Life has been surprisingly busy the last week and a half mainly thanks to being yelled at by a 9 year old girl. There is something about a small child saying to you “You have been lost, why don’t you come to us anymore” that really sets your priorities straight. Granted it was only a week and I tried to explain that I was feeling ill and I didn’t want to make them sick but they decided that wasn’t a good enough excuse to lay off on the guilt trip! Olivia and Corrie have been in town the last couple of weeks and it has been so nice to see them! So here is what I have learned the last week and some change…
1. I have a small fan club!
2. Rain in the slums = disaster
3. Spending a day with 55 adult Ugandan volunteers was pretty fun and entertaining!
4.Hunger Games is basically the greatest series of all time (but I knew this a long time ago)
5. What it feels like to be a contestant on the show “chopped”
7.I may or may not have Schistosomiasis…
8. Banana Boys love granola bars!
9. Apparently $285/night is the equivalent to Motel 6….
10. Thanksgiving cost an arm and a (turkey) leg in Uganda!
1. My Fan Club!
Olivia was at Katanga last week while I was home recovering from my “nightstand cheese” epidemic and then after learning that my nightstand cheese was contagious I was busy caring for my husband. (Everyone is fine now! No need to worry!) She says to me on Wednesday “All the children kept coming up to me and saying “I want to tell you a secret” and then whispering in my ear “I love my Teacher Amanda so much!” I didn’t believe her at first but the next day when I was actually at Katanga I noticed the gaggle of giggling girls whispering in Olivia’s ear and then overheard Olivia saying “Well she’s here go tell her yourself!” So, sure enough little Beatrice comes up to me very seriously with her hands behind her back looking very bashful and says “I love you so much! I hope you know how much I love you!” I’m not really sure what I did to get them to like me so much but it made me really happy!
2. Rain Rain Go Away!!
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for the roof over my head and the dry ground beneath me. When it rains all I have to do is go inside and wait it out, it’s annoying but it isn’t detrimental! For the last 3 months it has basically been raining non-stop, at least once a day… I didn’t realize I signed up to go to Florida! So rain for us thankful Westerners, no big deal…. rain in the slums….not so nice. There is mud… but not just your average mud… slum mud is in a category of its own! add that with all the children with bare feet who don’t want to get their nice school shoes dirty and you have a disaster on your hands… or feet I guess I should say! With that being said, a portion of the money I raise for the Ugandan Christmas Challenge is going towards buying “play shoes” for our Katanga kids! I also had the opportunity to visit our other Education Center last week in an area called Kivulu. They were kicked out of their old space and managed to find a new spot for their classroom. Although they have much more inside space than Katanga the rain does not do them any favors as you can see….
We are trying to come up with ideas that can help the classroom from becoming flooded like this every time it rains (even though as you can see we have an excellent cleanup crew!) Additional money raised for the Ugandan Christmas Challenge will go towards trying to rectify this issue. So if you happen to want to help me with any of these projects just click on one of the links above!
3. Row Row Row Your Boat!
Last Saturday was the Annual Kids Club Kampala Volunteers Retreat at Sky Beach Hotel in Entebbe. Very nice venue and boy did everyone have a great time! We have such a wonderful group of Ugandan volunteers who even though they do not have much themselves they have devoted their time and love to all of our children out of the goodness of their hearts! So it was so nice to see them rewarded for their time with 3 awesome meals, cake and even a boat ride! For some of them it was the first time they have ever been on a boat! We even had a photography couple from the UK that was here and not only did they take great photos but Malcolm brought his balloon animal skills to share too!
4.May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor
I was so excited for the new Hunger Games movie to come out and even more excited when Patrick asked if he could take me because he knows how much I love the series! What a nice husband I have! Now the only problem is I have to wait a whole mother year for the series finale! NOOOOOOOOO!
5. Next Contestant on the Chopping Block…
I recently discovered Bountiful Basket which is a company that delivers fresh local produce right to your doorstep for only $10/week. The fun part about it is that you never know what you are going to have in your basket! So this week we had pumpkin, eggs, onions, tomatoes, green beans, lemons, bananas, carrots, beetroot, one scotch-bonnet pepper, and museli.
