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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bicycle Repair Shop

This afternoon I decided my bicycle really needed to be looked at. The tire was flat yet again, the pedals were squeaking, and the basket was loose. I walked my "Hero" (yep, that's the name written on the bike) up the street to a roadside repair shop. The shop is made up of a few thin branches tied together to form a simple structure for shade... a few ripped and well worn out burlap sacks also cover the frame. I sat on a simple board with two other man as I watched this young guy tune up my bike. Apparently I needed new valves, and that is why my tires were leaking air so much. He tighted loose screws, hammered out of place parts, and checked the inner tubes to see if there was a puncture. He did this by blowing up the tube and then rotating it in a bucket (made out of an old cooking oil jug) of water to see if any bubbles occured. No bubbles, just new valves! After a half an hour, and a quick test ride, he was finished. I asked him how much it cost and he said 1800 UGS. Just to give you an idea 2200 Ugandan Shillings = $1. That is for both parts and labour. And a job well done! I wish that I had my camera with me, but that may have to be for another day.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Telling it like it is

Many of the men in Uganda love to wear rubber boots.
Here are three more rules for your daily living. This sign was right at the entrance of the villages I traveled to.

The Guest House

I live next door to Tim and Angie, but my house is called the International Teams Guest house. That means I have the opportunity to host any short-termer's or visitors who come to visit us in Soroti, Uganda. My house has four bedrooms and will soon have 12 beds. 4 bunk beds and 2 single beds have been ordered from a local carpenter. I am absolutely excited to have a table (with 12 chairs) now because I can sit up to write, email, or use my laptop. Before I was either sitting on a sofa or my bed.

Next week I am heading down country for a two day spiritual retreat with my team and then we hope to get the rest of the furniture for the house... dressers, a bathroom unit, baking dishes, coffee and end tables, etc. Should be fun.

The first team arrives in June and I can't wait to share my home. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's testimony time

Of course it is always good to praise God for the little things:

1. I went for a long walk yesturday with my friend Sarah and we saw some gorgeous creation and quaint village homes.

2. Apparently my Bible had fallen out of my bike basket, about a km up the road from my house, unbeknownst to me. Well, I went biking past that same corner about 5 hours later and a little boy was waiting there. He said, "Muzungu - you're Bible". I was absolutely grateful and shocked.

3. I finally have a table and chairs. (Mind you it is a table for twelve - I feel like I am ready for a medieval feast.)

4. I received power after two days. We had some huge thunder storms this weekend which took away my electricity.

5. I taught my first Sunday school class. I had 52 kids between 3 and 12 years old and 2 awesome translaters who worked alongside of me. We did the story of Saul's conversion on the road to Damascas. Pastor Francis is so delighted that I am going to mentor some young people on how to teach.

6. Christ is King!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Here are the newest children in my life... those of my team-mates. MK's (Missionary Kids) have a special place on the field... they bring joy to us and break down barriers of getting to know others. Sitting around the stone fire (L-R) are: Moses, Avalien, Grace, and Lydia. I tutor Lydia four mornings a week... and Avalien really wants me to help her with her shapes and numbers. :)

This is the newest little man. Baby Luka. He's adorable, but a spitter, so I always hold him carefully. :)

Delivering Goats

Here are a few pics of my trip to the villages. 17 goats were delivered in total to 167 CAAF children. (Children Affected by Armed Forces) Hopefully the goats will reproduce soon and that the leaders will be honest and trustworthy in handing out the newborn goats, so that soon every child will have one.
I held the tiny little baby for just a few minutes. The product of teenage pregnancy. When we got back in the truck, my companions said, "It's too bad we couldn't give the mother some money to buy clothes for the baby". I felt horrible. I didn't even know that the child was naked under the towel.

Here are some of the young men who were probably a part of the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army). I am praying for smiles and true joy in their hearts and peace in their lives.

Here is a quick glimpse of how the crowds waited for us to arrive... sitting under trees or water tanks. I got to sit in a plastic chair.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pets in the yard

I have been meaning to send my nephew Jacob some pictures of the monkeys in my yard... and here they are:
This is Bobo - a Savannah monkey and I don't trust him at all. He spends the majority of his time running in circles - all that his chain will allow him, and jumping over his water bucket.

