Thursday, July 07, 2011

The What If's?

Patrick comes in 3 days, I am 37 weeks along, 3 weeks (give or take) to go and there are dozens of questions rolling around in this hormonally affected brain of mine about being a mom, about what our baby will be like, about the future of our family, about Canada and Africa and where to put down roots and about never ever leaving my husband's side for this long again, no matter how desperate our state.

I keep recalling one step of Ang Tulay (The Bridge) which is FEARS and WORRIES and the painting we put up of a girl, wringing her hands, deep in thought, wondering "WHAT IF." That's me. I am full of "what if's."

At that step, we asked children to write down their fears and worries on a piece of paper, then they could share with the group if they wanted, and finally, we went together as a group to burn them after releasing them to God.

To end off the session, we asked the children to write their hopes and dreams on a bookmark that they could keep and reflect back on. It was simple, but profound for them, and for us adults who went through the steps ourselves.

I think I need to revisit this step of the bridge myself. Yes, I think I do.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Finally Moving!

Wow, it's been a while since I wrote a post here. Actually, it feels like I've been holding my breath for the past 5 months and it has been hard to concentrate on anything other than, will my husband be here for the birth of our child? It has been a difficult road, being separated like this in such a vulnerable time. But I have had such an incredible support network of friends and family. I am so thankful for them!

GOOD NEWS! We just found out on Monday Patrick was indeed granted the visitor visa and he will be arriving the beginning of July! Phew...I can now let out a sigh of sweet relief! I know he will be by my side for this momentous occasion.

Now begins the real work of preparation. Preparing for Patrick's arrival, for baby's arrival, preparing to be parents!! I am so excited, nervous, anxious.

A lot of people have been asking us what next also. We honestly don't have an answer yet. I know, it seems odd that we could wait so long to make decisions about our future, but that's kind of how we operate, and I'm ok with that. When we're ready, we'll make the big decisions about where to be in the immediate future, with Uganda and Africa still at the centre of our hearts.

Wow, it feels good to be moving forward after this long, arduous waiting time. Kind of like filling your lungs with fresh air after travelling in an airplane for 2 days. It's almost intoxicating!

Step, step, step...breathe...

30 Weeks

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An Entry From Patrick

A piece my husband wrote about the recent clashes with citizens and the government in Uganda

CONTRADICTIONS WITH OUR PRESIDENT

It's hardly two months since our all wise President, Mr. Museveni, was in the media criticizing the US, Canada, UK, France, etal for militarily intervening in Libya. According to our President, the west should have engaged in dialogue with the embattled Libyan leader, Ghadafi. He reasoned that the west was being simplistic in addressing the situation in Libya and were using the approach of 'might is right' that is wrong according to him.

For about two weeks now, several Ugandans have mobilized for walk to work protests in protest of skyrocketing fuel and food prices in the country. Currently, fuel and food prices have doubled and beyond and inflation has doubled from 6% in February 2011 to above 11% this month. All this resulted from corruption, careless Government spending on activities that are not people oriented such as the recent expenditure of over 740 million US dollars to buy fighter jets from Russia God knows to fight who!, financing activities meant to develop the stomachs and cheeks of the ruling individuals and their relatives, emptying of the national treasury to finance the recent elections (vote buying), high taxation and to a small extent the global economic factors.

Many Ugandans can hardly now afford a meal and other basic essentials hence the attempt to walk to work in protest of the economic situation in the hope to draw Government's attention to their suffering. Our 'wise' President's response has been tear gassing, beating up, shooting and arresting of people participating peacefully in the walk to work protests. So far 4 people are confirmed dead and over 47 injured from gun shots, while close to 300 have been arrested and jailed for attempting to walk to work.

I am left wondering why the contradiction. I thought in the wisdom of our president he would have engaged the nation in dialogue instead of the 'Might is right' approach he criticized the west for.

A while ago, I remember watching a video of the swearing in ceremony of our President in 1986 when he had just taken power, of course by the gun. Our dear president was on record for saying, 'the problem with African leaders is overstaying in power' and that he was ushering in a new era, 'a fundamental change.' We are now in the 25th year of Museveni's presidency and will be in the 30th year come 2016. This follows several manipulations of the constitution to extend his stay in power, stolen and sham elections. What became of the promised fundamental change?

