27 August 2010

Mundri

South Sudan...

here safe and sound. having a blast, moseying around the house and town, listening to and telling stories with friends who feel like family, eating great food (who woulda thunk one would eat hot homemade lime tortilla chips with fresh black bean and corn salso for dinner in South Sudan coupled with homemade Guava juice?! Thank YOU Larissa and Scott :)), meeting people who live not so far from Bundibugyo but whose life experiences seem in some ways so very different, whose faces look so very different, whose languages are so very different...God has created such a fascinating world for us to live in!

So thankful for Michael, Karen, Acacia, Liana, Gaby, Kim, Christine, Larissa, Scott, Phil, and John for hosting us so graciously.

more later...

23 August 2010

The Silent Army

So, ALL of that said, Anna and I are currently in “the big city” for some R&R. What does R&R look like in the big city? Alarmless mornings, boda’s, restaurants (ie. diversity of food without having to make it from scratch!), and the list goes on, but probably the most fun thing we do when we’re in the big city is go to see movies!

Travis and Amy told us they read in the newspaper when they were in Kampala the week before last about a movie showing that was a Dutch movie about the child solier tragedies in Africa. Maybe some of you have heard about the work of Invisible Children, some of you have read or seen reports in the news in the last 2 decades or so of Joseph Kony and his LRA, but the horrors are real. And these stories are not alone, in various places throughout this continent, men like Kony have been terrorizing societies by literally stealing their children, physcially, psychologically, emotionally, sexually...This movie, The Silent Army, tells the story of a young African boy and his young Dutch friend and the story of how their lives intersect with these horrors. The story is not particular to Uganda, but was partially filmed here and Ugandan actors/actresses star in the movie, made by a Dutchman who was raised in the DRC, filmed partially in South African and based to some degree on the story of Charles Taylor and the rebels in Sierra Leone. A story of child soldiers in Africa...a winner at the Cannes Film Festival, but not the Oscars...

But before you all rush out to find and watch it (since the topic is so enticing and all…), this movie is NOT for the faint of heart. This movie, in my opinion, makes Blood Diamond and it’s story of child soldiers in Sierra Leone and their intersection with the diamond industry, seem almost like “child’s play” (no pun intended). Maybe it’s just my current frame of mind or recent experiences, or the literal proximity of the situation to my own current one…I’m not sure, but it was raw…up close and personal whereas Blood Diamond is a bit more polished and Hollywood-ified…there are cultural tidbits throughout the movie that drew me in, phrases in Luganda that children in my life use everyday, cultural norms, topography, views of bridges I have driven over, that make the reality of the horrors hit close to home, that makes the horror more horrible…

Don’t get me wrong, I thought it was VERY well done, but I did spend a good part of the 2 hours with my sweatshirt infront of my eyes…

21 August 2010

filling in the blank...mon/tues

Monday: There wasn’t much sleep that night, and today began within moments of getting out of bed…8 hours of “investigation” and conversations. Between conversations/dealings with Mission staff later in the day, I laid down on the couch to gather my thoughts and rest, an hour later I woke up from a drool inducing nap when Anna sneezed. I was exhausted!

In addition to serving African tea to the UPDF who had diligently hung around to see the situation handed over into the hands of the police, there were many hours of standing around talking about the goings on of the previous 12 hours, and a couple of trips to my least favorite place in Nyahuka, the Police Station. The Bundibugyo police station’s are some of my least favorite places, my discomfort levels are pushed every time I visit – not sure if it’s the seeming fa├žade of justice, a crew of policemen sitting around usually not doing much, the heebeejeebees I get when standing at the counter next to what I not-so-fondly refer to as “the cage” – a 7’x7’x7’ cube made out of wide pieces of lumber with tiny gaps between the planks - the “holding cell” which suspects are held in until they are either released or moved to either “the cage” in BGO Town or the district prison in Bubukwanga. When you fill the cell with African men, all that’s visible to those of us on the outside is the reflection of the light from the front doors behind me in the eyes of their dark faces…catching a glance of a cell full of eyes peering at you through the gaps as your information is recorded in the books is rather unsettling. So, when sitting to wait to have my statement taken, or waiting for people to translate the discussion of the situation from Lubwisi into English, I usually spend a lot of time staring at the ground, at the shiny black boots of the police officers and/or UPDF soldiers gathered or the light blue crocs which in the past have been on Jennifer’s feet sitting next to me, but now have my own feet inside.

