Tag Archives: #Uganda

Rub a Dub Dub in a Turkish Ice Tub!


So I’m the kind of person that when someone brings up an idea or invites me to go on a trip or to do something I have to reply with “Are you sure? because I WILL take you up on that” and about 95% of the time I actually do…. I invite some people to do things with me or invite them to come visit knowing very well 95% of the time they never will…. Phase 1 of this particular adventure starts with my friend Renee saying “We should go on a girl trip to Istanbul next year” as described above my response was “Are you sure you want to invite me because I will go….” Phase 2 of this adventure begins with me telling my friend Ellen I was going to Istanbul….. followed by “You’re more than welcome to join if you want” followed by “Let me ask my husband” then ending with an email that said “He said yes!” And so it begins…. The story of my trip to Turkey and almost not Greece!

The characters in this story are a wonderfully diverse and awesome group of women, Renee, Ananya, Kasia, Ellen and of course… This crazy girl! The original plan was to stay in Istanbul 4 nights, Renee, Ananya and Kasia were to head back to Kampala while Ellen and I stayed 3 nights in Athens, Greece. When we first checked the weather it seemed it was going to be partly cloudy and a little brisk….

Ellen came in on a later flight from Texas so the ladies spent the day doing a little exploring and trying out some local street food!

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Our second day was spent on an Istanbul city tour, Including the Sultan Ahmed Aka the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. The weather was indeed a bit brisk but nothing we couldn’t handle!

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Our second full day consisted of a trip to Prince’s Island… in my honest opinion I would not suggest this trip, the idea of a horse drawn carriage sounds so majestic…. until you see the horses… If we hadn’t already paid for it I honestly wouldn’t have even gotten in ūüė¶ But was still a nice boat ride and quality time with the girls!

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Now you must be wondering why I chose this particular title for my blog… One of the things that is very famous in Turkey is a traditional Turkish Bath or also known as a Hammam. Being the adventurous young women that we are we figured “When in Rome….” I had no idea what to expect, so imagine my surprise when Ellen went first and I got a phone call to the room 30 minutes earlier than expected telling me it was my turn!

How I was expecting my Turkish bath and massage experience to be……

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What I showed up to…..

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At first I thought…. maybe this short little hairy Turkish man is just showing me where to go…. but then he started pouring water over my head….. and then had me lay down and scrubbed me…. It didn’t get really awkward until his hairy belly started hitting me in the head… I couldn’t possibly fathom why Ellen would have given up the chance at such a magical opportunity!

All was going well, we only had one day left in Istanbul before we were meant to head into Greece…We decided to go on a tour of the Asian side of Istanbul! Apparently in my husband’s eyes this does not count as going to Asia… but i was there! We stopped to see the beautiful view….

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And then within minutes our beautiful day turned into this…..

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Hence the Ice Tub reference…. ha, I’m too witty for my own good sometimes! The snow was really pretty and fun until we got stuck on our bus going down a hill…. but then the real disaster hit…. the snow kept coming, and coming, and coming….. we were still hopeful that our flight would leave the next day but sure enough…. we showed up for a 12:30PM flight only to find out after hours of waiting that it was cancelled…. indefinitely…. so we swallowed our sorrows and booked an airport hotel while trying to keep up our spirits… which was really hard to do considering our flight the next morning got cancelled as well…. in the meantime… we made some new friends and had a snowball fight and made snow angels….

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Eventually, our flight finally left the next night at nearly midnight, meaning we lost almost 2 full days in Greece, we were beyond bummed but we pulled it together and managed to fit Athens into a single day which ironically ended up being a beautiful day! 14 miles of walking later, Our feet were about to fall off but we were in love with Greece!

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Sadly the next day we had to return back to our homes. In more exciting news…. Patrick, me, Ellen and her husband Isaac are going to Italy in May, however Ellen told me if we got another snow storm she would never travel with me again…. so here’s hoping!!!

Fuzzy Swazi Was a Bear (Hug)


Ah! So I have been way off schedule with blog posts but I made a promise to my dear friend Rebecca I would get this one out there this weekend! Life has been busy! I’m now working 32 hours a week and scrambling to find time to fit my workouts and blogging in! a month later life is starting to calm down therefore its time to write my happy place blog! This is the story of sneaking hugs in the happy little Kingdom of Swaziland!