In the early days of his presidency, the good president openly criticized the previous governments for being extravagant with tax payer's money and non responsive to needs of Ugandans. A while a go, among many examples, the president sent one of his daughters to give birth in Germany in a presidential jet, costing the tax payer several millions. For the size of our economy, that was quite a pinch. Interestingly, that money could have improved facilities in any of our rotten hospitals to the comfort of the first daughter and would be available to serve many other Ugandan mothers that keep dying or cheating death (for the lucky) due to inadequacies in our maternity services.

What happened to the big heart, the heart for the nation.

I see many contradictions in our President, what happened? Who is this man? I am tempted to think, if Museveni of back then, by any chance happened to meet Museveni of today, he would beat the hell out of this one, that's only of course if the former Museveni was not fooling Ugandans about his character.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

'War Dance'


It took me about 2 weeks to actually finish this documentary. I watched the first half and had to stop, it was too much. I finally finished it tonight. It ended on a much more positive note, not that my comfort should matter in this case. Oh God! I don't know. Lately I don't know what I should be writing here. I feel so mixed up. I listen to these kids stories, I cry. I wish I could wrap my arms around all of them.

The children in this film are from a place called Pader in Northern Uganda. They are from a tribe called Acholi. Some of my fellow staff members who I worked with at YWAM Arua, were Acholi. One close friend of mine, told me her story of being abducted by the LRA and how she escaped.

Our Ang Tulay team from the Philippines went to Pader in 2006, long before I had even met them, to meet with the youth. They could only manage to just start the healing process before realizing these youth were so traumatized, they needed to proceed with caution. As it was only a short visit, they decided not to proceed with any more of the process at that point until there could be more resources and people trained to walk with them.

When I participated in my first Ang Tulay, two staff members from one of the schools in Pader were part of my small group. It was intense. Even these adults, had not yet processed the grief and trauma of growing up themselves in a war zone.

I was meant to go to Pader with a group of young adults in 2009. I really wanted to go, but felt I needed to stay back to organize the closing of the three week camp they were part of. Interestingly enough, that's when Patrick and I met and hit it off and began our journey. Had I not met and fallen for Patrick, I might never have returned to Uganda. I was ready to quit Uganda for good. Huh...guess God had other plans...

So, that's the teeny tiny way my life has interacted with the lives of Northern Ugandans. So, I keep wondering...yah, I just keep wondering...

And look at how music, dance, the ARTS bring healing! It is beautiful and profound and I want to continue to walk that path with people. Hell, I want to walk that path with myself!

Friday, March 18, 2011

"15 Minutes Away"

This song makes me think of me and Patrick right now trying to make ends meet across oceans. Love K'naan's music and what he writes about!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

21 Weeks

I haven't really documented this particular pregnancy journey so far..well, here's a few things from the past couple days...

Heightened sense of smell: as in, I can smell the guy who didn't wash his hair sitting next to me or the guy who had lots of green beer today...ugh!

Hot flashes: almost died today on the packed bus ride to work! I am usually always the cold one!

Centre of gravity changing, clumsiness etc: Yes, that was me who tried to squeeze past the wall and a stantion at work today totally forgetting about the protruding stomach I have.  I am also frequently dropping things like, keys or my half a bagel!

Oh yah, speaking of lunch, is this baby having a sudden growth spurt? I am ravenous and must eat every 2 hours at least!

And then there are the moments I feel baby moving. Nothing so substantial as a kick, but those flutters and waves bring me right to the centre of everything in a moment. My baby. Wow! I love that I first felt baby move when I was walking through the West Africa gallery at work.

And I love my growing tummy. I love to stroke it and talk to baby, feeling our bond growing with every day that passes.

I dream of who baby will be, how Patrick and I will parent baby, what baby will teach us!

I've heard mother's talk of 'falling in love' with their babies. I am only now beginning to understand what they mean.

Cuz I am falling in love!


Saturday, February 05, 2011

January Update Letter

OKIRING JANUARY UPDATE

Hello all from Calgary, Canada. Thought I'd update you on the last 2 months as there has been a lot going on.

First of all, I usually like to save the best news for last, but in this case it needs to be the headline!

