Thursday, March 18, 2010

because if seeing is believing

we had a princess party with our toddler girls. Watched Beauty and the Beast, made lots of treats, popped popcorn, bought juice boxes, and best of all each of our 10 girls had a princess crown. We have the most beautiful princesses ever.
Yes, we actually tried white ants. They look as disgusting as they taste, well at least in my head. When in Uganda, try new things right?
The last night before the Faroese girls left. It's strange without them here. We're missing Alisa in this one as well, but i'm lucky to have had majority of my time here with such great ladies.
This is S, he got here a few weeks ago with his Ugandan name that nobody could pronounce, and jiggers in his feet. He came not understanding English, and now i can say "i love you" and him say it back in his high pitched, squeaky voice. He runs around the yard with me kicking the soccer ball and giggling. This boys laugh, and mannerisms combined will make your heart melt within seconds of meeting him, guaranteed.

I know i have been bad at updating this, i wanted to write a little bit for now, and i'll try and do better. I still love it here, i fall more in love with this place the longer i stay, and leaving permanently seems unrealistic. while i continue to face challenges/frustrations in all areas, i wouldn't change anything about where i am and what i am doing. I have over 60 of the most beautiful children you'll ever see. I am on a non-stop adventure for 3 months, hearing story after story that humbles me and puts things in perspective. My life is so cool here. I don't think i've ever thought or said that about my life before, but here it is. While i miss friends and family at times, i know that if and when this became my forever home, people would be okay and move on, and i would be where i need to be. I have to remember to keep my ears and eyes open, but most of all i need to keep an open mind. I have no clue what my future with Uganda will look like, but i'm excited for it. We have only 5 weeks left here, only 4 more weeks with my kids, and then we go to the North for 10 days. More than halfway there, i thought i'd start feeling ready to come home, but it actually is sort of scary. I can't wait to see my close friends, my Mom, my brothers and sister, and my pup. Everything else seems completely boring and i know it won't measure up to what i have here.

i'll write more again soon, promise

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

and you said I know that this will hurt

i can't wait to work with the adoption process constantly for as long as i can. this is it. this is one of the most beautiful things, the only time I've actually cried tears that were happy and no frustrated or sad, but just happy, awesome tears. opening up your home to a child who has nobody to be everything to them. To give them a new life, their very own Mom and Dad not just auties that come in and out of their lives every few months and Mamas who they know as disciplinarians, but a forever family, who will raise them up as if they were their own, and nothing short of that. That makes me so excited. That is love. B is one of our oldest boys, today we got to see him talk with his mommy on skype, and of course i started to tear up when she began telling him she loved him and that she couldn't wait to meet him. I'm so excited for him.

I have been to the doctor 4 days in a row and tomorrow will be the 5th. The doctor said that my infection is "very impressive", because of how swollen my face became and how deep the infection went. So tomorrow i go back again at the same time, Noon. To have her get more fluid out, if it isn't all out she will need to pack it again tomorrow, but i convinced her not to today. Being bed ridden here really isn't my thing. Patience in every sense of the word. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

take and seal it

health update: so it ended up being a staph infection, basically all through out the bottom left portion of my face. i am on antibiotics, and some "heavy painkillers" to help. today i went back to the doctor, and tomorrow again. Today she gave me two shots of novicane in the infection, and then squeezed the fluid. She said she got more out then she thought she would. She then stuffed a thread (she called it a whick) into the wound to soak up any excess. I have to go back tomorrow to have her pull the thread out and drain more. This is really gross because it's right on my face. It hurt the most today after the doctors because of how hard she had to push on it. One of the boys B, asked today when i got back "auntie kelsey. what's in your mouth" i told him nothing, i just had a boo-boo. i even opened my mouth (well as wide as i could) but he was convinced i was hiding something. My left side f my face is pretty swollen. This is some of the worst pain i have ever felt, but it's most difficult because i just have had weird health problems here, and i just want to be working with the kids. You'd understand if you knew my kids. Really.

