Travelling to Busia: January 6

9:45 am
Well, I was careful to use my mosquito net last night, and still got bit.  Oh well…it’s all part of the experience.
Last night Leenie and I were up till 11:30 sorting eyeglasses.  We had such a good time of it.  We tried on all the crazy pairs and all the really high prescriptions.  It was pretty hilarious.

Now we are sitting waiting for our car to come and take us to Busia.  Today will be very packed.  Busia is five hours’ drive away, plus we are stopping twice along the way to do eye clinics.  Pastor Hummer wants to spend six hours at each stop, and I don’t see how that will happen as it is already nearly ten and we haven’t left yet.  If we spend six hours at each place it will be three in the morning when we get to Busia.  But Pastor Hummer is so crazy, I wouldn’t put it past him to do that!
I haven’t gotten to see Derrick in two days…I hope I have at least a short while with him to teach him guitar.  It’s so exciting to know that this guitar I am carrying will soon be his.  I can’t wait to tell him!

11:15 am
I can’t write much because we’re driving and I’ll get carsick…sigh…but there are a couple of very very important things that I absolutely must write right now.
1. We just passed a little wooden shack called “The Pork Joint” with various pig parts hanging on a string across the front.  This is Africa, people.
2. If I want to live here one day (which I do) I must learn to carry things on my head.
3. We are driving over the Nile river right now as I write this.

Lunch 😀

9:00 pm
The power is out.  Again.  But what else is new?
Living by candlelight makes me feel even more Africa-ish.  It’s really nice.
We’re in Busia finally.  Just got here.  I got to see Nyangweso again, but I have yet to see Shadrack and Leonard.  I wonder if they still work here?
We only ended up going to one of the two churches we had planned, but we did spend a full six hours there.
Here in Uganda you never get what you bargain for.  Yesterday’s clinic had far fewer patients than we had anticipated, but today’s had way more.  Way more.  But a guy accepted Christ after getting his glasses, so it was completely worth it.
My translator, Emma, was awesome.  He’s a really cool guy.  I simply love meeting new people in my travels, especially when they’re close to my age and I can relate to them.  I had a lot of fun meeting him.  But he ended up getting sick and going home early, which was a bummer.
And today we saw a pink chicken!  A bright, highlighter-pink chicken.  Its owners dyed it so it wouldn’t attract hawks and such.  It was pretty hardcore.

Then in the evening after the clinic was over but we hadn’t left the church yet, some guys were playing the keyboard and I joined them and we played music for a while.  Then I got out my guitar (Derrick’s, actually!) and the kids loved it as always.  I love playing music together.  It’s so cool how you can just sit down and play music together and not have to say a single word.  Music is such a gift.
These people are so lovable.  It’s hard, because I can’t help but love them with my whole heart, and it hurts so much to love them like that knowing I may never see them again.  I just love them all so much…I can’t help it.
But it’s okay.  I may never see them again on earth, but that will only make it even more glorious when I finally see them again in Heaven.  I just have to keep reminding myself of that.


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Posted by on January 19, 2012 in Uganda January 2012


Around Kampala: January 5

7:30 pm
I am utterly exhausted.  Completely.  Today was a good day, but tiring.  We first went to the Widows and HIV Centre to visit Grace and the women and children.  When we got there, they all ran outside caterwauling and shaking our hands and hugging us and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so loved.
Then we went to a church that was planted back in May.  Then it had four people in the congregation, but you can see in the picture below that it has grown a lot since then.  It was great.  And we did eyeglasses again too.

When we took a break for lunch (at 5 in the afternoon!) we had soda, and nobody had a bottle opener so one of the guys, Michael, opened them with his teeth!  It was pretty hardcore.
You know, every time I am on mission like this, I am reminded anew how strong God is. Because yesterday I was so very tired, and I said to myself, “I can’t do this again.”  But today, God worked things out and made me able to do it again.  It always blows my mind how, when I am so tired and incapable, God is so much stronger and greater than I am.
I love these people.  I love how when they want you to take a photo of them, they say “shoot me!” It’s so cute.

Now we are about to eat dinner.  Did I mention how I love African food?  I am having goat stew with matoke and rice.  OM NOM NOM.  Yes.  And watermelon juice.  Real, fresh, true watermelon juice.
You know what’s funny?  I dress so colourful here in Africa.  In the States I wear grey and black and brown and dark colours.  But here I wear yellow and green and pink and blue.  I’m just so happy…I guess the clothes I wear hear reflect my heart.
Today I was telling Grace how this is my favourite place, and she couldn’t believe it.  But I told her yes, it’s true! And I told her how I want to live here one day, and she just laughed.

Last night, Leenie was standing up on the bed, wrapped up in the quilt, beatboxing and hiccuping and shaking her butt like an African woman.  For those of you who have never met Leenie, let me tell you that she is not the sort of person you expect to see that sort of behaviour from.  Anyway, then she fell off the bed, and we were both laughing so hard, and Sue just gave Leenie a funny look and went back to reading.
Tonight I shall be more careful to shut my mosquito net, because I’m getting horribly bit.
But now I’m going to have a shower, because I have so much dirt on my skin that you can see the outline of my shoes and clothes.  It’s a good feeling, being this filthy.  It means I worked hard and poured myself out.

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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in 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


The End?

2011 was by far the craziest year of my life.  I went to Uganda for the first time (and fell head over heels), I finished high school, I went back to Costa Rica for the first time since March 2010, I discovered that I’ll be moving there next summer, I started going to college, I got my driver’s license, I got a job (an awesome one), I began running and completed a half marathon, I learned to use my musical skills to lead worship (still figuring that one out), made new friends, found new hobbies, and learned new skills.  It’s been so difficult to juggle all of this craziness, but I love it.  God has really blessed me this year.

And 2012 is going to be even crazier.  As I sit here and look ahead to what this year will hold, I’m slightly terrified.  But it’s all so exciting.  First of all, what better way to kick off a new year than travelling to Africa?  I can’t believe it’s tomorrow.  So crazy.
And then jumping right into an 18-credit semester of college.  It’s really daunting.  But I’ve got to do this, so that when the semester is over I can move to Costa Rica!  It’ll be crazy hard, but as long as I keep reminding myself that it’s not going to last forever, I think I can handle it.
Moving to Costa Rica.  That’s the scariest part.  I am so nervous.  I mean, moving away from my family and friends and everything familiar?  I must be crazy to do something like that. Probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done.  But the most exciting by far!  I can’t believe I’m going to do this.  I’ve wanted it for so long.  But I just didn’t see how it would possibly ever work.  However, God had a plan all along, and he worked everything out perfectly.  I love it when he does that.
2012 is going to be ridiculously awesome.



2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 42 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


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Posted by on January 1, 2012 in Holiday Stuff


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

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