Monday, December 30, 2013

Mombasa trip


Day 1- Sunday 22nd
Sunday night at 8:45pm we got on a bus that was going to take us nine hours from everything we knew to our hotel on the beach. It was the longest night ever. They handed out water bottle and requested that all windows were to remained closed- this was difficult for me because I love the cool air and I can't stand feeling stuffy especially while trying to sleep.

Day 2-Monday 23rd
We got to the office at 7:00am and were immediately greeted by ever taxi/tuk tuk/ and matattoo driver in the area asking us where we were going and how much we would pay to get there. You really have to stand up for yourself and tell them to give you space. So we went into the bus station to immediately book our return bus back to Nairobi. We went up to the counter and asked for five tickets in the VIP section of the bus and the lady at the counter told us that they didn't start booking for the 27th until tomorrow which would be Christmas Eve. I was Ike ah what do we do then? We aren't going to be near the bus I rations until Friday?! And she generously took our names and information down and said she would book the tickets for us. So I was relieved and we went back outside to find transportation. We ended up going for a taxi that would take us directly to our hotel. When we got to the beach it was only eight in the morning and we couldn't check in until two so we had a lot of time to kill. So we sat on the beach and it was HOT! All the local people come up to you one after another trying to sell us something or offering us different services and sitting down next to us asking us all about who we are and where we come from and if we know Obama or snoop dog. When we got into our hotel we got all situated a couple of my friends rand to Nakumatt the local mzungu store to get some groceries for our meals because we were trying to save some money.

Day 3- Tuesday the 24th
Christmas Eve we spent ALL day on the beach. It was incredible. We decided that this was the day to ride a camel. EVERYTHING that is for sale on the beach can be negotiated so when we first asked the vendor about how much the camel ride would cost they said 1,000 KSH (which is about $12) I talked it down to $2.50 for a short ride down the beach. We got same which tuff for lunch bread Nutella PB and jelly we sat out and burned pretty bad as well!!! We went exploring as well because we were looking for a deep place to go swimming. As far as one mile out there was only about an knee deep. So it was not really a place to go swimming...more floating then anything we walked super far out while our feet were squishing through the slimy seaweed. For dinner we made home made tortillas and breakfast burritos. Our little studio apt turned into a small restraint in no time. We ended it with watching ELF and eating cinnamon tortillas!

Day 4- Wednesday the 25th
CHRISTMAS DAY!!!! French toast for breakfast. I woke up and stared at the ceiling for a couple minutes I couldn't believe it was actually Christmas I wasn't sure what to expect but this was my first Christmas away from home so it was a totally new experience. We watched ad couple christmas movie and then at 1:00pm walked down to the beach and met up with captain Mia who had arranged for us a snorkeling trip. We walked out to the glass bottom boat and were boated out to the reef and saw all kinds of sea life that is living out there walked around the reef and saw all kinds of animals. After that they boated us over o where all the fish hang out. The cptn jumped in with a piece of bred and went under the glass bottom boat and put the bread in his mouth and let the fish eat off of it! Then we masked up and jumped in and swam around it was more amazing then I thought. It was the first time I had ever done anything like that. Went to a pizzeria for dinner right on the beach called Yuls and got some really good ice cream there too!!

Day 5- Thursday 26th
We decided to check out another beach so we did some research and decided to venture out and find Diani beach. 15km from where we staying. we jumped on sever matatoos, tuk tuks! and even a ferry boat to get there. It took about 2 1/2 hours to get there and sat on the beach for ten minutes and decided we didn't want it to start getting dark so we went back to our hotel.

Day 6- Friday 27th
Longest day of my life. Supposed to leave to Nairobi tonight!!! David and I were up at 6am to go on an all day dolphin trip.we went with a bus packed with tons of other visitors from all over the world. I got stuck sitting in the middle of the front where there was a radio receiver where my head was supposed to to it made the drive that much more exciting. Two hours to the shamani island. Our driver shared all kinds of interesting facts and history of the island. We got to our dhow and boated around this island and to our surprise there were no dolphins on this trip but they boated us out to this small marine park where there was a big reef and I was feeling sea sick and so I didn't jump in but just enjoyed the view. They took us to the land to get some lunch of fish and crabs and rice then walked through the local village where all the kids were selling shells of all sorts we made it back to our hotel at like 7:00 pm and it was time to get ready to get on the bus. We made a stop at a store so we could change out of our beach clothes. We got to the bus station and went in to pay for our tickets that we're reserved for us and they said oh we are sorry. It the busses are no longer running overnight because on the 23rd there was a bad accident where 14+ were injured and killed. Nobody contacted us and there was no way for us to know this. So we had to make a decision. We drove around with the nicest taxi driver named Remy and he helped us go to different bus stations and different hotels looking for any vacancy. When we finally got into a room it was after eleven and we were exhausted.