The day also included some CSI Bundibugyo work by John and myself, tracking the indentations and smudges of gumboot foot prints running into the Demo Garden, over the fence into our yard - complete with brush/plants crushed under the weight of the intruder, and back out of the Garden again; marking each print, taking photos…I was typically cynical that anything will come from it, but John pressed on, so I continued.

Highlight of the day: The return of one of my wallets containing both of my driver’s licenses, my health insurance and ATM cards, and my PASSPORT!!! The details of course are VERY murky, but the most important things were recovered. Why did it take 12 hours for them to surface from a Mission staff member’s home? Why did no one responsible mention it to John or I? Was it before or after the rain? Why were the items dry when it had rained off and on during the night/morning they were reported to be found in the grass? On and on and on the conversations went…

So, Anna held down the fort, received concerned guests/friends who heard news of the events of the previous night, made tea for the soldiers, talked to concerned teammates who were out of the district and managed to get some work of her own done amidst all the drama.

When the sun began to go down we were spent…frustrated, thankful, frustrated, thankful. There were gin and tonics, 3 episodes of Chuck and Ghiardelli triple chocolate brownies to cap off the day.


Tuesday:

First thing we headed back to the police station where the official we had talked to the day before seemed somehow slimier than he had the day before…Anna gave her statement of the events that occurred on the night of Saturday the 7th of August 2010, and we moved on, we still had a car to get repaired…remember that? The fuel tank that fell off? Yeah, we still had that to care of. Never a dull moment.

So, off Anna and I went in the Clark’s vehicle with George the vehicle savvy houseworker on loan from Pat who was out of the district, AND Vincent who wanted to see his mom who lives near the Bishop, AND a fellow teacher of his who needed a ride to town. We went to Bgo Town to find the mechanic named Hakim on Vanilla road…Hakim turned out to be about 12…okay, so maybe he was 20, but he was smiling and respectful and had a yellow mechanic’s jumpsuit on, so I told him to get in and we’d take him to see the damage. We drove to the Bishop’s in Bumadu and assessed the situation, found the size of bolts needed to replace the tank to it’s original position, went back to town to find the bolts and a few tools, returned to Bumadu and we waited. Janet brought chairs for us to sit under the shade tree next to the vehicle, George was the assistant mechanic helping Hakim the whole time, Vincent went to visit his mom and tried to help when he could. At 6pm we were “cookin’ with gas” as my dad says. George drove the Zoolander and I drove the Clark’s vehicle and we were on our way back to Nyahuka…5 hours and $30 later (60,000 Ush) we were golden – fuel tank in it’s proper position and full-ish of fuel. Above are a few photos documenting the tank’s being on the ground and in process of repair. Note the rwenzori water bottle funnel, bafu and jerry can fuel storage, and the Nomi container scoop…perfect…So thankful for Janet and Robert and all of their help, the Bishop and his wife for their kindness/patience with us, for Hakim and his respectful good work, for George and Vincent and their help…and so thankful for a fuel tank properly attached to the vehicle and effectively powering the car where we needed it to go. It’s the little things in life that are actually not so little, you know?

Favorite quote of the day (from Janet after watching the mechanic wipe his filthy hands on his grease stained jumpsuit): “Being the wife of a mechanic, ah!, it’s a big work!”...note to self...

Hardest part of all of these incidents: the thought of facing them alone. I usually pride myself in my independence, in my ability to handle the mechanic, the police, the UPDF…by myself. But this week, I’d had enough of independence…I didn’t want to do any of it…I realized, I’m tired of having to do all of this stuff myself, in not having a husband to share the load of life with, the commitment of another person who has to stick through this crap with you, and you through their crap.

Best part of all of these incidents: the community God has given me. John spent most all of his day on Monday helping me sort through the theft stuff, spent most of his evening on Saturday helping us get towed and Loren was willing to have him do all of the above, leaving her with a toddler and a brand new baby to face the craziness of the day – and she even cooked dinner for us TWICE (when we should have been cooking for her)!, Anna spent all of her day on Tuesday waiting with me since she knew I was struggling with doing it myself. Pat and Johnsons and Myhre's praying from varying distances of afar...Janet, Robert, George, Vincent, Bihwa, the UPDF, and the list goes on…in the end, I faced very little of it alone! Mukama Asiimwe. Asiimwe Muno.

