Saturday, November 15, 2008

4 Months later...

Hey there!! I finally have been working on my Africa pictures again recently, so here is a link to my online gallery:)

Love you all!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

This is a quick view of the place we stayed up in Opit

This is part of the area where we stayed up in Northern Uganda...very glamorous:)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

An Array of Mixed Emotions as we leave Uganda for South Africa

(this is a picture of the "airport" we took off from in Gulu, Uganda)

(June 30 2008)

The past week and a half in Uganda (the South in Kampala and the North in Opit-IDP camp) has been such a mixture of feelings and emotions: joyfulness, gratitude, anger, hopefulness, happiness, extreme humility, and the list could go on.

The joyfulness came when we were greeted in Opit by hundreds of yelling, clapping & smiling precious children just waiting to touch us and so excited to play with us. We were undeservedly treated like celebrities and royalty!

I think I can speak for all when I say “gratitude” is an understatement. The team of 40+ volunteers that make up Connect Africa—led by Trevor Tychon—are saintly people of Uganda who love their country (no matter if they were from the North or South) so much they give up their normal lives (sometimes weeks at a time) to do events/crusades such as we did up in Opit. This amazing group of people cooked our meals 3 times a day (in less than desirable cooking conditions by western standards) cleaned up after us, welcomed us into their team, loved us, prepared our accommodations at the resource center, drove us all around…in other words they made sure we always had what we need—above and beyond our expectations! Some even attempted to teach us “Mzungus” how to do the amazingly intricate Acholi dances…”attempted” is the key word here.

It would be dishonest to deny that some or all of us felt angry or frustrated at one point or another during this experience. It’s hard not to be angry about the injustice of these peoples’ living situation in the IDP camps.

It would be dishonest to not note the frustration associated with the children’s living conditions.. These precious beautiful kids have next to nothing (when it comes to fundamental needs)… no access to medical attention when they need it –- and let me tell you , after our team helped run the hygiene/ 1st Aid clinic day there in Opit, we can all attest to their need for medical attention. These kids also face the reality of a real need for food and for positive influence in their lives.

Luckily, here’s where the “hopefulness” comes in. At this point, Connect Africa’s team, Resource Centers and very practical technologies are what gives us the most hope for these people and their future. Connect Africa’s vision is so beautifully in tune to God’s voice and heart for Uganda, there’s no doubt the Bio-sand Water Filters they’re constructing & introducing will help transform the provision of disease-free drinking water in Africa, one village at a time. There’s no doubt their resource centers (CARC’s) are going to empower those in Uganda who desire a change in their nation through 1st Aid training, leadership seminars for local leaders, training on the use of the dry brick press, and etc.

There’s no doubt that our time in Opit was possibly just a “drop in the bucket” when it comes to time spent up in Northern Uganda. But because of Connect Africa and their heart for the people there, the seed has been sown in our hearts—and we’ll hold on to that as we aspire to live a changed life due to those who God used to touched our hearts up in Opit, Uganda.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A World Away from California...

(June 22 2008)

Hi! Greetings from northern Uganda– just north of Gulu in an IDP camp called Opit.
We arrived there yesterday afternoon and it’s been a blur ever since! We arrived just before sunset…we embarked on a 7 hour bus ride that one could not experience in America if they tried. The roads are insane!

First of all, the larger vehicle on the road has the right of way…so usually everyone drives in the middle of the road (paved would be an overstatement) and then if you encounter a vehicle coming your way…whoever has the bigger vehicle gets to keep going without swerving. I took pictures of the potholes b/c there’s no way to explain the roller coaster of a ride we were on!

Anyway, we arrived to the “camp”, Opit at sunset and were chased down the road and waved at by adorable, partially clothed little Acholi children. We’re staying at a “resource center” made of bricks, no electricity or flush toilettes. But we do have bunk beds and great mosquito nets–I actually slept OK last night!

After we arrived and had “settled” it was dark…the stars were amazing and off in the distance there was lightning (yea!) It was 9:15pm and dinner was far from ready, so we followed the sounds of chanting/singing children.

The group we’re with, Connect Africa, has begun setting up their stage with big lights and musical instruments (in the middle of a field) and so where lights are at night…the people who live around flock to them! There were at least 300 little children clapping, dancing and singing along to the leader’s songs. It was quite a sight! (It’s called the crusade part of the evening) We’ll do that again tonight and tomorrow night too.

