Sunday, February 21, 2010

time to relax!

Hello family and friends, we haven’t had running water in over a week, and the electricity has been cutting in and out. We’ve done a lot since the last blog, but I’ll have to fill you in later. I have to go pack for our trip to Jinja for a retreat on the Nile. Sweeeeeet! We’re taking public transportation to get there, which they call “the post office bus.” I don’t understand why they call it that, but I think it’s pretty funny. Anyway, I won’t be able to blog again for another week. Have a good week everyone!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

exercise and rainy days.

Last night, Angela and I went to House of Hope orphanage. We usually go on Mondays so Angela can help coach the boys’ soccer team. I decided to do some exercises with her. As we were doing some crunches, the youngest girl in the orphanage (who, incidentally, is called “Small”) sat next to me and started doing crunches as well. It was so funny to see a preschool age girl do some crunches. She even did some lunges with us. It was especially fun because she normally is too shy to talk to us. Once she was comfortable with us, she was having a blast, and drew in a bunch of other girls to exercise with us too. It was so much fun. Today I woke up with the sorest muscles ever. It actually feels good to exercise though.

This morning, we went to devotions and Richard gave another y=mx+b speech, except this time it was about y=x-1. It was pretty hilarious. We had class afterwards with a great meditation time, then we went to House of Prayer and the prison. We spoke briefly to the women. I spoke about the daily choice to follow God and the fact that you can’t just pray one prayer and be okay for the rest of your life. Angela shared after that, then we headed back to the mission house to meet Carole.

As we pulled up, the sky began to get dark with clouds. While we talked to Carole, the rain went CRAZY. Thankfully it means that we will have running water again! We were stuck at the mission house for a few minutes. Thankfully, Godfrey (our awesome driver) called us to see if we were okay and came to pick us up. We somehow made it back to our place, and now we’re about to eat dinner.

Friday, February 12, 2010

sewing machines and graduations

Yesterday was a pretty relaxed day… I learned how to use a sewing machine here! I had to use it at House of Hope (the orphanage), and it was worth so it. They are the super cool old Singer machines that use no electricity. You have to use both of your feet to push the pedal back and forth—it is a real workout. I loved it so much that Angela and I might buy one. They are pretty inexpensive anyway. Plus, I miss being creative when I want to be. It was all really fun until two older men came in and started watching me and Angela. I love figuring things out for myself, so when the machine jammed, I didn’t ask for help. Plus, we were pretty sure they didn’t speak English since they never said a word to us. They thought my troubleshooting was the funniest/most amusing thing in the world and sat there staring. At first it was blank stares, then laughter. Thankfully Angela blocked their view of what was happening, because they were starting to make me angry. I’m not going to lie; it was pretty irritating. About an hour later, one of them finally told me what I was doing wrong. He spoke English all along.

Since we decided to buy our own machine, we figured we didn’t have to finish. After all, the kids were back from school and all of them wanted to shake our hands. It didn’t matter if I had the machine going. They would stick their hands directly in my way. It was time to stop! So we came back home to no electricity and no water. Thankfully the electricity came back on, but before it did, we sat under the stars in the cool air for a while. The mosquitoes haven’t been as irritating as they usually are, so it was okay to sit outside. It turns out that FOG is putting in a generator for us, so it was funny to sit outside because it seemed like everyone from FOG was outside installing it. They never got it to work, but we didn’t need it after all, so it was okay.

This morning, the water was back on. We went to devotions, where of course, Cosmos (a hilarious 40-something ADHD seeming man) decided he wanted me to play some worship songs. I had no idea it was coming, so it was pretty funny. After devotions, we went to the portable bible school in Minakulu for the graduation. It is the same place that we went to for three days a few weeks ago (not Palabek, which we hated, the other one). The portable bible school is a two month program for anyone who wants to attend. On the last day, all of the students get a bible from FOG. We drove there (about 45 minutes away) and they had a whole procession of students walking down the street. The “ceremony” was super unorganized in typical Uganda fashion, but it was fun nonetheless. They asked us to present the awards. When they called people’s names, they jumped up as if they were on The Price is Right; some of them were singing and dancing on their way! It was pretty funny.

The time came for lunch and we were told that we had to eat like the Ugandans, AKA with our hands! I was an absolute mess. It is so difficult to eat rice and soupy food with your hands. I don’t know how everyone was so neat. Angela was dying of laughter watching me. I had food EVERYWHERE. We finally left after lunch and I showered when we got back. Showers with running water can be such a beautiful thing at the end of a crazy day!

We just got back from dinner with Godfrey and Judith. We took them out for Godfrey’s birthday at Churchill. It was great to talk to them together as a couple; they are so cute. They told us all about how they met, then we talked to Judith about her passion for helping women in Uganda. It is really sucky how much men look down on women here. A lot of the women actually have to bow before their husbands when they serve them food or water. So crazy. Judith is really independent and flat out awesome though. She tries to instill freedom in the women that she encounters, and I think she succeeds. She is great.

Anyway, it has been a long day and I am tired. Time for bed! Goodnight family and friends!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

who are youuuuuu?

Today we had devotions then we went to the bakery AND a sweet coffee shop downtown! AND I had chocolate ice cream there! It was so awesome. We were joined by a group of five Canadians. Two of them will be here longer than we will, and the other three are leaving in three weeks. After the coffee shop, Angela and I went to a video store next door, where I got Dexter season 1 for about $2.50. It is a totally burned copy, but it works!