(sorry if this grossed you out)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I told you to be patient

It feels like it was only a few days ago that i stepped off the plane with out a clue what I was getting myself into. Already a month has gone by, and i have no clue where it went. Every day poses a new challenge, and every day i have learned something new. I have learned so much already from the people here in Uganda. About a quality of life, a work ethic, and an overall strength that we really don't understand back in the states. We don't understand what it is to be a young woman in Uganda and have our entire families killed by the rebel armies before we reach the age of 21. Could we ever wrap our minds around the concept of walking 2-3 hours each way, every day to work for a monthly salary of about 20 USD a month? 20 USD a month to take care of your mother who can not work, and feed 5 children, 3 of which are not even your own, but are your late sister's. The strength of a 4 year old boy who has tuberculosis, and is HIV positive. The will to survive, and the ability to smile when your living in constant emotional and physical pain. These things are beyond any earthly explanation. We have a BIG God. I have spent the last month questioning Him more than ever before. Not understanding why we live so comfortably, while extreme trauma and suffering is so normal in places like Uganda. Instead of trying to reason with God, i have to understand who exactly my God is. He is the creator, He was before time began, and He always will be. Who am i to question a God like that? Suffering and pain are real. Rather than seeing these circumstances as God given, it's the result of living in a fallen world. God desires us to be close to Him right? For his creation to glorify Him. People who have absolutely nothing cling so tightly to their Savior. While I'm beyond grateful for all i have been given, i envy the faith and strength of the people I've gotten to meet here. I'm sure i will still question and ask Him why? But each time I'm hoping i will be reminded of a plan far too great for me to comprehend.

Obviously i am not giving nearly as much to these kids as they are to me. Every night at 7:30 after I put 14 toddler boys into diapers/underwear and into their mismatched pajamas, and kiss 14 foreheads goodnight, I walk up the stairs somewhat defeated,frustrated, and tired, but smiling, knowing there's nothing else i'd rather be doing. I still wake up around 6:30 am every morning as the roosters are crowing and the babies are crying. Work starts at around 8, while the kids are eating their breakfast. My day with the now, 24 toddlers, starts with putting the boys in diapers after they go to the bathroom. Then teaching preschool to the oldest 12 children, for around 2 hrs every morning. We work on sounding out letters, puzzles, colors, shapes, numbers, finger paints, reading stories etc. Normal preschool things. Then we play outside with the kids until around 12:30, when it is time to go in for lunch. The volunteers have a lunch break, and then return to play more outside with the kids, do actives, sing songs, etc. Then inside by 6:30, for dinner. After dinner the kids are bathed, and stream in one by one. 14 toddler boys who should be tired after a busy day, but instead seem to enter the room soaking wet, and full of energy after their evening baths. Chasing each other around the room, hitting, biting, throwing diapers, and clothes all over. Just a normal night here at Amani. But like i said. I absolutely love it, i can already see my patience growing. Getting to be outside, running around, playing on the swings, and blowing bubbles with these kids is so neat. Seeing the preschoolers learn and make progress. Them being proud of themselves is one of the coolest things. Every timeiI get to hear these kids laugh, see them make progress in preschool, or hold them when they start crying, i'm quitely reminded of exactly why i am here.

We have gotten 6 new kids since i have arrived. S, P, T, B, E and G. G and E were the most recent, both are so tiny and so young. G is 5 weeks, and E is 3 weeks. G was found left in a sugar cane field, and E's mother died during child birth. A last minute decision has been made, another volunteer and i will be traveling to the north of Uganda, to a city called Gulu. A lot of you know i'm going to school for social work. I'm looking to do my masters in international social work, and hopefully work with Uganda in some way after i graduate. The trip to the north is really important for me to get a better understanding of how the war with the LRA has impacted this region (known as Acholi land). A Ugandan woman named S who now lives in Jinja, was originally from the North. Her Father was killed by the rebel army, and she herself has taken interest in the impacts of the war. She, a social work major as well has done her own study on this topic. She is willing to travel with us to the North, and take us to different IDP camps, to talk to refugees, survivors of this awful war that has been going on in Uganda for more than 20 years. This is a really exciting opportunity for me. While the North is much safer than it was, it is of course, not as safe as Jinja.

My health has been tested non-stop since i've been here. Right now i have a staph infection which has made the whole left bottom of my face numb, swollen, and in a lot of pain. i have to go back to the doctor tomorrow to see if it needs to be drained. i'm frustrated but i know these are minor things and i will be fine.