Monday, May 17, 2010

Project Update

Alright guys, the rules have been finalized. They are as follows:

1. The individual must have been born, and still be, a man.

2. The guy must be between the ages of 20 and 29

3. The guy can not be married, engaged, or in any sort of serious relationship.

4. I can not have spent more than 3 hours of direct contact with the guy in my lifetime.

5. My safety can not be at risk by going out on the date (i.e the guy can't be a creeper)

6. The guy can not know about the book prior to the date.

Ironically enough, the first date happened to be this weekend. The guy searched my name at dinner and found my blog and I had to confess the whole thing. Awkward! You can read all about it when I release portions of the chapters online, or when the book is totally finished.

For now, I'm waiting for someone to hook up date #2. Let me know!

It's time to get serious,

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Rules

So I finished my first week at my new job, which means I'm ready to start my next project.

If you don't know what project I'm talking, then you should scroll down and read all the details. If you don't feel like doing this, a quick summary:

I'm going on as many blind dates over the next few months as I can, and then I'm writing a book on my experiences.

And then, I'm going on Ellen (hopefully).

A project this big, with this many people involved, needs some rules. As humorous as I want my book to be, there are a few things I'm not willing to do. Here are the rules I've come up with up:

1. The person have been born and still be, a man.

2. The guy must be between 20 and 29 at the time of the date.

3. I can't have had more than 3 hours of direct interaction with the guy in my lifetime.

4. My safety can't be at risk by going on a date this the guy (i.e the guy can't be a creeper)

And now, a question for the 2 of you who read this:

Should I establish a rule number 5 that says that they guy can not know that I am setting out to write a book?

I see two sides to this:

1. A guy will be more himself if he doesn't know there's a possibility he will make an appearance in my best seller.

2. It seems a bit dishonest to go on a date with a guy without telling him the facts.

Regardless, I am planning on changing their names when I write about them, so their identity will never be known, but, I just can't decide which route would be better.

Awaiting your thoughts,


Thursday, July 30, 2009

First Day In London

Yesterday I arrived in London, got my bags, and waited for my mom and sister to come and get me from the airport. After dropping my bags off at the hotel, we went and got some food. Pizza and cheesecake was my first meal outside of Africa, and it was so good.

After dinner it started to rain, so we headed back to the hotel. I also got to take a real shower and bath for the first time in 2 months. It was excellent. I’m pretty sure I was about 5 shades lighter once I got all the dirt that has been caked on me for two months off.

This morning, we woke up early and headed out to explore the city. We looked at the St. Mary’s in the Fields church, and Trafalgar Square. We watched the changing of the guards at the Horse Guards. Also on our list of stops was Buckingham Palace, Westminister Abbey, the Jewel Tower. It involved a lot of walking and riding the subway, a lot of pictures, and a lot of tourists, but it was still really cool to see everything. In the evening we went and rode the London Eye and ate dinner at Harrod’s department store. The London Eye gave us some beautiful views of the city, and the potato skins and strawberry milkshake I had for dinner was fabulous.

Overall, it was a great day, but I still find myself missing Uganda a lot. I think it’s good that my mom and sister and London are here to distract me, because if I was just sitting at home, I would probably sink into some kind of depression. Whenever I see a clock, I immediately figure out what time it is in Uganda, and what I would be doing at that time.

I don’t want you to think that I don’t love being in London, because I do. It’s just that Uganda is always in the back of my mind.

I can’t wait to until I get to go back.

Looking forward to another day in London tomorrow,

Leaving Uganda

I slept about 3 hours last night. I stayed up really late packing and hanging out with everyone and then I had to get up at 5 so that I could get to the airport on time. I got ready, finished up packing, and then left a note for everyone at the house.
At 6, it was time to leave. Normally, people usually ride with people who are leaving to the airport as a way to see them off, but since I was leaving so early, I didn’t really expect anyone to come.

Rita, Diana, Jayan, Rachel, and Amy all got up to say bye to me, and Heath and Brett both came with me. So did Rocky, our gate guard. Also, Felix came all the way from his house (about 45 minutes) to our house so that he could come too. I was really moved by the number of people that wanted to see me off, especially Heath, Brett, Felix, and Rocky.

I cried again saying goodbye to everyone at the house, just in case you’re wondering.

We had a great ride to the airport, just talking about our favorite memories from the summer, laughing about things that have happened and talking about the first things I am going to do when I get home. It really helped to take my mind off leaving, and I’m really glad the boys decided to come with me.