18 August 2010

Filling in the blank...Sunday

** sorry for drawing this out, but I warned you, a lot went on in a span of 4-5 days, so bear with me!**

Sunday:

Wuh hoo for days of rest, for being creatures that require rest/sleep to survive, for alarmless mornings, for pancakes, for American Garden Pancake Syrup that’s less than 2% maple syrup.

Not so much of a wuh hoo for dogs who get out of the fence and go missing at various times requiring search parties of various kinds (todays was a pajama wearing sort of search party)…

Wuh hoo for Kapu who LOVES Bhootu (the Johnson’s dog) and took him for a walk this particular morning and took off in a run every now and again for Bhootu to chase him (just like Americans do with their dogs), for the freedom to skip church and worship at home when moving and the energy to pay attention for 3 hours sounds impossible, wuh hoo for Redeemer NY sermons online that we can download for free as WHMers, and most of all…

Wuh-hoo for the guy that found Chloe in a PIT LATRINE and found George at church to tell him, and wuh hoo for George who got Chloe OUT of said pit latrine which was thankfully empty!

Wuh-hoo for Loren Clark’s Reuben Roll hot out of the oven for dinner. Wuh-hoo for babies who fall asleep on my shoulder. Wuh-hoo for the Count of Monte Christo. Great movie. Wuh-hoo for nights to chill and catch up with teammates.

And the understatement of the century: Not so much of a wuh-hoo for returning home to find that your house has been broken into and that your passport, ATM card, drivers’ licenses, and health insurance cards are gone along with a large sum of money and the 3rd of Anna’s blankets to be stolen in 2 months!!! Absolutely infuriating actually…

Details:

OK, so I could wax eloquent (or attempt to) on the subject of theft, and cultural value systems, and the intricacies of my emotional reaction and the like, but the truth is that it’s nothing I haven’t already said before. I’ll just leave the report to the facts:

Sunday night at midnight we return to find someone had: opened the screens, reached through the windows, used curtain rods to fish my messenger bag into their reach. 2 wallets containing the already mentioned items, a small pouch that was a gift from my dear friend Margaret containing personal items, my sunglasses with their case, and the blanket and top sheet from Anna’s room were stolen.

After tallying the damage, I set off in tears with my phone in hand to find the night watchmen to report to them what had happened. I found none of them at the workshop, none of them at the Myhre’s, and on the way down found the UPDF sleeping at the worshop who I greeted and reported the problem to. Rubbing his sleepy eyes (it was midnight and I had woken them up from their sleep on the concrete floor of the porch of the workshop), one of the 4 soldiers told me his name was Asiimwe and that he wanted to assess the situation and look for the watchmen who they had yet to see since they reported that evening.

We showed Asiimwe what had happened and he and I went up to try to find the watchmen in the Johnson’s kitubbi, but alas, they were not to be found. I went back home, cried some more, went to bed and cried some more.

15 August 2010

Filling in the blank...#3

The sun is now down, it’s dark and hard to identify people without the light of a torch. Semoli’s vehicle goes to town to find a tow. John calls, he’s in Town, we arrange for him to pick up the tow, find Semoli to bring his vehicle back to tow us. And we wait some more. Pat checking in on us every now and again. My phone now working again after taking out/putting back the battery (thanks, anna!). I turn the hazard lights on so that other vehicles can see us. Various trucks and bodas stop to see what the problem is, and can they do anything to help.

