Monday, June 1, 2009

I'M ALIVE! I PROMISE! I am settled at last in Kabale. Internet connection is rather (by rather I mean extremely) hard to find, thus the late update. Sorry, no pictures this time around. There is only one plae in town with wireless internet and I am unfortunately not there. All is well, though. It feels amazing to be back! I can’t wait to settle into a steady routine here now. Because it’s hard for me to find interwebs these days, I’ve decided to make a running post throughout the week and upload the whole thing from a flash drive whenever I can. Thus, extremely long posts!
So, Paris. A.Maz.Ing. What an awesome adventure. My one mishap of the day happened almost immediately, so I suppose it was good to get that out of the way. I missed my very first metro stop, on the express train, so another stop did not come for a while. As a metro newbie, this was a small ordeal, especially hauling 100 pounds of baggage with me! I kept my humor though, and found my way back without too much trouble. Aside from that, the day went quite smoothly, and I am now a huge fan of Paris’s metro system.
The first thing I did was visit the Louvre! (That statement demands an exclamation point.) Wow. The museum itself is a work of art. It is massive! And the glass pyramid! Don’t even get me started. I loved it all. Unfortunately I did not get to spend much time there because there was a free walking tour I wanted to go on. It was lots of fun; very informative. I did not take the full tour though, because as soon as we go to the Louvre, I, of course had to go inside again. I saw all the standards: Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Nike of Sacramothe, etc. There is way too much to say about the Louvre, so you will just have to ask me about it when I get back. After that, I walked along the Seine to Notre Dame. Beautiful. The inside was just as amazing. There was a service going on, and Latin chanting + pipe organ + Gothic architecture = maximum creepy awesomeness. After this, I ordered some crepes confiture and ate them in the shadow of the cathedral. Is that not the ultimate Parisian experience? After this, I was truly exhausted, as I was running on very little sleep and had been walking all day. But what is a trip to Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower? While still in the city, it is actually quite a distance from everything else. It was lovely, of course. After my 30 minute metro ride back to my hostel I was somewhat revived, so I just meandered through my hostel’s neighborhood, along one of the Seine’s canals. It was nice to see a non-touristy side of Paris. I returned to my hostel, showered, ate, and crashed. I have decided I like hostels. I like the international feel of them. Actually, I met somebody from Modesto there! Small world!
The next morning, I took the metro back to the airport, and resumed my journey. My last flight, from Nairobi, Kenya to Kigali, Rwanda was delayed, and then combined with one to Burundi, so I did not arrive in Kigali until around 4 AM. Needless to say, I was quite tired after all of this. Charles (one of Joab’s friends, and mine too now) still graciously picked me up and took me to the room I had booked. A few short hours later, Joab returned with Charles to pick me up, and I enjoyed the chance to get to know Charles a little better; he is a very interesting guy. I am now Auntie to his six adopted kids!
It felt so great to finally get back in to Kabale and see the familiar sights and friends. Joel and Joan (Joab and Connie’s kids) have gotten so big! There are so many new buildings up on the new KTC campus! Everything looks wonderful. Joab and the staff have been very busy getting ready for the term. Monday was the students’ registration day and classes began Tuesday. I am eager to find my niche here, which is slowly but surely happening.
This week, I have been sitting in on different classes, and teaching, as well as doing the odd work project. As far as teaching classes goes, I am loving it. There is a bit of a language barrier, but as long as I speak slowly, I am usually understood. Mostly, I have been in English classes, my comfort zone, if you will. I am finding out where I will best fit in around here. Starting next week, I will most likely have a set program for my stay, which will include teaching, leading Bible studies, secretarial work, and whatever else is needed at the moment. Also this week, I have been to the Akanijuka (He is able) Children’s Home, where I am also teaching English. I will be there for three mornings a week. These kids are aged around four to twelve, and as precious as they could possibly be. David and Kathryn (a young Australian couple who run the orphanage) are very nice people. So, I’m having a great time here in Kabale so far. It has been so great to see familiar faces around here, and to begin building new friendships. Actually, I've had fun making friends with people from all over the word: France, Ireland, Japan, Australia.
This past weekend, I hiked up to Lake Bunyoni with some of the KTC staff. Bunyoni is the deepest lake in Uganda at 6,500 feet. More than a mile! And it is possibly one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. It is surrounded by beautiful green terraced hills and has many islands. Lovely. The best part, though, was seeing Edith on our way into town! (Edith was one of the first friends I made in Kabale in 2004, and my family actually sponsored her education for several years. She has endured a lot of hardship in her life, and is still overcoming.)It was immediately decided that she would join us, and we had a great time catching up. She is an amazing person. On our way back in to town, I quickly stopped at her house to say hi to Edith's mom and to meet Edith's daughter Joan at last. She's adorable!
I’ve really enjoyed getting a taste of Ugandan life. One of the main differences is, of course, the food. A few mornings ago, I came out of my room to find corn on the cob on my plate for breakfast. Most meals will include either posho (a maize based substance best described as looking like mashed potatoes and tasting like nothing) or matoke (mashed and steamed plantains). Goat is the most common meat, which, it turns out, I really genuinely like. Dinner is almost never eaten before 9:00 PM. The other night, I had a great time in the kitchen with Connie. She showed me how to make chapatti, a sort of flatbread. So delicious. Also, it was requested that I make an American dish, so I cooked pasta with garlic sauce and tomatoes and peppers. People seemed to like it, although you never know when someone is just being polite.
Currently, the most popular evening entertainment is Uno. I brought the game with me and taught Joab’s family how to play, something we have done every night for a good solid hour or two. Instead of saying “uno” when you’re down to one card though, it is now common practice to say “I am remaining with one.” I love it.
It has been raining off and on for the past few days here, something I realized, hypothetically, could be problematic when driving almost exclusively on dirt roads. It becomes quite literally a problem though, when the tiny pickup you are driving uphill on a steep dirt road in the rain stalls and begins to slide back down. I was wondering if I should bail, and Joab was just laughing. T.I.A. On the plus side, the weather is quite nice when not raining. It is very moderate, and the rain makes the already impossibly green hills look absolutely luminous.
So far, I’ve loved being here without a group. It is an entirely different experience. The students at KTC seem much less shy when there is only one of you and many of them. Everywhere I go, I here murmurs of “muzungu” (white person), to which I respond with a grin and an “agandi” (how are you?) which gets an even bigger laugh. Everyone is very interested in my family and life in California. I’ve truly enjoyed getting to know everyone, and have met more people than whose names I can possibly remember.
So, that is about a week's worth of updating. God is incredibly gracious, and already I am learning so much about Him as well as myself. As always, your prayers are welcomed! Please pray that I am able to see His will for me here and use every opportunity to serve for His glory. Sorry for the word-heavy, picture-light post, but with the internet as it is, posting pictures is quite the chore. Ask me to show them to you when I get back! I love you all!


  1. Wonderful! It's so good to hear about your journey...Paris sounds amazing, but Kabale simply divine. I think of how many there are here who would love to be sharing your experience, but know we are with you in spirit. Keeping you in thought and prayer, as always. Be safe.

  2. Wow That all is amazing! I'm jealous of your Paris experience. Jealous of your travel adventures but mostly jealous of your chance to serve the Lord in such a big and life-changing way! I praise God that you were obedient to Him in this opportunity and am excited to hear all about how He uses you these next few months! Can't wait to hear more. <3

  3. SO good to hear about your trip!! It is fun to picture you there - I am so blessed to have visited... and the funniest thing is, I can hear them saying "I am now remaining with one" and I am just cracking up about it!! We are lifting you to the LORD daily!! xoxo tami & clan