One of the most important and sometimes embarrassing things I’ve learned in life is that not everyone is a hugger, I cannot fathom why because I love hugs! Living overseas I’ve also realized that some people aren’t huggers but kissers… I’m never sure what side of the cheek to go for first and how many times you’re supposed to do it and its accidentally almost ended up in a few near make out sessions! Greetings can cause a lot of anxiety!! Hugging is definitely the way to go.

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In my first year of college I went on a first date with a guy and went in for a hug…. and got a high five…. true story… don’t worry it wasn’t Patrick! All of these situations have prompted me to ask before I go for it…. “Are you a hugger?” And although my days of first dates are over, I always waited for the guy to go for the first move after that!

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I have been going back and forth to Swaziland for the last 3.5 years for quite a few reasons but its my group of friends and the 2 beautiful teenage girls my family has been sponsoring that keeps me coming back the most. I met Nomfundo and Sibo in 2012 right after they had been kicked out of school for not paying their school fees. (12 and 13 years old)

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In January I had the chance to make a short trip back to Swaziland to get the girls enrolled in their second year of high school! We had a great time going out for belated birthday sundaes and shopping!

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I also visited with their family and am just so blessed I’ve gotten to watch this little family grow up!

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I’ve never been turned down for a hug from these lovely ladies and I miss them so much!

I was welcomed back by Mr.Foss who so graciously let me have the privilege of staying at Bombaso’s for the night before I headed over to one of my other favorite places in Swaziland at Buhleni Farm Chalets. The Vincent family has always taken such great care of me and I am so blessed to have them in my life! Anyone ever traveling to Swaziland don’t leave without paying a visit to these beautiful chalets in Ezulwini Valley. I was so happy to spend time with one of my favorite people in the world Ms. Rebecca Lewis and her hilarious and beautiful daughter Sian who gave me a sneak peek into motherhood by following me into the bathroom stall and informing me that I was “taking a really long wee” and I should hurry up so she can have her time followed by:

“My Mom doesn’t have any money”

“Sian, honey, your Mom just paid for dinner she has money”

“Well she found money on the floor”

“No, Sian I don’t think so…”

“Fine, she found it in the toilet”

Oh the things kids say!

I do have one friend in Swaziland where we had to make a 2 hug agreement, 1 welcome and 1 farewell. Normally, I’m nice and follow the rules but this trip I was feeling a little cheeky and with the help of ¬†Rebecca we sabotaged poor Kieren!

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As always, even though it was a short trip it was so nice to be able to spend time with all my favorite buddies!!

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Until Next time Swaziland!!

Uganda be Christmas all Year Round!


Good Morning Everyone! My sincerest apologies for dropping the ball on keeping you updated! As always its been busy in the Scoville home and even though we have been back in Uganda since mid January I’ve had quite a few trips in between. I had a return trip back to my happy place at the end of January to visit some friends and my girls in Swaziland and then turned around on Valentines day for a girls trip to Istanbul and Athens! Finally back in the swing of things here and do not plan on leaving again until May!

So back in December for our Kids Club Christmas party some wonderful friends from back home with the help of an American Girl Scout troop sent us goodie bags and treats to give out to the children. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize what a pain it was going to be to work with the Ugandan Postal Service. Long story short, boxes didn’t show up in time for the Christmas Party and then didn’t even show up before I left to go home for Christmas (actually they did show up…. but were not released because they are being held hostage by the Ugandan Post Office) Anyway… without horrifying you with all the gory details on how the post office made me cry because they told me I was using my diplomatic immunity to sell all the donations for a profit instead of actually giving them away (what a concept right?) All 8 boxes eventually ended up in my possession thanks to all my mail room buddies at the Embassy!

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The next few days were pretty hectic and my living room was taken over by candy and toys!

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Even Charlie helped out!

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After all the goodies were sorted it was time to stuff the bags!

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It took 2 full days and a lot of work but I managed to stuff 500+ bags! The next part made it all worth it because it was time to deliver!!

Our first stop was the Kivulu Classroom (One of Kids Clubs Education Centers) There were about 40 children present and their bags consisted of leftover school supplies from our school supply fundraiser last fall!

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Some of the students even showed off their reading skills!

