Monday, October 28, 2013

An updated house

We're almost there. It's almost finished. After three months of stress and toil, our new house is about move-in ready. It took a little over a week to get painted. Missionary friends just arrived this past weekend with solar equipment and were able to install it for us. Terrill & his uncle are working on the plumbing and should be done in the next few days...and then...a new abode for us! 
The front of the house (above). The back of the house (below).
Side view with Terrill charging up the hill while cleaning the compound.
My kitchen counters, made of cement and bricks.
The new island in my kitchen.
Clay tiling in the girls' bathroom.
(As a side note, the girls' aunt came for a visit with her baby daughter, Jenna. Janet & Lemu love to carry Jenna around acting like she's their baby. Speaking of Janet, we had a visit with their mother last weekend and learned something remarkable. Janet's name is not Janet at all...but Mercy. Janet was the name of the nurse who assisted Alice to deliver her Alice nicknamed her baby Janet but named her Mercy. Unfortunately, none of the relatives knew this and nobody told us until this past weekend. Even Alice calls her 'Janet' and not 'Mercy'. TIA. Only in Africa would we live with a girl for six months and not know her legal name. What to do now as all her paperwork has the name 'Janet' on it? As of right now...she goes by either name. We'll deal with a name change in the future.)
Lemu was 'helping' Uncle Calvin as he altered the doors to fit in the frames.
A shrew or a mouse? I'm not sure...but this little fellow scampered out of my shoe one morning as I went to put my foot into it. And that is why people must check their footwear!
A finished door. All doors are in place now after days of chiseling and sawing them to fit. The custom fit that we ordered did not exactly come to us that way.
Uncle Calvin & Aunt Mary Jane have already been a God-send! Below Calvin is fixing a weed-eater that we could have never fixed on our own.
Well, that's our week and the updates to the house. Stay in tune for more...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bros in the House

For those of you who don't know this, I (Amber) have twin brothers who are about a year younger than me. They were a blast to grow up with and have proven recently that some things never change. They're both pretty handy with tools (a gift passed down from our awesome father), so we invited them over to Uganda for a few weeks to help us with our house. I have to start this blog by thanking their gracious families (wives and kids) who allowed them to come over and give generously of their time to us. My bros showed abundantly through their actions how much they love and support us. 

Since we're in Kampala at the moment and have great're going to get a photo blog of our experience with Josh & Justin. 
 One of the best things they did for us was to tint the windows of our Patrol. On the ride down, we could feel the temperature difference from now (tinted windows) and before (no tinting). Loads of difference! I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking about it, especially in E.Africa.
 Can you tell they are clowns? They've had years of experience.
 One of the huge projects that Justin worked on for us was to put up a fence. This is so vital in our area to keep out animals and unwanted visitors. It will also help control children who tend to come and tamper with anything that is not nailed down. It was back-breaking work but Justin sucked it up and didn't complain...much. ;-) Poor guy did cut up his hands for us. I know what you're thinking...gloves...but they kept getting the barbs stuck in the gloves and it didn't work well.
 Unrolling the barbed wire.
 Pulling it taut. They made the fence nice and tight so children couldn't lift the wire and crawl through.
 Justin had two Ik men, Peter & Moses, working with him for several days and they somehow communicated despite the language barrier. Justin thinks he's good at sign language. Something worked because the job got done.
 Josh & Justin are finishing the fence up at the gate.
 While Justin was working on the fence, Josh was working on the rainwater-catchment system. He started by painting and putting up fascia board. We had seen clouds gathering from Kenya, so knew we needed to get our gutter system in place in order to fill our tank.
 This should have been a simple job, but the guys had to adjust the gutters several times to best catch the water coming off the roof. When they originally finished the job, it rained soon thereafter and we discovered that we weren't catching any was falling behind the gutters. So the next day, they went out and repositioned the gutters to better catch water. Now, our 10,000 liter tank is 80% full of rainwater. Thank the Lord the system got put up before a big rain. We don't know how much more rain we'll have this season as it's been a terrible year for rainfall.
 The guys also built & poured a platform for our huge water tank. This is at the back of our house.
 Another of their jobs (and one of the dirtier ones) was to tile our bathrooms. We had purchased clay tiles from south Uganda and soon realized they were not what the boys were used to in the states. Justin had to grind the back of the tiles down (the ridges were too deep) in order that the tiles wouldn't require so much cement to go in place.
 Measuring tiles for Josh.
 Josh is gifted at laying tile and does so meticulously. He's a very artistic guy who likes to do things right. Aren't I blessed to have such talented brothers?
 Our mostly-tiled bathroom.
 We had wanted to do a good deal of painting while my brothers were here. In order to get things done more quickly, we had them bring a paint sprayer over. We were so excited to use the sprayer and knock out the painting...until we realized that the nozzle wasn't big enough for the thick Ugandan paint. Even watered down, the paint wouldn't shoot through the sprayer. Disappointment was inevitable!
 We did end up using a roller to do a bit of priming on the walls. I learned a good deal about painting from Justin.
 The inside of our house. The walls were primed and have been painted since then. The door to the left goes to our bedroom and the door to the right goes to the garage and storeroom.
 This will be my kitchen. Look how big it is! The door to the right is our bedroom. And Terrill gave me a big window over my sink.
The front of the house. The window to the far left is our bedroom. The two windows in the middle are the kitchen and dining area. The window to the right is the girl's bedroom.
 Another view of the house from the side.
 Can you see it? Center-right...look for the tin roof.
 A closer view.
 My bros in Timu...never thought I'd see the day, but the Lord has a way of ordaining these things.
 Dinner with the family in our small hut. We already miss the times of laughing we had together.
 Driving to Murchison Falls (central Uganda) after the work was done. Janet was laying claim to her uncles.
 Fun in the game park. Lemu somehow wiggled her way onto uncle Josh's lap.
 Baboons in the road.
 Who is looking at who?
 Getting out of the way.
 Once in Murchison Falls, we learned the ferry was down and we couldn't drive over to the side of the park that had animals. We spent two days in Murchison without seeing much...but we did drive up to the source of the falls (a big gap in the rocks). Justin & Josh tried to take a normal picture but they kind of egg each other on to goofiness.
 Me with my gals at the falls. Happy to be with family!
 Terrill with his gals.
 Josh pondering the meaning of life.
 Buffalo along the road.
 The very morning we were to leave, we learned the ferry was being opened again. So...we loaded up and decided on a game drive that morning before going to Kampala. Saw a lot of giraffes.
 The one hartebeest who didn't run away.
 When we finally made it to Kampala, we treated the boys to pizza. After several weeks of my cooking, they thought they'd died and gone to heaven. ;-) Just kidding...
We were so grateful to have my brothers come and feel blessed that they were willing. As I said good-bye at the airport, I could only tear up and cherish the good times and memories of my brothers in my heart. Sentimental, I know. But when you live without family for such a long time, you treasure the time you have together and don't take people for granted. Thank Josh & Justin! I couldn't have asked for better or more loving brothers.