Friday, September 11, 2009

When my enemies draw near I pray that they will find that I'm protected and secure...I can lean against your throne and find my Peace-Jennifer Knapp

School closed early today. There are riots througout the city.
The short of it is that one of the tribal Kings was coming into the city without proper permission to attend an event by the central government. People got upset, and there's been clashes between the Buganda and Government since Wednesday night. Rubber bullets are a clear mark of riots, as are the thick dark clouds of smoke rising from buildings and tires. People have already been killed downtown and on some of the outskirts. Luckily nothing has come that close to us- I have heard some things that I would rather not hear such as sirens and a gun shoot off. However, apparently sometimes the police here shoot off rounds up into the air during times like this. We were on lock down today at home, not being allowed to travel anywhere at all. Tonight my mission has said that we are allowed to go down the road, which will be nice to spend some time with some other people. 
Please pray for peace. It makes me so sad to hear about all of this. People fighting over power is seems sad when the real Ruler of all is in Heaven and can handle it all. May peace reign. 
Below are some pictures from school today. It was the end of Spiritual Emphasis week, so I praise God that we got to have the last chapel which was so INCREDIBLY moving! The spirit of the Lord was so evident that tears kept coming to my eyes. I also had to say goodbye to a beloved little student of mine who is returning to Italy to be with her mother who is very ill from cancer. That family could use continued prayer as well. They will be so missed, and they will miss their home of 10+ years, Uganda. 
Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise God that I can lean against His throne to find my peace any time of day, any day of my life!

The morning started out B-E-A-UTIFUL!

During Chapel: A drama about God. Jesus said "Let the little children come to me"...and they all ran up to him!

Children being prayed over by teachers and parents.

Me praying over my student who is leaving to be with her sick mom.

We were so blessed to have a WHOLE STAFF communion service after the service. Here you see the second grade teacher Margaret serving Grace, one of the cleaners at the school. 

Ilaria and me. I found that shirt at Owino last week...perfect  for saying goodbye to my little Italian student!

These kids make me smile :)

One of my little 1st graders singing "Give us clean hands"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Don’t get comfortable- Brandon Heath

So, the past year of showers in my humble little apartment have been interesting.
Here's a little journey of my bathroom:

Christina (the first roomie) filling up the back of the toilet when that wouldn't work.

The contraption that was added to mix the cold water with the boiling water so that it would not scald us. So we lived with a shower that we were constantly turning the handles of to just get a shower that would go through cycles of hot, cold, hot, cold.

Me, very confused about what to do (notice the lid still off of the toilet in the foreground). 

Forward about 9 months- the kitchen sink stopped working, so we were washing pots in the bathroom. Meet Teresa, the new roomie. 

This is the bucket shower method. Instead of fixing the shower, they took away the only way to shower without being burnt. Plus, we couldn't shower when there was no power- fun when it's gone for 5 days! So, we fill up this tub with boiling and freezing water, then use a pitcher to shower.

The next attempt at making our shower better. Meet "the widow-maker". There's a reason they are called that! I was the only one to try this little guy out. When I showered with it i got burnt and there were sparks flying out of the front of it where that switch is. That switch was supposed to help you if you wanted hot, cold or a mix- pretty sure it was wired backwards so I was trying to figure it out when the blue lights started flying.  I stopped that shower quick!

THE NEW MACHINE! This thing may not seem amazing, but you have no idea how wonderful it is to have a warm shower in your home. It is a small tank so it's not a long shower at all, and there's not very much pressure, but it's great! And now we can have a cold shower when the power is off! There's even a little temperature gauge on this thing! 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Don't forget to be thankful for the little blessings you have, and don't get too comfortable ;)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

