Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Hello to all!

I am realizing I never quite wrapped up my blog here...but I am officially back in the states. It definitely was a weird transition from perfect weather Uganda to Christmas season in snowy Minnesota, but it is nice to be back. To be able to enjoy time with friends and family, catch up on reading while I search for a job and a direction in my life.

But I just wanted to say thank you to all of my friends and family for all of your prayer and support not only during my time in Uganda, but throughout my whole life. God has truly blessed me with some wonderful friends and family.

Take care!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Turkey Day!

Welcome to Thanksgiving...Ugandan style.

Just kidding...we actually did it good ole' American style! We have all been looking forward to this day sooo much! I think we're all just a little be nostalgic about American food : ) but it was such a good day, with all of our staff and their family.

Janet, Jill, & I started off the day with making turkeys : )

Pics of our gathering...there ended up being quite a large group of us.
Semei, one of our local staff, announced that he is getting married and introduced his fiancee.
Carving the turkey...
The beginnings of the adventures of the day...
introducing King Graysen and his Queen, Janet : )
Fall Harvest tattoos! Thanks mom!
Jill matched mine : )
Paul wanted to show us his amazing talent for juggling
crazy photos...

Intern photo...awkward... : )
the group photo!
But it was a good thanksgiving! Lots of good food and great time together.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

MTN Marathon 2009

The annual marathon here in Kampala was this past Sunday, November 22nd. I think around 18000 people ran in this years race. There were a couple of us from the office that participated in the 10k that went with it. No, I definitely did not run a marathon, but the 10k was definitely fun to do, like most races are. But lets just say running a race in Ugandan is soooo different from running a race in the states. One wave start for the 10k so at the beginning we were all just being pushed forward, it was like a mob scene, which continued to surface at the end when we were collecting our MTN water bottles. It was chaotic with everyone grabbing and pushing for their water bottles, when later on the police came and were actually clubbing people because it was becoming so rowdy. it was insane...

here are photos of the day!
The runners (LTR): Kyle, me, Brad, & Janet
My running partner!
battle wounds : )

victory! water bottle!
Brad collecting bottles for his son Jonah's recycling program.

Commemorative photo : )

Monday, November 23, 2009

A nice big plate of...

Yep that's right, it is officially grasshopper season here in Uganda and you will see people selling little baggies of them all over. They generally fry them up and add some salt to them, someone described it as an extra greasy potato chip. But basically to me...it is still just a grasshopper no matter what they taste like.

David helping Steven de-wing them first.

This is one food from Uganda I will not miss.

Florence's Nursery School- Face Painting!!

I got the privilege these past couple of weeks to be able to work with a nursery school nearby. EMI allows for this sweet opportunity to volunteer up to four hours a week. Thus giving me an opportunity to spend time with these kids! Most of them are still learning English so there wasn't a lot of good communication, but there was definitely plenty of joy and fun!
The school semesters are different here and the kids had their last day of the year this previous Friday. They will be off for two months before they start up again. So it was my last day with them. I have done a variety of activities with them, mainly craft-oriented, thus for their last day we decided to do face painting!

Florence showing her artistic side : )
The kids definitely started warming up to the camera.
Me trying to show my artsy side : )

Miriam, Florence's daughter helped as well.
As did her daughter Rachel.
Katie was such a sweetheart...her and her twin sister Mary are ADORABLE :) They had the best smiles. They didn't know a lot of English so they couldn't really chat with me that much.
Josie...cutie pie.
Kathy who had that face the entire time I was painting : )
The only photo of me with the kids that wasn't blurry! You get the idea though : )
They were so happy!

It was such an amazing privilege to work with these kids.
They just made my day every Tuesday!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Land of a Thousand Hills


What a beautiful, breath-taking country with such a tragic and painful history. I got the privilege this past to go to "the land of a thousand hills," a phrase most appropriately named to describe Rwanda. Upon arrival the first thing noticed was....paved roads and no trash. One of the most remarkable things about Rwanda to me is just the transformation that the country has undergone in the past fifteen years. I am still in the process of analyzing the progress that Paul Kagame has made since he came to power nine years ago, but there is no doubt that he is making progress, at least in the area of cleaning-up his country's infrastructure.

Examples of what strides Rwanda has made can clearly be seen in the capital Kigali:

Paved, clean roads with painted lines...

Organized bodas (called in Rwanda motor-taxis) with vests, helmets along with the telephone number of the company they work for.

New modern construction was broadcasted throughout the entire capital.

Photos of one of the hotels we stayed at outside our room

Up to the dining area, which has an awesome view....

Kigali Genocide Memorial...

The memorial was erected in 2004, ten years after the 1994 genocide where an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed in a period of three months. Media and politically brainwashed Hutus spent these months slaughtering Tutsi and Tutsi-friendly Hutus as they declared to eliminate the entire Tutsi race. Friends turned on friends, neighbors turned on neighbors as this rampage took place.

It was a tragic time in not only Rwandan history, but the world's history as the UN and many Western countries "turned their backs" on what was happening in this small country in the heart of Africa.

This non-profit memorial serves as a reminder of not only the history that went on in Rwanda, but a reminder to prevent it from never happening again.


What a gorgeous and spectacular place. We went to this lakeside resort to one, see the beauty that is Lake Kivu with the DRC's mountain ranges soaring over it, and two, to hike in the Volcanoes National Park. Number two didn't end up working out mainly on a lack of planning on our part. This trip was kind of a "lets see what happens" trip and thus we didn't realize we needed to make a guide reservation the day before. But we were still able to see the beauty of the city and surrounding areas.

Photo opt!

Chris & Fiona, the lovely couple who feed us and gave us a place to stay while we helped out with the ministry.

Part of our trip to Rwanda consisted of working with a former EMI ministry called AIM FATER, which is a ministry creating an institution for training pastors. They are based in Kigali and wanted some new master plan ideas and some possible future land surveyed. We were able to give them some sketches and GPS points for the new land.

It was definitely great to be able to help them out, if only a little bit.

Our first group picture, which I still think is hilarious even though it's blurry. The epitome of our bus rides throughout Rwanda.