Sunday, March 14, 2010

Life is a Blessing

I have wanted to write this post ever sense I have been home from Uganda. Now that I have been back for almost a year, I have found the time and the desire to actually sit down and write about the experience I have had and the things that I have realized sense I have been back.
When I first got back from Uganda, I was so excited to see my parents and eat food and take a REAL shower!!! Those were the things that I was most excited about. The next day, my family and I left for our annual vacation to California. I was excited to go and see my extended family and see the beach and everything. On the way down to cali, my family stopped at our cabin that my family worked on a lot when I was gone. It was so great. I loved it; it was just what I had ever wanted. Then we continued onto California. It was fun to be there, I saw all my family and had fun at the beach. When my family and I were getting ready to leave, we were cleaning out the fridge and throwing away the food that wouldn’t last all the way back home. It was so hard for me to see all of this food getting thrown away. The food that hit me the strongest and I just couldn’t throw away was peanut butter. In Uganda, I would eat peanut butter everyday, with everything that I ate. I had gotten really sick from some of the food there so I would eat this peanut butter to keep my energy up and get the nutrients that I needed. So hafting to throw away this food that I had eaten for the past three months, I couldn’t do it. It was just too hard.
After that experience, many different things hit me.
I had just come from this amazing place, that didn’t have showers or running water. A place where my neighbors had run down homes or no homes at all and where some were struggling to find food to eat. I had come from this place where people were struggling to find ways to receive some income so they can support their families. Then I thought of my situation in life, where I have not only one home now but two homes. I have a home where I can take a nice warm shower where no one will walk past and see me showering and a home that I can get a drink of water straight from the tap and not be worried about what is in the water or if I will get sick from it. I have so much food that is in my house, if I am hungry I can go to the fridge and pull out bread or anything that I want and I won’t be hungry. I am so blessed and I never realized how blessed I was. When I was in Uganda, I found me asking myself the question, “Why was I born into the situation that I was born into”, “Why do I have so many blessings in my life”, “Why was I chosen to live in America where I have so many opportunities to make something of myself and live a great life?” “What made me so special?” I have met so many great and smart and humble people who are in these situations that hinder there progress in life. Do they deserve to be in the situation that they are in? I know that if they were in America and had the blessing that I have, they would be so successful and live this great life. They are doing the best that they can with the sources they have.
There is this group that I met when I was there, they are called The Youth Outreach Mission. They are doing so many great things for their town. They travel to different schools and try and teach them about life and ways to stay strong and safe. They give of their time and anything else that they can to help the youth and be there for the youth. They love to serve the people around them. They have the best attitudes and are trying the best that they can to have a good life. As I reflect on my life and the experiences that I have had, I wonder what I have done with my life. I have always wanted to be someone that people can trust and I have always wanted to do something great with my life and make a difference in any way that I can. I have such high expectations of myself but I feel like I am not doing anything to make this happen. I loose sight of the goals that I have and I believe that I become lazy. I have all the resources to make what I want happen. Why don’t I do it then? I have no idea. Sometimes I feel like I should switch with someone who knows what they want and would use the resources they have to make those things happen. Anyways, The point that I wanted to make was the fact that I am so blessed and need to take advantage of this and use these blessings to not only improve myself and reach my goals and full potential, but while doing this, help others reach there full potential and reach there goals. I have been given this life for a reason and I need to stop making excuses for myself and make something out of myself and be grateful for not only the big things in my life but also the small ones. Such as: Showers, food, homes, family, trees and nature, and the main one for me in my life, the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints and the knowledge it brings. I love my life and am thankful for it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Last days in Uganda!! :(