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The kids at Kivulu are always so sweet and calm… I don’t think any of us were prepared for what was to happen next at good ole Katanga. These kids went NUTS! so much that we had to leave the classroom because we were getting stampeded! But then¬†I always have to think of course they are going to go crazy because it is a rare occasion they are given such a special treat! We had over 200 children show up for this giveaway!

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One of the greatest rewards I have witnessed as a volunteer is seeing a really bright child receive a second chance at a real education and the opportunity to succeed and have a future. There are many of these children who will never see the inside of a real classroom due to the financial costs to receive an education in Uganda and the majority of African countries. I have been watching a young girl named Beatrice for the last 8 months lead her classmates and excel in her school work. She is a talented singer, dancer and artist and very bright when it comes to reading and writing. Thanks to a high school friend of my Mother’s it was with absolute joy I was able to tell Beatrice she was going to be able to attend school this semester and I was honored to deliver this special gift that was sent from Janet and Craig in America.

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Such a beautiful soul and I am so proud of her for what she has overcome in life and what she is going to accomplish in her future! Thank You Janet and Craig for loving this little girl!

I had time for one last delivery before I took off to Swaziland so we packed up and traveled to Nomavundu, the site of our water well and many of our women’s Initiative programs. Here we ended up with 170+ children!

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All in all this has been a very rewarding and humbling experience and proved to be worth the wait and hassle that preceded it. Last week I received word that my clearance came through and I am going to be starting work on Monday the 9th. It is exciting yet difficult at the same time as I am know going to have to cut back on my involvement with this wonderful organization. These kids have touched my heart and soul and I love them all with every ounce. Thank you to everyone who has been making a difference in these children’s lives even without ever meeting them, it means more than you could ever imagine.

R&R U Ready???


I’ve only been back “home” in Uganda for about a week now and have been facing many challenges readjusting from the conveniences and instant gratification of the good ole U.S. of A. When we first arrived in Kampala 7 months ago we were unsure of what to expect and there was a lot of excitement and anticipation involved… Going home and coming back for the first time was a lot harder than I imagined, but at the same time it was nice to return to Uganda and get back on a regular routine. R&R turned into being a Go&Go! Patrick made a joke we would need another R&R to recover from R&R!

I ended up leaving a few days earlier than Patrick because my family received a Christmas Miracle! It is my pleasure to introduce to the world, my new neice, Mckinley Anne Baughan!

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So what makes our little Mckinley a Christmas miracle?? she was born December 16, 2014 at 2lbs 11oz, 3 Months early! The other bit of the miracle is that I wouldn’t have gotten to meet her until December 2015 at the earliest, I suppose she heard how awesome I was and just couldn’t wait that long ūüôā

It has been so fun watching all of her first moments with her Mom and Dad and we are all so proud of her for being such a fighter! She even got a visit from STANta Claus on Christmas Day! (Stan is my Dad who stepped in at the last minute to come to the NICU to visit all the babies!)

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Mckinley just had her 1 month old birthday last week and is up to over 4lbs 6oz! Way to go baby girl!!! You have such a big fan club! I can’t wait to see you again!!

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Everyone kept asking me what my first American meal was going to be and as embarrassing as this may sound…. The Answer is…

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Yes… its true I thought outside the bun and ordered my 5 layer burrito and Beef Chalupa Supreme with pride! Don’t hate… we all have our “thing” Just writing about it makes me want to open up my own Taco Bell Franchise in Africa! Or a Mexican restaurant and call it Chihuahua’s and have Gumbo be the mascot! Even if the food was bad no one could resist that face… What is everyone else’s weakness???

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I spent the majority of my first 10 days back in Newport News with my family, and this year was special because it was the first time in I think 4 or 5 years what everyone could make it! So we had my parents, The Brewers, The Baughans and The Scovilles all under the same roof! I love Christmas with my family, with our Christmas Eve dinners at Outback, playing the steal game and this year we did a new stocking stuffer game where you pulled a name from a hat and were giving $25 and 10 minutes in Walgreens to pick out gifts to fill that persons stocking with. Wouldn’t you know it that Patrick picked my name and he nailed it! Dry Shampoo, a 6 pack of Walgreen’s Big Flats Beer (Not too bad for $3.33 lol) and….. an I SPY BIRD HOUSE!!! I’m not sure if anyone else has seen this infomercial for this thing but its a bird house you put on a window with a clear backing so you can spy on birds as they nest! WHAAAAAT???? How Awesome is that??? I haven’t gotten to try mine out yet but Melissa got one too! Have you put yours up???

