Saturday, November 29, 2014

November memories

Life has been routine since the last time we wrote. It is still rainy season in Timu and we're so thankful for a bigger house where the kids can play inside without driving us bonkers. 

We are helping a few young men start up small businesses and pray that these businesses will thrive and support the families of these men for years to come. Pray for Lopeyok Simon who is starting an apiary (grouping of bee hives) for a honey business. Pray for Tengan Emmanuel who is opening a small shop in Timu to sell basic goods that the Ik can not get otherwise. 

As always, some photos:
Local Ik were growing cabbages bigger than my head. 
Bounty of the earth after a market-run. 
The girls discovered a gold beetle. They are quite interested in bugs at this age.
Trying to picture-read. Janet will turn six next month and start Kindergarden soon. 
Terrill trying a local millet drink from a local cup.
A visit with the midwife who begs me often for knit caps.
Practicing the art of carrying goods on their heads.
Shadow fun
Their favorite toy: the sandbox. They are making model villages out of sand and sticks.
Little boys throwing a spear through a small, round hoop to practice for hunting one day.
A new village going up.
An evening walk to collect wildflowers.
Timu beauty 

We won't be at home for Christmas, so we put the tree up early and have listened to Christmas music for a week already. The girls love the lights and the festive mood of the tree.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

You might live in rural Uganda if...

-You can’t use your appliances when it’s raining (not enough solar power)
-You can’t cut your hair with a trimmer after 5:00 pm (not enough solar power)
-You park your truck in the garage and leave it there for two weeks
-Your ‘concrete’ house is really made of cement-hardened mud
-The exterior paint you bought starts chipping off after 11 months
-The most entertaining thing you do all day is read your spouse’s sent emails
-One of your regular chores is trying to massage a few measly kilobytes out of your horrible internet connection
-A heavy gust of wind sends loose plaster down on your head
-You shower about once every four days
-Your cologne or perfume of choice is actually sunscreen
-You get caught watching really cheesy TV shows from the 1990s
-The only mall you can go shopping in is (when you have internet)
-Local children practice basic literacy on your vehicle paint-job...with rocks
-Your truck AC stops working because of the rat’s nest in the fan compartment
-You get excited when you hear a vehicle and run outside shouting “A car! A car!”
-The jets flying high overhead may as well be from another universe
-You eat leftovers regularly for breakfast (because of no refrigerator)
-There are at least five species of ant in your house at any given time
-You repair your kid’s $2 flipflops over and over with needle and thread
-You reuse matchsticks (to light a second burner)
-You get a new CD you like and listen to it 272 times
-Expired pudding packets are the culinary highlight of the day
-You consider weevils in your food ‘extra protein’
-You can cook ‘greens’ in twenty different ways
-Children scavenge your burn pile and hyenas your yard at night
-The most mental stimulation you get all day is a cup of tea
-All your underwear are now twice their original size (due to hand-washing)
-You have to clean fecal matter off your chicken eggs
-You use a barter system locally instead of money
-You halve or even quarter your paper-towel squares and wet-wipes
-You have recipes for over-ripe fruits
-You feel like sterilizing your hands after touching cash money
-You flush your toilet with gray water
-Dish soap is your main cleaning product
-Giardia is your go-to weight-loss program
-You eat salted butter by the spoonful to regain lost weight
-You have discovered the joy and freedom of relieving yourself outdoors in nature
-You put more money in vehicle maintenance than in rent
-You have been blessed by someone spitting in your face
-Your bowel movements are either loose or non-existent
-You no longer know what is considered appropriate humor
-One thing you do have is an endless supply of salted roasted peanuts
-You discover a nest of mice in your sheets...while you are in bed
-Going home after a major shopping trip involves 400 miles and 14 hours
-You keep a Benadryl itch-stick by your bed at night
-Your local neighborhood park has lions, elephants, and giraffes
-You use four different languages in one conversation
-Your orange juice and milk come in powdered form
-You eat some form of beans at least five times a week
-Your chicken comes to you either alive or in a tin can
-You are the neighborhood pharmacy, ER, hardware, daycare, and machine shop
-You can see into three countries from your front lawn
-You can’t hear each other talk when it rains heavily (noise on a tin roof)
-Your office, library, bedroom, shower, toilet, and the place you have 'dates' with your spouse...are all the same room.
-You spend one of said 'date nights' coming up with blog posts like the present one

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Take life slowly and make some memories

We've taken another long hiatus from this blog, but not by choice. Our internet seems to be getting worse instead of better in Timu. Go figure...although technology in general keeps advancing, it sometimes retreats as well. 

