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Category Archives: Uganda January 2012

The First Goggles Clinic: January 4

7 pm
Today.  Today, today was simply gorgeously fantastic.  So wonderful.  I love this place.
We did the eyeglasses clinic today.  It is so frustrating, especially when we’re trying to have two exam stations, waiting areas, and handing out glasses for over a hundred people in a room half the size of my kitchen at home.  But my translator Patricia was fantastic, and to see the looks on people’s faces when they have their glasses is so worth all the difficulties of making it happen.

I’ll tell you what, I could eat Ugandan food every flipping day of my life.  Every day.  By far my favourite sort of food.  So good.
I love how they call glasses ‘goggles’ here.  Makes my day, every time.  And how they call me doctor.  “Doctor, I need a pair of goggles.”  So precious.
One lady I examined gave me a really beautiful necklace made of painted beans.  I shall wear it every day of my life.
Today I also got to see Mercy and Esther and Mum Alice, and meet baby Mark.  And Derrick took my camera for the day and got some grand pictures.

And on the way home we had nine people in a six-passenger van, and I sat on Dad’s lap.  Haven’t done that in a good ten years.  And strangely, it isn’t quite as comfortable as I remember.  It was pretty funny.

I got to hug all my babies today.  Oh, how I love them so.  How I just love them.  My precious babies.  I just want to cry, I love them so much.  I could fill this whole page with how much I love them.
Derrick asked me today if I could teach him to play my guitar.  I wanted so badly to tell him that it’s not my guitar, it’s his.  But I’m not ready to tell him yet.  When I do, though, it will be the best moment of my life.
I’m in Uganda.  I want to skip up and down the hall right now because I am in Uganda.  I’m here.  As soon as I set foot in this country, I said to myself, “I’m back.”  This is so right.  Everything about this place is just right.  I just…can’t find words.  I am so full of joy and the only thing I can think of to write about is how much I love this place.  I could fill a whole book with how much I love it here.

Oh wait.  A story before I go.  A guy accepted Christ 5 years ago, but he was never able to read his Bible because he couldn’t see it.  We have him glasses today, and he just dug right in.  I wish I were always as eager to read God’s Word as that man was today.  He could finally, finally read it, and then he just couldn’t put it down!
Stories like that are so cool.  It’s things like that which remind me why we do this.  Even if that man were the only life that was changed on this trip, it would still be worth every ounce of effort, every moment, every penny that has been spent on this trip.
I love this.
Oh, one more thing.  This is the conversation that just took place, and I think it perfectly illustrates the way time works in Africa:
Dad: “When do we need to be at the church tomorrow?”
Pastor Hummer: “Nine.”
Dad: “So what time will the van get here to pick us up?”
Pastor Hummer: “Sometime.  Sometime in the morning.” 

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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Uganda January 2012

 

Getting to Uganda: January 2-4

January 2nd, 9:30-ish pm Eastern
I’m on my way to Africa right now.  I’m on an airplane.  Going to Africa.  This is pretty crazy.
I have no idea what time it is.  Or what time zone we’re even in anyway.  It’s cold in this airplane, and there is a huge amount of turbulence.
This has been a good day.  I have to say, our team this time is really cool.  Noah, Brian, Corbett, Tony, Jake, Dad, and me.  When we get to Amsterdam we’ll meet up with Sue and Leenie, and then our team will be complete.
Every time the flight attendants come by, they try to speak Dutch to me.  I guess with the blonde hair and blue eyes, I pretty much look the part.  I think they’re starting to catch on though.
While we were standing in line to check in, a little kid saw Perry the Platypus on my shirt and started a conversation with me.  He saw the guitar on my back and said, “I’m little, so I play a little guitar.  But when I grow up big, I’ll play a big one like yours.”  His name was Shalom, and he couldn’t have been more than five years old.  He asked me if I was ever coming back to this airport so he could see me again.  He was so cute.  I bet he could have fit in my suitcase…
Now, maybe I sleep.  I don’t know.  I am so tired.  In Uganda it’s early in the morning now.  All my babies will be waking up in a little while.
The guy in front of me has his hand draped over the back of the seat, and he has an angry birds bandaid on his pinky.  It’s pretty hardcore.