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Can we talk about how awesome Dry Shampoo is for a minute too?? First off, if you are white and living in Uganda you might as well forget about finding any good white people hair products. Even hairspray here is weird… Brand name shampoo and conditioner??? unless you want to pay $15 for a bottle of Pantene you’re out of luck. Dry Shampoo??? HA! non existent!!! All the curly haired girls will understand that when we take an hour to flatten that hair out, the last thing you want to do is wash it and start all over again….so I preceded to buy 8 cans of it while I was at home…

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Sorry Patrick…. Im stocked up for awhile now ūüôā LOL.

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Also, Anyone who lives in Uganda or anyone who wants me to pick up your kids one of these awesome superhero capes made by some amazing women let me know! They customize them with different letters and they make them in girl colors too! My nephews loved them!!

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New Year Eve was spent with our good friends the Riggins and New Years Day came with a lot of excitement because it was Winter Classic Day! For those of you who don’t know what the Winter Classic is its an NHL hockey game that takes place outdoors on New Years Day. Given we are huge Capitals fans and it was being held in DC this year it was pretty much a no brainer that we HAD to go! So we bundled up and headed to Nats Park (The baseball stadium) and cheered our Caps to 3-2 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks. WOOHOO!

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One of my favorite things about being home was spending time with my girlfriends!

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And their babies!

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And friends and family!

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The only bad part about being back in America was all the FOOD! Patrick and I have made a pact to go balls to the wall and get  super fit now that we are back!

If that wasn’t enough excitement for you, after 3 weeks in the States we headed off to London! Our first night we spent with our friends Olivia and Huw and they showed us all around Camden which was a really neat area! Thanks for being our tour guides!!!

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Saturday was Patrick’s big day! He got to go to his first ever Chelsea FC game against Newcastle! I’m not a huge soccer fan but its starting to grow on me, plus any sporting event is exciting when you get to go to the actual venue! It was fun going to the pub before the match and visiting the gift store! I got a cool new sweatshirt! Patrick got to wear all of his Chelsea gear he got for Christmas!! And we were lucky yet again to witness another Victory!

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If you recall in one of my previous blogs I talked about how excited I was about this trip because I would finally get to see The Lion King! Lion King has always been one of my favorite Disney movies and still is to this day! I’ve basically wanted to see it on Broadway since it premiered…. 16 years ago! I had tickets to see it in DC but our date got moved up to move here so I had to sell my tickets and was then made the promise of getting to see it in London! Embarrassing moment #12133 I was so excited when the show started I may or may not have…. cried. Yes, Cried. Luckily, I had had a runny nose and a cold at the time so I don’t think anyone noticed!! But it was worth the wait and I hope to one day see it again!

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Sunday, I’m heading back to South Africa and Swaziland for a visit and am getting pretty excited! Only gone for a week this time. Tune in either tomorrow or 10 days from now(depending on how motivated and how packed I am!) ¬†for my next post on the Belated Christmas gift bag giveaway!

Hakuna Matata Readers!

All Aboard The (not so) Polar Express!!!


So for the past couple months I have been fundraising for Kids Club Kampala’s annual Christmas Party. Thank you to everyone who donated their items and hard earned money to give these kids the Christmas of a lifetime! The Kids Club Staff and volunteers have been working hard for months now to make sure this event would be a success and every second of work was absolutely 100% worth it! I’m approaching my 6 month mark as a volunteer with Kids Club Kampala and am so proud to be a part of this wonderful organization! I’ve grown to love these children as if they were my own and they bring me so much joy it is often times hard for me to share my experiences because words simply can’t explain.

Our day started off early with blowing up balloons and decorating our venue. Looking out at all the chairs I started praying and thinking about each empty chair and the children that would soon fill them, and the love and joy that would fill that space. When the first busload of children arrived all of the excitement and anticipation for this day started to kick in and I was so happy it was finally here! My official job was to supervise face painting, which when I volunteered for this position in the meeting last week it seemed simple enough… but getting hundreds of children to stand in 5 different straight lines was one of the most exhausting things Ive ever done! But with a lot of patience and a little bit of help it can be done!

