Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My last day here

Day 19 in Uganda
This is my last day in Uganda. My heart is broken. I tried to make the best of my day. For lunch I had mashed potatoes and George wanted to show me how to cook an African meal. I made chapati while he cooked chicken soup. He started cleaning and before he was done, he had pulled out the refrigerator, stove, cleaned under the sink (which by the way has no running water). Betty and George pulled out all the plastic bins and washed them. They mopped the floor by hand (they don’t use mops or brooms here). Later we passed out clothes and sponsorship packages. It was total chaos. We passed out about 150 outfits. We targeted the kids that have never gotten anything first. We ran out of 5T and up on boys. We had so many shirts for girls but no bottoms. They need long shorts or skirts. Most of the shorts or skirts for girls were too short and the parents will not allow them to wear them.

I went for my last walk in the village. I saw a baby with a badly deformed foot, so I took a picture to see if we could get help for him. I went and visited with Norah, Joviah, and Elijah’s mom. I told Joviah I would come see her but she was gone to purchase something for her mom. So I went on down to Mastulah’s house. On the way I ran into Joviah. She gave what she had gotten for her mom to her brother Reagan and her little sister Norah (she has two sisters named Norah). She walked with me down to Mastulah’s. I let her use my camera to take some pictures. We saw one of her older brothers, Moses. He was walking home from school. He went down to Mastulah’s with us too. Mastulah and her siblings were across the road at their neighbors’ house. She came running and so did the rest. I hugged her and told her I was leaving, but I would be back. 

Then we headed back toward Joviah’s house. I saw Margaret (my sponsored child) and Kasim tearing a jackfruit up. I stopped and got their picture. They didn’t miss a lick. Joviah told me she was gonna cry when I left. I told her not to cry because I would too. So she said she was not going to cry. I stopped by her mom’s and told all the kids I loved them and would see them soon. Her mom was sitting out on the lawn with one of her friends and I got their picture. I told her bye and I love her and I will miss them terribly. Joviah had to fetch water so I carried her jerrycans back with me while she used my camera to take pictures. Norah followed. I was playing with her telling her to run. We saw a couple with a baby. The lady said she had never seen me before and waited to take a picture with me. I told her I was leaving and she said “Please stay.” I told her I had a family in the States but I would be back soon. I told her I loved it here and I didn’t want to leave myself. I got back home before it was dark. I took a bath.

I sat down and enjoyed the meal George prepared. I didn’t get to eat it earlier because of everything that was going on. I wanted to check on Norah because she was sick with Malaria yesterday. She was better and at school. I finished packing my things and got them put in the van. I had my last fresh pineapple. Then they brought me some tea, the last of my raw milk until I can come back which I hope is very soon. Christie and I went to my room and she worked on the sponsorships. Then the power went off. We are sweating like we are sitting in a sauna. The only light is the backlight of the computer. We got to laughing so hard we were snorting like pigs. I went and hugged the boys and told them I love them. I hugged the girls too. Betty, one of my new best friends, is here too. I know I didn’t get to say goodbye to a lot of people I wanted to including Moses, but I won’t be gone for long and next time I am bringing the family. Now Ritah is in the bed with me. Soon as she got in here she was asleep. I am gonna miss these kids. Now we are sitting here talking about praying to God to cut this power back on. If He smelled me right now he just might. lol


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Saying goodbye is the hardest thing to do

Day 18 in Uganda
This morning I spent a little time with Josiah. I know I haven’t got much longer here. We sat in my room and I sang and talked baby talk with him. I am gonna miss this cute kid. Later I laid in my room and listened to the kids laugh outside my window. My heart races thinking about my last few days in Uganda, so I tried to keep my mind off of it. We had no power and it was so hot, so Wilson opened my outside door for a little while and I took pictures of some of the kids as they walked by. I pray that God gives me peace so I can enjoy these last days. These people here are my life now. When I get back to the States, I will do nothing but think of them. Last time I was here, we were going nonstop. This time I put faces with the names. I built relationships with so many. I made best friends. What am I gonna do without them?
Later Norah, Godfrey, and I took a walk. Norah was sick with Malaria so I carried her jerrycan for her. I wanted to see the people again before I left. I am not sure what we will be doing tomorrow. I dread to even think. Norah told me her brother Elijah wanted to give me some milk. I stopped and took pictures of baby sheep that were in the road. They were so tiny. We got to Norah’s house and Elijah wanted to go walking with us before he milked the cow. Joviah was fixing her sister’s hair. She gave me a big hug and told me she loved me as always. I told her I was going to miss her so much. All the kids wanted their chance to take pictures with my camera. So I got some pictures of me and some of the kids. Godfrey loved taking pictures. Today we became very close. He wanted so badly to talk with me, but he doesn’t know good English. He asked if he could take some pictures throughout the trip. So we headed down the dirt road. 