After my wonderful Dexter find, we walked to House of Prayer for afternoon prayer. They asked me to sing with the worship team even though I didn’t bring my guitar. I nearly died of laughter when they started singing, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me and the devil knows I am the wiener (winner)” hahaha! Then they sang, “Who are youuuuu?” and the response is, “I am a wiener (winner)!!!” I couldn’t contain my laughter… the hardest part is that I was on stage and I couldn’t get off, so I had to conceal my laughter as much as possible.

We left afternoon prayer and went to the prison. Angela and I went with Joyce and two Canadians to the women’s side, and the rest of the group went to the men’s side. I wasn’t planning on sharing, but of course, they said, “Okay Yvette, share.” You can’t say no when that happens. It’s a good thing I did share, because God did some cool things. Since Sunday, Mark 11 has been on my mind. It begins with the story of Palm Sunday (as you all know), and I really focused on the word “hosanna.” It means, “Save now.” I talked about how the Jews thought that Jesus was going to be a great king who overthrew the Roman government. They wanted Jesus to save them the way they wanted him to save them, not the way that he actually would. Then I talked about Angela and her eye. Angela was playing soccer one day when she got hit in the head with the ball. The next day, she was blind in her right eye. She prayed and asked God why he would allow that to happen and if he would heal her, but he said no. He told her that her story would be used to encourage others who are suffering from physical problems.

I talked to the women about Angela crying out for God to save her—in a sense, it was her own “hosanna” cry. I told them that many of them may be suffering from sickness or problems, or maybe they don’t belong in jail, but we all need to stop getting angry with God for things like this. Instead of saying, “Hosanna—fix this problem for me the way I want you to, God,” we should be saying, “Hosanna—not my will, but yours be done.” I felt really convicted by my own message, and it was just crazy because I didn’t initially know what I was actually going to say when I started talking. It was so cool to see the women actually think about it; I could tell that they were processing it by the looks on their faces.

After that, we joined all the Canadians and got some Ethiopian food again because it is one of their birthdays. It was awesome as usual. I love Gulu.

Friday, February 5, 2010


YAY! Back in Gulu! We just had one of the roughest weeks of our lives in Palabek. It is a village that’s probably about 80 miles outside of Gulu, but takes FOREVER to get to (we took 3 hours to get there on Monday and 4 hours to get back). We went for trauma counseling and were a bit upset because we found out it wasn’t a typical trauma counseling course. Because of the high turnout, they decided to make this course a class on how to be a counselor. I was honestly pretty upset because we didn’t get to hear anyone’s stories or connect with people on a personal level. On top of that, we didn’t have any translation on the first day. Plus, we had four people in a tiny, HOT, and HUMID cement square of a room. I think Palabek can be described as the Palm Springs of California. Gulu is more like LA in the summer, but this place was HOT!!!!!!!

It has been such a ridiculous week. I’m so happy that I had Angela and Casandra with me. Since it has been a long day, I’ll just give some highlights—although they aren’t all good things:

•Night time in Palabek is amazing because there aren’t many bugs and the stars shine so bright. It was refreshing to sit outside with a breeze every night—except for the night it rained and we were stuck in our room from 6pm to morning.

•On Tuesday, Angela had ridiculous problems with her contact lenses because it was so windy. She took them out and couldn’t see anything for the rest of the day! It was actually pretty funny. (She’s fine now.)

•Casandra and I shared during the lesson on Tuesday. She shared about stress and I shared about how to fix it (breathing methods, the importance of exercise, and having good attitudes.)

•Practically all of my jokes flop when I speak, but Angela and Casandra are always laughing pretty hard so I know that they’re good.

•Some guy thought Casandra said her name was “Santa.”

•No running water. Showers were in a tiny four-walled cell with no roof (and on occasion, some people pee in it, so it stinks!). Casandra was a little too tall for it so she had to bend over when she washed herself.

•No toilets. Having to take care of business in a hole is no fun, especially when you’re feeling sick.

•As Casandra looked around our compound, she said, “I feel like we’re in a concentration camp.” HAHAHAHA!

•Angela woke up the next morning and said, “I keep opening my eyes and hoping that we’re somewhere else, but it’s not working!”

•I got about 10 hours worth of discussion about why I should want to get married. Everyone goes crazy on me when I say that I’m not trying, but I’m not-not trying either. One of the guys in charge of trauma counseling, Jimmy, is a 40+ year old man who thought it was the funniest thing in the world. He let me hear a popular local song that says, “I’m single but not searching.” It was hysterical. As if that wasn’t enough, he gave me a flyer for a conference on “choosing the right spouse” and laughed about it for the rest of the day!

•As I was getting a marriage lecture, a cat and a lizard came into our compound. The cat was chasing the lizard, and the lizard ran at Casandra. Angela was filming the marriage lecture and suddenly started SCREAMING! We got the whole thing on tape. The cat caught the lizard before it flew into Casandra!

•The counseling course went really well and tons of people got saved on the last day. It was really cool to witness that, and it was probably one of the only moments that I really enjoyed being a part of.

•We were asked to say something on the last day of the course (basically a thank you and goodbye speech). Angela told us that she would say something on our behalf, but she didn’t make that clear to the crowd. So after Angela shared, Casandra and I still had to share, and we totally weren’t prepared to!

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