Wow so much as happened. Sorry that I have been terrible at updating. Here is a cute picture to make up for it . . .
So in the past month, lots of things have happened. Some good and some bad. I’ll try to start with the oldest and work my way towards more recent. I am sorry if I leave anything out. Here is another cute picture . . .
On July 11th, Kampala was bombed during the World Cup Finale. That night, Jill and I had dinner with our friends from Alabama. After dinner, we were going to join our friends at the Ethiopian Village Restaurant to watch the game but last minute decided to go home because we had an early morning. That night, a bomb went off at the Ethiopian Restaurant just feet away from our friends. God is so amazing though. They were completely untouched physically. Everything that happened lined up in a way that they remained safe. For example, they were late getting to dinner which led to them not getting their usual table at the Ethiopian restaurant, which happened to be the one the bomb was under. They were then placed in a side room which helped block some of the explosion. They also couldn’t get a window curtain open, which ended up stopping glass from hitting them. Yet, people behind them were dead, but they were untouched.
Security around Kampala has been pretty strict (especially for Uganda). I used to be able to describe security in Africa as I would go through security with my gun in my purse and my knife in my pocket. I would set my purse on a table, walk through the metal detector, the detector would go off but they would still let me pass. I would grab my purse, and then walk off with my gun and knife. . . . Now, oh boy . . . I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have been frisked trying to get into Garden City or Nakumatt (grocery/shopping centers). I can’t lie, I felt slightly violated at times.
I have never seen so many police in my life. The African Union took place from the 17th-27th so delegates from all over Africa were in Kampala. As you can imagine, this caused the security to be even more heightened. I learned that there are different types of police. The police in white are traffic police, the police in blue are the Antiriot police, the police in tan are the general police, and the police in black are the anti-terrorist police. Military men can be found wearing green camouflage (assuming you can see them . . . camouflage joke?). It was weird going from only seeing security guards with one bullet in their guns to police and military with loaded weapons, extra magazines and ammo and clips and bullets shoved everywhere. This one time, I was passed by a caravan of delegates. Between every car, there was a military vehicle with soldiers at the top with guns pointed and ready. That was definitely a tad bit scary.
As many people know, the elections are coming up soon in Uganda. The opposing party has a home right next to the babies’ home. A couple of weeks ago, I was walking to the babies’ home when I saw a truck full of antiriot police in a truck in front of me. I definitely wasn’t prepared what I saw next. Suddenly, a group of police hopped out of the truck and grabbed a random lady off the street. One grabs her by the arms and another by the feet. This lady is kicking and screaming as the beat her and shove her into the back of the truck. They then turn the truck around and drive past me, stopping just after the Babies’ home. It turns out that the opposing party wanted to have a demonstration but the current party isn’t so much of a fan of that. I got a few pictures but I had to be careful not to get into trouble.
I spent a lot of the last few weeks sick. We are not sure what I had and probably will never fully know. We are pretty sure that I Strep Throat. I ended up getting some Amoxicillin from the pharmacy and felt much better within a few days. Sadly being sick kept me out of the preemie room for a week, but I did get to spend some time with the older babies. That was kind of fun!
We got in a new premature baby named Jordan. Jordan had a lot of health problems and we didn’t know Jordan’s gestational age because the test was done too long after birth. We also were not sure whether or not Jordan was a boy or a girl. A week or so after getting Jordan, she threw up blood and it was clear that the baby had NEC. We tried as much as we could to help Jordan out but she ended up dying Thursday before I left.
Saying goodbye to the nannies was super hard. Unlike the babies, they will remember me and I was able to react on a more personal level with them. I also didn’t realize that most of the nannies didn’t know that I was leaving. That made it a little harder because they were not prepared for it. Some of the nannies didn’t find out until the day after I was gone. I do feel kind of bad about that.
I went to the equator a few weeks ago. That was an interesting trip. It involved lots of Matatu rides. First we caught a Matatu to the Old Taxi Park – as in close to where the taxi park was, leaving us to find it. Eventually we did find the Old Taxi Park and learned that it was the wrong one; we needed to be at the new Taxi Park.
I wish there was a way to describe the taxi parks. They are huge, incredibly crowded, matatus crammed together everywhere, people swarming all over the place, people trying to sell things to everyone, and very intimidating. The area of town is kinda creepy too. I didn’t see a single Mzungu (white person) the entire time we were out.
We finally found the new taxi park and got on the matatu we needed to be on. Some of the stuff that people said to us is too inappropriate to put on this blog. After 2 hours, we finally made it to the equator. It was cool, I guess . . . Kind of in the middle of nowhere, so basically you go and take pictures and then leave.
The way back was interesting. Danielle and I were so squished in the Matatu. We were a little thrown off when the Matatu dropped of us close to the new taxi park. We were so lost! After about an hour (or 2) we found the church and then the Babies’ home. This journey involved being grabbed by a lady and pulled to her rice stand (my arm still hurts by her tight grip) and me using the phrase “Get your dirty hands off of me!” after the 100th man grabbed my arm.
We went to visit Sozo International a few times during my last few weeks. Our Alabama friends had to leave due to the bombs so we decided to check in a couple of times and make sure things were ok. Those kids are so cute! The second time we went in, one of the girls was sick so we took her into the clinic. I held her the entire time and it reminded me of how much I love being with children in orphanages. This is so what God has called me to and I cannot wait until I am back. Hopefully that wait isn’t very long at all. Being with those kids makes me think that I could stay here forever.
A few of us went to the Uganda Wildlife Education Center (zoo) and to the Botanical gardens. The zoo was disappointing but the gardens were awesome! I got to feed monkeys and swing from a vine! YAY!
Oh and my bed broke a few days before I left . . . bummer!
My visa got pretty messed up a month before I left. Luckily it was handled and I was able to legally leave the country. This incidence was quite the reminder of how one must be flexible with cultural differences. Trust me, it isn’t a very easy lesson to learn.
I hung out with Craig two weeks before I left. It was pretty exciting to see a fellow Next Step Intern. I felt so proud of my little brother and his hear t to serve in Uganda for a year!
I learned that I really like Indian food. YAY!
I started to make a list of things to do and not to do in an organization that has international volunteers. I hate the fact that most of the list comes from things that Watoto did wrong. There is a lot to say about an organization that grows so large in so little time. So many things get looked over and I want to make sure that with Hope N Doors, some of those things get close attention.
My plane trip was crazy. I am pretty sure there was a screaming child near by the entire journey. After a little over 45 hours, I was greeted at the Pasco Airport by my family! I still don’t know how I feel about being home. I definitely miss being in Africa but it is nice to have clean water! I cannot wait until I can return back to Africa!
Oh, so random . . . one of the zippers on my suitcase broke, leading to my journal falling out of my suitcase. So I am sorry if I wrote anything about any of you guys that is now somewhere out in the world.
The thing I have found to be close to the weirdest – I expected everyone to have grown so much since I left. I expected lots of change and differences. Mind you, there is some change – people are married or engaged, people have new toys, some babies have been born, ect . . . but that is it. I feel as though I have changed so much, I have grown so much . . . yet everyone is the same. I wasn’t really expecting that.
Good news, I have found a place to live! I am still looking for a job in Pullman but I know God will provide that in due time!!