Day 7- Saturday 28th
We slept all day.

Day 8- Sunday 29th
Woke up and had the hotels complimentary breakfast and then came back to the room to watch a movie and then heading to the beach.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

VBS & Pictures

Well we are finishing up day three of a four-day Vacation Bible school with the sponsored kids. There are about 25 kids on the sponsorship program and they are cuties. Right away I noticed how well behaved the kids are. Vey respectful of adults and there are many leaders among them. They correct their peers whenever they see fit and the play together so nicely. On Monday we had a full work days amount of a planning meeting it was intense. We dissected each day down to even the smallest tasks. We all went around and brainstormed new ideas and as with most teams we came to some minor collisions of conflict which were quickly brainstormed and fixed. It was great. Each day we do a different skit and act it out with costumes and fun props. After the skit we break into small groups categorized by age and dissect the lessons from the bible story we learned about. The kids get here at nine and then leave at 3:00 so we have a packed day. This is the longest the kids have ever spent with the is so fun to be apart of this ministry. The staff and volunteers are so excited to get to know the kiddos personally and they want to encourage them and give them advice or just listen. There has been some language barrier but the kids help each other out. I have been spending most of my week with the younger kids like grade 1-3 (teaching bible lessons, doing crafts, and taking their picture)
We have to make all of our own meals here at this house....There is a shopping center here in Nairobi that is not too far from the house called the junction- you can take a nice long walk or board a matattoo (taxi) for just 10 Kenyan shillings which is close to 10 cents- not too bad. Anyway the junction has KFC. Subway, and even a frozen yogurt place as well as a supermarket called Nakumatt. We have been getting a couple meals worth and actually going grocery shopping it is kind of funny seeing the five of us operate at a grocery store. One might David made teriyaki chicken and fried rice, Tuesday we went out for pizza, Wednesday, Dylan made a chicken Alfredo, and then tonight was chapatis and pizza sauce.
** NEW***
So I have been given the amazing opportunity to work with two or more ministries and I have been given partial funding and I know that the Lord will provide exactly what I need. One of them is located near Kilimanjaro and is a sponsorship school and finds sponsors for the kids that attend school there. The other one is a in the Datooga tribe and are friends of my grandparents. Forrest and his wife Charity are in charge of the outreach ministry there. I am hoping to go there for a couple days in early January. I am so excited that I was not only able to go to one but now possibly three countries in beautiful Africa. God really is the great provider of all of our needs what a blessed reminder.
All I can say at this point that is am so glad I have no idea what tomorrow holds and that I know that. He has it all in his hands. My job is to glorify Him right here right now. I have been reading through all of the encouragement from that journal I had everyone at church write in. What a huge encouragement. I feel like I sometimes forget I have that and there is an positive word or scripture for almost anything I am struggling with. Thank you to those of you who got a chance to write in it. It is something I will treasure for the rest of my life. I am also so thankful for all of my new friends here in Africa. I know that this place will always have a part of me. I have learned so much already.
We are heading to our Christmas destination on sunday night. The beach Mombasa which is a very touristy place to go but we are so excited. The bus leaves late Sunday night and could be anywhere from 8-10 hours on a bus. We are taking it overnight with the intention and hope that we will sleep through the night...I will let you know how that goes. Dylan and Myleigh have a small candle that smells like a pine tree and thanks to teacher patti I have a small Christmas tree that will go in our hotel room to make it feel like Christmas. Des not feel like it is six days from now.
I talked to my family tonight. I miss them so much! My mom carried the laptop into the girls' room and let me wake them up I softly said good morning Viley I had never seen her jump up so fast. A go was so excited(as excited as you can be when you first wake up) to see me. Then they brought me upstairs to the kitchen and I sat on the counter and watched everybody come in and out making lunches and breakfast and preparing for a day of school. Vi quickly reminded me that it was night time here just in case I forgot- she was eating that oatmeal that has the Dino eggs in them when she crunched down on one she jokingly said art here bones in these!? Haha. I miss that little sense of humor. But I am SO SO happy I am here. I wouldn't trade it for the world :)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Gungor & Skittles

