Tuesday, December 27, 2011

More Ants...Again...

This afternoon Anna and I came into the house through the back kitchen door and immediately noticed ants on the dishes. Initially I though…oh man, I guess we shouldn’t have left any dirty dishes out. Then we noticed ants covering the sink, and the clean dishes, and the entire counter, and the walls, and the floors…lines of ants were pouring through the windows. We ran screaming out of the room realizing they were Safari Ants…the biting kind! We started brushing off our legs and feet to ensure they weren’t crawling on us. Then we went to work. We got out the Doom and started spraying it all over them. The Doom brought out the roaches…Anna, who is braver than me, stomped all the roaches to death while I squealed like a little girl. Josh and Anna then proceeded to pour kerosene on the lines of ants outside to deter them away from the house.  Oh how I hate Safari Ants…
Safari Ants on the rocks outside our kitchen door. This is just a teeny tiny pile from the colony :(

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas By Photos

RMS Christmas Party

Eating cookies and watching The Grinch
Caramel apples at the RMS Christmas Performance
Our neighbors who we sang Christmas Carols for
The team on Christmas Eve :)

The team on Christmas Day

The Night Before Christmas In Bundibugyo

Anna and I wrote this as a Christmas gift to the kiddos on our team :) 
Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

The Night Before Christmas In Bundibugyo
“Twas the night before Christmas when all through house,
 Every creature was stirring, especially a mouse.

The kitangi stockings were hung in the windows with care,
In the hopes that the rats would not chew a new tear.

Lilli, Patton, Aidan, Kym, and Lydia said good night,
They were tucked into bed and turned out the light.

Soon they were sleeping all snug in their beds,
While Mosquitos were buzzing right near their heads.

When out in the yard there occurred such a bark,
That Patton sat up and strained to see in the dark.

Lilli and Patton flew down their ladders in a flash,
Tore open the shutters and let out a gasp.

When what to their wondering eyes should appear,
But 4 dogs, 3 cows, and one lost little reindeer.

The little one Aidan joined in the fun,
And before they knew it they were all on the run.

More rapid than cheetahs the children they came,
And they whistled and shouted and called them by name.
“Now Bhotu, Now Bella, Now Rudolph and Chloe,
Here DMC, and Truffle, and Oreo and Jesse!"

So over to the Bougainvillea they ran in a race,
To get Kym and Lydia to join in the chase.

And all of a sudden they jerked to a halt,
Santa Claus appeared right on the spot.
Why he was in Bundi they all wanted to know,
He came for Rudolph to guide him through the snow.

He was dressed in kitangi from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with dirt and soot.
Matoke, beans, and maize he had in his sack,
He picked it up and threw it onto his back.

When he spotted the kids he asked for their help,
He knew Rudolph was with the dog he heard yelp.

So the kids ran down the moonlit path,
Guiding Santa to find Rudolph at last.

Then, Santa hitched Rudolph up to his sleigh,
And away he flew as the kids jumped out of the way.

And they heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight;
“Merry Christmas to all, And to all a good night!"

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Chimp Trek

Thanksgiving morning I love to curl up on the couch under a blanket to enjoy the parade, visit with friends and family, relish the delicious food throughout the day, play games, and enjoy the crisp fall weather. This year I was uncertain of how Thanksgiving would be…being away from home, family, and even the US on an American holiday.

This Thanksgiving was one of those “I can’t believe this is my life” days. The morning began with a drive to the Kibale National Forest to go on a Chimp Trek. We met up with our guide and walked a little ways down a dirt road until we could hear the chimpanzees calling to each other. At that point we left the path and travelled deep into the jungle following the chimp sounds. For a moment our guide instructed us to wait while he wandered off for about 5 minutes, taking his gun with him. Anna and I just looked at each other hoping he would return as we were in the middle of the jungle, not on a path at all, and without a gun. Thankfully he did return. As I was running through the African jungle, pushing branches and vines out of my face, jumping over lines of Safari Ants, trying not to trip over the dense vegetation or sink in the mud, while trying to keep up with my guide heading in the direction of screaming chimps I decided this was totally worth missing the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade for. We spotted our first chimp and were shortly surrounded by about 6 or 7 more all screaming and calling to each other. I looked at Anna and said, “Do you think this is ok?” Our guide assured us it was fine and continued to encourage us throughout the day to get closer. When I was less than 10 feet away from a chimp lounging on the jungle floor I couldn’t imagine any other place I would have rather been at that moment.

