Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Worship at Watato and Rural Homestays

*Her cuteness definately makes up for her lack of diapers :P

-So I haven't blogged in a while. These past couple weeks have been crazy.

-Last friday I got to attend an all night prayer and worship time at Watato Church. So much to take in! Ugandans are soo alive when it comes to worshipping. Through dancing, praying as their lives depend on it...pacing (this is where you find a partner, hold their hand and move around the church praying for the topic is called out by the person with the microphone). I met a girl named Happy and got to pace with her :). Some of the things were questionable to me, like speaking in tounges over the microphone without an interpretation...and a lot of emotion.

-There were also a few dances that were fun towards the end that would be considered sunday school worship songs such as The saints go marching down and a Lugandan one that was almost like The Hokey Pokey...but worshiping Jesus lol. I also met a guy who was wearing a Seattle, Wa shirt! I was so stoked that I had to ask him where he got it. I thought maybe he knew someone from there...or visited there... but when I asked, he said he bought it at a shop. Seattle, Wa. shrits for sale in Uganda!! haha. But overall the worship night was a great experience...I was just more exhausted than I have ever felt in my life afterward! After sleeping a good 5 hours on sat. and Sat. night...My body still felt like a cement block on Sunday. I barely did some laundry only to immediately collapse on my bed and sleep throughout the rest of the night without dinner. By Monday I recovered and now full force throwing myself into lots of work we have this week.

-Currently I am reading "A Girl Soldier" which is sooo good. I used to have the hardest time reading books...but here thats like all we do for most of our classes. Read, discuss, and write papers on the books. I am starting to become a book reader :).

-Next week I will not be in access to any internet connection as we will be on our rural homestay trip in Kapchorwa, known as the place of a friend. I am really excited for it. The interns who have been there before said to be ready to spend a lot of time just chillin and talking with your host family. We get to pick a lot of coffee beans :) The view and scenery I guess is the most beautiful land that you could ever imagine looking at, and its very hilly with lots of creatures :).

-Some of the challenges during the homestay will be eating different kinds of foods...and a lot of it...due to a lot of visiting of friends of the family...and sometimes 8 cups of whole milk in one day! And also not being able to run...but I lay this down. Also, another thing is that one of my IMME friends, Amanda, encouraged me as she explained that she doesn't to go into the rural homestay as if it were a challenge to live simply and rural..but to really seek to get to know her family and develop relationship with them and learn their lifestlye. I am encouraged to seek to do the same.

-Its raining today :) I like it because its nice and cool. A good break from the extreme sun and rain means blessings. Many blessings today :P

-Also yesterday I attended a missions seminar taht was about Save the Mothers organization. Dr. Jean Chamberlain lives on campus and has done a lot of work through her organization that she started. Her goal is to eduacate as many people on the importance of safe labor. So many die giving birth.

*4.5 million die of births (mothers/babies) a year
when 2.5 million people die of HIV/AIDS

Check it out : savethemothers.org

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I am a Muzungu Runner :)

The ultimate running path.

-Running in Uganda is so different!! I thought I would blog about this love of mine to give you a small glimpse.

-When I first got to Uganda, I asked the USP staff if people run here and where would be the best place. Their response was that not a lot of Ugandans run here and they think that those who do are weird. It makes sense as they said that their reason was the fact that Ugandans don't see the point of "wasting" energy when they could use it for doing productive work.

-But they directed me to the dirt track of the schools. On my first run, 35 hot min. around the track and lots of weird stares directed me to a different location known as Prayer Mountain. This is a road that leads up to the top of a mountain where pastors and people literally get alone with God and pray. Its really beautiful and peaceful! And the top that overlooks all of Mukono town..and Lake Victoria in the distance is sooo gorgeous! ( I have millions of pics that I will bring home to share). :)

- The only thing about Prayer Mountain is that its a mountain... There are a lot of huge hills! And even running up the first one cause’s beads of salty sweat to instantly pour down your face. As one of my fellow American USPer's, Amanda, has put it, "You sweat your body weight". But the joy of reaching the top and the view!! And then the fast down hills and your face now covered in sweat resembling fly tape allows you to catch a few friends and some extra protein if you are breathing hard with an open mouth :P and if you are are lucky you get some salt on top. Maybe even in your eyes :P Mmmmm.
A glimpse of the great view!!