We returned to Timu in mid-October and life has gone back to usual. The question ever plaguing our minds is, "What next?". The furlough we had planned is indefinitely on hold. We've had some correspondence with the embassy but nobody is addressing the way we were mistreated and it doesn't look like we'll be given a new interview anytime soon. We've not given up hope, yet it seems God has given us a clear answer about "Where next?". We will be in Uganda for the foreseeable future. 

We did decide that I would accompany Terrill to Leiden, Holland next month for the defense of his Ik grammar. After some thought, we both decided that we should be there as a couple and finish this chapter of our life out together. We will fly to Leiden on December 14th and return to Uganda on the 18th. A good friend in Entebbe will keep the girls while we're away. Thank the Lord for friends like Grace, who feel like family, and who we're comfortable trusting with our children. Please pray for us all during those days, that we would make the most of the time apart, and that us leaving would not affect the girls adversely. We want to build trust with them by leaving and then returning for them, not abandoning them.

We will stay in south Uganda through Christmas while we await the arrival of my parents. When we were not able to get home, they quickly booked flights to get to us. God surely knows what we need and provides love and support from home at just the right times! I'm so thankful (and words cannot portray how thankful that is) that I have parents willing to drop everything for me. I thought they were only supposed to do that while I was in their household...but they've proved to be just as faithful as parents to an adult child. I love you two! 

My parents will be with us for three weeks, and it will be their first introduction to our girls. Please pray with us that we make the most of that time and have meaningful interactions. Now that we're forced to stay away from home for longer than two years, our interactions with family become all the more precious. As you all (our readers) spend time with family this coming holiday season, take the time to stop and appreciate them. Turn off the TV and ask how they're doing. Make memories that don't involve technology. I promise you won't regret it. I've spent many days missing our families as we've lived in Uganda these past 6.5 years...and my thoughts always return to holidays and really 'being' together. 

As always, I've included pictures from the past five weeks that paint the story of our month.
Before leaving Kampala/Entebbe in October, we took the girls and some friends to the zoo. Actually, the man in the bright blue & white polo is the girls' uncle Hillary. He is attending university in Kampala and we try to visit him every time we go south. The two young people on the left are a brother/sister combo. Lemukol Veronica (12 yrs) broke her right femur bone back in June. It was left unattended for four months and Kaabong hospital could not help her. Finally, we found an Orthopedic hospital in Entebbe who could do a surgery to remove dead bone tissue (she had an osteomyelitis) and apply an external fixator to her broken bone. The fixator will be in place until December when we return her to the hospital for it's removal. I'll take this chance as well to give a shout out for CORSU hospital in Entebbe for 'fixing' Lemukol and giving her a chance in life. Otherwise, she might have become a cripple...or worse. The man beside Lemukol is her brother Vincent who attended her at the hospital. 

Lemukol and Janet riding a camel at the zoo.
The girls quickly grew attached to Lemukol. 
Doing dressing changes on her leg where the fixator was applied. I need to keep it clean and infection-free until December.
The fixator sticking out of her leg. No, it doesn't hurt, in case you're wondering.
We returned to a rainy Timu. But by early November, it was hot, windy and dry again.
I still had a couple of things in my garden to harvest.
Terrill found some figs to harvest from one of our trees as well. 
He decided to make smoothies with the figs. 
We've also had an abundance of papaya lately. This one was huge and took three days to eat. 
Last weekend we spent a day at Kidepo National Park with our Baptist friends. On the way into the park, we spied some zebras.
Zebra in the background.
We waited for them to get off the road before proceeding. They were being quite orderly as they trotted down the road. 
Riding atop an SUV for a game drive. My girls are growing so fast. Janet is 4 ft tall now and Lemu is only six inches shorter. Chalk it up to all the produce we try to consume. 
There were quite a few of us on top of that SUV. 
Spotting elands for the first time in the nearly seven years of visiting this park. 
He was perched so calmly upon this rock...just waiting and watching.
Back to school again. The girls continue to enjoy learning and I continue to tolerate it better. ;-) A cup of coffee and some knitting helps. Janet will turn six on December 22nd and will be ready for Kindergarden in January. Thank the Lord for healthy and happy children!