Then the glow of brake lights ahead as the party wagon (now quiet) backs into position to hook us up to the tow John had arrived with. They turn the engine off this time and hook up the tow. John brings out a Tupperware with dinner thanks to his fabulous wife (thanks Loren)! After unloading the things from our vehicle into Johns, deciding to take the Zoolander to the Bishop’s place in Bumadu (safer than leaving it in town overnight) and having a mechanic come work on it there, I gave John the keys for the Zoolander and he got into the drivers’ seat, and I got behind the wheel of their vehicle. And we waited. There were lights, but no movement. The party wagon begins to move in reverse towards the Zoolander, John yells for the driver to stop. He gets out and goes to talk to the other driver, then comes to tell me that the reason the party wagon had kept the party going before heading to town in search of the tow was that their starter does work. But before hooking up the tow they had turned the engine off and now that the tow was hooked back up, they were going to need to roll start the vehicle…requiring them to, of course, remove the tow hook up…again, we laughed, and waited…

After a while everyone got back in their vehicles and we began to slowly make our way through a dark but somehow bustling Bundibugyo Town branched left before the Police station and to Bumadu. Janet came running out with smiles and hugs all around, then the Bishop and his wife came out to greet us. We tried our best to express our gratitude to each of them and eventually got on our way. Pulling into our driveway safe and sound at about 10pm Bihwa offered to carry Lydia, who remained very patient, calm and quiet throughout the hole ordeal, home. We accepted the generous offer and unloaded our few things from the Clark vehicle and made our way inside, turning on a few lights. HOME. Home sweet home.

As we went to put our veggies from Fort in the fridge Anna noticed the propane was out. Nice. Fun. Perfect. I love changing propane tanks and relighting the fridge at 11pm. But God was gracious and the fridge lit on the 1st attempt. We stumbled down the hall, opened our shutters, took showers, and climbed into bed. Thankful for friends, for laughs, and for safety – all gifts from God. Did that really just happen?! Yes, yes it did.

13 August 2010

filling in the blank...cont.

“…yeah, the fuel tank…yep, I’m pretty sure...so I guess I’m just wondering what your recommendations might be? Uh huh, uh huh, yeah, right, without fuel I won’t be able to move the car so I’ll need a tow, and no power steering or breaks...I hadn’t thought of that but makes total sense…so, I’ll call Pat and get in touch with a mechanic to come and check it out and bring a towing vehicle/hook up…no, I think we’ll be fine, I’ll let you know if we need something.”

H: “…dwee dwee…dwee dwee…hey Pat it’s Heidi. I’m doin’ okay. So the thing is our fuel tank fell off.”
P: “crap.”
H: “yeah, so we need to get a tow so I’m calling to find out if you could send me a number for Hajj or any other mechanic in Town you might recommend who would be able to bring a tow.”
P: “wait, why do you need a tow?”
H: “because our fuel tank fell off…”
P: “your FUEL TANK FELL OFF?!?!?!”
H: “yeah, isn’t that what I said?”
P: “I thought you meant the propane tank fell off of the vehicle.”
H: “yeah, no, the fuel tank, the one I just spent 120,000 Shillings to fill up with diesel…”

Well, so I’ll try to keep the ramblings to a minimum, but in the flurry of text messages with numbers for mechanics and other folks that might have recommendations, my phone froze. Yep, nothin’ doin’…pressing buttons and nothing’s happening…like the spinning circle of death on a Mac but with no spinning circle or “force quit” option (Anna, the technological wizard later thought of taking the battery out…Genius!). Anyways, yet another reason it’s good we don’t travel alone. I switched to Anna’s phone and in the process of the mechanic being out of town, and waiting for Robert (the Bishop – who has a vehicle and lives near Town – his son) to make his way to where we were stopped to make his recommendations, John calls back and he’s on his way with Bihwa…said it felt like the right thing to do and did I mind. Heck no, come on, I just didn’t want to be a burden.

So, we wait. In the mean time, Vincent and Anna have gone down to the site of the fuel tank, found a few tubes/hoses that fell off with the tank, and patched up the filling hole and the empty hose with a pastic bag and pieces of banana fibers - there's nothin' like the cavela and banana fibers trick! As I stood with the vehicle, several men with various English speaking capabilities or lack thereof come up to offer their suggestions, and when I thanked them but indicated I had another plan they usually moved closer to my face and spoke louder hoping that maybe I just hadn’t heard them…why else wouldn’t a white woman follow their suggestions. I did end up following one of them in the end. The fear in the tank being down the road from the vehicle as it got dark was that since it was full of fuel, people would start to cut into the tank to siphon off the fuel inside. So in the end I paid a few guys to move the tank up the road to sit next to the vehicle.