I wanted to go visit Mastulah and say goodbye to her and her family just in case I didn’t see them before I left. So we walked toward her house. On the way we stopped at one of my sponsored children’s homes. Her name is Margaret. We saw one of Elijah’s brothers walking home from school and I got his picture. Then we stopped by Norah and Elijah’s aunt's home. I sat for a while and talked with all the kids. I looked in the yard and there was Margaret. She came and sat in my lap and we took a picture together. They had some baby chicks that were only a day old. When we got ready to go his aunt gave me some corn for popping. Then we went to Mastulah’s. She greeted me with a smile. I am so glad she smiles at me now. I waved at her father and he threw up both hands to wave. I said our goodbyes and I told them all Jesus loves them. Then we headed back to Elijah’s for milk. As we walked back down the road, Norah asked me to sing a song in English. So I sang songs by Janis Joplin as we headed back to Elijah’s and they tried to sing along. God is so amazing!

                                                                                    Elijah and his brother

When we got there Elijah’s mom was there. She is such a beautiful woman. Godfrey got a picture of us two together. She hugged my neck. Joviah and I went down to get one of the baby pigs. Last time I didn’t get a picture of one, so this time I was gonna get one. She grabbed one and it squealed. They are so small I could put one in my pocket. They were the cutest things I have ever seen. The one that had the messed up legs died. They told me it wasn't eating. I went back up and watched Elijah milk the cow. They gave me the milk and Godfrey, Brian and I were on our way back home. 

The moon is beautiful tonight. I got some pictures of some people pumping water by the moon light. Last night I got an awesome picture of Ali looking at the moon. Later I cooked some mac and cheese. I called Wilson in the kitchen to show him how it was done. This morning Christie joked with him about the half packet I had found in the floor. His reply was “One half is better than zero.” These kids crack me up. I cooked two boxes. When it was time to mix everything together, Christie stressed the two packs to Wilson. He laughed the whole time. 

Later Christie and I went into the boys room. They were doing their homework by the light of a kerosene lamp. This is the first time I have been in their room since I have been here. I sat and listened as they told us things that were going on. Their broken English is hard to understand. I have gotten really close to all the kids. I have given my time to them. They have blessed me beyond words. I am so thankful God has led me here. I pray I can return very soon.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Maybe I can cook like a Ugandan

Day 16 in Uganda
Momma Nabakalu taught me how to make g-nut sauce. We mixed carrots, tomatoes, onions, salt, garlic and g-nut paste (ground g-nuts). I wasn’t too thrilled with the results and I asked George if that is the way it is supposed to taste. He said it was not the best and he would have Wilson teach me. He said Wilson made is so good you would want to lick your fingers. It was a day of rest. After I finished helping cook, I took a nap and so did George. When I got up Christie and I decided to take Godfrey, Brian, and Ali to get a hair cut. Wilson and Bida came along. 

After we arrived in Bombo town and dropped the boys off, Christie and I had to head back home for a small emergency. We bounced up the road and laughed the whole way. After we were done at home, we headed back to get the boys. When we got back, the living room was filled with kids watching movies. Christie and I went in my room and got on the computer until the power went off. We sat up until about 2 am and then we went to bed. As I said my prayers, I prayed for rain. The land is so dry. The trees are wilting and the grass is turning brown. Dirt covers everything. When you drive a cloud of dust follows. The crops are suffering and without them people won’t have food.