After spending about 4 hours trekking through the jungle following chimpanzees we headed back to Fort Portal, where we were staying for our Thanksgiving Holiday to have an American feast (cooked by a Dutch woman and Ugandan man). Our dinner was fabulous, complete with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and the whole 9 yards. I ate until I was stuffed! We finished off the evening by watching Elf.

While I miss my family and friends, especially on Thanksgiving, I am unbelievably blessed to be in Uganda and am thankful for SO many things. I love that God has called me to this beautiful country and specifically to Bundibugyo, I love teaching Lilli and Patton every day with Anna, my teammates are wonderful, and they felt like family as we all crowded together around the table for Thanksgiving, telling each other all of the things we are thankful for, playing games, laughing and enjoying each others’ company. The weather in Fort Portal is cool and feels like fall. I am thankful that we can have a mini Thanksgiving vacation and time to rest and be refreshed. I pray that my friends and family also had a wonderful Thanksgiving with much to be grateful for. I am also appreciative of the many people who support me both financially and in prayer and make it possible for me to live my life in Uganda. Thank You!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Week In Review

The week started out not so great. Sunday morning I walked into the bathroom and noticed dead ants on the windowsill. I looked up to see more dead ants along with many, many, many live ants crawling all over the wall. Then I looked down to see dead ants covering the counter. I decided to brush my teeth anyway. After I brushed my teeth I felt a tingling sensation in my mouth and realized there was poison all over my toothbrush…oops. I walked back into my bedroom to see…Safari Ants…pouring through my window! Then Jess called from the office where more ants were pouring in. Fearless Anna went out into the yard to survey the situation. There were ten lines of Safari Ants poring into our house. These are the biting, ants in your pants, causing you to have to strip down kind of ants! After poring kerosene all around the house and killing the ants in the house with Doom (poison), we went to church. After church I came home and went on a cleaning spree cleaning up the ants that were plastered to the walls, counters, and floor.

That was Sunday.

Monday is my half-day at RMS. After my morning teaching I have a half-day for prayer scheduled. I came home and went back to my room to find…ants and a huge cockroach on my floor mats. More doom, poison sprayed around the house, and more cleaning… sigh…

Tuesday was a great day at RMS. I love spending the entire day there. I have fun being with Lilli and Patton and teaching alongside Anna. Tuesday night I was able to babysit for Iye, the sweet two-year-old daughter of a couple of doctors who are here for the month working at the health center. She is such a smart, fun, cheerful little girl and it was a joy to spend the evening hanging out with her.

Wednesday started out with the team coming over for prayer and another great full day at RMS.

Thursday afternoon Lilli and I ended the day by reading under the Mango Tree in the yard at RMS. Our dairy cows live in the RMS yard and I loved having them wander around munching on the grass while we enjoyed the shade on a warm sunny afternoon.

Friday night I led our team on a study of Colossians 3:12-25. It was a great passage about finding peace in Christ and our role in relationships. Travis and Lilli had saved a Rhino Beetle for us to enjoy and we finished the evening by having Nigerian food made by the Adamarolas…spicy and delicious!
Rhino Beetle!
Aidan and Iye enjoying Nigerian food :)
Saturday has been the best day yet. Jessica, Anna, and I have been doing P90X in the mornings, so we got up early to work out. Then, Anna and I cleaned out and organized our front room, I got out the Christmas Tree (the one I brought with me from America J), and Anna and I went to the market and bought our weekly groceries and fabric to have all of our furniture recovered. I went on my first (and certainly not my last) motorcycle ride ever...I never dreamed my first time on a motorcycle would be down a dirt road dodging goats, chickens, people, rocks, and potholes while carrying our groceries and sofa cushions while wearing a skirt. We ended the afternoon by buying cokes and sitting along the side of the road just chatting and greeting people as they walked by. We went home and finished decorating the tree, made shish kabobs on the grill, I got to Skype with my sister Rebecca and BFF Joanne, and we watched a couple of episodes of The Office. It was a fabulous end to a week that started out in chaos. Through everything God reminds me that I am so not in control, which is something I struggle with. But through the lessons I also see God’s faithfulness and provision and the love He has for His people.
Delicious steak and vegetables on the grill with hash browns on the side.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Today has been quite a restful Saturday so far. Only a small handful of people have knocked on the door, all asking for Anna. Chrissy sent us Christmas CDs, so Anna and I downloaded them and have been enjoying listening to Christmas music while we write emails and catch up on our to-do lists. Around 11:30 I decided margherita pizza sounded good. Usually I would put a frozen CPK pizza in the microwave or oven and have lunch in just a few minutes, but it took a bit longer here. By 1:00 Anna and I were enjoying a delicious pizza complete with an Arnold Palmer :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dress-Up Part 2

Teaching the Johnson kids alongside Anna has been such a joy! They are really fun, creative, sweet kiddos, and I'm enjoying teaching kindergarten and second grade. Here are a few more photos from our dress-up week :)
Just another day at RMS
Pajama Day! My fav :)
Cutest Tiger ever :)
Tie-Dye/ Face-Painting Day
Wacky Tacky Day (This is the view in the front yard of RMS :))
We inherited these books from a family that is no longer in Bundi. They are a wonderful addition to the RMS library!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dress-Up Part 1

This week at Rwenzori Mission School we are having a Dress-Up Week! We kicked off the dress-up week last Friday at our team meeting.

Double Rainbow and two of the cutest super heroes!

Monday- Mary Poppins and her Penguin, Sacajawea, and a Luke Skywalker
Tuesday- Queen Esther and two of her servants
Carving pumpkins with Queen Esther and King Mordecai

Monday, October 24, 2011

Overnight Stay

Sometimes it seems like my life isn’t real. The last 24 hours felt that way. A Ugandan family that is friends with World Harvest agreed to host me as an overnight guest. On Saturday evening around 6 I went over to Aste and Buligi’s. Buligi is a pastor at a church out in Bundikakemba, he also milks our cows everyday, and brings us fresh milk twice a week. They have 7 children, 6 of them live at home and the 7th goes to Christ School. We all sat around the fire together and I watched as the girls made fish stew, rice, and cooked bananas. While dinner was cooking they asked me to teach them a song, so I taught them Lord I Lift Your Name On High, and they also taught me some Lubwisi songs. One of the girls, Anna, braided my hair, and then everyone decided that I looked like Shakira, which prompted us to sing This Time for Africa. After dinner we went inside their mud house and played a game by the light of a flashlight since they don’t have electricity. Once it was time for bed I went into a small room with all the girls. They gave me the nice mattress with the mosquito net and the three girls squeezed onto another small mattress.
Squeezed around the table to enjoy dinner.
Sunday morning we woke up and had fresh hot milk and bread for breakfast. We then proceeded to begin our hour-long trek to Bundikakemba for church, of course greeting everyone we passed along the way. As we walked down the narrow dirt path lined with cocoa and other tropical trees with the beautiful Rwenzori Mountains in the background I was overwhelmed with gratefulness for where I am and this family that treated me as a member of their family! Once we got to church I was informed that I would be part of the choir (those of you who have heard me sing are cracking up right now), would introduce myself to the congregation, and pray for all of the children during the service. It ended up being a wonderful experience. Everyone was so warm and welcoming and they seemed to appreciate my singing and dancing efforts. When I was called up to pray for the kids Buligi had all the children come to the front and they gathered all around me as I prayed over them. As we walked home Anna held my hand, and the other brothers and sisters held hands as well, which is very normal in Uganda.

Our beautiful walk to church.
Praying for the children.
Before I went to Aste and Buligi’s, I have to admit I was nervous about the experience. Not speaking the language, staying in a home that is so different from what I am used to, anticipating the long walk to Bundikakemba, as well as the long service all made me unsure of whether I could handle it. Not only did God sustain me, I was so humbled by how this family gave me the best of everything. They gave me the best food, the best bed, and the best seat in church. Their selflessness and warmth towards me was a wonderful reminder of how the love of Christ should look. I am thankful to have these new Ugandan friends and I’m looking forward to many visits with them in the future. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

From Bundibugyo

Friday I arrived in Bundibugyo and today is the first day we’ve had an internet connection. Actually, we got it working yesterday, but I was at a wedding and missed the hour-long window we have to get online. There have already been many firsts this week as I get to know my new home.

I went to my first Ugandan wedding (only the last 5 hours, as Anna and I missed the first 3 while we were at school. It was a joy to be able to attend, and the guests cheered and laughed when Anna and I danced our way through the gift giving line!)
I had my first Ugandan meal, (at the wedding) and I ate my beans, rice, cabbage, beef, and matoke without any utensils.
I attended my first Ugandan church service.
I made pasta from scratch (I’m not a cook, but I am learning, and have been blessed with roommates who are amazing cooks and are keeping me quite well fed.)
I have ventured into the market a couple times with my teammates (I have yet to venture there on my own though.)
I purchased 2 SIM cards for my cell phone and found one that has good reception in Bundi (email me if you would like my number.)

