrines, aka toilets/squatie potties, don't typically come with a way to wash hands but at the school they have water next to the latrine and they are trying to encourage children to wash their hands. So, they have given Caitlin and I the task of painting a mural on the latrines. The mural says "PLEASE WASH YOUR HANDS AFTER TOILET" across the top, and includes a picture of a girl washing her hands, flies with the message "flies carry germs, watch out!", and a picture of a giant germ with a word bubble who says, "I am Mr. Germ and I like to eat children who do not wash their hands after toilet." It is my greatest artistic acheivement and I am really looking forward to posting pictures of our finished product.

There is more to my life at Off Tu but I am tired of writing now :) I'll explain more later!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Watch out Nile- here I come!

Saturday morning we left bright and early for Jinja, where we would spend two days on the Nile rafting and relaxing. I was sooo sleepy on the bus ride over and before we suited up but once we got going my adrenaline was pumping and I was wide awake!

Rafting was soo much fun. The Nile is supposed to be the best rafting in the world and the rapids we went over were certainly intense. The section of the river we took had four class 5 rapids (the highest that a raft is allowed to go over) as well as some 3 and 4 class rapids. Our raft (and all 10 people in it) completely flipped on the first class 5 and we lost members on a few other rapids.

This picture is not of me, but it is a picture of another group going over a waterfall that comes immediately after one of the class 5 rapids (I think).

Hopefully I will be able to eventually post pictures of my actual group going, but these pictures are basically the same as what happened to us:
We did get to relax and swim in the Nile during the trip and halfway through we stopped on an island and ate a really yummy lunch of sandwiches. I also discovered that my dream job is being a Nile river rafting guide or one of the people that kayaks with the rafts to rescue swimmers and paddles that get flung off the rafts. Our guides were some really awesome Ugandan, Tanzanian, American and Zimbabwean guys who were intense and really funny.
We rafted about 36 km on saturday which took all day, so needless to say we were exhausted on Sunday. Luckily, we just hung out on a deck overlooking the Nile and I watched some of my friends go bungee jumping over the Nile. I really wanted to do it but it was too much money for me to do both. I did climb to the top of the tower and checked out the amazing view.
As far as I know, I did not get any parasites from the water. And though I didn't see it with my own eyes, a crocodille was spotted really close to where we rafted (and fell out).

Friday, October 2, 2009

UCU friends

This picture goes with my last post...This is, from the left, Josiah Olal (Pres. of Kenya), Angela, Me and Eddie Oketcho (Pres. of Uganda)

We were at Eddie's birthday party. He had to sneak out of a student government meeting to be there, hence the suit and tie.

Ugandan Nightlife

One of my favorite things about being here is living with the UCU students in Honors College. There are four small dorms, two guy's and two girl's, with about 60 total students, of which 22 are American students. Some of the highlights are:

*"Going rolling": About once a week, around 10 pm, groups of students will "go rolling" which means we all walk off campus, across the street, to roadside stands where we buy rolexes. A rolex is made up of an omelette of eggs, cabbage and tomato wrapped in chapati which is like a tortilla but thicker and more delicious. It's a good snack and it costs about 50 cents and hanging out, talking, waiting for them to be cooked is a good way to kill about an hour.

*Honors parties: During our first week of classes we had an awesome dinner with HC students with a two hour dance party afterward. Then, last weekend we went to kingfisher resort, which is at the source of the Nile, on Lake Victoria, and spent a weekend just playing games, swimming in the pool and eating delicious food. We gave swimming lessons to some of our Ugandan friends, took a boat ride aound the Nile and had a dance competition.

*Family Members: At our first honors college dinner, I was adopted into a "family" of 2nd year students that they formed last year. My UCU family is Joel, the father, Erisa, Ambrose and Patrick, the brothers, and Florence, Ruth and Agrace, the sisters.

*Meeting future Presidents: UCU honors students, by being wealthy in their context and well-educated and in the highest class of those educated, are destined to be some of the leaders in various sectors of their countries. Some of them have really high ambitions, including President! Two of the guys that I am closest to, Josiah Olal and Eddie Oketcho have dreams of being Presidents of Kenya and Uganda, their respective nations. One day as my friend Angela and I were talking to them we began joking with them about all that comes with being President, especially paparazzi and official greetings and ceremonies. All of the sudden, Angela and I got roped into acting out the parts of their first ladies as they pretended to meet as Presidents. I got to be the First Lady of Uganda and Angela had to...I mean got the First Lady of Kenya. Two weeks later, it is a well-known joke around all of honors college and whenever we hang out with Eddie and Josiah, they insist on referring to us as their first ladies.