Day 17 in Uganda
Today is my husband Matt’s birthday. This is the first birthday I have spent away from him in 6 years. I know he misses me terribly and I miss him. But he knows my heart and supports me in whatever I do. I am so glad God put us together and together we are growing in our faith. He completes me. We have a beautiful daughter, Willow. He loves my son, Xavier, as though he was his own and I love his daughter, Attie, the same. I have the most wonderful in-laws anyone could ask for. I thank God everyday for blessing me with such a wonderful family. 
For lunch, Wilson taught me how to make g-nut sauce. We only put eggplant and g-nut paste in this time. I sat outside by the charcoal stove. Some of Christie and George’s kids came in for lunch. I tried sugarcane for the first time. Viola sat with a crossword puzzle. I helped her and Betty find the words and explained what they meant. Momma Nabakalu, Betty, and Wilson taught me some more Luganda. Christie was sick so she took some Benadryl and she was out. Needless to say we didn’t get to eat lunch together. I helped watch Josiah while she rested. When she got up we sat in my room until we both got a cold bath. I started reading Rebel with a Cause by Franklin Graham a few days ago. It is a wonderful story about his life. Reminds me a lot of how I use to want to run as far away from God as I could, but that was all for His Glory. I wouldn’t change a thing that happened in my life, because I don’t believe I would be where I am now. The power has been on very little today. I started packing the totes I will be bringing back to the States with me. I hate to even think about leaving. I am so torn between two worlds. On one hand I know my family misses me, but the other is that I am leaving my family here. Please keep me in your prayers as I prepare to leave what feels like home. 

Tonight Wilson came in my room and asked Christie and me if we wanted some Mac and Cheese. Usually that is their way of saying "You're not gonna eat what we are cooking." So we both agreed.  We usually cook our own. So we went in the kitchen about 20 minutes later to prepare it, but I smelled it already. We went back to my room. A few minutes later Wilson walked in with two bowls of mac and cheese. I took a bite and looked at Christie and waited for her to take a bite. She said "What is this?" We went to the kitchen to add some salt, but it didn't help. It tasted like plain noodles. We added milk and butter, still didn't help. Christie asked Wilson if he put all the packets of cheese in. He had cooked 2 boxes. He went outside and brought in a whole packet of cheese. No wonder it tasted like noodles. She asked him why he didn't put in the other packet. He said "I felt it would be too much." We added a half a packet per bowl. It was much better. Later I took my bowl in the kitchen and found what I thought was an empty packet on the floor to throw in the trash. It was half full. He had only put a half a packet for 2 boxes of mac and cheese. I love these kids!


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Just to make them smile

Day 15 in Uganda

Today I learned to make Chapati. George had a friend to come visit. She told me all the steps to make it. Wilson was supposed to show me, but all he did was laugh at me. After we got the dough ready, I rolled it out to make it flat. Wilson told me to stack them with a little flour between each one. He got the charcoal ready for me and we started cooking. After the first two I got the hang of it. After I got about 5 done, the uncooked ones stuck together. George came outside and said I was doing it all wrong because one that I had gotten loose was way out of shape. But he didn’t know I had already cooked 5 good ones. When he saw them he was so proud. We rolled the ones that were stuck together back up into balls and started over. By then our fire had cooled down. The wind was blowing so hard. Dirt was blowing everywhere. When we got to the last one it took about 20 minutes to cook because the fire was about out. I was very pleased with the outcome. I will be cooking more for sure.

Kids were watching outside the door as we got necklaces ready to take pictures of them. I started dancing like a hillbilly to the music you could here from the choir. They laughed. I acted silly just to get a smile from them. Later Christie and I sat on the porch and took the rest of the pictures of the merchandise. Kids came from all around. I made funny faces and they made faces back at me. I saw Charles and started making silly faces. It wasn’t long before his frown turned upside down. I tried my best to get a good picture of Mustafa, but Christie says he always acts silly. He reminded me of the monkey on the Lion King. All the kids put on their best silly faces and I got a picture of them and would show them. They would laugh. Hope (Gideon’s sister) brought me some yams and roasted g-nuts. I went inside to take the g-nuts out of the pan and put them in a bag so I could give their pan back. I got to the kitchen and Gideon was out back and gave me some bananas. Those kids love me and I love and adore them. I gave them all a hug and told them I loved them. Hope always tells me she loves me before I ever get it out of my mouth.