sometimes when you change your environment it gives you a new perspective on the past. Being here in Kenya has changed my attitude towards Uganda and everyone I know there. It was dark when my eyes opened Saturday morning. All of the lists I have been making were ready to be fulfilled. I clicked my phone on thinking that it was time to get up and the numbers 2:55am popped up. How had I not slept through the night!? I layed there for a while, listened to the rain & the sounds of music in the distance, and just stared at the top bunk. It all seemed surreal still that i even whispered it out loud, "I'm going to Kenya today" this trip came so quick not only does it mean Christmas is right around the corner but it also means that I am done with the majority in Uganda and everyday is going to be one day less. I definitely want to live each moment to the fullest and have no regrets. We left the guesthouse at 6:00am-it was rainy. I stared out the window while I was listening to the song Ocean (where feet may fail) and just looked at all of these buildings that I was looking at. All these people have their own stories and own individual stories. Who am I to tell God that I am inadequate-He placed me here. All I have to do is trust Him and do his will. Stop being afraid of what others will think and just serve. This is not about us and it is all about him!
We got to the airport and had no problems getting through customs and sat at our gate. David and the girls were all sitting in row 16 & 17, somehow I got all the way back at seat 31a so I got all situated and waited to see who I was going to sit with. As you all ow it's like airplane Russian roulette you never know who you are going to end up with. The doors closed and the seat next to me was empty so I had extra room it was great it was a short 45 minute flight so it seemed as if we started our decent as soon as we reached our height. They served chicken baguettes with a sweet bread and a cup of juice. As we began to get close to the ground the clouds opened in a spot so I could see everything below. Kenya is flat and very green. Pics could see animals running on some of the grassy plains and lots of vegetation from gardens. It was so fun seeing Africa from the sky. When we got to Uganda it was so late and we couldn't see anything.
Once we landed we had to fill out all of the paperwork and got up to the counter to get our visa and realized we didn't have any American currency because we have been in Uganda for three months and we are out. Thankfully David had money...I don't really even want to now what they would do if he hadn't been there. We were met by our EAC friend Dorothy who is the only Kenyan who lives here at the house. Driving back to the house took about an hour and so I noticed quite a few differences to Uganda right away. Like for example it's obvious there is more money here...lots of big businesses that I recognize from home and nice cars. Also. NO Boda boda, apparently it is a rare thing for people to ride bodas here (I knew that would make you happy mom). The house is smaller but very nice. Two stories the girls rooms and main bathroom are upstairs and downstairs there is a living room/ office and a small kitchen and small powder room. It sits in the middle of slum area but we have a guard that comes at night. Breakfast is wonderful- chai tea and real toast such a huge upgrade. Wow.
This morning we went to church we have to walk because we don't have a ministry van (like a real church and not a village church, it was so bizarre) and they had a Christmas special today everyone was dressed up in their Africa clothing and there was sawdust layed down in the aisles. They even had a sheep they they walked through during the service. Sang lots of familiar Christmas songs as well as some traditional praise songs. Sifa means praises and wamilala means forever. Those are my Kenyan words at day two. Dorothy had to go run errands so it is just us white people at home so we had to make our own lunch eggs, toast, rice yum! I am laying in my bunk eating skittle and listening to music. We are hoping to go find McDonalds later and go see more of Nairobi. Those of you that know me know I don't like mcds but I would anything that tastes like home at this point!

Ya that is Kenya so far.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thanksgiving, a wedding, Christmas parties, & school celebration