We are very excited to announce that our family of two will soon be three! We are expecting our firstborn at the end of July!! This was the other major factor in the decision to return back to Canada. We both want the baby to be born here. I am now 14 weeks along and feeling very good. It feels great to let you in on the news at last!

Now for the rest...About Patrick's Grandmum, the woman who raised him and is very special to both of us!

In early December, Patrick's grandmother complained of severe pain so we brought her to Kampala for treatment. It was there they discovered she had kidney stones. She was quite badly off as she was unable to keep anything down and became severely dehydrated. She was admitted to hospital for a few days where they were able to give her pain medication and restore her fluids. During that time, one of us had to stay with her at the hospital each night she was there. First me, then Patrick, then Patrick's mother came to town and stayed a night. So Grandmum was very cared for. As she had passed one of the stones, she was able to be discharged until we could make a plan to remove the other stones still in the kidney and urethra.

Thankfully, she was feeling good enough to attend the wedding of Patrick's sister, Angela. So, we all celebrated in true Ugandan style! Lots of ululating and dancing! :)

Knowing that Grandmum was homesick for the village we all planned to go back for Christmas. We found out that a urologist from Nairobi, Kenya, comes once a month with equipment to blast the kidney stones so we decided she would be ok until then. She left early and we joined everyone on Christmas Eve. We brought Christmas lights and strung them up on the veranda and made it very festive. We ate lots of food, smoked beef, chicken, roasted pork, matooke (boiled or steamed green banana), rice, atape (millet bread) and of course soda! Fanta and Coke being the most popular!

They even brought out Grandmum's local brew to enjoy, millet beer!

We travelled back to Kampala on the 27th (my birthday and my sister's too!), so that I could prepare to travel and have quality time with Patrick before leaving for Canada. We had birthday dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and then I bought a HUGE slice of chocolate cake from the I (Love) New York Kitchen.

The evening I was to leave, I was surprised by a dozen or so relatives, including Patrick's Aunt Jane who flew from the UK for a surprise visit,  who escorted us all the way to Entebbe to see me off. We first stopped to eat roasted fish on the beach and then travelled together to the airport. I wish I had a picture of all of them but in all the rush I never got my camera out. :(

Saying good-bye to Patrick was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. It was a long, lonely flight. I was happy to finally see my friends, the Amos family, who picked me up from the airport. I had a hot bath, and went with them to enjoy New Year's Eve at another friend's place, the Elders. I didn't make it past 8pm. They let me crash in their guest bedroom and crash I did! The next day, my mom picked me up and I spent a few wonderful days catching up with her.

So, I have settled in quite quickly. I kind of had to as I began work less than a week after I'd arrived! Everyone has been so amazing! Friends, family, co-workers. I am so grateful for you all! Thank GOD for the Scott family who has put me up again in their guest room and made me part of their family.

Thank GOD also for Skype. I have been able to see and talk to Patrick on the computer for free which is much more than we've had before.

We are now working on a plan to either get Patrick here on a visa to work temporarily or at the very least, to come on a visitor's visa to be present for the birth.

An update on Grandmum's situation: The doctor who comes once a month to Kampala said their equipment was not sufficient for the size of her stones and she will need to be treated in Nairobi. This means airfare and hotel stay for Patrick, his grandmum and an escort as well as the cost of treatment. I am grateful I came back when I did to work but please pray we can sort out the finances between the various family members so as to get Grandmum the proper treatment she needs.

If you are so inclined, please pray for us:

-Pray for Patrick's grandmum and her health
-Pray that Patrick does not get overwhelmed but has support from friends and family around him
-Pray for the health of our unborn child and myself
-Pray for us to have favour with Canadian immigration when it comes to visas
-Pray for us to get direction on the future ministry we long to do in Uganda and the means to make it happen

Thank you all for your continued interest in the journey we are taking to make a difference in the Ugandan communities we are part of. We couldn't do it without your support.

Much love,
Nicole, Patrick and Baby

Thursday, January 27, 2011

If You Need It Transported, The Boda Boda Has Got You Covered!

Just a common sight in Kampala. Boda bodas will carry anything!

32 Years Young!

My extremely large slice of chocolate birthday cake from I Love NYK

It is almost as big as my head! Funny, I ate hardly any of it because I was having an aversion to chocolate at the time. I wanted to want it!

