Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Random happenings

This will be a much more light-hearted post than the last, so read on and enjoy! I’m hoping you can get a glimpse into what daily life is like here. I’ll be honest: the first week here in Kampala was a difficult transition, as I was completely bombarded with so many new things to learn and challenges. The culture shock only lasted a few days, and I am really enjoying life here. Still not sure how I’m supposed to go grocery shopping and bring my purchases back on the Boda with me (my backpack’s not THAT big, people! : ) but I’ll deal with that next week….

Oh! My favorite thing about my flat? The view of the village from my little porch (I’m on the third floor) which is just heavenly, and I try to sit out there after work each day and journal/do devotions.

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I have just started venturing out alone on walks through the village. There’s always something interesting to observe, whether it’s watching the locals make yummy Chapati (Indian flatbread) by the side of the road or perhaps saying hello to the wide-eyed, curious children who are EVERYWHERE! Love that!

I’m slowly picking up some Luganda phrases, but I don’t hear it much doing the day in the office, so it’s hard for me to learn. I just learned two phrases, which I use quite often. Have a nice day: “Siiba bulunge” (see-bah bah-loon-gee). Have a good evening: “Sula bulungi” (soo-lah bah-loon-gee).

I’m incredibly grateful that the Lord has provided some wonderful people in my life here, and though most of them are leaving Uganda this weekend, I won’t forget the blessing they were my first few weeks in Africa. Africa Inland Mission sent out a short-term team of 9 Americans to help at Dwelling Places (the ministry I’m serving while here), and they’ve been a blast to hang out with. Also, I’ve enjoyed getting to know two girls from Scotland, one from Ireland, and one from Canada. My roommate, Grace, is from South Korea and is a sweetheart…you’ll see her photo below. All these wonderful people invited me over to the guesthouse (where the American team is living) on my 23rd birthday, and we celebrated with a delicious meal of fettuccine alfredo, bread, and homemade passion juice! Some of the guys cooked the meal over hot coals outside behind the house—I appreciated it! Here are a few photos from my birthday…isn’t Uganda a beautiful country?

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Let me introduce you to Sarah, who has been invaluable during my transition! She's from South Africa, who has been an AIM missionary in Kampala for more than 2 years. She’s leaving soon (getting married!), but I’m thankful for getting to know her! Sarah lives upstairs in the flat above me; my first week here, when I didn’t know a soul, she invited me up for tea and introduced me to delicious mint-flavored South African cookies called “Romantic Dreams” (just gotta get past the awkward name!) Monday evening, Sarah had Grace (my roommate) and I over for dinner (and tea! See a pattern here? I love that tea is a staple part of the day here : )

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Grace taught us a self-defense phrase: “Jakukuba!” (jah-KOOKOO-bah) which means “I will beat you” in Luganda. Here they are, looking quite fierce. I don’t look particularly threatening, so I probably wouldn’t scare anyone off, but this phrase could come in handy when I walk past men who shout out obnoxious comments like, “hey American! My love! Come here…” or “my wife!! I want to marry you, mzungu!” Perhaps ignoring is better than provoking violence though? ;)

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I know this blog entry is full of randomness, so thanks for bearing with me. Saturday was perhaps my favorite day since arriving in Africa. I attended Friendship Club, which is an outreach for children in the village (we teach them Bible verses, songs, etc). About 20-30 kids attend on average. It was my second week helping out, and I’m already in love with the kids, so I think I’ll incorporate F.C. into my weekends. After it ended last Sat, all the kids went home except a handful. I stayed with Cody and Jeremiah (two guys on the AIM short-term team) and played with the kids in the yard for about 2.5 hours. I can’t even explain how those kids blessed and rejuvenated us. They taught us many fun, unique African games. And then we played musical bricks ;) I created a circle out of bricks (which Cody and Jeremiah chided me for, but no one got hurt!) and when the music stopped, you had to find a brick (instead of a chair like we’re used to.)

After F.C. we decided to be spontaneous and go to a nearby café for coffee. So we invited a new friend we’ve made (a young man who’s part of the Dwelling Places youth program), and the four of us flagged down two Bodas to drive us across town. My life flashed before my eyes multiple times, as we sped across a busy, paved road (our driver was crazy and hardly slowed down for speed bumps, so I was rising off the seat.) And then another Boda was about 4 inches away from hitting us when we were turning into the parking lot. I think I’m going to start to wear a helmet after that experience. I was encouraged by our conversation, as we shared what has impacted us during our time thus far in Uganda. The night-time ride back to my flat was much more peaceful, through quiet village dirt roads. At one point, I jokingly said to Cody, “What if our Boda doesn’t make it up this hill and we have to walk?” About 2 minutes later, our driver motioned for us to get off. So we had to stumble our way in the dark up the hill, but it was quite humorous. This is the second time this has happened to me, so needless to say, the Boda engines aren’t very strong.

In an upcoming post, I will tell you all more about Dwelling Places and the exciting projects/events coming up that I’m working on! The staff is incredible there, and I am blessed each morning when we have staff devotions and worship time. Followed by tea time! Business offices in America need to install a daily tea time too, I think!

5 comments:

Pam said...

Yay! Sounds like you are doing well ... making friends ... getting to know the people ... loving on the children! Awesomeness!

Anonymous said...

Hey Ashly
You don't know me not I you but I lived and worked at DP for a year in 2007/2008 and have been visiting there every year since 2005!
I love your blogs and photos, they've made me laugh and cry. My heart is there at DP with these beautiful children cherish every moment you have.
If you don't mind I'm going to follow your blog makes me less 'homesick' to hear of life there!
God bless you and the work you are doing and tell everyone Aunty Donna sends her love.
Donna

ashley said...

Hi, Donna, great to hear from you! I've heard your name mentioned in the DP office! Wow, how'd you stumble across my blog? Definitely keep in touch (whether FB or whatnot), and if you have any advice for me regarding life in Uganda, feel free to pass it on. Thanks for the encouraging comment!

Donna said...

Hey Ashley
Saw some photos on facebook that were tagged and you mentioned your blog so thought I'd check it out!
Not a day goes by that I don't think of all my friends and kids at DP.
Will certainly try and give you any advice you need. I'll add you on Facebook and then you can private message any questions, frustrations etc.
Keep up the good work.
Donna

Not Really My Cup Of Tea said...

I love Ugandan tea! =D I truly miss that, and fresh fruit every morning.