Once we got to the airport, the guys helped me carry my stuff to the security gate, and then we had to say bye. I held it together during the goodbyes, but I started crying again once I got inside.

I was loading my bags into the security check point with tears running down my face. I’m sure I looked like such an idiot.

I got on the plane without any problems and said goodbye to Uganda from the plane. I cried again. The girl next to me thought it was because I was afraid of flying.

I am usually not so emotional about things. I hate crying, especially in public, but I literally couldn’t hold it in.

I’ve never had something not physical physically hurt me so much, if that makes sense. It actually physically hurt me to leave Uganda, I think.

My friend, Kelsey, has spent a few semesters in London in the past, and I remember her telling me one time that her heart was still in London. It’s a statement that has always stuck with me, but I have never understood it until today.

I love my family and I love my friends and I love the life I have in Texas, but a part of me will always belong in Uganda.

God has taught me so much this summer and has given me so many memories and experiences that were literally once in a lifetime. I am so grateful for every minute of the experience. I wish I could do a better job of describing it to you.

I think I may start to suffer from separation anxiety, I’m hoping London will help to ease the pain.

Missing Uganda,

Last Full Day In Uganda

Today was a bittersweet day. We woke up and had devotions and then spent some time praying and talking in small groups. I cried in my group when I told them about my sadness about leaving. It was the first of many tears.

After devotions, we went to the squatter’s neighborhood near Kambago to clean out their water hole. It was really dirty and gross, and we got really dirty and gross, but it looked so good afterwards! It felt really good to work my butt off for a few hours and then get such great results. We really made a difference in the lives of the people in that neighborhood.

After cleaning up, we came home and hung out at the house for a while. I took a shower and started working on getting things taken care of before I left. We also had some AIDS training, which basically consisted of learning the basics of AIDS, which I’ve gone over about 50 million times at school it seems like.

After our AIDS training, we went back to the squatter’s house to talk to people about AIDS. My group consisted of me, Brett, and David, a Ugandan. We went to two different houses and talked to people about the importance of getting tested for HIV/AIDS, and basic healthy practices that would help to prevent them from getting sick. We also prayed with them. We had to talk to them really quickly, because we didn’t have much time, but it was still nice to get to talk with them.

After the squatter’s neighborhood, a few of us went to the craft market so that I could get some last minute things before I headed home. I finally covered everyone on my list!

After the craft market I came home and hung out with everyone at the house for a while. I played Sorry, spoons, and speed with Jovan and Latisha, and then I had to tell them bye, which was really difficult. I really love those kids. I also spent some time talking with Helen, Tara, and Heath. Just hanging out at the house with everyone is something that I am going to really miss.

Towards the end of the night came the moment that I have been dreading for quite a while, my “goodbye circle”. Whenever someone leaves, everyone gets in a circle and says nice and encouraging things to the person, and then they pray for them.

Listening to people say nice things about you without saying anything back is extremely awkward, but it was still nice to listen to what everyone had to say. There were several times that I had to work really hard not to cry. Everyone talked about my sense of humor, and how cool it was that I did my therapy work on the kids, but some people also mentioned my leadership abilities, and my ability to motivate them, and how I made them feel welcome and was motherly towards them. Those last 3 were things that I didn’t expect at all. I loved finding out that you have an effect on people that you didn’t even realize was happening. It makes me want to be more conscious of the way I treat people all the time.

At the end of the goodbye circle, we always pray and then sing a song “We are family”. It’s not the song you’re thinking of, but it’s just as cheesy. I started crying during the prayer, kept going through the song, and was pretty much sobbing during a lot of the goodbye hugs. It was so embarrassing. I hate public crying.

I spent the rest of the night hanging out the Andrew, Heath, Diana, Jayan, and Rita. I spent most of it packing. There is no scale at the house, so poor Heath had to keep lifting my bags and guessing if my bags were under 50 pounds or not. Heath, if you read this, both were less than 50 pounds. Thanks for your help!

Tomorrow is the day I have been dreading for a while. I really don’t want to leave Africa, but I am excited to spend some time in London with my mom and Ally and to see everyone back home again. It’s really just a bittersweet moment with so many mixed emotions.

Confused and not looking forward to tomorrow,

Monday, July 27, 2009

Last Day At Sanyu

This morning was one of the most difficult mornings of my life. We woke up and went to Sanyu to spend the morning there. I brought along my treatment plans that I had written up for each of my therapy kids, and this morning I taught them all to Elias, the “therapist” working there. I did the best I could to explain everything to him so that he can continue to do good work on my kids when I leave.

