Saturday, March 31

How to dry laundry in Uganda

Most Ugandans hand wash their laundry. Washing machines are expensive, electricity is expensive, and lots of homes don't even have power. We are very fortunate to be able to have a washing machine. But because of the cost of buying and running a dryer (it takes a lot of electricity) we opted out of having one. This saves us money but does require a little extra time and care to dry our clothes. There are several clotheslines behind our house but Sarah and I weren't too keen on all our laundry drying outside (especially the unmentionables). So we came up with some creative ways to dry our laundry inside.

Sheets hanging in the bathroom, tops on hangers in the doorway, everything else on a laundry rack.



Then I got smart and moved the laundry rack in front of the fan near the window. They dry much faster this way. And we added several removable clotheslines from the closet doors to the window.


We rigged up some clothesline from the window to the shower curtain hook in the wall. And we also push the shower curtain back and use that for clothes as well. 


Now we can do several loads in one day and have enough room to dry it all. Now we just have to figure out how to get the clothes less stiff. Any suggestions?

Friday, March 30

Settlers

Last night we broke out the board games and taught Kyle & Sarah how to play Settlers of Catan. It was wonderful to have a game night again after so long. Sure makes us miss our Settlers buddies! 

(That's y'all, Adam & Sarah, and Greg & Malissa! And Sarah, you will be happy to know that Sarah Fox has assumed your role in the game as Trey's enemy.)



Thursday, March 29

Floorplan

To help you visualize our new place I made a floorplan for ya. Here in Uganda the first floor is called the Ground Floor, and the next floor up is the First Floor. So here are the Ground and First floors of our new home. 

You enter the house at the front via the patio. Here we are next to the front door. That's the balcony off our bedroom, directly on top. And our car parked in front of the garage (because the garage is too small for the Prado). 

The Ground Floor is communal space (duh) and the upstairs is divided between us and the Foxes. We live in the master suite and the Foxes have the whole right side.



(Malissa, how's my floorplan? I'm no interior designer so grade easy!)

Wednesday, March 28

Our New Room: Before, During and After

Here's a walk through of our new room in our new home. 
(Photos of the rest of the house coming soon)

From the hallway into our bedroom:


BEDROOM

BEFORE

The door on the left heads to the bathroom

That window overlooks the balcony


DURING PHASE I

(Trey found a book he was looking for)

The window and balcony door
Check out the makeshift curtains!
(Trey searching for more books)

Balcony and wall next to closets
(the search continues...)

Door to hall (left) and door to bathroom (right)



DURING PHASE II

Most of our things are put away and real curtains are up in front of the balcony.


The new desk beneath the window.
The desk is very large, though the picture doesn't show it.


The bedroom is still a work in progress. We are putting things away and setting everything up. We'll definitely post more pictures when all is finished and clean and lovely. 


DRESSING ROOM AND BATHROOM

BEFORE


Yep, that's the shower on the wall to the right of the toilet. No separation, no lip to keep the water out, no curtain. It felt like a locker room.



AFTER


We ran a clothesline from the window to the opposite wall to divide the space and added some bathmats. We're basically professional home renovators now.



Stay tuned for more fun house stuff. We should be getting furniture for the living room soon!

Sunday, March 25

Soon and very soon!

Lots of things happening in these days! A few days from now we should be:
  • All moved and officially living in our new home and not living out of suitcases anymore! Hooray!
Welcome to our home!

The Foxes welcome you also!
  • Bringing in the washing machine, fridge, and stove that we purchased for the house. We scored a major deal at a local appliance store. After shopping around and pricing and negotiating (you can negotiate the price on almost anything here) we had almost settled on a good deal at another store for a washer, fridge, and stove. Then we went to a new store called Game and wandered into the appliance section and found lower prices for better products. We got a larger stove, a larger fridge, and a larger washing machine for less than we were going to pay at the other store! 
  • Awaiting the arrival of our custom built L-shaped couch for the large living room area. It's more affordable here to have furniture custom built by local merchants and carpenters than buying from a department or furniture store. In fact, we bought a huge L-shaped couch, a 3-seater outdoor couch plus chair for the balcony, and a plush 3-seater for the extra upstairs room for less than the price of one couch from a department store!
  • Buying/ordering a dining room table. Again, custom built since it's a better deal.
  • Finally settling down here in Kampala. 
  • Breathing many sighs of relief. 

