Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Advent

Trying to bring a bit of tradition into the Christmas season here. I always loved the lighting of the Advent wreath at my Lutheran church as we counted down to the celebration of the Messiah being born in Bethlehem. Christmas has always been a mysterious and beautiful holiday for me. It doesn't really 'feel' like Christmas here but I am trying all the same to make it special.

I found the garland at a South African chain store here called Game, kind of like a Walmart, but smaller. Then I just twisted it into a circle and found these candles at the local supermarket and voila! MY own homemade Advent Wreath. I am so 'Martha Stewart!' :-P

Receiving The Honor of Being American For A Day (So I Could Eat The Food)

My friend Heather who lives here in Kampala and is also married to a Ugandan, David,  invited me to participate in her Thanksgiving Celebration. It was great! I helped her cook all the things we love to eat at Thanksgiving (minus the turkey-no oven). I was impressed how close to perfect all our dishes were. And sharing the meal with her Ugandan family was also special. Take a look..

Sitting around the table "North-American style"
Candied pumpkin
Stuffing
Garlic mashed potatoes
Fried zucchini (not a dish I was familiar with but very yummy)
Deviled eggs (minus paprika)
Caramel pudding dessert with biscuit (aka cookie) crust
Heather
Fun!
The alternative to turkey: fried chicken
David and Heather Kapyate
Family and Friends

A Most Precious 'Jewel'

My dear friend Harriet, who was also one of my bridesmaids, finally gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on October 5. They named him Jewel. She is a loving, wonderful mother already and daddy is a proud papa! Congrats friends!




Autumn Leaves In My House

In an attempt to bring some Canadian fall atmosphere into my life, I made these leaves and hung them up on the wall. Patrick says it looks like a kindergarten classroom but whatever! Fall is my favorite season and I was feeling homesick. Now, for some snow....





Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I (Heart) NYK

I have always liked the NYK (New York Kitchen) for its bagels, cream cheese, and bottomless coffee (bottomless anything being a completely foreign concept here in Uganda). They also serve pepperoni pizza and mac and cheese! Never mind they are located in the corner of the parking garage at Garden City Mall, a little car exhaust is a small price to pay for a taste of home. 


So, when my friends and I decided to have lunch there the other day, we were shocked and delighted to see they had renovated the place! Now, the restaurant was actually inside with shiny red and black vinyl booths and metal rimmed tables surrounded by floor to ceiling photos of New York City. 

But what really made our day and I mean MADE our day, were the rows upon roes of cupcakes piled high with buttercream icing! I took one look and thought: "CRAVE CUPCAKES!" Sure enough, we discovered, these cupcakes were of the gourmet persuasion (they even had my favorite, RED VELVET!!!!) and like Crave, once they were sold out that day, they were sold out! I can't even begin to describe the joy of finding something so familiar, so glaringly North American in the midst of everything FOREIGN! It's like a little cupcake haven for the Kampala-weary westerner...


We met the owner, who is as vivacious as the restaurant and promised to put our picture on the wall of the restaurant. This has been her dream and we are quite happy to be the ones to taste the realities of it!

It looks like we're really in Times Square!
I do. I do (heart) New York Kitchen
Glorious!
Decadent!
Very excited me!
Hailin' a taxi cab!







Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pallisa Village In Pictures

Our Turkey wedding gift living a great life in the village
Our turkey chicks. I was particularly pleased to see the white one...
 
Patrick has kept this traditional grainery as a reminder of what life was like then

Beautiful Matriarchs of the family
Chicks
Deliciously sweet oranges growing in the village home
Oranges!

Dinah picking the oranges


Dinah
Lemons

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Breathe Deeply

How many months has it been since I unrolled my purple yoga mat? Too many! With all the travelling and running around, I have really grown lax with any kind of exercise routine. But today, feeling my body ache in ways it hasn't before, I decided I needed to get back on the mat! 