And as we waited for Robert to arrive to get his recommendations for a mechanic a white truck with huge speakers booming with music on the back pulls up behind the Zoolander. The engine stays on, the music blaring, the campaign posters for Minister of Parliament Candidate Vivian Semoli plastered to the truck and speakers came into view in the fading light of dusk, and the doors open and close and the men inside start walked towards us. “Robert is here” Vincent said. And so was Semoli himself. A crowd drew to the Semoli party wagon’s side, dancing ensued, women trying to drag Anna into the action. Surprisingly she wasn’t really in a dancing mood…

Not sure if you can imagine the scene, but it was pretty unbelieveable, like out of a movie, or a crazy dream…fuel tank sitting on the ground next to the Zoolander with the Semoli party wagon with speakers booming parked next to us working in some campaigning action, Anna in her “we’re out of the district” jeans and a t-shirt both covered with dirt and grease from her mad mechanic skill demonstration, Heidi with curly hair going berzerk from under the dusty, sweaty bandana wrapped around her head, luckily a kikoy wrapped around her waist over the sweaty bottomed pants (er, I mean trousers) from a full day of travel on the vinyl seats…

Anyways, with the speakers booming, discussing the plans for mechanics and tows and jerry cans to empty the fuel into with Robert and Semoli became shouting matches that luckily I was laughing through most of the time…you just have to laugh, you know? Where the heck am I? Am I really on the side of a dusty road without a fuel tank and a campaign party going on behind me?! Anna and I just look at each other and shake our heads and laugh…no words could then or can now really quite describe the experience…

12 August 2010

filling in the blank...

Saturday:

“Wow, the Zoolander is behaving itself so well, I’m so proud” I thought to myself. It was about 5:30pm and Anna and I (with dearest Lydia in tow) were tooling along the flat straight away between the hot springs and Ntandi when we heard a clang of sorts. It sounded a bit as if we had just driven across a small metal bridge/panel, but there is for sure only one of those (the bridge of delightful smoothness) and we hadn’t yet reached it. So, I picked a relatively unoccupied part of the road and slowed to a stop where I got out and realized that the cover for the fuel tank had begun to drag on the ground with only one side still bolted to the vehicle. Hm…well…I wonder if that does anything except protect the fuel tank from trauma (which on these roads is no small task)…well, not being exactly at the top of my “kumechanica” game (actually I have no kumechanica game to be at the top of…), I decided to call John Clark (recently returned from the US after adding a small ka boy to their family) for help. Anna meanwhile had shimmied herself under the vehicle in true kumechanica fashion and was advising the phone call with firsthand information. We agreed that we could take the cover off (is it called a cover? I don’t know, but that seems the best way to describe it) for the remaining hour or so of the trip home, and then repair it from there. So, I found a “spanner” for lug nuts on the tires that miraculously fit the bolts of the fuel tank cover and Anna expertly removed the remaining bolts from the cover with minor assistance from a few English speaking men who were miraculously not drunk and spoke respectfully to us (webaleh yesu). “Wow, I just took the fuel tank cover off, I feel so…independent!” Anna exclaimed as she held her grease covered hands in mid air so as not to get anything else dirty.

We moseyed along with the cover added to few pieces of luggage we were carrying in the back of the vehicle and in Ntandi someone on the back of a boda zooming past us flagged us down. It was Kawa Vincent, a friend of ours from church wanting a ride back to Nyahuka with us. “It’s fine, hop in” we told him. We told him of our car repairs of a few minutes back and continued on our way, so proud of ourselves. “I wish I had photo documentation of your mechanic skills, sorry Anna!” I said.

We begin the slow climb up the winding hill to Bundibugyo Town and about 15 minutes after our first repair stop we hear a loud bang under the vehicle that sounded like I had accidently hit a big rock. Vincent begins to yell “Stop stop stop, something has fallen off the vehicle!” So again, I pull over to the side of the road to a stop and look back. Several yards down the road is the fuel tank lying on the side of the road…THE FREAKIN’ FUEL TANK FELL OFF!!! I kid you not.

“Holy $#%&” I thought to myself…I wish I could say that something a bit cleaner came out of my mouth but I’m not entirely sure that would be a truthful reporting of what actually happened…in fact I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what came out of my mouth.