So it has been so crazy this last couple of weeks. I have gone repelling down a waterfall, gone on a safari, and worked along side so many amazing people!! I don't want to leave . I have grown to love Lugazi so much and the people here have so much good potential and are so nice!!
So this last weekend was an adventure, I went to Gulu for about 4 days to build stoves for some villagers there. We left Saturday night at like 6:00 p.m. We were told that it was a 5 hr drive to get there but it ended up taking us about 12 hours to get there. I was crammed in the back of this bus with no room to move. About an hour into the drive, our bus broke down and we stood on the side of the rode for about 2 hrs talking to crazy Africans who were drunk. :) They ended up sending us another bus to pick us up but they sent a smaller bus, so for the first 20 min. I stood up on a bus. But some people were dropped off so I was able to sit down again. Then out of no were and for no reason, there were 188 speed bumps on the road. I counted them ALL. It got so annoying and this African man was taking up half of my seat. Anyways, we got there about 3:30 in the morning and went to our hotel. It is called the Multi choice Hotel. It is the worst hotel that I have ever seen. It smelt like urine and alcohol and the hotel overbooked so I ended up sharing my bed with Lacey. Then Bryan started to throw up blood so we gave him a blessing because we didn't know what else to do and went to bed. So the rest of the week, things kept falling through with appointments and supplies for stoves and everything. The only thing that went smoothly in Gulu was church. That seams to be the case in most places. Like when I went to Rwanda every things was crazy but going to church was great and things worked out perfectly. I love how that works out. The people loved us there. Later that day, we went back with the people in the Gulu ward and put on a musical fireside for them. It was so cool to talk with them and hear there stories and feel of there love for the church.
So even more things went wrong on that trip but I could go on forever and I want to write about one experience. On Saturday before we left to Gulu, we put on a big extravaganza for Aids and HIV. Some girls in our group put everything together with the youth outreach mission. Anyways there was a lot of performances and things going on and we even put on a parade around Lugazi. But the best part was when I was able to dance. A couple of us Mazugues learned how to dance like Africans and dance a traditional type of dance in front of all these people. It was fun, I was dressed in an African skirt with this straw skirt and a big fur thing on our buts so when we shook it, you could really see it!! :) I loved it. Then I was in another piece were we danced to "Were all in this together" from HSM. We did this dance with a couple of ladies from the MDT group we help who wanted to learn an American song and dance American. They are really amazing ladies who have learned how to live a good life and live positively even though they have Aids. Oh and I got up to dance with the Mayor. :) It was so much FUN!!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I can't stand the computers here!!

So I had this huge post written up and it somehow was erased!! :( So I\m just going to summarize this amazing experience that I had two Thursdays ago. So I went to a rural village in the outskirts of Lugazi where I live. A lady from my ward is part of an organization that goes around and helps different schools and she wanted us to come with her. She never gave us any details, we thought that we were just going there to have a look at the school and discuss what we can help them with in the future. When we got there, they had the cute kids put on a program for us. They sang and had little dances and solos to go along with it. After that, we went on the tour of the school grounds. It wasn't much of a school but they had some buildings where they held classes and we could see some areas where we could maybe help them. After that, the guy turned to me and said, "Okay, lets get to work." I was handed a machette type thing and told to go cut down bushes and grass. We were going to clear out this whole field. While I was being a lawn mower, other people were put to work getting water and cutting down some trees. After that, we went to lunch. They brought us some bananas, sugar cane, and Jack fruit. While we were eating, they came and informed us that they were expecting us to teach them after lunch. :) Funny huh, so we got some lessons together about sanataion, Buisness, composting. By the end of lunch, almost all there village was there, well it seamed like it. They had us sit in front with all the leaders of the village and then the kids sang again (the same songs). Then they just started to dance. The crowd was going crazy. The ladies were doing this crazy yell and laughing. Then they started to pass these scarf looking things that they were waring around there waist to us. Which ment we went up when we were up there, the crowd went even more wild!! It was so funny!! After that, they had so many speakers get up there and speak to everyone and after that, they fed us. It was cute, they walked around and washed our hands and then the children would come and kneel down and hand us the food. The food was called Casava and it had beans in there with it. It really wasn't that bad but it was a huge portion and I just couldn't eat it!! After lunch, we got up there and taught the people. I'm not to sure how they took everything but they thanked us, took pictures with us and then we left.
There have been so many different experiences like this. I love these experiences because I learn so much about there culture and the way they are and what they believe!!
Oh and another cool thing is that I ran a half marathon last sunday. A couple of people and I just decided to on saterday night. It was a last second thing. So we left at 5:30 in the morning caught a taxi finally found the place to run, they let us register even though it was closed and then we ran it!! YAY. Well my time is up. I better go!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

How many people can fit into a taxi?