And OH! What a great hour I spent, twisting, moving and manipulating my body, gently, into the various poses, focusing on breathing in..and out..feeling the stress and worry in my mind slip quietly away if only for that one hour.

Though I have definitely lost strength and flexibility, it still felt so good! Like a hot bath, or a perfect stretch after napping. It was invigorating; calming, just what I needed! Tomorrow, I will try again, and hopefully the next day and the day after that..ahhhhhhhh..breathe deeply.




Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ang Tulay at YWAM Jinja Vocational Training School

Well, just like I had hoped after finishing our week in Soroti, the team met up again, this time in Jinja, to run Ang Tulay for the students and staff of the Vocational Training School (or VTS for short).

I was dismayed to discover I had been put with the babies group for the week! I don't do babies and toddlers in groups bigger than 2! I mean, the students of the VTS are teenage girls, the kind of group I like working with most and here I was chasing after kids, wiping snotty noses and getting peed on! Every morning and afternoon during the sessions, we took the children of the students and staff so they could be fully engaged in their sessions. With Lovisa, my co-leader, we lugged 5 children under 3 yrs old along with our bags, their bags and cookies to placate them, up to our room to proceed the chaotic mix of games, discipline, pee breaks, cookies and juice and some ultra sweet moments as well.

Wow! As I struggled through the first few days, I began to soften towards my "mission." It was hard, it was dirty, it was lonely at times but I told God, "Ok. I came here because I really long to see people find healing for the traumatic events they've been through. And if watching these kids will help the parents experience this healing, then I'm willing. But please God, HELP!"

It's true that my giftings lie in listening, counselling and relationships, and perhaps I would have been best suited to be a small group leader. But that's not the point. I was chosen to do a task for the team and to do it joyfully. Well, I had moments of joy...no really, I did. And I tried to put my own wants aside and just be the best auntie for those kids that I could be, despite my limitations.

Some of our joys:

Our one and only little girl, Fiona, would throw a tantrum every time she had to leave the mother and we would have to literally carry her kicking and screaming to the room and then she would settle down. About mid-week she would protest a little and finally by the end of the week, she was happy and willing to come with us. 

There was a day we went for a walk with the children. We went for frequent walks. The children were so curious and would stop along the way to explore and so we too would stop. Then I noticed that if Auntie Lovisa began to walk ahead of them, the children, now fully trusting us, would toddle behind like chicks following the mother hen. Again they would stop to explore and again, when Lovisa kept walking, they would follow behind without needing to be told. It was so precious! 

Our 10 month old baby, John Paul took his first steps in our presence! Later when we told the mother, we got him to demonstrate, and he walked clear across the room to fall happily into his mother's arms! What a milestone for a child and what a privilege for us to witness it!

I just laughed every time one of our boys said the word "butterfly." Like, "butterfuhly" with his tongue sticking out on the "fuhly" bit. It seriously cracked me up and he liked that it made me laugh and said it a lot over the week!

Anyway, all of that is to say, I have now understood Ang Tulay is so much about the seemingly small moments because those small moments make up the larger journey we call life. Each journey begins with a step. Each life begins with a seed. John Paul literally took his first steps on his life journey, his mother took some steps towards healing and I also think I took a few steps on that journey of self-discovery and the discovery of God's mysterious ways of knitting us all together. 

Now the Precious Jewels team from the Philippines have gone back. This season is over. We will see them again next year. What a deep and full three months we have had!               

Lovisa with the children
Fiona, Elisha and Joseph
Joseph
Joseph and Ezekiel
Elisha and Fiona
Ezekiel

Shiomar helping us with the kids


Goin' for a walk



Shiomar with John Paul

Mother Hen with her chicks
The boys liked anything with wheels
Fast asleep

Some of the participants of Ang Tulay with team members
Saying goodbye to Teacher Eve, team member, roomate, friend
Julius, in the background, one of our team members is father to these two kids, Joseph and Ernest, with Eve.
Meeting a new friend, Erica.