January 3rd, 11:00 am Amsterdam time
I’m on the airplane again.  This is our second leg of flight.  From Amsterdam to Nairobi.  Almost eight hours.  Then only one more leg, Nairobi to Entebbe, and we will be at our destination country!  Then an hour or two in the van, and we’ll finally be there.  I still can’t quite believe I am going to be back in Uganda again.
Jake and Noah and I are having a grand time in all the airports, messing about and wandering.  Having them along with me this time is making everything even more awesome.

January 4th, 2:30 am Uganda time
I hate airplanes so much.  I just hate them.  But it’s so worth all the miserable plane rides to finally be here.  When we came out of the airport, Pastor Hummer and some others were there waiting for us.  When I saw them, I could have cried.  I ran up to Derrick and gave him the biggest hug.  I missed him like crazy.  He’s gotten so grown up since I last saw him.  He’s gotten a good bit taller, and his voice is all deep and stuff now.  But he’s still just the same as I remember him.
On the ride from the airport to the hotel, I cried.  I stared out the window at my beloved Uganda, and I breathed in that thick familiar scent of Africa, and I cried.  Oh, how I missed this place.
Now I am sprawled on my bed under my mosquito net, utterly exhausted, and probably the happiest person alive.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2012 in Uganda January 2012

 

Seventy Hours

Tomorrow I start taking my malaria pills.  And maybe start packing.  All week long I’ve been piling up things I might need to bring, moving them to various places throughout my bedroom, rearranging them, making lists, ignoring said lists, moving the piles around some more, and wondering how I’m going to fit nine cases of glasses and two footballs in my suitcase.
But I have yet to actually pack any of these things.  So now it’s time to get this show on the road.

I haven’t been running since the half marathon nearly three weeks ago.  First, I was sore–unbelievably sore.  Then I was sick.  Now I’m just lazy.  But tomorrow, I must go for a run.  I absolutely must.
I also must get Derrick’s guitar ready to go and all of its accessories gathered up.  I so can’t wait to see the look on his face when I tell him that yes, this time I am going to leave it in Uganda for him.  He’ll be thrilled out of his mind.
I also must hang out with my youth group/best friends tomorrow, all night long.  They’re the coolest.  And that’s all I have to say about that.

I love the time leading up to my trips.  It’s so exciting.  I can’t believe this is happening.  What I’m looking forward to the most is giving the guitar to Derrick, and meeting baby Mark (who was probably about the size of a grain of rice last time I was there).  And going back to Busia to see Shadrack and Leonard and Nyangweso and all my Busia babies (hopefully?).

So, needless to say, the next seventy hours can’t pass fast enough.  And then the next thirty-odd hours after that will be spent travelling, which isn’t my favourite part of course, but even unpleasant things like twenty hours in an airplane aren’t so bad when you’re with your friends and going to a place you love.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2011 in Uganda January 2012

 

One Week

One week from now we’ll be on our way to the airport.  From there we’ll fly to Amsterdam, then to Nairobi, then to Entebbe, and I’ll finally be back in my beloved Uganda.
This is all happening so fast.
When life gets as crazy as it’s been for me lately, it’s hard to savour.  Because time flies by without my noticing, and then it’s gone.  I think I should learn from my Ugandan friends’ example and just slow down.  They don’t rush around all stressed out over every little thing.  Heck, they don’t even have wristwatches.  They sit in church for hours and hours, because they want to be there, because they recognise its importance, because they don’t have anywhere else to be.  They sit together and share food.  They cook and clean side by side, enjoying life, living in today and not stressing over tomorrow.
Couldn’t we all stand to learn from them?  Wouldn’t life be nice if we’d slow down every once in a while?