Saturday, March 24

We have a car!

We finally picked up our car! The four of us pooled our vehicle funds so we could afford a better car that would be able to navigate the dirt roads of Kampala and safely transport us to Paidha in northern Uganda where the Bible school is located. 

Here she is: 



A Land Cruiser Prado. Luxurious, right? Well, it's a 1996. But it's built to last and really rugged and really reliable which is really rad. And we like how it looks which is super important. And it has third row seating in the back for extra passengers and kids one day. And Trey and Kyle say it's really fun to drive. I'll get behind the wheel soon enough.

Thanks so much to everyone who supported us and all the fundraisers that contributed to our vehicle project. We really appreciate all you have done and given and sacrificed for us. We are truly blessed.

Friday, March 23

Our Part of Kampala

After being here in Kampala for a few weeks now we are starting to learn our way around. We spend most of the time on our side of the city between church, Micah's house, our future home, and several shopping malls (where we get groceries and buy stuff for our new home).

This is our part of the city (including our future home!):


This area on the west side of Makerere is called Kikoni (Chee-KOH-ney). Our future home is only 1.8 kilometers from the church, which is about 1 mile. It's a brisk little walk down one long street so it's easy to get to. 


 Can't wait to show you pictures of our new neighborhood once we move!

Wednesday, March 21

Keeping Cool

It is hot here in Kampala. Living in Texas certainly prepared us for the temperature but in Kampala there is no escape from the heat since AC doesn't exist here. After a long day in the heat we are eager to cool down. A quick rest helps to do the trick but sometimes you need reinforcements.

Enter Trey's newest invention: 
Fan on the Belly.


Tuesday, March 20

Foot Tanning

So apparently when it's hot and sunny in Kampala and you spend the day walking around wearing these shoes...

Your feet end up looking like this...

Monday, March 19

Sunday School

Yesterday at UCF Trey and I decided to sit in on one of the children's Sunday school classes. Part of my work here will include children's ministry and Sunday school curriculum so we figured it would be a good idea to drop in on a class.

Yes. It was a good idea.

We introduced ourselves to the teachers and the students and sat in the back to observe. It was the 3-5 year old class. The kids each introduced themselves, sang songs together (one little girl even led a song!), drew pictures of Jesus then colored them, and acted out the story of Jesus healing the blind man.

Oh my gosh, I was in heaven. Trey was really enjoying it too. One little boy named Zion came in and sat right next to me and eventually on my lap. He looked half black and half Asian and might be the third cutest kid I have ever seen (Jax and Kinz are 1 & 2). And then his little brother Zach came in and Zion declared, "That is my little brother, baby Zach!" No, I didn't steal them both. But I was tempted like Jesus in the wilderness! And the kid in front of Trey kept leaning forward in his little chair and falling out. Every time he sat on the ground stunned like he couldn't figure out why the chair had thrown him off. Eventually Trey just held the chair down for the rest of the class time.

It was really fun to sit in the class.

For research purposes. For ministry.

Saturday, March 17

We have a home!

We have a home!!!

One of the staff members at UCF has been looking for homes for us since before we arrived. His name is Godwins. He is a local Ugandan and has been invaluable in the search process. We are extremely thankful for him. The other day he showed us a prospective home for us and the Foxes to share. And as of yesterday, the contract was signed, payment was made, and the home is being readied for us to move in next week (and then we'll post pictures). Praise the Lord!

The specs:
  • Close to UCF (a 20 minute walk) 
  • In a compound with several other homes and a shared guard (keeps us safer) 
  • Very spacious downstairs (plenty of room to host Bible studies, events, ministry meetings) 
  • Kitchen with lots of counter space
  • Bathrooms with sensible shower head placement
  • A front patio off of the living room
  • A balcony off the master bedroom upstairs
  • Very roomy upstairs (so that we and the Foxes can have space of our own within the shared home) 
  • Has a guest room and bathroom downstairs for family and friends who come to visit (Mabry & Amber!) 
It meets every request we laid out in this previous post/email and more:


We are so excited to have a home. And so blessed to have such a great one at that.

We cannot thank y'all enough for your prayers. The Lord has answered your requests above and beyond what we could have imagined. We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the Lord's provision and for your support.

Thank you.