Today we woke at sunrise to cow and rooster sounds! We had “coffee” :)before our prayer & singing time with the Connect Africa team (most of the team members are people from the Kampala region of Uganda who volunteer their time to these Northern Uganda IDP camps (IDP = inter-displaced people) and the Crusades that Connect Africa puts on. They also build these resource centers for the poor people of northern Uganda and run seminars on hygiene, leadership, first aid–etc.

Anyway, as you can see it’s been amazing, and its only day 2 up here in northern Uganda!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ready, Set...Catch Up!

Hey Friends! Ok, so we average a post about every 2 months or so--it could be worse right?

We hope you're all doing well and love seeing your updated pages from time to time! Seriously, how did friends stay in contact as well "back in the day?" with a whole lot more effort I guess-- imagine: people used to send their friends actual prints of pictures! haHAHA! oh WAIT-- I still do that. he he he... so anyway, here are some highlights of late:

In February I got to join Joel on a business trip to Boulder CO-- that was fun considering Joel spend most of his life before I met him out in CO and I had never been there until this trip. I am happy to say I wasn't disappointed! We spend two nights in Boulder and then 2 nights up in the mountains in Vail/Beaver Creek area. The day we were supposed to drive through "the pass" ( I guess the ONE road that takes you up to the mountains) there had been so much snow the night before that the pass had been closed all was still closed at noon on Friday and we had to make a decision by 1 pm about whether or not to cancel our hotel reservations in the mountains or not--luckily at 12:55 the pass opened up so we decided to go for it! SO glad we did--

Love this picture because it seriously reminds me of Narnia

These are all pictures of Beaver Creek Ski resort--look at the feet of snow on the buildings!

This was the cutest little Irish Pub! It was so cozy & warm inside... it was perfect cuz we just walked (ran actually because of it being only 10 degrees) down the hill from our hotel and here was The Grouse on the Green--awesome place! There was a big fireplace inside and only a few others inside--perfect for a cold winter's night.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

DC...who knew our nation's capital was so cool?

Hey friends, just wanted to do a little post on what's been going on in the past months. You already saw our Indiana trip post--so we're going to start going back in time a bit! Sorry but I can't get these blogs out very fast:) So I went to Washington DC on a business trip. It was my first time to our capital! (yes I know--I should have gone on that 8th grade trip!) It was short but sweet--I had about an afternoon to see as many sights as I could, so my little whirlwind included: Washington monument, the Lincoln memorial (and the gorgeous long pool where MLK jr gave his speech--it was actually really emotional to be there), WWII memorial, the capital building, the national gallery... then I grabbed a cab to Georgetown--such a cute neighborhood!! It had awesome shops, restaurants and there were these cute old row houses all connected along the here are a few pics to show you what I saw:

More to come...and please leave us a comment/note about how YOU are...and where is one place in the U.S you'd like to visit but haven't been to yet?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Happy 2008!

The sparkling snow we were wishing and hoping for while back in Indiana!

It's hard for me to believe that we are starting a new year all over again-- I think I've finally begun to understood all the "there's no time like the present", "live in the now" and "tomorrow is never promised" mantras. I finally have recognized, embraced, and started taking advantage of the fact that my birthday happens to fall on the same day where everyone is counting down to the start of the New Year. It's actually a really great thing because I get to start my new year--literally in the New Year! ANYWAY--all that to say I'm really looking forward to 2008 and what it brings. No more, "dang-- another year already? another birthday?"

Joel and I got to spend the week after Christmas & New Year's with my family & friends in Indiana. It was a great time--we celebrated Christmas, had plenty of relaxation, quality family dinners, SNOW, time with friends and plenty of "Noah Time."

Kate, Noah and I thrilled with Christmas gifts:)

Mom & Dad taking in the Christmas joy!
...and laughing at the naked boy:)

I was very excited to be able to request Dad's Birthday Pancakes

New Year's Eve celebration @ Kate and Joshua's

We were so happy we got to spend a night out to dinner with Beautiful Rene & Simon!

Male Bonding:)

...and of course one of those notorious "in the back see of a car" pictures!

"One lump or two?" Joel and I were happy to be able to go out with
Kate & Josh for some tea and dessert! Good times...

Mom & Me at the Indy Children's Museum

"little buddy" (as we like to call him)
on the carousel at the museum

Well, that's it for now! Man...this blogging thing takes patience! Love you all--thanks for reading:)