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I had at least 5 children come up to me and say “how much?” and it absolutely broke my heart because it just goes to show how little these kids are treated to something special. But the expression of happiness and excitement on their faces when I responded “It’s free! Today is your special day and all you have to do is have fun!” made up for it! Even Sharon, another volunteer who was helping serve breakfast said she had children offer her as much as 1,000 shillings because they just couldn’t believe that all of this was for them! So AWESOME!!!

The face painters did an amazing job and gave away so many smiles!!!

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For breakfast all the children got an Ugandan favorite, Chapati! which is like a flour tortilla and some juice! I was happy to eat chapati for breakfast as well as it is one of my personal favorites!

The children also performed a Christmas skit which was very dramatic and entertaining, I was completely thrilled to witness this bit of it….

Mary – “Joseph, I’M PREGNANT”

Joseph – “Mary you must not joke!!”

Mary – “Joseph, I am not joking! I AM NOT JOKING JOSEPH!!!

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My apologies, I do not have better performance pictures, Patrick wasn’t there during that time so I only had my phone ūüėõ

SO MANY CHILDREN!!!

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Due to some traffic and transportation issues my Katanga kids showed up quite late, not knowing they had arrived I went to the front to meet Patrick so he could come and take photos and I got bombarded! AUNTY AMANDA!!!! When I finally reached Patrick all he says is “Katanga?” “Yep! How’d you know??” Thankfully, they only missed out on some of the performances and still had plenty of time to have a blast!!

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One of the local TV stations, WBS was also there to cover the event! My interviewer was quite handsome! IMG_4113

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If I thought getting a hundred kids in straight lines was hard I was not quite prepared to get 1000 of them in one spot for a group picture but we somehow pulled it off!

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After the big group picture came lunch time! We had rice, beef and yummy cabbage!

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After lunchtime the real fun began! Activity time! with the main event being the train ride!

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Each group of children got to ride around the track twice and they had so much fun!!! Choo Choo!!!

After the train ride any of the children who knew how to swim and owned swimming costumes headed to the pool. I remember telling someone a while back I didn’t think we had much use for swimsuits but it turns out we do! You could rent one for about 75 cents but it would be nice for the ones that like to swim to have their own eventually!

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For some of the kids the excitement was a little too much!

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All in all it was an absolute wonderful day that wouldn’t have been possible without all of the donations and love received from around the world!

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Corrie and Olivia couldn’t make it this year but Sam and the rest of the staff and volunteers did a wonderful job of making sure everything was as perfect as it could be!

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Thank you for loving us and giving us the Best.Christmas.EVER!!

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As always special thanks to Patrick for the awesome pictures! Patrick’s Smugmug

Totes Ma Goats


Where oh where has the time gone??? The past two weeks seem as if it has been so extremely busy! Last Thursday Patrick and I volunteered at Hospice Africa Uganda to commemorate National AIDS Day. It really was an amazing and inspiring place. Hospice Africa offers medication and care to adults and children diagnosed with¬†the HIV/AIDs virus and also offers support for their families. I was proud of Patrick for stepping out of his comfort zone and giving his time for the day along with 60 other volunteers from the U.S. Embassy including the Ambassador at 3 different¬†project sites. Aren’t we good looking bunch in our t-shirts??

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We spent our day making beds for patients, decorating Christmas ornaments with the kids, filling bags of sugar and rice for gifts, baking, serving lunch, making Christmas cards, cleaning up the compound and meeting extraordinary individuals and their families and hearing their amazing stories.

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I have been bugging the crap out of Patrick to let me get a goat, to the point where I’m surprised he hasn’t gotten so annoyed hearing about it and given in. After I got to hold this little one week old guy at Hospice I only want one even more!

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We have a big yard and are constantly spending money on lawn mower fuel… I feel a goat would be the “green option” haha. I’m the only one that seems to think this is a good idea though.