So, you might ask, what does one do when one’s fuel tank falls off?! That, my friends, is a very good question! If you’re me you scratch your head a few times pondering the fact that your fuel tank is lying in the road instead of attached to your car and then get on the phone just as fast as your fingers will dial the number!

“Hey John, it’s Heidi again. Yeah, we’re fine. So, the fuel tank fell off. Yeah, no, I’m not kidding ☺…”

to be continued....

11 August 2010

oh Bundibugyo how I _______ thee


fill in the blank...what words would you use? the words I would use change every day, every hour...

If I recounted to you the goings on of the last 5 days you might understand why...and I will, don't you worry, but the days have been such that there has not been much (read: ANY) internet time, or writing time, so you will have to hold your horses...or goats...or fuel tanks as it might be. Until then...!

03 August 2010

I miss...vol 3

The Pierce family Jan. 23, 2010 the night before they said goodbye to Bundibugyo


Annelise: Her cinnamon raisin bread hot out of the oven, her creative/visionary mind and heart, the random and all too infrequent conversations we would have while I sat at her kitchen counter on a stool...about Community Supported Agriculture in the US, chic flicks, American baby paraphenalia, sex ed curiculums, etc...

David: His sense of humor, the game of trying to figure out if he's serious or kidding, his appreciation of "Arise my soul Arise" at 6:30am, his bass voice singing harmony, his appreciation of a good gin & tonic...

Naomi: Her fashion sense, her LOVE of cabbage salad, her African english, the few times she saw fit to "play" with my hair, her creation of the V.S.P., her passion about lasagna, her passion about history, her compassion in asking friends to send stuffed animals for the kids on the pediatric ward...

Quinn: His curly blonde hair, his rough and tumble enjoyment of every day, his appreciation of the Sound of Music ("These are a few of my favorite things..."), his passion about sausage, his throw-back-the-head-laugh, the way he and Gaby kept Miss Ashley laughing...


----------------------------------------------------------------------------

And this third volume completes the series...all the people I've said goodbye to in the last 8 months...Love to you all, you are missed.

02 August 2010

Anna #2


Summer lovin' had me a blast

Summer lovin' happened so fast

I met a girl cute as can be

From New York...not NYC

Summer days workin' away, chasing those rats in the nights
Uh Well-a well-a well-a huh

Tell me more, tell me more
Why did you come this far?

Tell me more, tell me more
To teach Anna the car?

Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh

She arrived, jumped right on in
Sunday soccer, helping myhre kids win.

She saved some lives, biked all over town
Aida and Judith love having her around

Summer sun, season 2 has begun,
oh watching Chuck in the night

Uh well-a well-a well-a huh

Tell me more, tell me more
Was it love at first sight?

Tell me more, tell me more
Did she put up a fight?

Uh-huh-uh-huh-uh-huh-uh-huh

She cooked dinner and took lots of movies
We went biking, drank mango smoothies

We like your tunes they really rock
We stayed up 'till ten o'clock

But oh the Mobile disco keeping us up
on those summer nights

Uh well-a well-a well-a huh

Tell me more, tell me more
Riding with Lamek on a boda

Tell me more, tell me more
Going to church at Bundikyorla

shoo-bop bop, shoo-bop bop, shoo-bop bop,shoo-bop bop, shoo-bop bop, shoo-bop bop, shoo-bop bop, YEH

Insect bites I’m gonna scream
Don’t forget the cortizone cream

She was sweet, just turned twenty-two
When she goes we’ll all be Blue

Woah!

Summer heat, God and girl meet, but uh-oh those summer nights

woo, woo, woo

Tell me more, tell me more
Will she get those letters they sent?

Tell me more, tell me more
Mujungu will you be my friend?

Riding Safari might seem like the end
But don’t worry we’ll still be friends

We’ll be praying that’s our vow
Wonder what God will be up to now?

Summer dreams, skirts ripped at the seams,
bu-ut oh, those su-ummer nights....

Tell me more, tell me more!

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Thanks to Anna Linhart for organizing, the single ladies wrote this cover of "Summer Nights" from Grease (she had never seen or heard of the song, but I think enjoyed it nonetheless), in Anna Smith's honor. She'll say goodbye to Bundibugyo in less than 48 hours. Ohhhhh, those summer niiiiiiiights! :)

01 August 2010

the goings on...