Elijah and Nora wanted to give me some more milk and it just so happened our milk from the day before had spoiled. I followed them home. I carried a jerry can for Joviah. I watched Elijah milk his cow again. It wasn’t dark this time. I saw he also had another cow that was pregnant and some pigs. They also have some very small piglets. The younger kids went down with me so I could get a closer look. They were a little bigger than my hand. One of the kids picked one up for me to hold. It squealed and the momma pig grunted back. I had never held a baby pig before. I was so tickled. One of the piglet’s front legs was messed up. Instead of bending backward they bent forward. I was so sad for the little pig. We let them go back to nursing from their mom. I think this was the highlight of my day. Every time I see a little pig I want to hold it. Yeah I know I am weird. When Elijah was done, I hugged all of the kids. An older man came out and he wanted a hug too. I love this family. They are so awesome. I will never forget the kindness they share. Never.


Help put shoes on His children

Day 13 in Uganda
We got out the shoes they make here in the village and started putting laces in them. As soon as they are ready they will be put on the feet of some of the kids in the village. The only problem is a pair has not been sponsored for every kid here. There aren’t even enough to put on all the kids that go to school. If you would like to sponsor a pair of shoes go to  This is a great way for the people here in the village to sustain themselves, but without funding it is a lost cause.

Last night was my first time driving here. I drove Betty home and one of Viola and Ritah’s sister. I drove very slowly since the dirt roads here are awful. Birds that sit and wait until you get right up on them would fly as soon as the headlights blinded them. I was a little nervous since the seat is on the opposite side than I am used too. The van is a manual but the shifter is still the same direction as when you are in the States. So it is really backwards. Thank God we made it back in one piece. Ha Ha. Didn’t do much more. I was dealing with some stuff back home that had me a little down, but I just have to keep my eyes on Him. Give Him the glory. He always makes a bad situation that we don’t understand into something glorious. So Christie and I stayed in my room laughing all day.

Day 14 in Uganda
Today Christie, George and I got up early to head into town. We stopped at a store to get gas and water. Good thing we did. Christie took a picture as we sat in the parking lot of the beautiful view from where we were parked. When we got where we were going first, the sun was blazing down. We purchased merchandise to sale to raise funds for the clinic and many other needs. I got my kids some surprises. They are gonna be so happy. It was so hot. I think we got a little dehydrated. My body became weak. I was exhausted. When I got home I was still shaking. Christie and I got sick because we drank too much too fast. We went to the Embassy to see what was needed for the choir to travel to the USA. We had lunch Good African Coffee. We met with one of the new teachers for George and Christie’s school, Harvest Christian Academy.  I don’t think he had ever been in a place like that. He was looking around all wide eyed. We just don’t realize the things we take for granted. Afterwards we went to the grocery store to get some things that I wanted to take back, like spices and tea. On the long journey back we stopped to get some water. I was so hot. My body was drained. 
When I got home my back was sunburned. We weren’t even in the sun that long. After arriving home we took pictures of all the merchandise while the kids all watched. You would have thought we were giving out candy. Anytime they catch us outside they surround us. Then the little girl I saw the other day (the one I talked about in my last blog post) came up riding with her daddy on a motorcycle. She was on the front holding on to the handle bars. Christie got all the pictures and they look fantastic. Go shopping. Share the links. All proceeds go to God’s work here in the village. We are going to move it to the Ekubo Ministries Facebook page. Then she went to bed when the power went off. I prayed for it to come back on. Just enough so I could talk to my husband before I went to bed. And you know what? God answered my prayer. So glad I got to chat with my sweet husband before I dosed off. God is so good to me. He gave me a wonderful family at home and gave me one here. I am truly one blessed woman. Amina.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Made with love