HA HA, okay so we just got back from church in Macono and we ate at the presidents home, which was so nice and it had a flush toilet and good food and best of all, Chocolette cake!! But on our way home we had to find a taxi to go back to Lugazie. We have 20 of us so we all climb into this taxi. So there was 20 Mzugues and 2 Africans all in this taxi for about a 30 min drive. It was funny.
Anyways, this weekends has been an interesting one. I have been sick almost all week. I was in bed throwing up for monday and tuesday and then slowely walked around for the rest of the week. It was weird because it hit about 8 or so people and more people got sick throughout the week. But we are all better now.
Yesterday was the funnest day for me so far. On Friday night, about 10 of us went to Jinja and stayed the night at the lodge by the nile for free. It was amazing because they had toilets and showers!! I haven't taken a real shower sense I have been here because our water still doesn't work and all we have is a well, so we ware our bathing suits and shower together!! Anyways, So I stayed the night there when we woke up, we had some breakfast and then, that is when the fun stuff started happening. I went Bunji Jumping into the NILE RIVER and the after, Rafting in it. I was kind of scared to bunji jump. But I went up there with some people and then I went first. The people tied my feet together and pointed to a building where people were filming me and said to act like I was going to dive for them. So that is what I did. I got my count down and then leaped and the next thing I know, I was hanging above the water and I that is when I got scared. I was shaking. But it was so much fun. Just that feeling of free falling. :) WOW thats all I can say to discribe it!! Then, I went River Rafting on the nile. Now that was crazy. I got so burnt and had so much fun. Our instructor or guid was so funny. My raft only tipped over 1 time and it was on a grade 3 rapid. But I think that our guid made us tip. I swear that I was under the water for at least 30 seconds but really, it was probably only 10 seconds at the most. We went on about 3 or 4 grade 5 rapids and then the rest were only about 2 and 3. But they had some good food. They gave us a sandwitch and they had CHEESE. I haven't seen cheese for the longest time, well it seams that way at least.
But that was my weekend. It was full of adventure and memories. I miss American food so much. All we eat here is MAtoque and chapotte and potatoes, rice, beans, and other starches. No meat or suger. When we go to Jinja, it is a little more developed and we found a place there called Flavours and they serve Hambergers and stuff so we go there whenever we can. But as far as the projects that we are doing here, they are slowely getting started.We are still meeting with people and geting some things planned. I am hoping that this next week will pick up a little more so I can feel like I am making a little more of a difference and Helping people more. I feel like Help International is a really good organization and that we have a lot of things that we can offer to the people of Lugazie. All the people here are so excited and grateful for our help and we haven't even really started to many projects yet. The Adobe Stoves and going great though. We have built so many already and the people are so grateful. I have only helped with one of those so far though. Well, I know there are so many more exciting things that I have not said but there will still be so much more and I can't wait to share them!! Welaba (BYE)

Friday, May 15, 2009

I'm a Mazungu!!

So, I'm in Uganda!! Today is my one week mark. It has been so eye opening and amazing so far. I am enjoying every second of it though. From the second we walk out of our doors at our house, all we here is "Mazungu, Mazungu" and then "how are you?" The kids love us here. They run from all over to see us. One of our first days here, we decided to go and play with the kids who live outside our house and it took a while for them to warm up to us. First we played ring around the rosies with just us muzungus and then slowly the kids started to join in and before we new it, out of no where, there was at least 30 kids surrounding us wanting to play with us. The kids love to touch our skin. They also love my moles and hair on my arms, they will just play with it!! It is so funny. The other day, I was walking down the street to look at some adobe stoves and kids were running up to us and holding our hand but one lady came up with her two kids and set one little baby who probably just started to walk in front of me and another one about 3 yrs old and walked off. The little one was naked and he looked at me and started to cry and run away. It was so sad but funny at the same time. All the parents want them to touch our skin and stuff. It is really interesting. The really young kids are scared of us but the older ones like us!!
The first three days I was here my group went to an Orphanage called Faith orphanage. The first day was crazy because we had to stay in one room because it was raining. We brought jump ropes and bubbles and soccer balls and they had drums there. We were in this room that was pretty small about the size of a living room or a little bigger. It was so crazy we had half the room playing soccer a courter of the room playing the drums and dancing and the other part with jump ropes and then other people playing clapping games. It was fun though. It was really interesting to just sit there and talk to some of the older kids. I met this girl named Roda. She was so fun to talk to because she told me about her family and then wanted to know all about the USA and my home. She found my camera and started to look through all of my family pictures and was so interested to see my roommates and my family and especially my home.
Oh ya, They LOVE Obama. I never new that I would be singing and dancing and cheering for Obama the way that I do here. We will walk down the street and they will Yell OBAMA and so we will yell it back and then they will repeat it and start to laugh. Oh and they have a song here that says "OBAMA is the real African hero" and stuff like that. I will have to get it and show it to everyone. It is so weird and funny at the same time. I've also had some interesting talks about why they like him so much. It is really interesting.
The last thing I'm going to talk about is how we went to the NILE and Lake Victoria. We took a little boat that felt like it was going to sink with all of us in there, all 23. We stopped at the beginning of the Nile and got off on this little island thing and went on this big rock that was covered in aunts and we took some pictures . It was hard because the aunts kept climbing on us and it was gross but we got all the pictures in and that is all that matters!! Okay well I will write more latter.