Thanksgiving and a wedding all in the same week

Thursday we had thanksgiving and it was one of the most amazing thanksgivings of my entire life. Let me back up to Wednesday night- the killing of the turkey. I had to sike myself up for it and prepare myself. It was super exciting and scary all at the same time. Obbo (our gate guard) was the one who agreed to do the home of killing it. He grabbed the neck and started ripping the feathers off of the neck and took a knife right to its neck and let it bleed out. One of the most interesting things I have seen since I have been here. David (a new MST who will be here for 6 months) and Obbo cleaned it up and got it spiced and all ready for our big day. Thursday was so exciting. I was up early because I new that the day was going to be jammed packed with fun and entertainment so I spent the morning giving thanks to god for everything he had done in my life. I also spent some extra time writing individual notes to everyone on staff and just thanking them for all of their hard work with EAC. I used the stickers that Tina Sherwood had sent me. Next was time to go shopping-- we first went to Quality and bought everything we needed from vegetables all the way to cake mix. Someone headed over to the local market to pick up potatoes. When we got back to the house it was time for business. Time to attempt at an American thanksgiving in Uganda & in all honesty we came pretty close. I was very proud. Scott got started on mashed and roasted potatoes and did a lot of hard work all of us Mzungus were in the kitchen even though others put a lot more effort into the cooking then I did. David made homemade stuffing and it was almost better than home in my opinion. Turkey cooked for four hours and was ready to eat. Scott also made lots of steamed veggies to go with our turkey. Jose (MST from Puerto Rico) purchased the turkey and made dessert which consisted of chocolate pudding, and vanilla cake with strawberries from a can. It was definitely a meal to remember. The turkey tasted just like home and we even had gravy for the mashers. We also played a little Christmas music while we cooked. I can't believe it is almost Christmas. We also have a new girl Amber from Iowa who works as a nanny at home and she and I are sharing a room and getting to know each other. So fun! She is only here for two weeks I feel like our short termers only get a glimpse at how amazing our time is. It is such a wonderful reminder to have that same energy and the same drive as when I first arrived in Africa. Anyway all that to say Amber was a huge help in the kitchen as well all of us worked hard to people and cut potatoes. And ended up have plenty of extra for all of our neighbors. I also ran down to the little shack store down the hill from our house that I buy my Mountain Dew from. I told her we needed 24 sodas and she was ecstatic. So excited for all of the business we give her. I often find myself returning empty bottles even if I am not going to make a purchase just so I can talk other and ask her about her day. She is a sweetheart. We turned the office into a dining room and set places for everyone we had to put a desk on the end of the table just so everyone could fit. We art lots of food and drank soda until it was all gone. The. We danced. Yes like physically moved and danced and worshipped The Lord. Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to bring that home with me. After a big meal to have dance party and burn some calories. It was so fun and continued on until late at night. It was so fun and we spent all evening laughing and just moving. My movement is not so great so I mostly watched.

Friday we went to Lukemero to do letter writing with one of the primary schools that our sponsor kids go to. We get paired up with a class and then have to walk them through the process of writing a Christmas card to their sponsor and tell them how everything is going and how their school term worked. I feel like I could write them on my own without the guide because I have helped revise and re write them over over again. We presented the kids with safi drinks and chapatis. Yum! We got back home and began to rest and get prepared for the long day on Saturday

Saturday we were up early for the wedding and let me tell you it was beyond amazing! One of the best weddings I have ever been to in my whole life. Consisted of an incredible ceremony (which were of course late to running on Africa time and all) the reception followed quite a few hours later in which we all attended. Felix asked if I would take some pics for his wedding and I of course agreed. But when I got there I felt guilty being a white person with a pink dress and wanted to avoid the appearance of making a scene (especially since I had a better camera than the real photographer) so I passed it along to my sweet date Victor and he was able to get some great shots and I got to enjoy the wedding to the fullest. At the reception the bride and groom had one of the most beautiful entrances ever they danced the whole way to their table. I sat at a table with Victor, Christine, and Amber. And we had a great time. Lots of food and drinks were served. It was a lot like a wedding at home. Speeches we're given by friends and family, bouquet was caught by a young boy, and the cake was cut!!! Here is something different when cake is being served you don't get a slice of cake they cut it up into a pile and you get to just take a chunk of cake off of the platter. AND the bride and groom had several extra cakes made one for his and her family and then they also had cakes made for their employers as well-thought that was kind of different. Then we danced and danced and danced. I seriously didn't know I could dance that much. I had so much fun and was so thankful for the company I was with. :)

Fast forward two weeks:

Saturday we had the sponsor party maybe I should back up just in the slightest this week has been jammed packed with all kinds of running around with Christine looking for stuff for the Sunday school christmas party while the rest of the team carried on with projects in the village. Any way I will get to that later...Saturday we had 300 kids here and they spent time dancing and singing christmas songs getting letters and gifts from sponsors they came from all over the place even our Zirobwe kids made it out here to Kampala. Even my sweet Dora was out here-it was a huge surprise to me and I was so excited so I ran to my room when I saw her and stuffed a bunch of candies and a few shirts and a pen so she could get a gift from her sponsor(ME) so fun. We had a great time are lots of food and soda and then sent them home the party lasted all day and we had an incredible outcome.

