Wednesday, September 25, 2013

From Uganda to Kenya?

So this week has flown by faster than I can even type-AHHH!!! Monday we went to the Sanyu babies home- Myleigh and I sorted through the beans and picked out all the yucky ones. There were probably 2,000 small little bugs called bean weaver that were crawling all over the place it was totally gross. We also had a planning meeting at 3:00 to talk about what the week was going to look like. Tuesday we went to brainstorm primary and there were a lot more kids this week than there were last week. Most of the kids don't come to school until the third or fourth week of school because they have no idea what day it is so they just have to guess or wait till someone says that school has started we also went to a second primary school called Good Choice also nicknamed "bad choice" there are like 300 children there who all have separate classes and as soon as the bell rang all of the children run to the meeting area. You have to literally yell to get anything said. Wednesday I got to lead praise and worship for the team devotion and Patrick played the guitar we played: 10,000 reasons, Holy is The Lord, and a couple other songs. we went to Katelmwa hospital and rehab center and ran the program with a small number of children and did the silent skit about how to enter heaven. We also sanded chairs in the workshop for some time there was sand dust everywhere. We also went to a scripture union at Clive College where we go and chat with the kids and they take time out of their lunch to sing praise and worship and listen to a message and pray with them. Sandra (one of EAC team builders) lead a devotion. Some of the kids point and laugh as they don't know how to approach us. Others are so thankful that we are there supporting them. Lots of kids stand outside of the room e gather in and talk, joke, laugh. These students know what it is to be mocked and put down for their faith-it was such a huge encouragement to me that they still meet week after week to come together and thank The Lord for the things they actually do have. I wish I could take them all home with me. Jeremiah 29:11 has been repeating in my head over and over again- reminding me that God has a perfect plan for my life, a plan that gives me an amazing hope for the future. Gives me such a relief to know that he is in control of it all. The food is still really tough for me lots of rice and beans, cooked cabbage, and LOTS of starch. But I really am getting used to it. (: I haven't been eating breakfast because all that is offered is white bread, butter, and sugar. The carbs are killer. Packages cost about $80 to send so if you are interested in helping with cost please please pool together and send packages together so it is not one person many hands make light work. (: (I also LOVE snail mail.

ALSO we have an opportunity to go to Kenya for a month- it costs $400 round trip to get there. If up you feel led at all to donate please inform my parents, and they can enter money into my account so I can purchase that ticket. We will be living with the EAC home in Nairobi, Kenya. YES the same town that was recently targeted by the Somalian rebels. It is completely safe. We have all registered with the American Embassy with the STEP safe traveler program and have updates being sent to us regularly. Kampala, Uganda is next on the Somalian hit list so we are taking extra caution and being very aware of our surrounding. We are staying away from populated areas and keeping our eyes open.

Thank you for all your love and support. Each day is a gift from God and is more and more incredible every day.

Uganda Shan

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

So I know it has been a while since I blogged. It is so hard to sit down and find time to talk about the days as they fly right past. Yesterday we went to the zoo and met a lady named Beatris on the way over and exchanged info and went on our way it was so fun to talk to her. She invited us to her house for lunch and I was a bit unsure because I had just met her. Later on our way back into town we ran into her-a city of over a three million people and we saw her AGAIN four hours later it was incredible. Last night we got ice cream and it tasted the same-yum!!!! We also got to check out Lake Victoria, it was the first body of water I had seen since I got here and it was so beautiful.

Today went back to the village and all the kids remembered us. They are so sweet and I love going out there. It is such a long journey to get there but totally worth the drive. Below are a few pics from both days. We worked on a video on a tour of the house check it out
And now we are getting ready for dinner we are making mini pizzas and hanging out. (:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wednesday 17, September

So today was another great day jammed packed with fun memories and sharing our lives and encouraging one another. We had morning Devos and talked about judgment and how Christ will judge us and how not to cause others to stumble we spent most of the morning in Romans 14. Then we headed out to our project at Katelmwa which is a hospital for children. First we ran the program where we sing songs share a bible story and then ask questions about the story and then do a craft. I got to tell the story today and I told the story of Noah's Ark. After that we picked up garbage(there was so much!!) around the facility for about an hour an a half and it was HOT! (: when we got home we hung out for a little bit and then practiced volley ball. We have a sports outreach that we do with the local high school and we have to look like we have some sort of skill....which we really don't. We had potatoes with onions, and bell pepper, and it was the best meal we have had so far!!!! Yum. After dinner I got to Skype with dad, Sue, Nathan, and Landon. Super fun to talk to my family back in Washington. I thought it would make me miss home more but I am actually just more excited to be here now and keep going.