Day 13 in Uganda
This morning Moses went back to Munta Royal College. He woke me to tell me goodbye. Betty was here and George asked me to show her how to make french toast. She was a great student. Then when we finished, we sat down and she taught me some more Luganda. Later I sat back out on the porch and watched the kids scurry around like ants during their first school break. Today 218 children were in school. That was good for the first week. At lunch I helped pass out food again. I washed dishes when they ran out of bowls. All the kids were yelling “Stormy!” when they past through the lunch line. As I was washing bowls, the kids would say thank you. What a blessing. The sun wore me out. When I flung excess water from the bowls it dried almost instantly on the dirt. When I finished the staff told me well done and thanked me for my help. I enjoyed every minute I got to spend with these people. I love it here.

I came home and had some lunch. I took a little nap and read some Chicken Soup for the Christian Family. We had some secondary school kids come to be profiled. A grandmother came that had been kicked out of her home after being there for over 15 years. She was supporting her grandchildren and they now have no where to go. The laws here are so corrupt.  Many parents with their children showed up today hoping to be profiled, but there is no room for new students.
Later I went outside and helped a lady sort beans. Before long the porch was covered in children willing to help. Elijah, Jjemba, Brian, and Yafese all sat around to help. Some older kids came up and wanted me to get pictures of them working. Then I went on a walk. Jjemba and Elijah walked me to Jjaja Mastula. On the way we saw a little baby boy sitting naked on the dirt. He was so cute. And for once he didn’t cry. All the smaller kids here cry when a Mzungu gets close to him/her. 

I saw some pumpkins growing and a little girl carrying slop to a pig. We finally reached Jjaja Mastula’s home. She had finished a basket and I purchased it from her. Mastula brought it out on her head. This girl brightens my world. She hardly ever smiles but when she does, it is beautiful. Jjaja Mastula was so happy. She offered me some food, but I told her she needed it. Mastula’s taata(daddy) wanted me to get a picture of him eating. So I took his picture. These people love to have their picture taken. I told them all Sulabalugi(goodnight) and we headed to the trading center. Jjemba walked with the basket on his head for a little while. He looked so serious. These guys are hilarious. I took a picture of a tiny boy on top of a huge bicycle. I saw one of the most beautiful little girl I have ever laid my eyes on. Her mouth was wide open the whole time she looked at me. She looked as though she had just seen a ghost and by the color of my skin she was half right. When we got to the trading center, It was alive with people. There were bodas coming from every direction. We weren’t there long before we turned of the main road and headed back home. I got to see my other sponsored child, Margaret Nagujja, on the way home. This was the first time I have seen her since I have been here this time. She was wearing the dress I gave her the last time I was here in June. She smiled big as she took a picture with her mom.

We stopped by Elijah’s house. He wanted me to see him milk his cow. Joviah had asked me to come by there days before, so now was my chance. Joviah was outside washing her clothes. It was already dark. She was so happy to see me. She said “Njagala Kafuba”(I want a hug) and held her arms out wide. I ran to her. She told me she loved me and held on tight. This girl speaks English well. She is very smart. Elijah got a bucket ready. Momma Elijah, Joviah, Elijah, Nora and his other brothers and sisters all went out back with me to watch him milk the cow. He first brought the cow’s calf around to start sucking. Then he pulled it away and started milking. This is the first time I had ever seen anybody milk a cow. He wanted me to get a picture. The cow moved it’s leg then peed. Everyone broke into laughter. Nora told them I was her best friend. She said I was 100, 100% her best friend. How funny because I had said the same thing about her. I love this family. They gave me milk and walked me home. This place is getting harder and harder to leave. My heart will always be here. We said our goodbyes and I got inside to get a bath. My feet were filthy again. The power was off, so I got a cold bath. Not to bad when you have been in the hot all day. I got to my room and the covers were pulled back like I was in a hotel. My basket was sitting there with my book and camera in it. I feel so much love here. I can’t even think about the fact that I am leaving next week. This time here was different than the last. I invested in the lives of the people. I visited them. I helped them. I loved them. Although we will be oceans away, they will always be in my heart. I then sat down and enjoyed tea with my fresh milk in it and reflected on the days events. My heart is full.