Miss Chief loves to play with her food tray and is a little more trustworthy. I let her take food from my hands, but she doesn't have enough length on her chain to get to me.

I thought you might enjoy the recipe I found in a Ugandan cookbook today:

Roasted White Ants
250 g white ants (sun dried)
1 teaspoon of salt
Sort the white ants to remove stones, soil, and any other rubbish.
Dip them in hot water and scoop them out allowing grit to remain at the bottom by using a perforated spoon and getting a few at a time.
Put in a pan and add the salt. Dry fry/pan roast, turning all the time.
Cook for 10-15 minutes till dry but do not allow them to get over dry or burn.
Remove from heat and spread on a tray. Serve warm

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Flying White Ants

On Sunday night a small group of children flocked over to our gate because there was a bright light on a lamp post and flying white ants could be found. The children spent almost an hour that night collecting these flying creatures. When the ants get caught, they can't fly anymore; their wings fall off and they stay in the bucket.
Again, at 7:30am on Monday morning the children were pounding at the gate because they wanted to come in and collect more white ants. Throughout the night many bugs flew to the light, but within the time of 8 or so hours they no longer fly. These big ants are now crawling on the ground, wingless.

As I walked through the neighbourhood I noticed that many people were collecting, saving, and drying these white ants - so I knew they must be something special.

At five o'clock that night, when I went to visit my friends Prince James and Norah, I was presented with my own bowl of flying white ants. First they are cooked over the fire quickly, just to kill them. Then they are laid out in the sun for a couple of hours to dry. Then they are fried with just salt in their own juices.

And of course - down the hatch they go. Actually, really yummy. By the end of the night I probably had 8 or 9 handfuls from various homes. :)
Can I bring some home for anyone?

Monday, April 13, 2009

No Bones

On Saturday, my team-mate Sarah and I decided to host Easter dinner for a few precious friends in the area. At 11AM we hopped on to our squeaky, but new, bikes and road 15 minutes into the heart of Soroti town. There we wound our way through the market, buying fresh fruit and veggies, but also bigger purchases, like a tea kettle, pots, and plastic containers. Our hands and bikes were fully loaded on the way home. Items balanced carefully in our baskets and by using old tire rubber ropes, we tied the big items to the carrier behind our bottoms. We fit right in with the locals.... well, in terms of carrying things on our bikes anyways. All the while carrying fresh eggs in our hands so they wouldn't break in the baskets. :)

We spent the whole afternoon cooking and cutting up things. I cooked a whole chicken, but proceeded to pull the meat off of the bones to make a stew. When I served it that night, all the Ugandans asked where the bones were. They had no idea that chicken could be eaten with out bones and they feel like they haven't eaten unless they have crunched on a few pieces of cartilage. :) They also enjoyed the devilled eggs, but where in the world did that phrase come from? They could not believe that we cooked all of the main dishes ourselves... no house helper or cook. Although we did have a friend spend the afternoon with us... she made very hard, but yummy, donuts.

Everyone was super grateful for the Easter meal!! A great time to remember that Christ the Lord has risen and God is good!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Daily Joys

Every day I am grateful for just one more thing:
1. I have a house!
2. That I have health... as many of the babies I have been holding lately, at the orphanage, or sickly or HIV positive.
3. To explore the village market - amongst cows, dried cassava, second hand clothing, and baskets.
4. I was able to chat with my women's Bible study group over skype yesturday. A real joy to hear from home.

And now I also have things to look forward to:
1. A breakfast with some new friends from Holland.
2. The opportunity to cook Easter Dinner for some cherished people in the community.
3. A Sunday school program to set up.
4. And an eternal home with my precious Saviour - JESUS! (Although I am not planning on that one for a long time yet :) )

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Monitor Lizard

Apparently there are more animals in my yard than I remember signing up for. :) A monitor lizard is living under a cement block and termites are eating up my tub surround. When I went to take my trusty bike out the rickety gate this afternoon I found a chicken foot laying by the door. Always something entertaining.

Today we had a team meeting and discussed team policies and procedures. Just to let you all know... I am obeying the 7:30pm curfew. I am getting a lot of sleep out here :) and I am also reading some good books and have just started Wordoku.