Christmas In Pallisa Village

My crazy husband..he looooves the village!

Christmas lovin'

Food, food, lots of food and Sheilla!

The children

Christmas lights!

Sheilla

Patrick handing out sodas

Our "dining" area

More Christmas lights!


Neighbours comin' to take part in local millet beer drinking. They drink from the pot with those long straws

The woman here was very entertaining after partaking of the beer. She and I danced to Congolese music

It was a chilly evening...Grandmum in the middle

Add caption

Nah I didn't really drink it, though I wanted to! I was already preggers

Mmmm...take that Guiness!

Ben and Angela's Wedding

Ben and Angela Waiswa

Just missing Emmie, the youngest brother to join the sibling plus mum photo

Good lookin' family!

I love this pic of Angela


Crane dancers, amazing traditional dancing

Cousin Sheilla with Ben and Angela's son, Shiloh

Other cousin Isabella and bro Dennis

Sweet Gabi, sister to Isabella and Sheilla

Enjoying being next to Patrick for a few more weeks

Best man at our wedding Dennis with his honey

Dancing Ja-Ja (Granny)

Male Crane Dancer

Baby Shiloh
My sister-in-law Angela, had a beautiful wedding in December. A great way for the family to come together. Lots of dancing and ululating! :D

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

New Year, New Journey

Well...here I am, back in the Scott household, in my old room, in Calgary, in the winter, getting over jet lag and wondering how I got here.

I have the best family and friends. So supportive, loving, encouraging, generous...so I feel guilty wishing I wasn't here.

Walking through the Calgary airport terminal on my way to collect my luggage, I got teary-eyed.  And not because of the usual feeling of how good it is to be 'home,' but because I didn't want to be 'home.' I wanted to be with Patrick, my husband of only 6 months, who I left back in Uganda in our apartment, alone.

I am going to try to be positive about this.  There are blips and bumps and valleys and all that along life's journey. Just because the view from here is sheltered and shrouded in mystery, does not mean there isn't a big grande view just above me, waiting to be revealed...

I am going to make my peace with this...somehow...

Most Recent Update Letter

MERRY CHRISTMAS
AND
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Hello everyone from Kampala. I know it's been too long since you heard from me. I am so sorry. There has been much happening and I wanted to be sure of a few things before writing this update.

I think the last you heard from me I was commuting back and forth to Jinja for ministry, doing Ang Tulay. Unfortunately, that work ended in October and I was left trying to figure out what to do next. As there is no YWAM base in Kampala, I didn't have any contacts or a place to plug myself into easily. Friends David and Heather Kapyayte, who run a primary school, invited me to teach Life Skills to the older students. I went to meet the students and was excited about the opportunity. But we soon realized, with the term ending and the students beginning their exams, it was not practical to begin a course at that time.

Patrick started a new job with a Ecobank and has enjoyed the more professional environment there, though there are still similar pressures and an exploitation of employees commonly seen here in Uganda. Many of his colleagues and co-workers urge him to look for work outside of Uganda as there is little room for advancement here.

Over the last few months, we have experienced a series of difficult circumstances and disappointments. I won't get into details, but long story short, after much deliberation and prayer, we have had to make the difficult decision for me to go back to Canada to work. I leave on the 30th of this month and will arrive in Calgary on the afternoon of the 31st. Thankfully, and to my astonishment, the museum will indeed take me back again and already has work ready for me to come back to. Patrick will remain here at his job until something else opens up.

Of course, seeing family and friends again will be awesome as I have missed you all so much! But it does not cancel the pain we feel to be separated after only 6 short months of marriage. It also does not cancel the disappointment we feel to have to delay our dreams of ministry in Uganda. We are hoping and praying for an opportunity to open up for Patrick to also join me in Calgary as soon as possible. Please keep us in your prayers. Also, if you know of any contacts for jobs in Patrick's profession (Information Systems Auditor), or otherwise (I think he'd make a great Fedex driver considering how he has to navigate traffic in Kampala!!), please, let us know. We hope to earn enough money to build rental properties in Soroti, Uganda as a way to support ourselves and our ministry in future.

We can't always understand the direction God chooses to take us, but we can still choose to trust Him.

We wish you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year and I look forward to catching up with those of you in Calgary very soon.

Peace,
Nicole and Patrick