March 30, 2017

Thankfully thankful.

Every week I try to look back and find something to be thankful for. This last week it's been pretty easy- I've been in a little piece of America that feels just like home.

You know when you meet those people and they just click? They say or do something and you're like yep, this is it. I've found my people. Well it was pretty much just like that with the Hurry's.

I met they both in passing early on in my stay in Uganda but didn't really get to hangout with them until a very memorable trip to the Lira Main Hospital in town.

I should probably prep it by saying that I am so not cut out for the medical field. Like not even a little bit. Keep it in, if it's bleeding go handle it cause I can but really really don't want to.

So I end up visiting the Lira Main Hospital with some friends from our Bible Study to pray for some of their family members that have been admitted. Now I know when I tell stories I'm sometimes guilty of exaggerating or embellishing but let me tell you this is just a statement of fact and not embellished at all: that hospital was one of the scariest places I've ever been. Now from many conversations with other Mzungus here [Read: Western Folks] I've learned that this is one of the better hospitals. ARE YOU KIDDING ME I COULD NOT EVEN WITH THAT PLACE. But even still it is definitely a third world hospital.

We went into the Men's Ward to visit Lucy's nephew and walked into an open room with hundreds hundreds of beds and patients. The ward was one open room with many partial walls to put beds against. The walls had number after number after number painted on them with a bed in front of each. If you didn't bring your own supplies/sheets/food/family you had nothing. I didn't see one medical professional in the whole building. As we made our way through the ward I tried not to make eye contact or look at anyone, all men in various states of dress trying so hard to get the attention of the Mzungu girls that had just walked in. We made our way to the back where Lucy's nephew was, he'd been in a boda (motorbike) accident. He was laying in a bed surrounded by 7 other male patients, beds pressed up against one another. His leg was swollen. So swollen it looked like 2 legs combined. Turns out he broke his femur and was in so much pain he was sweating. But medicine here is optional, and only then if your family can afford it.

Our hospital visit left me horrified if we're being completely honest. We stopped by a few more beds on the way out as we were grabbed to pray for people. Some of those people had been their for months. They had a bed but no money for treatment, no one to visit or provide linens or even clothes, and food? Forget it. The disease, the sense of despair, the hopelessness and smell all turned my stomach. I got home that night almost of the brink of some type of panic attack, I couldn't breathe. My chest hurt and I was irrationally yet understandably afraid of venturing out on any road- because what are my options? What happens if I get sick? What happens if I'm in an accident or injured? This was my medical option! I'd just seen it and it was horrifying.

Which leads me to meeting the Hurry's. Dr. Bridget is not only a doctor but also a mom and has been living and working in Uganda for 5 years. After some encouragement from someone back home [Shoutout to Julie!] I went Friday morning to see if she had some time to just sit. She didn't really but excitedly welcomed me into her home, sharing TV, a couch and ice water [all huge and exciting things in Uganda, trust me!] 

That day is imprinted on my memory along with the announcement made when I had dinner with them that this was "The year of bacon! We will figure out how to get bacon at the Cafe!"

How could these not be my people am I right? 


So thankful for a community here that understands the struggle and brings a little piece of America to Uganda. And wants to bring bacon, that’s the important part ;)




Scavenger Hunting with the Kiddos!


March 28, 2017

Awkward + Awesome + How I Accidentally Got Someone Arrested

Awesome:
  • A weekend away and getting to see other parts of Uganda. I like Lira but there is so much here not seeing it is a waste. 
  • SUPERMARKETS WITH FREEZER SECTIONS AND CHEESE OKAY IT WAS AMAZING EVEN IF I COULDN'T BUY IT CAUSE I WASN'T PREPARED FOR COLD FOOD. 
  • Pringles at same grocery store. 
  • Swimming pools where you kick off and side doesn't wiggle. [My first swimming pool experience here was basically a hole with a tarp in it, when you pushed off the side the whole rubbery thing moved. Shiver. It was awful.]
  • Live music and fun restaurants! 
  • Getting to help homeschool some friend's kids this week. I forgot how much fun teaching can be! 
  • Instant mashed potatoes and making them in a mug. It's like a microwave mug cake except not at all. But still super awesome. 
  • Cinnamon Rolls that are as big as your face and only cost $0.43 in American Dollars. Holla. 
  • Running and playing and listening to the giggles of little ones at SGU.

Driving over the Nile River. 

Nile River.


Pool Life.



These faces.








Awkward:

  • The bathroom in our hotel room in Gulu. Seriously. You'd sit on the toilet and your knees hit the wall. Ummmm what? Picture below for evidence because seriously it was unbelievable, even for Uganda. 
  • Trying to turn on the shower in the hotel room and instead having water come out of the sink but never out of the shower head. Okay that's cute. 
  • My normal footpaths become overcome with mud after it rains so I walk them like I'm on a balance beam just praying I don't fall flat on my face in front of 293849 Ugandans [who would laugh, understandably]. 
  • Ugly crying basically anywhere in Uganda because these people don't often have emotions like that: awesome. 
  • And for my most awkward Ugandan moment to date: Accidentally getting someone arrested. Yes this is real. I'll be here all month folks. So for a little context. When our NGO president was here in January he discovered that I'm an organizer at heart (this includes color coordinating but hey that skill isn't in demand in Uganda) so he so kindly ordered a dresser to be built for my stay here so that I don't have to live out of suitcases [Seriously isn't that the sweetest? Cue Tears right?] Well, he ordered it and put a down payment on it before he left in January it's now nearing the end of March and I still have not seen this dresser. We stop by the workshop frequently but mysteriously the guy building it hasn't been there this is my shocked voice. [Read: It's easy to see the Mzungu coming from a mile away to have friends cover for you.] The last time Fred and I went to check on it Fred told him if it doesn't done when we came back he was involving the police. Fast forward TWO MORE WEEKS and we go back to... nothing. So Fred says he'll handle it. I go out to the village to work and continue on with my day. Oh Uganda. It's such a fun place. Fred comes out to the village later only to inform me that he was late because HE HAD RODGERS ARRESTED WHAT. So he gets the officers to arrest Rodgers and then leaves him there for a majority of the day. Only to then go bail him out and drive him back to the workshop himself all the while discussing how he can't lie to people and he needs to have this piece done by Thursday at 4pm or he's having him arrested again and this time taking him to court and not bailing him out. 
  •  So how is that story my fault you ask? Well it partially just isn't cause he didn't do his job. But it also is because I woke up yesterday realizing I have four weeks left before I'm gone for a month. Four Weeks. And if I don't push for this now we may never see it and the money will just be lost. So I mentioned to Fred that we need to get serious. And serious it got. 
One of the most bizarre bathrooms I've ever been in. That towel is sitting on the toilet. Yes that space for legs and bodies is RIDICULOUSLY small. 
xox.

March 27, 2017

Gulu Baby.

So a few weekends ago I got the chance to venture out of Lira and hit up the most popular city in Northern Uganda- Gulu. I geeked out over live music, a grocery store, sidewalks, and swimming pools. It also had the added pleasure of letting me hang out with some seriously awesome people.

On our way back we swung by Karuma, a small town on the nile and got to explore the wilds a bit. Picking fresh produce off the trees and hanging out with Monkeys along the banks of the Nile River. I could get used to that part of Ugandan life.


This bathroom was no joke. If you sit your knees hit the wall- #funfact. The toilet is covered by that towel. 

Ugandan Raffle at a restaurant, or as I like to call it the Ugandan Lottery. 

Roadtrip Views.

#selfie at the Nile River. I was geeking out hard.

One day this will be a class act resort.

Nile River Views.

Nile River Views.

Produce picking on the bank of the Nile.

It's like the very original famer's market.

Nile.

Nile.

Nile.

Nile Rapids.

Nile Rapids.

Nile Rapids.

Nile Rapids.

Nile Rapids.

Nile Rapids.

Nile Rapids.

Nile River Bridge.

Nile River Bridge.

Nile River Bridge.

Gulu.

xox.

March 21, 2017

Driving

OKAY PEOPLE THIS IS NOT A DRILL I DROVE IN UGANDA!
 Insert total excitement and freak out here. We had a van different than our normal school van and it’s automatic- Louis (one of our wonderful drivers- who I spend roughly 50% of all my days with) decided on the Kampala Highway that this was an easy vehicle I needed to drive. WHAT EVEN.

 Okay so very honest moment- immediately it was panic. I’m a rule follower and though technically it’s legal because Uganda accepts my driver’s license as a permit there was some panic because driving laws here are really more of suggestions than laws that are consistently followed. But there I was, on the side of the Kampala Highway climbing into the driver’s seat.

Now if you’re reading this with a little panic in your soul don’t worry Louis is seriously an amazing teacher/instructor/encourager and was more than willing to grab the wheel multiple times if needed.  I also don’t think I’ll make a habit of the driving at least when people are around, which in Uganda is literally everyone. So empty soccer field at school- we’re looking at you as a great practice spot!

Unfortunately I have no video of me actually driving [Louis was very focused and so was I obviously] but here are before and after clips: 




Make sure you're following @locook003 and @savinggraceuganda on instagram to follow along on the daily adventures!

xox.






March 15, 2017

One Month.

In four weeks I'm going to be waking up in America for a wonderful furlough. In my bed, with a fan, AC, running water and no fear of losing electricity, internet or being bitten by malaria infested mosquitos.

One month til I'm sitting on the couch with these lovely people.

One month until I'm going to a farmer's market that doesn't smell like rotting fish, eating food ALL THE FOOD and not cooking over a smokey charcoal stove. I don't think I accurately can explain how excited that makes me.

And yet I know in leaving part of me will stay here missing me new people on this side of the planet. Part of me will always be captivated by Uganda. 

ONE MONTH PEOPLE. 

xox.

March 10, 2017

Up, up and Away

Off on a weekend away and reminiscing about trips today. Specifically Alaska + Niagara Falls because I like to torture myself by looking at beautiful photos from a time I wasn’t sweating to death on the equator, ya know the usual Friday activity.


Niagara Falls 2016:

When you order a pizza to the airport after your plane is delayed...again. 






Double Date with a taco. This is why I love these people.





Alaska/Vancouver 2015: 



Alaska- the most beautiful place I've ever been.






Glacier!



Putting my hand in the glacier lake.



Sister Selfie.



Kayaking on water deep enough we could see whales.





Here's to weekend trips!
xox.