The kids in my neighbourhood are cute, even with their ripped shirts and runny noses. Some request rides on the back of my bike or race beside me as I tour down the dirt path. "Yoga" I say to shout out "hello" to all of the people I am beginning to recognize.

For fun yesturday we got together with some Baptist missionaries. Hoky smokes do they live it up out here. Huge houses... they sent crates of stuff over here to fill them and make them look like home. At their house we watched the state championship game between NC and MI State. A runaway game for NC. At least I got to eat Oreo Cheesecake during the game. God bless the Baptists. :)

Monday, April 6, 2009


At 8:45 am I hopped on my trusty Ugandan bike and headed over to Josh and Mandy Shaarda's to tutor their precious daughter, Lydia. She is just starting her grade one studies and somehow, once again, the Lord has led me to tutor MK's. Missionary Kids. We had a wonderful morning of learning math, phonics, science and more. This afternoon I was watching my team-mate Sarah create art out of gourds. Super cool. Bi bi di bi deep... that's all folks

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Dancing in d House of d Lord

This morning I believe I found the church that I could become a great part of. Pastor Francis preached a message that was true to Palm Sunday in the Scriptures and the church was packed with people who have a true joy to dance before the Lord. The Pastor has asked me to put together a childrens program and I think I just might do it. There are at least 50 children who would love to have some extra attention. I recently inherited some puppets, craft supplies, and Sunday school materials, so I think I have a little head start. The goal will be to train local church members how to teach their own youth. An exciting project. It is kind of fun to see many Ugandans dancing and using their whole bodies to sing songs. Arms swing as we know we are walking side by side. Hands raised as we praise Jesus. Feet stomping as we knock the devil down. Songs that I always pictured as camp songs are real for the people here.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Taking flight

It is hard to imagine how hard it is to get my life and ministry off of the ground here. I think I am grounded for a while and the engine is in need of tuning... I'm doing fine, it's just hard to feel motivated to go out and meet people when all they do is stare at you or laugh mockingly. There is so much to do that I just don't know where to begin. I wish that I could fly around as freely as the plastic bags that float in the wind.

I am also searching for plane tickets to India right now. I hope to go for a week in June to attend a friend's wedding. Fly Emirates looks like the airline of choice... I'm just trying to find cheaper tickets.

Today I have written a few letters home, grilled some pineapple, and moved my bed to another room - I have four to choose from. Hopefully the cows won't wake me up anymore. This afternoon I hope to set up Monday's curriculum to begin tutoring Lydia and also catch up with some of the girls at a hostel across from my house... some of them might like to get together for a Bible study.

I hope to have a table by the end of the weekend... it's hard to do all of my journalling, writing, and eating on my bed. :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sunday School

This morning it was still raining when I woke up. So much for traveling out to the country market with the Sliedrechts. I was wondering what kind of ministry I could do today when a man came to the gate. Pastor Francis is a church planter in Soroti and he was chatting with me about his church. He says there are about 50 children at his church, but no children's program. After much discussion, I decided that I am going to check out his church on Sunday morning, meet some of the children and see if the Lord would like me to lead the little ones. After talking with Tim and Angie, this was seen as a great opportunity. Maybe I could train many churches on how to put together a children's program. Always expect the unexpected.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Rainy Season

I decided to head to town right at the time when a very dark cloud covered the sky. I had to bike hard against the wind and try to keep my skirt down as I battled time to get to the internet cafe. :) People yell out "Muzungu!" as they cheerfully watch a white person bike by. I made it fifteen minutes down the road, just in time to hop inside before the skies opened. Every evening for the past five days it has rained and it is really refreshing. (By the way, my knee is healing just fine since the first accident.)

Today I biked to the Bible College to pray with the students who have just completed another semester of learning. Then I talked to two wonderful ladies, named Helen and Prossy... they will bring me soon to a village where goats have been given as a gift to the community. I look forward to getting out of Soroti.

I read once in a East Africa travel book that Soroti is Grotti and it's kind of the truth. Garbage abounds and many buildings are have completed. It's rather sad. There are many neglected children that fill the streets and yards. Those that do go to school wear very colourful uniforms - bright blue, or green and orange. Chickens, goats, guinea fowl, about 10 variety of lizards, cows, sheep, can all be seen roaming just outside my gate.

Two and a half weeks have flown by already, but it is good to call Soroti home.