That's all I've got for now...thanks for reading!

-The future first lady of Uganda :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Ugandan Family

So...I tried to upload more photos and it wasn't working :(

I guess my words will just have to do on their own.

I just spent the last two weeks not on campus but living with a family in town. It was a wonderful experience and I am looking forward to visiting them again throughout the semester. My family is:

Papa Frederick Kisitu: The Reverend of a church in the slums of Kampala, he is a committed to serving in the poorest areas of a poor nation. Made me laugh by acting out the news stories for me, since they were in Luganda and not English. My personal favorite was when he showed me how police beat people and rip out the eyes of prisoners! LOVES hamburgers which I made for him :)

Mama Mirica Kisitu: A special ed teacher in Kampala. An extremely smart and opinionated woman. She was so happy when I made American food that she was dancing and singing throughout the house!

Julius: My oldest brother, he is a lawyer in Kampala. I never got to meet him :(

Tabitha: My older sister, an accountant with plans to open her own microlending company. She tried to set me up with Ugandan boys and is addicted to several Brazilian soap operas (horribly dubbed over in English, of course) which she made me watch every night.

Rachel: She is a nursing student in Kampala and I only met her for about an hour.

Irene: A 17 year old girl who loves to sing and watch me cook American food. She wants me to go to her prom with her before I leave and she laughs hysterically when I imitate our mom.

Phoebe: My 9 year old sister who spent the weekend at home from boarding school and went to a wedding with us. She makes funny faces and wants to be on Project Fame (the East African version of American Idol) someday.

Emmanuel: My favorite member of the family! He is Tabitha's 8 month old son and he is the most adorable boy. He has a mohawk because he only grows hair on the top of his head and he likes to eat cell phones.

On my last night at home they gave me a Ugandan name! It's Zawedde and it means "what has happened in the past will not happen again."

I really liked living with the Kisitus for the past two weeks but I am so happy to be back on campus with the other students. We are leaving tonight for Jinja where we are spending the weekend. We are staying at a resort that is at the source of the Nile so we will be boating and swimming in the Nile all weekend!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I am finally adding some pictures! These are all stolen from my good friend Peter Morse, who is an amazing photographer!!

This is me and a child at one of the villages we visited in Rwanda. His mother works in a women's development center that is made up of women who lost their husband or father in the genocide and are supporting themselves.

This is the rope swing at Bushara Island, where we spent two days on our way back from Rwanda. This is not me on the swing, but I did go on it!!

This is the amazing view from Bushara Island, which is right in the middle of Lake Bunyoni in southern Uganda. It was the most beautiful place I have ever been!!

This is me, Jessica and Rebecca in Rwanda. Jessica is one of my closest friends here and Rebecca is like our big sister! She is a USP intern so she is basically like our RA and we have had lots of good talks with her...she gives good advice!

This is Hope Village, an orphans village in Rwanda. There are about 40 orphans who live here, all teenagers, who lost their parents in the Genocide. They live in their own homes and their is only one parents, a social worker, in the whole village. Those teens and young adults that we met were so hopeful and happy, and it was a blessing to see what God has done in their lives.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Language Barrier!

So, most of the people that I interact with speak english, but everyone also speaks at least one tribal language from their region. The local language is Luganda and we are beginning to pick it up. Here are a few of the words that are differant in Uganda:

Mazungu- means "white person" and everywhere we walk we hear people yelling this on the streets, either trying to get our attention or talking about us.

Rolex- not a watch here. It is cabbage, tomato, and eggs cooked and wrapped in chapati (kind of like a tortilla)that students often buy as a late-night snack. They are made on the side of the road across from campus.

Pants- means underwear. We have learned not to say, "I want to go put some pants on" because that will lead Ugandans to believe that we are going commando! Instead, they say trousers.

I'm sure I will learn more later, especially when I start my internship next week!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Day One of Classes

We got back from Rwanda last night at 11pm after a fantastic week! Our 16 hour bus ride was four hours longer than it should have been because of a flat tire and getting stopped by the police :( But it gave me plenty of time to bond with other USPers who I am growing to love! God has blessed me with wonderful new friends and I feel like I have known some of them for years already!

We spent the whole week learning more about the Rwandan genocide and the effect that it had on the people of Rwanda. Did you know that one million people were murdered in one hundred days of violence? Did you know that the Hutu majority slaughtered their Tutsi neighbors, coworkers, and friends? Did you know that even children had their limbs hacked off and people were cut into pieces as they hid in a church? I didn't know any of that before we went to Rwanda but I learned it through memorial sites, survivor testimonies, and visiting mass graves and churches where piles of clothes are all that remains. I will never forget what I saw or the faces and words of the genocide orphans and victims that we met. I am so thankful for this learning opportunity but my heart now has a special place for the people of Rwanda.