- I have found that the best time to run here is at 5:30pm after classes and when it is just getting cool and a beautiful sunset for the eyes :). And plus since I have to be home and 7pm every night, it give me just enough time to get back, throw on a skirt, grab my books and walk back. (Even though lately I have been thirty min. late each time :S)

-Funny comments from people while running: The kids all yell-Hi Muzungo! followed by, Bye Muzungo!! Muzungo! Muzungo! And the older people give me weird glances..I don't know what they are thinking...I figure that because I am white and running makes me doubly weird. But my Ugandan papa also told me that in Uganda, if you are walking past someone and don't say hi, acknowledging their presence they they think there is something wrong with you. Sooo with running...I pass twice as many people...so I do a lot of pausing my ipod and waving and saying hi. Its good though because their facial expression of ..I don't know what they are thinking...and weird stares...instantly changes to friendly faces of acceptances and hellos :)

-People also have said things like well done! well done! and We support you! Keep going! One person also once said, "Are you ok? How come you are in such a rush?" Lol. Also, the other day some one yelled something that sounded like hot dog! Hot dog! But I don't think that was what they were saying.

- One time I got to the top of the prayer mountain and came across a house. A man was in his garden and he stopped me. He cut down a huge chunk of his jack fruit and held it out to me as a gift. I wasn't sure how I was going to run with it....but jackfruit is SOOOOO goood and I didn't want to be rude by declining his gift..so I accepted it. He wrapped it in banana leaves and tied it up crazy well and I went running down the mountain carrying a chunk of jackfruit and dropped it off at our IMME quarters. My family enjoyed the special treat that night :). You have to try it :)

- Another funny thing. My Ugandan mama has me iron everything! Even my running clothes and pajamas. And this weekend she looked at my dusty running shoes, and told me that every weekend I need to wash them. It takes soo much work! I wanted to fight her on it by telling her that they will just get dirty again...so I would rather not..and that new looking running shoes is actaully not that cool in America...hahaha but decided that I would probably be a better thing to respect what she wanted for the long run. CRAZY! So I am running with perfectly pressed running clothes these days and brandnew looking running shoes. :D

-Also another thing I have learned. DON'T RUN IN COTTON SHORTS!! I only brought one pair of none cotton shorts... and regretting it. I get a good case of "It looks like I wet my pants." :P

- Even more on running. My Ugandan papa once told me, "Megan the one thing I like about you is that you run and exercise." I was still getting to know them so it left me thinking, aw man, thats the only thing? hahaha, I know its not, its just how he worded it. My papa also said that because he is over 40 his doctor told him that he can't have more than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day! I think teaspoons are actually tablespoons...but still...thats like how much I have in one latte! Americans are also known as the 'people of sugar' here. :P Wahooo go us!

-Last night, I had a small fight with my mama. I came home from a long 3 day weekend trip to Luweero and had planned to go running when I had got home. Usually, at home in America, this idea would be normal. I would come home throw on my running shoes, go out for an hour then be back in time for dinner and a shower. However, as I explained that this is what I was going to do...my mama declined my longing to go after three days of not. She said that weekends are family days and since I have been gone, I was going to learn how to make chappattis instead. I was suprised by my reaction to this rejection. I literally had to go in my room and have a chat with God to surrender my will and not have a bad attitude. It ended up being good. I learned how to make a Ugandan food, went to the market and enjoyed other fellowship with my family and was able to go for a wonderfully beautiful...hot morning run :)

* So thats running in Uganda :) In all its BEAUTIFUL. hot. Refreshing after sitting in classes all day...and its A LOT different which makes it FUN. Hopefully I will have more to add as time goes on.
Walking home sunset :)