You’re never fully dressed without a smile-Annie

This became evermore clear to me after my Owino experience this week. My one and only pair of jeans that I brought with me have two giant holes right above the knees and are not appropriate here. So, considering that I LOVE wearing jeans, I needed to find a new pair. Being that new clothes are a rare find here, and when they are found are really rather expensive, I ventured to the giant open air market known as Owino with 3 of my friends. This is a place that is very difficult to describe to someone who has never been before. It is also well known that you don’t take your camera there, or else I would have a picture. Truth be told, it would be difficult to capture the chaos of this place through a lens. I just went searching for a picture on google images, but nothing does it justice. It’s massive and easy to get lost in. They sell everything there! It’s a dark maze struggling to find your way through stacks of shirts, pinned pants, hanging winter coats, chains of shoes, and steaming matoke. I was happy to be with friends especially this time as I looked for jeans.  I found one pair that seemed to fit me from holding them up and I was thinking about moving on because they seemed a bit long. But then I looked at the name brand: United Colors of Bennonton. Wow. The only reason I knew that this was an expensive brand was because I saw their stores all over the place in Europe this summer. I bargained with the man to bring down the price to around $7 and walked away feeling alright. I showed my friends and they were amazing saying that in the US they would have cost $150!!!!!! I couldn’t believe it. I never paid more than $25 for a pair of jeans! African just don’t have that sense of name brands and think only of what it looks like. I do enjoy that most of the time, but I am also looking for quality- so sometimes it is important to know what you’re looking at. However, I wasn’t quite sure that they fit me. So walking along I looked up and saw another stand smothered in jeans. As usual, the owner reached out his hand and grabbed my arm. I gave in this time because the jeans hanging on his makeshift wall looked pretty nice. He asked quickly started pulling some off the wall for me to look at, asking me if I wanted skinny jeans or boot cut. He asked me how big of a flare I wanted on them. He did at one point go to a few stalls over and borrow a tape measure. A lot of the things in this market come from Europe and I didn’t know my size, only in American numbers (which don’t really make sense). I watched amusingly as he measured my waist…backwards!!!!!! It didn’t really matter however, because he seemed to know exactly what he was doing (kind of). He suggested over and over again that I try them on. I looked around and laughed. How in the world was I going to try on a pair of jeans at Owino? The man wanted to hold up a dirty sheet with a few holes in it to cover me from the masses of people. I declined, but he insisted. I don’t know how he convinced me, but I instead got my roommate, Teresa, to do the holding of the curtain. It was so awkward. I peeked around as I slipped my capris off making sure that there were no gaps between the thin boards that made up the walls. I didn’t see any eyes, so I figured I was somewhat safe. I did however pull down my shirt as far as it could stretch, just in case. As I attempted to put first pair on I couldn’t help but smile and laugh the entire time. These trousers were a disaster. I put back on the linen that I came in. Then he found another pair that he was CONVINCED would fit me. So, back I went into the changing room made of a block with cardboard (on which I had to remove my shoes) and a coffin sized box on the side. This pair failed to slip over my thighs. He handed me one more to try and BINGO. Perfect! I couldn’t believe how well they fit! I did however have to curb my enthusiasm. If you show too much interest in a product, it is much harder to bargain down to a good price. The process began. He started at 45,000/= (around $21). Wowzers. That is just crazy- they see a white face and instantly think money and stupidity. Luckily, I know better. I explained that I could get new jeans for cheaper than that in the US and that I had just gotten jeans of good quality for a third of that price. He thought I was saying his jeans were not good quality- I quickly explained to him that his were, but that different makers means how long they will last. Plus, I asked Agnes (the assistant teacher in my class) how much they should be. Luckily, without too much haggling, I got him down to the same price as the other pair. I was happy to pay that because of the fact that I had never had a pair of jeans fit me so well since my pair that gave out in grade 8. It may have been an incredibly awkward experience changing in the middle of that market, but I am SO happy I did J

I can’t even count the number of times that I was tagged, grabbed, or cat called. I can’t recall all of the countries that people called out to us (“Hey Russian” “Hey Scottish” “Hey Obama! How is he doing?”, etc.). But it was worth it this time around.

I went with the intention of buying jeans. I got 5 shirts of all types, 2 pairs of jeans (that both fit amazingly), 7 oranges, a pile or tomatoes, a pile or potatoes, 2 packets of seeds, 4 mandazi, and an interesting story all for under $25. Amazing.