I really wish that I could post pictures because Rwanda is incredibly beautiful! However, I am currently bumming internet time off of my generous friends with laptops so there will probably be no pictures for a long time...just imagine lots of hills and rice fields and banana trees and greenness!

I am loving it here...thanks for praying!


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Finally here!

I have just spend my first full day in Uganda!

We arrived at UCU late last night, got to our dorm rooms and went to sleep almost right away.

Today, we spent the day adjusting to UCU, sleeping off our jet lag, and having some orientation time. The best part of the day was hiking "Monkey Hill", where people go to camp out, pray without disturbing others and observe monkeys and amazing views. The sad part of the day was discovering that very few toilets here have toilet paper or a toilet seat. Of the two toilets in our dorm, one is a "sitter" and one is a "squatter" :( Oh well! The food has been good, lots of starches and cooked fruit, like mashed bananas.

I am really looking forward to Saturday when we will leave at five am for our fifteen hour bus ride to Rwanda. We are going to spend a week there just traveling and learning about genocide firsthand. I am anticipating a beautiful landscape and a disturbing educational experience.

Thank you for your love and prayers! I don't miss America but I do miss the people that I love! The solution to that problem is for you all to come here!!! :)


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Five, Four, Three, Two, One!

I am leaving for Uganda in five days!

Q. Are you excited?
A. Umm, I guess. definition of excited is: stirred emotionally; agitated. On second thought, maybe not. I know that I will be stirred emotionally but as of yet, I'm not. I'm also not agitated, though lately I have been sad thinking about what I will be missing while I am in Uganda: three weddings, one baby being born, my brother coming home on leave, and many friends at school that I haven't seen since May!

Q. Are you ready?
A. Not yet, but I will be. I have been slowly accumulating everything I will need and have gotten great deals on suitcases and shoes, yay! I still have a lot of little things to get and I still need to get my meningitis immunization :( But my list is manageable so I know I will be ready by Monday.

I know that I am ready spiritually, especially after five weeks at camp. I learned during those weeks that God, and only God, can equip me and prepare me for anything. I consider the work I did to have been good and successful and instead of being prideful because of what I did, I have been blessed to realize how powerful and great my God is. My favorite song at camp is Only You:

W: Only You M: Can shake the mountains
W: Only You M: Can calm the oceans
W: Only You M: Can hold the heavens.
All: In the palm of your hand.

M: Tell me who W: Can look inside me
M: Tell me who W: Can purify me
M: Tell me who W: Still loves me deeply
All: More than I understand...only You.

With a word You spoke the heavens into place
Scattered the stars and gave the earth it's frame.
What is man that You should touch him with Your grace?
And who am I, O God, that You should know my name?

I want this to be my prayer and my meditation for my entire trip. That I would be constantly reminded of who I am and who God is.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Three Months!

Hello Friends!

I am currently a little over three months away from traveling to Mukono, Uganda for four months! As I’ve been preparing to go I have had the opportunity to see pictures from former Uganda Studies Program student so I thought I would share them with you and try to answer some questions that I have been asked:

Question #1: What will you be doing?
I am going to be taking three classes at Uganda Chrisitian University; Faith and Action in the Ugandan Context, African Literature and Islam/African Tribal Religions. I will also spend two days a week doing my social work internship. I'm not sure where that will be yet but I am hoping it will be at a local orphanage. Besides school, I will be spending time in the local community and traveling around Uganda and probably to Rwanda.

Question #2: Where will you be living?
I will be living on campus at UCU with other American students. Here's some pictures of's so beautiful:

I will also be living in a local village for two weeks to spend time with a Christian family.

Question #3: What are the people like?

I don't know that much about this yet. I know that the people I meet will range from the very respected and educated professors and students at the university to tribal men like this:

Question #4: Is it like a desert??

Apparently, this is the deepest lake in the world:

Question #5: Will you bring me back a Ugandan child??

(Mrs. Green, Kiersten, Sarah Nidermayer!)

I am going to have to say that no, I will not transport children from Uganda to America for you, but...I will try to talk you in to going over yourself and adoptiong one!

So, thats most of what I know for now...but if you have more questions, ask me!

I am so excited to go and overwhelmed with what is coming so I would really appreciate all your prayers!
Love, Faith