So this week it’s a goal of mine not to rush things.  Sure, I’m itching to get on that plane and get back to Uganda, but the time leading up to the trip is a time of excitement and anticipation, and that’s a feeling that I certainly don’t want to rush.
I’m going to spend time praying, writing, and resting.  I’m going to spend time enjoying friends and family.
I’m going to relax and not worry about how crazy life will become the second I get back to the USA. Because it will.  I’m getting home, diving straight into an 18-credit school semester, getting back to work, and planning for my next big trip, this one being my biggest and scariest yet.  But for now I’m not going to worry about those things.  For now I’m going to focus my time and attention on what matters now.  And what comes afterward can wait.

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2011 in Uganda January 2012

 

Hungry

How many times have I said “I’m hungry?”  Countless.  Every time I go for four or five hours between meals, it’s “I’m hungry,” or worse, “I’m starving.”  But how many times have I actually been truly hungry?  Zero.  I was fortunate enough to be born into a society of abundance, into a family who can afford to eat daily, even three or more times a day.

My friends in Uganda, however, aren’t so fortunate.  To look into those desolate brown eyes is to catch a glimpse of what hunger means.  To see their bony limbs, their sunken faces, and their distended bellies is to realize that I have never been truly hungry.  Cradling feather-light children in my arms, I begin to see that hunger is much more than the rumbling in my stomach when lunchtime rolls around.

This all became a reality to me back in January when I had the privilege of travelling to several different places in Africa, one of which was Ray of Hope Orphanage in Uganda, where I witnessed the raw, uncensored truth called hunger.  But beyond the heartwrenching pain I saw and felt, I fell in love with the place.  There is so much more there than hunger and sickness—there are my children, the tiny brown hands that cling to my skirt, the dusty footprints and fuzzy heads and sloppy kisses and sticky fingers.  They’re just regular kids doing regular kid things and feeling regular kid feelings—the only difference is that these kids don’t always know where their next meal will come from, or when.

So I, along with a group of friends from my church, am getting ready to take on a challenge called the Thirty-Hour Famine.  For thirty hours on November 11th and 12th, we are choosing to go without food to raise money and awareness for hunger in Uganda.  We will begin to feel what it’s like to have a perpetually empty stomach, to go to bed hungry.  And as we fast and deny ourselves the pleasure of food, I am asking you to do it with us.

Thirty hours.  That’s all I ask.  When your stomach demands food and you deprive it, think of those people for whom going hungry isn’t a choice.  And pray for them.

Please.

Oh, P.S. if you want to read the details about my past experiences in Uganda, go here.

 

Why I Love Kona Guitars

Well, for one, I love my Kona guitar.  It’s awesome.

But now there’s another reason: they donated a guitar to my kids in Uganda!  All the way back in February, I posted a picture online of me with my own guitar in Africa, with the kids all crowded around me loving the music, and Mark from Kona found the picture and was asking me about it.  So I told him about how we were in Africa and how much the kids loved my guitar, and he said “well next time you’re going back, let us know and we’ll send a guitar with you for the kids.”

I just about died.

Fast forward eight months: the guitar arrived today!  I came home from work to find the box sitting in my living room, so I tore into it like it was Christmas.  The guitar is beautiful, and easy to play, so it’ll be great for the kids.  Mark also threw in a few electronic tuners, a bunch of extra pics, and some great how-to books to leave with the kids so they can teach themselves after I’ve come back to America.

So that’s why I’ll always buy from Kona if I have a choice.  They’ve certainly earned themselves a loyal customer!

Here’s the guitar:

And here’s the kid I’m going to give it to.  His name is Derrick, and he’s 14 years old. I know that he’ll use it ALL the time, he’ll take good care of it, and he’ll share it with the others. So I’ll be leaving the guitar in his custody.

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2011 in Music, Uganda January 2012

 
 
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