Last Thursday night we were invited to the Japanese Ambassador’s house to celebrate the Emperor’s Birthday! The food was amazing, the drinks were free and I got the pleasure of meeting the acting Foreign Affairs Minister¬†Mr. Henry Oryem Okello! We had a nice talk about our dogs (he has a Maltese) and how he is overpaying for vet fees! I also let him know if he ever needed a dog sitter I was his girl and that little Maltie and Gumbo would hit it off swimingly!

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Friday, we had another party to attend which also had some great food! Saturday was our Embassy Christmas Party, which I walked to (surprisingly was only 31 minutes! but had to turn down 18 boda boda rides) For those of you who don’t know boda bodes are the motorbike taxis here and since they are super dangerous we aren’t allowed to take them, I’ve grown accustomed to the weird looks I get when I’m the only white person walking down the road but I enjoy walking.

This past Wednesday¬†I joined other Diplomat Wives at our monthly DISPAS morning coffee at the South Korean Ambassador’s house where we were given a Korean cooking lesson! Really fun to watch, and afterwards we got to eat a big Korean lunch! Never had Korean food before today and now I even know how to make it!

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This past Thursday we had the Marines over for America Night! Where we pulled out all of our good American beer and had a spread of mozzarella sticks, chicken strips, homemade tortilla chips with homemade salsa and guacamole, pulled pork sandwiches, deviled eggs and the other Amanda brought over her famous buffalo chicken dip! Note to self, when cooking for Marines, if you are unsure if you should make more…. you should definitely make more! Those boys can eat!! It was nice to host them for a night and I look forward to doing it again soon! So much good food this past 2 weeks I’m fairly certain I’ve gained back all 18lbs I’ve lost since being here, I’m afraid to step on the scale!!!

Friday night we had another event to go to and were able to watch our friends’ band Matooke Meltdown play at the British High Commission Club!

Saturday was the long awaited Kids Club Kampala Christmas Party but I have decided to dedicate that event its very own blog to follow this one. We also attended a cocktail party on Saturday night, I think for women cocktail attire is pretty straight forward… cocktail party = cocktail dress. When Patrick and I were invited to a “Black Tie” wedding earlier this year, Patrick assumed that meant he literally had to wear a black tie. Thankfully he didn’t dress up like an actual cocktail but a lot of people gave him a hard time about his “cardigan” poor Patrick!

Yesterday we were invited to the Ambassador’s home for the Holiday Christmas Party. Dress Code was “Festive” which to me seemed like the perfect opportunity to break out my famous reindeer sweater!

10864555_10103610281409592_1465944461_o¬†Looking good huh?? It was a major hit and everyone loved it…..

JUST KIDDING MOM! ūüôā Her one request while I was here or at any other post was to NEVER wear that sweater to an event with the Ambassador. In all reality I didn’t wear it because it would have been way too hot… :-p ¬†Three different Ambassador residences in less than 2 weeks isn’t too shabby though!

Tune in shortly for my Christmas Party blog!

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…


Last year around this time Patrick and I were on our way to Swaziland for vacation so he could meet all of my amazing friends and hopefully finally get to see a rhino! It was our first overseas trip together and we had been dating for less than a year at that time. Between my little shockproof, waterproof basically “Amanda proof” camera and his semi nice camera that was nearing its final days we did mange to get some okay pictures and we did manage to see some Rhinos (a little too close for comfort at one point in time) but they were mediocre at best. So for Christmas last year I decided to buy him a nice SLR camera, thinking it was going to be a shared gift but one of us isn’t always the best at sharing! Since then, Patrick has taken a great amount of time getting to learn his camera and different shooting techniques and has become quite the little artist!

So the camera was a gift from me but I have actually received a gift myself this past year which is not a physical item but one even more special, being able to enjoy moments through my own eyes and take everything in. On all my past solo trips I feel like I have missed out on special moments because I have always been so concentrated on capturing that moment with a camera and being able to share it with others. I love being in pictures, but I hate the time it takes away from something special when I have to take them. Patrick, on the other hand, hates being in pictures but loves taking them! So over the last year I have been able to tell my story through words, and since words aren’t always enough, Patrick has been telling our story through all the amazing pictures he has taken. Without his pictures my words wouldn’t have the same effect and for that I am thankful!

With no further ado… I would now like to take this time to officially share with you the launch of Patrick’s new SmugMug site!

Patrick’s Collection¬†

Way to go Patrick! Enjoy!!