Steak & Dr. Pepper

The other day while venturing through one of the local shopping malls here in Kampala we came across a shop and grill called Ranchers. I'll let this excerpt from a recent e-mail that I sent to my family explain the rest:

So we found this place called Ranchers. We heard they had great steaks that you can either eat there or buy to cook yourself. Well we went to check it out. We were all looking around at the meat, and they have really great cheeses and other stuff that is very hard to find. Then all of a sudden I looked up and there was a wall of Dr. Pepper in front of me. So I immediately told everyone [Erin, Kyle, and Sarah] I was eating lunch here despite what they wanted, ha. So I ended up getting 16 oz of filet mignon for only $10. It was really good. A bit more tough than filet in the states but not bad at all. Also they are pretty small. We saw a whole filet and they are so skinny, I guess it is because the cows are just smaller in general here. The Dr. Pepper was expensive, about $1.50 per can but it was totally worth it. It is amazing what a little taste of home can do for your heart. Below is a picture of the Dr. Peppers and the before and after of my steak.








Friday, March 16

Pizza!

Yep, another post about food. Though we have been discovering yummy new foods here in Uganda, there are some foods from home that we really miss. Namely, pizza. But the other day someone mentioned an Italian restaurant very close to Matoke Inn (where we were staying). God is good!
So a few nights ago we ventured to the restaurant in hopes that their pizza would be a sweet taste of home.

Here we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our food. We sat down for dinner at 6:30pm and our order didn’t come out until 7:45pm. Seriously. But this is Uganda and things take longer here so we tried to be patient.



Then it arrived. And boy was it worth the wait. We ordered a Gorgonzola pizza, a Hawaiian pizza, and a Margarita pizza. (They were small so we made sure to order plenty).


Dinner was delicious. And we will certainly be going back soon. Though we might try to call ahead to order next time!

The Music of the Morning

Every morning, very early, at Matoke Inn we were welcomed to the new day by a symphony of sounds gently waking us from our sweet sleep.

Every morning. Very early.
  • The endless barks of a pack of dogs
  • The buzzing of an insect that sounds like an electrical generator
  • The music turned up to full volume from a neighbor’s home
  • The radio turned up to full volume from another neighbor’s home
  • The crowing of roosters
  • The call of monkeys
  • The call of birds that sound just like monkeys
Every morning. Very early.

But now that we have moved to Micah's the mornings are much more peaceful. Praise the Lord!

Thursday, March 15

We've moved to Micah's


Since we have yet to secure a home (there are some prospects, nothing secured yet), we moved from Matoke Inn to Pastor Micah’s home (Micah is the pastor of UCF). We are staying in his guesthouse until we are able to move into a home of our own.

It’s nice to be much closer to the church so that we can begin meeting people, begin attending meetings, and begin our ministry. 

Wednesday, March 14

Football!


On a brief morning walk the other day Trey and I stumbled on a game of football at the international school next to Matoke Inn.

We first saw the games through this fence.


Then we were curious so we walked down this road. (Yes, most Kampala roads look like this. Pothole capital of the world!)


Then we entered the campus to check it out. Apparently it is some football league made of a bunch of teams of various nations. There was a Germany team, a Netherlands team, a Portugal team, and an England team.



We couldn’t figure where all the Mzungus (white people) came from within Kampala, and why there were so many from each represented nation. Trey was pretty bummed he couldn't play with them. But as soon as possible he is going to start a weekly soccer game with some guys from church. But it was fun to watch for now!

Tuesday, March 13

University Community Fellowship

This Sunday was our second time at University Community Fellowship (UCF) since arriving in Uganda.

This is the church campus.


UCF is constructing a permanent building to replace the tent. At the end of the month the tent will come down and we will be meeting on the grass as construction continues. 



Here’s us before heading to church last week.


And here’s me surrounded by new friends this week. The manic look on my face hardly begins to convey my utter delight at being surrounded by darling black children.


And besides the children, it was wonderful to be at UCF once again. It really is exciting to be there, meeting people, absorbing the culture of the church, etc. We are finally getting our feet wet in ministry here and it feels great.

Sunday, March 11

Idiot Missionary: Water


Welp, I've made the first of many mistakes as a missionary in Uganda.

During one of our language lessons I was attempting to mimic my helper and say "water" in Luganda. In my attempt I actually said a bad word (the $h!t one, for those of you who are curious). Whoops. The word for 'water' is the same as the bad word. The only difference is the emphasis you place within the word. Like saying WAH-ter instead of wah-TER.

Sounds easy enough, right? Problem is, I can't hear the difference. At all. My language instructor varied between horror and laughter as tried to understand and pronounce the word. And then Trey, Kyle, and Sarah came back with their language helpers who tried to teach each of them the difference. Turns out our western ears can't hear the difference so we all keep pronouncing it wrong.

So basically I am going to avoid saying 'water' in Luganda for the foreseeable future.

Saturday, March 10

Romans 8 & Isaiah 65

I can be easily overwhelmed with the brokenness of this place. Children beg on the street. Malnourished, shoeless, and hungry, hands outstretched just so. Their little wrists turn upwards, opening their little palms so automatically, so mechanically, so rehearsed.

And my heart breaks.

I see poverty around every corner. A young woman greets us on the street and invites us to see her home. Mary. Her shirt is stained from lactation. She cannot be more than 18 years old. Up a hill, through the bushes, under barbed wire, to a shack the size of a closet. Flies everywhere. Mary points to a small wooden bench for us to sit. I am not sure the rickety bench will hold our weight.  She brings out her newborn son. One month old. Edwin. She thanks us for coming to see her home.

And my heart breaks.

We meet a kind young man who has agreed to teach us his language. He has to travel far to meet us for just one hour a day, for just six days. He smiles and laughs and always seems to keep his head slightly bowed. He is 22 years old. One of eight children. His father died five years ago. He has held a number of jobs but is not currently working.

And my heart breaks.

I can be easily overwhelmed with the brokenness of this place. Yet there is also beauty. The colors, the sounds, the laughter, the warmth, the welcome. But my heavy heart forgets to rejoice in those things. The brokenness here is more visible, more physical, and more apparent. It’s harder to hide than the brokenness I am familiar with.


And so my heart waits with eager longing for the redemption of creation. For these children, these streets, these people. For myself, for everyone, for everything. For when these former things shall not be remembered. For when creation will be a joy and her people a gladness.

And so I train myself to imagine this future reality on top of the present reality. To overlay the brokenness that my eyes see with the beauty and joy and hope that my soul knows will come. 

Romans 8:18-25
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Isaiah 65: 17
“For behold, I create new heavens
And a new earth,
And the former things shall not be remembered
Or come into mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
In that which I create;
For behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,
And her people to be a gladness.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem
And be glad in my people;
No more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
And the cry of the distress.
No more shall there be in it
An infant who lives but a few days,
Or an old man who does not fill out his days,
For the young man shall die a hundred years old,
And the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
They shall build houses and inhabit  them;
They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build and another inhabit;
They shall not plant and another eat;
For like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
And my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labor in vain
Or bear children for calamity,
For they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD,
And their descendants with them.
Before they call I will answer;
While they are yet speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;
The lion shall eat straw like the ox,
And dust shall be the serpent’s food.
They shall not hurt or destroy
In all my holy mountain,”
Says the LORD.

Thursday, March 8

Food in Kampala

If you think I/we blog about food a lot, it’s only because it’s true. We really like food and eating and restaurants so it’s a big topic on conversation between Trey and I. So much so that I have created a label for ‘food’ to categorize all the food-related blog posts. Anyway…

We have been pleasantly surprised by the food that is available here in Kampala. We prepared ourselves to live without a good deal of our favorite foods but over the past few days we have been delighted to find some good snacks and some good food. Two days after we arrived at Matoke the four of us went out with the Kampala Unit Leaders, Bill & Laurie. We went to a big shopping center to look around for phones and internet options and stopped for lunch at the food court. There were several food options available including Chinese, Cuban, Lebanese, Indian, Italian, and a chicken place. At the food court you sit down at a table and a waiter/waitress from each restaurant brings you their respective menus and waits for your order/coerces you to choose their restaurant. I felt unnecessary panicked because I didn’t want to disappoint any of the waiters by not choosing their restaurant.  But Sarah and I finally settled on sharing a hummus platter and gyro plate from the Lebanese restaurant. And boy did we pick right! The hummus and pita and gyro were delicious. Sarah and I couldn’t believe how good it was. And not just for African food, even in the States, among our favorite Greek or Lebanese restaurants this would be considered good.

And the greatest part is that since we are in Kampala now, everything we eat and everywhere we go is repeatable! We are finally here and able to settle somewhat (as much as we can while we still don’t live in our own place). After such a delicious meal I vowed to come back to the food court for hummus and gyros at least three times a week (slightly overzealous, maybe). Trey and Kyle didn’t have such a great experience with their choice of Chinese. The food took a long time and wasn’t all that tasty. But they will be able to redeem that choice plenty since we are going back three times a week as long as we live here.

Then later the four of us went on our own to a small shopping center just down the road from Matoke Inn to check out the grocery store. We found lots of food that we are familiar with and lots of similar snacks. Trey even found Pickle flavored Pringles chips, his favorite! He did a little dance in the aisle to celebrate. They had all kinds of pasta, and all the fixings for homemade pizza! Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, March 7

Learning Luganda

We started learning Luganda (the language of Kampala) this week using an interactive, social learning program. Our lesson began with greetings. We learned how to greet a lady, a man, a group of ladies, a group of men, and likewise how to respond when greeted. Each of us has our own language helper, a native speaker who is helping us with pronunciation, intonation, etc. It’s pretty fun. After our language session we spent the afternoon repeating our new phrases to each other.

We haven’t learned how to properly spell or write any of the phrases (that is the last phase of the language program, learning to hear and speak is of primary importance) but here are the greetings we learned, spelled phonetically for your convenience.

To greet a gentleman:
Oliotya, Sebo (sp?) (Oh-lee-OH-tya, SEH-bo)

To greet a lady:
Oliotya, Nyebo (Oh-lee-OH-tya, NYEH-bo)

To greet a group:
Molimotya (Moh-lee-MOH-tya)

To reply to a greeting:
Nde Buloongi (Ndeh Buh-LOON-gee)

To reply to a greeting on behalf of a group:
Tuli buloongi (TOO-lee Buh-LOON-gee)

That all basically means ‘How are you, sir/ma’am/y’all?‘ And ‘I am/ we are fine.’

Having studied Spanish in school certainly helps me understand the various tenses, singular/plural, first/second/third person (Thanks, Foreign Language Requirements!). Also, there are completely different ways to greet in the morning, afternoon, and night, and different ways to greet friends, elders, young people, shopkeepers, etc. Greeting is a huge part of African culture so it’s no wonder there are about a zillion ways to say hello to someone. I am hoping to learn just a few of those ways over time. 

Tuesday, March 6

Matoke Inn


We are currently living out of suitcases at Matoke Inn, the AIM guesthouse in Kampala (the Uganda version of Mayfield).

Here are the grounds of Matoke:




There is a sweet guard dog and a darling puppy who also call this place home. They like to follow everyone around the grounds in the hopes of being pet. As soon as you reach down to pet the puppy he flops down on his back trying to get belly scratches. It’s adorable. 





There is a cute little playground just behind the Guesthouse. Sarah and I tried out all the equipment, just to make sure it was safe for the kids.





We can get our laundry done here, which is wonderful because our dirty clothes really start to stink after a few days with all the dirt we encounter on a daily basis. Our clothes out on the line:


The Guesthouse is small and intimate and the food is great. We have had a chicken casserole, tuna salad sandwiches, fish and chips, beef stew over rice, lasagna, and pizza (not very close to what we are used to but great nonetheless)! Plus an assortment of cereals with cold milk, and toast with yummy toppings.

We are in room #5 (of 5 total rooms at Matoke Inn). Our room is tiny but it’s just fine since we don’t spend much time there during the day anyway.


Check out the space at the end of the bed to get to the other side of the room. It’s about 8 inches wide. I have to shimmey sideways or crawl over the bed to get to my suitcase.



During the day we have had orientation and just started language training. We usually have the late afternoon off before dinner. We’ve settled into a little routine of watching an episode or two after dinner with the Foxes. We all pile onto a twin bed (lined up wide-ways on an extra bed in their room) and set up a computer on a chair and watch something together (usually with snacks). We’ve been into ‘Human Planet’, a BBC series that Kyle & Sarah brought. It’s all about different habitats of human, and it’s super interesting.

So that’s life for us here at Matoke Inn. Can’t wait to update you on life in a home of our own (still no word on where or what or when).