Also just as an FYI we did quite a bit more yesterday after I blogged we decided to go to the craft market where they have any souvenir you could ever want and a lot like a farmers market. We took Boda bodas (a motorcycle taxi) it took 7,000 shillings each way which made it about $3 US dollars each way not too bad! But Hannah road one all by herself and she got separated from us and had no idea how to get back to the house and the Boda driver didn't know where he was going and then they ran out of gas and had to push it to the gas station. Long story short she was able to find us and had a much easier ride back to Ntinda and tusks which is where we live. (: ! We also went to a little coffee shop and got smoothies I got a pineapple strawberry smoothie and downed it in probably 7.9 seconds. (:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Today. Sep 17 12:05 PM
Yesterday was great woke up at 7:00am and went to the Sanyu babies home 25 minutes from the compound in the town area. Francis drove like a crazy man it was during rush hour so it was crazier than normal. I went with David and Omar to the babies home while the rest of the MST's slept in because of the rough week last week . When we got there we walked into a room full of about 3-6 months old they were all intrigued by my white skin some of them smiled and some cried. We got right to work we "laid" all the beds and tied up all of the individual mosquito nets. It was envy thing that you imagine an orphanage to be: dark, smelly, kids running around, cement floors and wall, old ladies. Yet the children have this amazing joy on their faces when they see you I am not quite sure how to explain it. It's all they have and they are so content. Omar and I put like 7 big baskets full of washed clothes on the lines around the facility to let them hang dry no such thing as a dryer here! That took quite some time when we finished we sorted through a huge pile of clean and dry clothes and out them in piles. Once done there I went into a small room where three children probably under the age of 9 mos. had been left alone. Two of the babies were sleeping and the other was unresponsive and could not move her legs or arms when a passed her a toy ball. At this point we were waiting for Francis to bring the van back but he had been delayed so we had to take another mode of transport- a taxi. Taxis here are very different is a big van that is hot and smelly and people are jumping in and out of. Between walking a mile and taking two separate taxis we made it home. I got my first marriage PROPOSAL yesterday. Haha it is a first of many. We also had a planning meeting yesterday to talk about last week and what this week is going to look like. Oh also, Wilson the man who started EAC is visiting for the next month and a half and was telling us all about the history of the land which the church is built in the village. He was saying that the spot our church building is is where there was much witchcraft and child sacrifice on that land and none of the people from the village would dare enter it.

Today we went to one of our projects called new Brainstorm a school for children who cannot afford the materials for public school as well as very low income families. The children there are incredibly smart and very loving. The minute we get off the bus they rush to you to hold your hand and to ask "how are you?" And "what is your name?" Instantly little Grace held my hand and did not let it go the whole time we were there two older girl who are in P.7 also known as seventh grade were really interested in talking to me asked me all about my family and had me write down all their names. The oldest of the two girls quickly said "you are Shannen right?" I was stunned I hadn't told anyone my name yet how did she know, then she told me how she had come to the compound on Saturday and saw me act out the Jonah play and she hoped that we could be friends. All the children write a letter for an MST someone that stands out to them and ry connect with and I got two with the sweetest little note that said to our Auntie Shannen. We sang our praise and worship and our bible story and then played games with the children. I also met twin boys their picture is below super sweet I told them all about Violet and Jasmine and they were so excited that I knew two people from America that look alike.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

First visit to the village

Well today has been another amazing day. It was the first day I got to go to the village and see/meet everybody at the church. It is a long drive maybe an hour an a half to get there and there is lots of traffic, long bumpy roads,and LOTS of speed bumps. On the way there we picked up Uncle and George and Sandra road with us as well. When we got to the village it was HOT, a lot hotter then it is in the city. You instantly can feel the African sun beating against your little moozoongoo (white person) head. The children all heard the van coming and made their way to the church they quickly grab onto your hands and want to follow you around wherever you go. The adults all have a service in a pig pavilion while the EAC team leads Sunday school for the kiddos. We start with praise and worship and then the children's choir sings, we act out bible stories, and have introductions. All the children call us Auntie- it is the sweetest thing ever. I had several little girls follow me around and ask me many questions and tried to understand one another. The first picture with the two little girls their names are Winnie and Olivia and they sat with me all day as we went thought Sunday school and then sat in big church. At the end of service Hannah and I were going to be introduced to the adult congregation and we had to talk about ourselves a bit. We went and sat in the chairs on the stage and waited for the special music to finish it was super hot in the pavilion and we all brought water so I decided to have a drink if my water so I flipped the lid and it started water falling out of my bottle all over the stage and all over me. Haha all I could do was laugh. (: EAC just had another volunteer named Shannon so the community was quick to except me and when uncle interpreted that I was going to be there for six months they seemed overjoyed and very welcoming. They were lots of fire ants I the village and I walked through a huge pile of them ah! I can't wait to go back tomorrow we are headed to the babies home, I am so excited. Here are a few photos of today's adventure. (:

