Hello All. So I have had a lot of requests for more details about my life and the people and just activities in general. I will do my best to paint you a picture of a typical weekday here.
7:00- watch alarm goes off and I try to remember how to press the sleep button. (lost the travel alarm clock)
- then the task of fighting with my mosquito net begins. I slide out and slip into my flip flops so my feet do not become nasty!
- the usual morning routine begins
- I sleepily walk out to a room full of male and female Ugandan volunteers all very chipper and "sharply" dressed (you say that if someone looks nice) It is customary to greet everyone so no grumpy morning Meredith is allowed.
- then the fight for the butter (which needs no refrigeration..) the bread and the one frying pan begins. The usual breakfast fare is fried bread with sugar and water or tea.
- some mornings we have group devotions and some mornings we are rushing to the van to make it to the babies home.
- Courtney, Hannah, Rachel, Ivan, Collin, Felix, Jeff, Rita, Edith, Amanda and who ever else is coming that day all pile into the van and begin the oh so wonderful bumpy van ride to our destination.
- When we arrive at our outreach we are greeted by tons of shy smiling faces that all what to hold your hand, rub your hairy arm (they have no arm hair so we are fascinating), count your freckles, talk to you, and just get a hug or a kiss.
- at any outreach we have singing, games, a bible story, exercise, and sometimes feeding programs.
- after our morning outreach we head back to the house for lunch. Someone has stayed behind to prepare lunch so it is ready right when we get there. The typical lunch is a form of starch (rice, potatoes, pasta, matooke), rice, stewed meat, greens, and usually fruit or sliced avacado. We get 20,000 ugandan shillings per meal to use to buy food for everyone. That equals $10. But things are CHEAP. Like today. We got 5 onions and a bag of greenbeans for $1!!!
- Off to the afternoon activity! The afternoons are usually spent with older kids, maybe 13-18, at either a Scripture Union (like a christian club in school), Kids in Need home for street kids, or to the Remand Home which is a juvenile home for convicted teens. Interesting fact. In Uganda you are guilty until proven innocent so some of the kids have done nothing but some are real criminals.
- Back to the house to hangout for a bit. The girls and I either read, journal, do laundry (which takes FOREVER. Hand washing and rinsing everything and then hanging it to dry...love whoever invented the washer and dryer), go get African coffee, ice cream, or if it is your turn to cook go to the grocery.
- the walk to the grocery is a bumpy, dusty, 5 minute walk uphill. My favorite thing about going to the grocery are the police men that stand at the door to "check" your receipt. This really means that they simply initial your receipt. No, they do not check your bag, or read what you bought. I am convinced that would be the most unfullfilling job ever. The government is wasting so much money! The grocery has so many types of rice and flour and spices. We never buy the fruits and veggies there, only at the market stands due to price.
- The market stands have: onions, garlic, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, green pepper, cilantro, eggplant, avocado, pineapple, banana, passion fruit, peas, carrots, and I think that is all. Sometimes they have random things too.
- On the way back to the house as soon as the neighbor children see us they FLY down the hill screaming and smiling and jump into our arms as we twirl them around. Then they help us carry our groceries and get a hug from each one of us.
- Dinner is always a process. Take tonight, for example, in the middle of cooking the power goes out. Praise the Lord for a gas stove and kerosene lanterns! Dinner can take up to 2-3 hours to cook...most of the time it is worth the wait.
- After dinner activities have been composed of girls movie night, 4 of us crammed onto one sofa to catch up on Grey's Anatomy that took only2 1/2 days to download, long talks, Flight of the Concords, reading...etc.
- Bed time and be sure to apply bug spray and tuck the net in tight!
Last night was one of my favorite thus far.
The air was cool for once and the sky was clear. Two blonde muzungus and 17 Ugandan children all crowded around one Mac to watch KungFu Panda. It was like Christmas morning for them. I had Claire and Maria draped over me and when I offered some of my cool clean water she downed it in two seconds. Contentment is what I felt.
Monday we went back to Nsambia and I got to hold 2 week old precious Ashford [that is what I have named him, I can't pronounce his real name] I didn't ask how he got there, and I didn't really want to know. All I know is that as long as he was close to me he was happy. Another girl there named Gift stole my heart. She was new too and she was near me most of the time. She had the best laugh/giggle I have ever heard.
Yesterday we went to the Ntinda School of the Deaf. InUganda if you are deaf you are more than likely sent away to live at a home. These smiling children were amazing! The littlest things made them happy. I spent almost an hour simply throwing a ball back and forth with a group of them. There were a few older ones who could even talk. I sometimes never know if what I am doing is meaningful to these kids or lasting, but when we were leaving any of them asked if we would come back next Tuesday. When our reply was yes, their smiles said it all. I feel like these children and babies are slowly helping the pieces of my soul come back. They are showing me that hope and love and redemption are still possible, even for little ole' me. Christ is the ultimate healer but I know that He is using these people to show me what His kingdom is supposed to look like.
Quick glance at my favorite people here:
Courtney: has lived all over and now lives in Bristol, TN. She is sweet, intentional, outgoing, funny, and loves to talk through things. She has a masters in English Literature and may want to do occupational therapy.
Hannah: One of the funniest, most random, most talanted singers that I have ever met. Her parents are missionaries in Mexico and she can always make me laugh. She is an incredible speaker and the kids love her!
Felix [ugandan]: "sweet Felix" is what we always say. Everyone here falls in love with Felix just a little bit. Awhile ago he was in a terrible car accident and had to go through tons of physical therapy. After healing he decided to pursue rehabilitation all for the glory of God. He is the guy that finds the child that is the most shy or the most disabled and puts all of his energy into making that child simle and feel Christ's love. He went with us to the deaf school b/c he knew sign language and it was amazing to watch him.
I love and miss you all! Keep up the comments, I really do love them!!!!