Now Sunday the Christmas part you have all been waiting for....was more than words could ever describe but I will do my best. I was up at 4:30am Sunday just because I was so so excited to give the kids food and gifts. I had assigned everyone roles and sent Francis to go rent a taxi because we had more people and needed space for everything. So we were able to buy 200 pairs of shoes for the children of Zirobwe. Along with. A huge cake, a Christmas tree, a blow up Santa, sodas, and food!! We ended up hosting it in the newly built cattle dashed on our property because we didn't want to distract the big church so we brought the generator out there and had 300+ people attend our party. And even was able to get our very own to DJ for us. Wilson gave a speech. I even won the dance competition- don't know how that one got rigged. Lol. It's was an incredible daft full of laughter and fun.

Tuesday was another crazy day I wanted to get a George (our first sponsored kid of EAC who is living with us and going to university) a Christmas present and asked him what he needed and he said he needs a backpack to get from Kampala to his home village so we took a taxi half way into town and had to Boda the other half. We went into the heart of downtown city which is like the armpit of Seattle area. And George and I were going to share a Boda and the driver said we couldn't so long story short we all got separated and I stood on a street corner for 45 min waiting to see George or David. Had three people grab my arm and tell me to go with them, had one guy get on his knees and beg me to talk to him and just constantly being talked to "mzungu"!!!! After 45 minutes of standing in a place I had no idea where I was or where my friends were I saw George and he was running towards me he felt so awful we ended up getting two great backpacks but man I don't ever want do this day again to top it off I thought my phone had been stolen at the supermarket Tuskys and so I spent a good hour there looking through footage in the back room and couldn't see anything...ended up being in my duffle bag under my bed. I ended the day just laughing. Such a good reminder that the things that are so important to us here on earth are going to go away one day. (:

Wednesday we were able to do a ceremony at the primary school next door-Ebenezer. We finally own the property and it officially belongs to Empower A Child. Everyone in the community was invited and we picked up sodas on the way and made a big meal for everyone. I must say that Zirobwe is my favorite place to be and I really am going to miss them. Not only was it a celebration event but it was also my last day in the village until January!!! Last day with my family. I wanted to be there to enjoy in the celebration. Of course immediately I was greeted by members of the family and enjoyed spending time with them. I tried to think of a gift that could be beneficial to their income and that would be helpful. Nina suggested I but them a goat. I have never bought or handled goats in my life is sounded like a fun challenge and I was so in! Now the thing you should know when anyone in Zirobwe has any questions about ANYTHING they always send Luka because he is always so willing and happy to run errands no matter how near or far they are. So I told uncle to keep it a secret from him because it was his gift. Anyway he ended up being the one to run the errand and find out proves for us. So when he went to show us where they were I asked mama Luka if she would walk with us and of course she said she would love to. As we walked she would point at different plants and trees and try her best to explain what it was in the little English she knows. She grabbed my hand at one point and we walked hand in hand. She didn't know why I was walking with them but all she knows is that she wants to teach me everything about the village. It is such a beautiful friendship that we have. When we got to the place it was far off from the road and there were about 10 goats in a feeding area-completely covered in the greenest jungle looking area. I immediately saw a momma and a baby goat and chose them and Christine told them there that it was their christmas gift. I have never seen anyone so thankful in my whole life. I feel so blessed to be able to give them something they will be able to continue to enjoy . My heart is so full and wish I could express this joy more. When we got back mama Luka leaned over to Christine and asked her if I like bananas (in Luganda) and I love them especially the little baby ones they are so sweet. She gave me a huge bowl of them. When it was time to go my heart began to break she leaned her forehead against mine and said, " I am missing you already my sahnanee" <3 then as I was heading to the car two of our older Sunday school boys and their moms came over to me and asked me to live with them and not go to Kenya I replied to them that I wasn't sure how my mom was going to take that and they quickly said we will love you like we are your mom! Everyone out there has adopted the fact that my new name is muwala Wamusumba (daughter of a pastor) I really feel at home there and I cannot wait to get back there in January. (: