Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Then today I booked a trip with a tuk-tuk driver to take me around the city. Abuu showed me all the wonderful sites - Old Town, Fort Jesus, the train station, fancy resorts, Market, and much more. We also got a tour of a Hindu temple. And we ended up having some very good religious discussions. In Mombasa the religions are 20% Hindu, 20% Christian, and 60% Muslim. Abuu later invited me to come have lunch with his wife and son. I ended up spending the afternoon with this young, beautiful muslim family. Now I am awaiting my bus back to Chuka.
You are probably wondering why I labelled this post "A little too pushy", well, I think that Mombasa men are too forward with their words and when they are drunk it's even worse. It doesn't matter what time of the day it is or who is around, men will say "Hey, you girl are my type. I like fat women." Or they would say, "Where are you walking so fast. Stay and we could become very good friends." Even the staff at my small hotel were incredibly open. They said, "Hey, how can a girl like you go to her room alone at night?... Don't you know that it's very hot in Mombasa and that makes people's blood boil, and you need some ways to release your energies." Are you kidding me? I ended up having a long talk with these two kitchen staff - because the power was out and I was eating my supper at the outdoor cafeteria. They were absolutely stunned to here that there is a 33 year old virgin in the world. I just can't imagine how many foreigners come to Mombasa and fall for those lines though.
And then there are those who decide to become your tour guide the minute you show up at a place. Even when the signs are very clear or you already know your way through a place, they stick to you and then ask you for 50 - 100 shillings at the end. I hate paying it, but sometimes they will grab your vehicle or make a huge scene. It really frustrates me because it wasn't money planned in my budget. Even Abuu was upset at the end of the day that I didn't give him a tip, even though I know I paid him very well.
But there are saving graces everywhere. This morning I was researching cheap hotels in Nairobi before I fly back home on the 7th of January. A man at the next computer saw me with my map out and asked what I was looking for. He ended up being a tour representative and within five minutes he had booked me a cheap hotel in the right location. And he said, "I don't want any commission, please"... if only I would go on to the hotel's website and say that he helped me book the room. It's promotion for him. I was peaceful about having the next leg of my journey organized. Eight more days folks and I'll be home.
Monday, December 28, 2009
While walking a matatu pulled over and a muslim woman in full garb was trying to climb out of the vehicle. Her black dress caught on the seat inside the van and she came tumbling out. I was there to help pick up her bag and see if she was okay. She shook it off and walked away.
I found the Bus Booking Office in downtown Mombasa to buy my return ticket for Wednesday and then flagged down another tuk-tuk. And I scored much better on the price. I still forget that everything needs to be discussed. (Even my hotel room I got for less than half price :) ) As we were coming back there were some people selling plums and they looked so good. One man was trying to sell them to me, but I was having a hard time finding my money. We had been stopped at an intersection, but when the light turned green, the vendor jumped on to the side of the tuk-tuk. As we rounded the corner, the tuk-tuk driver started to pull over to let the guy off, but the vendor was a little anxious and jumped from a moving vehicle. But his fruit got caught in the backseat bars, and he ended up being thrown to the ground, under the wheel. The driver had to back up so the guy could stand up. He too just shook it off like it was all in a days work, but the driver thought the young guy was crazy.
But when I got back to the resort and washed the plums, it was totally worth it.
This afternoon I went out for another long walk and finally found a SCUBA dive shop. I signed up for two dives tomorrow afternoon. After some practice time in the pool, since it has been three years since I got my license. Woo Hoo!! I am so pumped!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Now I am in Mombasa for three full days. I hope to Scuba Dive tomorrow. Yeah! I wish that I could find my USB so I could upload pics, but alas... you are put on hold until I can find a computer that will read my camera's memory card.
I am doing great, but looking forward to coming home in less than two weeks.
Monday, December 21, 2009
There I found a village town home, filled with wonderful people, ready to welcome me for Christmas. A family with 6 children. 4 of them are in their 20's and then two boys, 9 and 10. They have all become family to me. No electricity. Dirt floors. Bucket baths. Lots of milk tea. Great fellowship. And so much more. It's the experience of a lifetime and I am looking forward to spending Christmas here. On the day we arrived we attended a wedding. On Sunday, Zima and I hiked through a steep valley with her two youngest brothers to attend a traditional presbyterian church service.
Today papa took us to the Shamba... his garden, in a remote place. We hopped in a matatu (or van/taxi) and took it 14 km out of town to explore his crops and have a picnic lunch. On the way back, while waiting for a taxi, a distant relative arrived with a car and decided to take 7 of us in to town. We got pulled over by the police on the way back, but thankfully papa talked to them and we continued on our journey. The driver was so happy to have a respected teacher in the car with him!
Now we are shopping in the market and I am getting some leather safari boots made! Ha HA!! I have finally made it to East Africa!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I sang with many of the kids and young people. Praise and worship went on for almost an hour before a more formal program began.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
After lunch the conversation flowed to all that I have been a part of this year and the pastors said, "Karen, you need to come back. And we want you to come to Abim with us to preach the gospel and plant a church." They had no idea that I had even been considering Abim. It is a very small town about two and a half hours north of Soroti, on the edge of Karamoja region. Their suggestion definitely got my heart racing. I continue to pray about what my future looks like. But in the meantime, I enjoyed a luncheon with my casual friends. The wife even added a bag of mangos to the basket of my bike before I left at 3:40pm.
And then tonight, I was surprised to hear that another friend took the bus from a neighbouring city just so that she could come and say good-bye. She just left with her husband, as they came by for a short evening visit. I should not have been surprised to see the tears in her eyes as they left on a motorcycle, but I was. I rarely see this dear friend and she didn't want me to leave Uganda yet. This week could prove to be interesting as I say good-bye to many people. One week from today I board a bus to Kenya.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
What little kid doesn't try on shoes that are too big for him?
And to finish off the afternoon, we all went out for a bottle of soda.
I get a bird's view of all the bargain shopping that goes on down below.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Also, today, flocks and flocks and flocks of people have been walking to Soroti. Hot Radio, one of the local radio stations, has flown in all the top music artists from around Uganda and there is a huge concert in the sports grounds. I have never seen so many people in Soroti. The streets are flooded. But as I write this entry it is currently pouring rain and it doesn't look like it will let up. (This is the craziest dry season I have ever heard about!) Well, many churches are also gathering to pray for their young people because they believe that if their kids are at the all day concert they are going to hell. Some are worried that if Christ returns right now, their children will be left behind. I was glad to have a moment with a small group from church to explain that their children are not going to hell for going to a concert. Even if Christ returns, he still loves them at that moment. This concert is not a salvation issue. But the parents are truly rejoicing now that the rain is pouring. For the evil has been temporarily stopped.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Yesturday afternoon, after visiting the roadside bicycle repair shop, to put a bolt on my back fender to keep it in place, I biked the 25 minutes out to Pamba. I met at the house of my Sunday school helpers. To my delight Moses and Carol (who has been away at school the past few months) were both there and ready to plan. We sat inside the simple brick house and they brought out their notebook. The first page was titled "Life is Very Hard in Africa" and then they had made a list of the hard things:
- getting water from the well
- farming / digging
- traditional clothing and torn clothing
- preparing meals
- making money
- going to the market
Well, yes, I agreed life could be hard in Africa sometimes, but I wasn't sure how this could be a Sunday school lesson. I challenged them a little and said, "How do we see God in all of this?"
We came up with a plan to add music and prayer and encouragement through each scene of the drama. But they also changed their minds about acting. They want to make it a video or photo exhibit presentation. I am doing my best to work with them on this funny presentation... it certainly wasn't my idea, but that's probably a good thing. I really want to encourage the young people in their gifts and dreams and so I will make this work. We are going to plan a few photo opportunities between now and the 13th of December. I'll let you know how it turns out.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
I tell you, the tears were in my eyes! LOVE!
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For Americans to donate with a cheque:
Attn: Receipting Department
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Thank you so much for making a difference in Soroti, Uganda.
On Monday they started coming over at 11 am with arm loads of stuff. I don't know where the girls got the budget from, but there were chickens, potatoes, flour, cabbage, a charcoal stove, trays, a crate of soda, and more.
Some of the girls worked very hard in the kitchen. Below you see a shot of dough that will turn in to Chapatis, or Indian flatbread.
The groom had rented a bus to take some of his guests from Soroti to the festivities.
By 8 pm we were all sharing a meal together and then we loaded back on to the bus and headed back to Soroti. Now there is only one more cultural celebration that everyone tells me I need to attend, and that is a wedding. Cheers.
Friday, November 20, 2009
His parents run a hostel for 68 village girls who need boarding while they attend high school in Soroti. And this is where my 14 Princesses reside. I was invited for a slumber party.
It was a rainy night, so we hung around inside the room, talking, singing, and laughing. They were so excited to see my teddy bear in their room and wanted to hear more of "Bones'" stories of adventure. In this particular room, which they called "I don't care" there were 4 triple-decker bunks. Occasionally girls from the other rooms, "Queens" or "Warriars", etc would drop by to chat.
I also joined the whole group in watching a Nigerian film on a tv where the colour is mainly green. It was a good story, for once, about a blind boy who prayed for his family, and after 2o years his father finally came to know the Lord. Really inspiring actually.
I climbed in to bed around 11pm. Thankfully they gave me the bottom bunk. This was the view when I looked up. :) At 8 am we started to greet the day, in song. Slowly we took bucket baths and ate cassava chips and posho porridge for breakfast. And again, this time an orange was sitting in front of me on the floor. The father of the hostel was so proud to have a mzungu stay with the girls. I finally crossed the dirt road back to my house at 10:30 am. A very fun night!