I love food shows! One of my favorites is the show Chopped, where 4 contestants are given a basket of ingredients and have to come up with a meal and they get “chopped” one by one until you have a winner! Anyone have any suggestions what I can make with all of this????
6. Omusomesa Amanda
Monday afternoon I was at Katanga rather early and yep you guessed it… it was raining. While I was sitting in the classroom with about 8 other students I asked if they knew any songs to sing about rain. I sang the Rain, rain go away song and they knew that one but they said they had another one but I wouldn’t understand because it was in Luganda (their native language). Then one of the children says “Let us teach you Luganda!” So, roles were reversed and I became the student and they became the Omusomesa (which means teacher in Luganda) I had a lot of fun even though they were all giggling at my pronunciation!
Schistosomiasis….Although Lake Malawi was beautiful and the water looked fine…. Patrick and I knew going in that there was a chance of obtaining this nasty parasite that apparently comes from snails in fresh water. Good news… easily treatable… bad news you have to wait 6 weeks before getting the test and then today found out we have to wait another 6-8 weeks to get the results! We both feel fine, nothing to worry about, not contagious! I’ll keep you posted!
8.It looks like a candy bar….
There is a group of young boys who sell bananas at the supermarket near our house. I don’t particularly like bananas (bad girl scout/car sick experience about 16 or so years ago) so I never buy them. But every time I say “No Thank You”, unlike other children and vendors who give you attitude these boys always say “Have a Great Day!” which to me kinda pulls at my heart strings, one day I bought bananas anyway just because of it! There are other situations where we happen to be places and there are a lot of children hanging around and I always wish I had something to give them. After some unpleasant experiences with children from Swaziland I am not an advocate of giving these kids who already have rotting teeth candy or sweets so I ordered a couple… or 8… big boxes of granola bars from Wal-Mart and have started handing them out when I am in situations like this. The beauty of it??? it looks like a candy bar but its actually healthy! hahaha I’m tricking them all!
9. They might keep the light on for you….
So, we all know after my horrible Malawi experience with our $12 accommodations that first night I have been going through a readjustment period where I realized I’m not a single poor backpacker anymore. So for this upcoming weekend for the gorillas I decided with the extra money we saved on the permits because you guessed it again… “rainy season” that we could splurge on the nice place for $285/night. Its ridiculous no matter how you spin it but what is even more ridiculous is what happens next! Our colleague who is joining us on the trip could not book at this same place because they were full so he started looking around for another place to stay. He received this email from the new place
“As you hopefully know already Silverback and (new unnamed place) are quite different. Silverback is a budget option and (new unnamed place) is high end”
WHEN DID $285/night BECOME A BUDGET OPTION??? I’m floored! We then received this funny email…..
“We have 3 rooms available at the lodge on 28th and 29th. How many do you guys need? 3?
Let me know and I will work out a special deal for you now. Also how much are you paying for Silverback?
Please please keep this between us as its not something I usually do but as you are there and we have 3 rooms why not! 🙂 )”
So it looks like we are going to enjoy “luxury” at the “budget price” Lucky us! HA! Hopefully they still have a room for us when we show up!
10. Happy Chicken Day?
For some unknown reason Ugandan’s don’t care for turkey much… and I love turkey! I know they have them here because I’ve seen them waddling around in broad daylight! So if they have turkeys in this country why does $13 of turkey deli meat look like this???
And how much does a full turkey cost?? At minimum about $80…for a small one. Thankfully we have been invited to a Thanksgiving dinner with real turkey and all I have to do is bake a pie (which I’ve never done before but I have faith) and show up with some wine! I was starting to get a little worried there that I would have to sacrifice one of my 15 chickens and have a happy Thanks(chicken)giving!
This was a long one… hopefully you guys made it through without getting too bored! Happy Thanksgiving!!!!