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Recap of the last few days

Arrival (Thursday):
We arrived here in Uganda around 11:00pm on Thursday night- the second we walked off of the plane we were hit with the distinct smell of the African red dirt. We had no problems with getting our luggage and made our way out to the pick up. We were met by Francis and Nina, two of EAC workers. Nina is amazing she is silly and is very sarcastic...I love it! We drove a long way to get to the compound which is located in Kampala. We arrived at 1:00am and got all settled in the excitement had just built-we just drove an hour in the city we would be staying in for 6 months and we had no idea what it looked like. We stayed up late keeping in touch with family and friends.

Day 1 (Friday):
We had someone come in our room around 8:00am and try to wake us but both Hannah and I were zonked. Than later that same person who's name is actually Sarah (which we learned later) and she came in and told us lunch was ready...I thought to myself LUNCH!?!?!? How can this be we just woke up. I did not sleep that long. Our first meal were buttered noodles, avocados, and patatos. It was very good!! After lunch we had a quick tour of the compound and shown what was expected of us. We got right to work- today (Saturday) we had a bunch of kids here so we were prepping for their arrival we put together bags with soap, toothbrushes&toothpaste, school books, and pens. It took from noon to five and it was HOT!! Hannah and I were the only volunteers at the compound everyone else was working in the village. They arrived home shortly after we finished so the current volunteers are:

Hannah and I- (you already know that)
Dylan and Myliegh- sisters from Cali that we met during orientation
Alia- an incredible young girl (19) who has been here for almost 5 months and is so helpful!!
Ben- I think he is from Chicago

Once they returned we had dinner and it was Dylan's 22nd birthday so we splurged and went out for ice cream. I got a chocolate milkshake- it was so good.

Today (Saturday):
Has been another incredible day we had all of the kiddos from Kampala come over for the day. We were told to be up at sharply 8:00am because we were going to start right away. Here is where the Ugandan culture comes in we did not start until 10am. We had yummy French toast for breakfast. We each had our own assignments. I helped Alia tell the story of Jonah and the whale I was Jonah we did and improv skit with all of the kiddos and Francis interpreted for us. Then I helped serve lunch to everyone- I scooped the rice for all of the kiddos. Once lunch was finished we were passing out all the bags that Hannah and I had fixed up yesterday. It was CrAzY to say the least! We are now at 3:37pm and we are getting rested and going to have orientation with Nina. (:

P.s. the water here even when boiled is not very tasty and I am so thankful for the American snacks.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day 1

I am sure you have all been sitting on the edge of your seats just waiting and anticipating the first blog since the time that we left. Let me just give you a little insight on what today looked like. I honestly woke up today just like it was another normal day and then came to realize oh wait, I'm leaving the country today for 6 months!!! I got up said good morning to some of my family and helped get the kiddos on the bus for school and began to think about packing (the part I have been oh so dreading) took a few hours to pack everything and re weigh it often. Trying to balance the bags on the bathroom scale I was able to assume I was under the weight limit of 50lbs. I was able to take two (50lb) bags and a BIG carry on. We loaded up the family car and headed out to dinner. We met up with Al and Sue, aunt Jane and uncle D.Richard, and Travis, Elisabeth, and the rest of my immediate family. We had dinner at the rainforest cafe and I had a bacon cheeseburger yum (oh how I love them). We met Hannah and her crew at the airport and had a great time of prayer with 20+ people. Then was the goodbyes i had to say my farewells to my best friends that was harder than i had imagined. We were able to get a couple vouchers for my parents to come to the gate with Violet and Jasmine to send us off right at the gate. We got on the plane and I was nervous about my carry on fitting in the overhead bin...had a couple people who eyed it. We were able to smash it into the bin almost flawlessly. We sat in front of two young men who ....hmm... We're really passionate about their profession. Snored, talked loudly, messed with garbage, listened to loud music, etc. it was quite the experience. It is now 8:36am Washington DC time and we are here until 5:45pm where it will take us to Brussels that is an 8 1/2 hour flight. I am filled with overwhelming joy and I am so excited to get to Africa. God is so good. Love the crazy business.