As I am typing this, I am sitting in my house waiting for a friend of Anna’s to come meet me. I’m hoping to hire her as my language helper. The Ugandans are warm friendly people and are so gracious to me as I can count on 2 hands the amount of Lubwisi words I speak. Just this morning as I was leaving school, some of our Ugandan neighbors gave me a Lubwisi lesson. I greeted them and responded to their greetings with my limited vocabulary…and then they kept talking, telling me how to respond. It was quite funny, but they were happy I was trying. I just have to laugh at myself, and the many, many, many things I don’t know how to do.

I’ve had to learn how to light the gas stove, but I still don’t know how to light the propane oven. I’ve learned to light the propane refrigerator that we use when the electricity is out (which has been more often than it’s been on.) When I arrived here I had this overwhelming feeling of not knowing how to do the most basic things. Incredibly though I feel so at peace here. Of course my team, and especially my roommates, have been a HUGE help. In a place where life is chaotic, stressful, hard, and the need is so great, there are many opportunities to freak out. Travis (my team leader) has granted me one freak out per day. Yesterday the huge millipede crawling across the room didn’t quite cause an all out freak out, just a, “What is THAT!?” and then my roommates proceeded to take care of the situation. I have killed many cockroaches and have grown fond of each and every lizard in my house that eat the many unwanted critters. I’ve received a handful of impali ant bites, and a fair share of noseeum and mosquito bites, and I’m very thankful for cortisone cream and my mosquito net. Today as I was walking a bright green snake darted across the path. I let out a small squeal, and just continued on my way. The feeling of peace I have, the ability to sleep well at night, and the lack of concern about the bugs and critters can only be attributed to God, and confirms to me that this is exactly where He wants me right now. Please pray that when things get chaotic I will be reminded of God’s faithfulness, care, and protection.

Every morning I am going with Anna to Rwenzori Mission School (RMS) to teach Lilli and Patton for the first hour of the day. For at least the first month my plan is to spend all day at RMS on Tuesday and Thursday and study Lubwisi and culture on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Eventually of course I’ll be at RMS full-time and we have 3 more students coming in December.

Thank you for praying for me. Please ask God to continue to give me a sense of peace and calm, and to trust in Him. As I become more immersed in life here I am sure there will be many stressors, but I am trusting that God is at work, He doesn’t need me to be here, and all my strength must come from Him. Please pray for me as I learn to speak Lubwisi., pray that I will make a good Ugandan friend, and pray for team unity and clear vision for our team and for what God wants us to do here in Bundibugyo.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

From Uganda!

It is so surreal to say this and actually be here, but I am in Uganda! Of course things didn't go as planned and I am here by myself. My team leaders, who were flying with me, had delayed and cancelled flights and were unable to meet me in London. I still spent the day touring London and was able to see all of the major sights. What a beautiful city with so much history! My flights went well and I arrived with ALL of my luggage this morning. My wonderful team had a driver pick me up at the airport and bring me to the guest house where we are scheduled to stay for a few days before driving to Bundibugyo. He brought me a cell phone and pulled up to a little shop on the way to the guesthouse where I went in to buy airtime.  I've spoken with all of my teammates in Uganda on the phone and have plans to meet with Pat tonight for dinner. Thank you for praying and please pray that the Johnsons (my team leaders) are able to arrive by tonight.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Packing and My Puppy

The last couple of days Ashley, Allison, Whitney, and I have been packing my life into suitcases. My goal was 3 bags, but I am ending up with 5! The 5th bag is my Christmas tree :) Thank goodness I had these girls to help. I had a meltdown today when things weren't working out weight wise. Without my friends I think I would have given up! After deciding on the 5th bag I feel a lot better :)
Before the packing began. Thankfully the girls were able to talk me into packing only about half of the clothes on the couch!
Making sure the bags are less than 50 pounds...with Addie's help of course :)
I just can't stand how much I'm gonna miss Addie. I HATE that I have to leave her :( I made this video of her to watch when I'm really missing her.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Family Time

This morning I was so blessed to be commissioned for the mission field at church. My BFF Allison is visiting from Orlando and she, my family, and I went to spend the day in Williamsburg. Of course we had to make a stop at Pierce's for some yummy BBQ!