It took pretty much the entire time for me to teach the exercises and treatment plans to Elias and Felix, but it was nice to get to see each kid one last time. Esther was also sick this morning, so I got to sit and hold her for a little bit while we waited for the nurse.

Also, a really nice lady came in while I was working with Francis from England. She told me that she would be here for a few weeks, and that she had made Francis her personal project. I showed her everything that I do with her, and explained to her the importance of Francis being placed in his chair often. She told me that she would ensure that he was well taken care of, so it was a real comfort and blessing. I felt a little better about leaving him knowing that he was in good hands.

After I finished teaching Elias all the treatment plans, I sat and talked to him a little while. He went on and on about what a blessing I have been to him and the kids this summer. He also gave me quite an honor. He explained to me that each different part of the baby’s home has a sponsor. Being a sponsor involves having your name on a plaque outside the area, being recognized at board meetings and such, and helping to ensure that the needs of the area are met. Currently, the kitchen, play area, and each classroom have a sponsor and Barbara recently decided that the therapy room needs one as well. She told Elias that he could pick a person, and today he asked me if I would be the therapy room sponsor. I was overwhelmed by what he had to say. It actually almost made me cry. I didn’t realize I had such a large effect on him. I felt really nice to have my work this summer recognized, no matter how small it is.

I ended therapy a little early so that I could say bye to all of my favorite kids before I left. I got a bunch of big hugs and slobbery kisses. It was wonderful.

Then, it was time to actually leave. I’ll be honest; I cried the entire way home. Not just eyes watery cry, but tears down the face, bottom lip quivering, nose running, super ugly cry. It was awful leaving those kids. I have developed such a love for them over the summer; it literally tore me apart to leave them.

After getting home and calming down, we had a quick lunch and then I finished organizing my paper and went and got it bound. It took a long time to do, because they actually hand bind the paper here, but after about an hour, it was finally finished!

It feels so good to be done!

After I got back I started working on getting things taken care of before I have to leave. Then, we had team bonding time. It involved practicing songs, giving each other uplifting comments, and answering random questions about ourselves. Even though it sounds lame, it was actually a lot of fun.

After team bonding time, I worked on my presentations some.

I also spent some time on the driveway with Heath just playing with the neighborhood kids. I’m really going to miss moments like that.

Tonight we are just hanging out at the house. We are probably going to watch School of Rock later.

My mom and sister are leaving in the next hour or so for London, so pray for a safe flight for them.

Sad that tomorrow is my last day in Uganda,

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Last Sunday

This morning I went to my last church service while in Uganda. We went to Kampala Community Church, which is the church Tara goes to when she is here in Uganda. The choir was really good, and we also got to see the children’s choir perform, which was really entertaining. The message was pretty good as well. After the service was over, the pastor and his wife gave us some sodas and took us on a small tour of the church. Everyone here is always so welcoming!

After church we came home and had a quick lunch. Then, Jovan and LaTisha came over and I took them swimming at a swimming pool nearby. I have been promising to take them swimming for forever, and today was the last day that we would have been able to go.

Swimming was a lot of fun, even though the water was freezing! We only lasted about an hour because we started getting too cold.

On the way home, we stopped by the supermarket and the fruit market to get some supplies for our cooking lesson. Jovan and LaTisha promised a long time ago to teach me how to make traditional Ugandan foods.

Once we got home, I washed some underwear and bras (hand washed, my mom would be so proud!) and sorted through the rest of my clothes to figure out what Sarah needs to wash for me before I go to London. After I finished, Irish Amy, Abby, and I went to Jovan and LaTisha’s house to learn to make the food.

We had such a blast! Jovan’s mom and aunt, Jovan, LaTisha and the three of us made Ugandan pancakes, chapatti, and rolexes. They also gave me the recipes for a bunch of other things. I am excited to come home and make everything for you guys. I am a little nervous it won’t turn out exactly right though. Ugandans don’t use measurements at all when they are making food. It’s all estimates! I’m a little nervous about it.

After cooking lessons I came home and played Sorry! with Jovan, LaTisha, and Abby. We also had a small birthday celebration for Emily from Alaska. She turned 17 today! If you thought sending me to Africa was hard, imagine sending your 16 year old daughter!

Tonight, I also printed out my paper! It is completely finished. Tomorrow I am taking it to a nearby stationary store to have it bound, and then all I have left to do is the presentation, which shouldn’t take long at all.

It has been such a great day!

Enjoying my last few days here,