• The ward is full. Busy but not terribly intensive care-ish. Friday was one of those 3:30pm days…long and busy but not terrible…but left me completely exhausted. I realized again the reality that some days the sheer volume of need (most of which I cannot meet) that exists is exhausting. Yesterday was one of them.
• The night jasmine bushes are in full bloom these days. Aaahhhh.
• The duplex patio is still a most delightful place to enjoy an evening. Friday night there was eggplant parmesan, breadsticks and Greek olive oil, green beans, and red wine served in candlelight…a most ro-tic dinner (which for those of you who have been married for too long means “romantic” without the “man”) for Anna the intern’s last “ladies night” with us. Thanks again to Nathan and John Elwood for their design/direction/supervision on my behalf!
• Somehow nighttime in rural African can be way louder than nighttime in any American city I’ve ever been in. I think it’s because there’s absolutely no such thing as a right to quiet, and therefore no such thing as a “noise violation”… blaring music ALL NIGHT LONG is the right of the celebrant individuals…you’ve just gotta laugh! I actually woke up several times throughout the night on friday, and managed (due to my keen ability to sleep through just about anything) to fall right back to sleep. Thanks mom for that gene!
• The guys in the boda park in Nyahuka are still obnoxious.
• I’ve decided that the market is a much more enjoyable place when it’s really busy…there’s far less attention paid to us bajungu as we wander around. Yesterday was not one of those days.
• I love it when God smiles on me, or anyone for that matter, in really specific ways. Friday night I was reminded of my kitenge-envy for this beautiful piece of kitenge Pat often uses as a table runner, and telling Amy yesterday morning that I dream of finding something like it – in the same color scheme – but doubting I would since it seems to be of an old kitenge generation. Lo and behold as I passed through the outside of the market, where all the “pre-made” outfits are sold, there it was…a whole 3 pieces of a beautiful aqua/brown kitenge with this smallish print that’s just gorgeous. Speechless.
• Last night it was the goats making a racket instead of the mobile disco…I don’t think I’ve ever before Bundibugyo gone to sleep to the bleating of goats…
• We wandered to Bundikiyora today to worship with our brothers and sisters “in the village”. What a walk (1.5 hours each way). Bee-u-ti-ful! What an encouraging service with singing, dancing, and the truth. What more does a church service need?!

I miss...vol 2

(for posterity's sake: not sure exactly how old this picture is, but this is what I knew of the myhre's 3 years ago, a photo I stole from their blog for use while fundraising). Needless to say, the height of the family has changed rather significantly since then!)

Jennifer – her wise and respected presence on the ward, her tendency to count anything remotely repetitive, our chats about “the state of the union” in the store room before heading home after rounds, her eye for color/pattern combinations I would never think of…

Scott – his rolling of the eyes when learning there was yet one more patient in the kitubi, but his patient dealings with them time after time, his enjoyment of 80’s music, his ability to stir a crowd with a few dance moves when they least expect it, his eye with a camera…

Luke – his plopping down at the kitchen table during “internet time” while home on school breaks to discuss the goings on in the world, his latest thoughts on college (Go Ivy’s!), and occasionally leaving the end of his Bitter Lemon for me to finish ☺ (ok, so that only happened once, but man did it taste good!)…

Caleb – his guitar playing drifting in from the front room while he was home on school breaks while we sat at the kitchen table during “internet time,” his witty one liners at the dinner table, his ability to sleep for LONG periods of time that I appreciate very well ☺, his appreciation of time alone as balanced with time with family and friends…

Jack – his sms’s begging me to come and play Family Soccer on Sunday afternoons (one of which I have saved in my phone for rainy(or frustrating) days, his appreciation of a good molasses crinkle, his ability to appreciate Anne Shirley and her antics even though he’d have rather been watching just about anything else ☺…

Julia – her occasional requests for a hug (that usually put words to something I could use very much as well ☺), her smile and “Hi Miss Heidi” whenever I saw her, her love for and devotion to Girls Soccer at CSB and her community there on the team, and her affinity for bandanas of all colors…