Molly in Africa

Friday, December 29, 2006


Hey folks!

This is just a really quick email to let you know that the time with my parents has been fun and I will definitely update when I get home- there's just not enough time right now. We're back in Kampala now and we leave tonight at 11:00pm from Entebbe... we'll be home on the 30th around noon I think.

For all those in the Chicago area- you're invited to my house on the 1st for an open house... noon til whenenver I think... Things to look forward to if you come: me and my parents in traditional African clothing (yipee!), me doing a traditional Baganda dance for you all and many many many stories to be shared... you should come!

Hope all is well with all of you and that your holidays have been filled with good times! :) See you soon...

PS- Despite the happiness that fills this entry, I must let you know that I have COMPLETELY mixed feelings about coming home and at this point would definitely be okay with staying in Uganda for a while longer... but I have a plane to catch tonight, so I'll be home soon and I'm sure I'll adjust eventually! :)

Going to try to add some pictures... hopefully this works:

the welcoming crew the night my parents arrived
L-R: Harriet, George, Simon, me, my mum, my pops and Fr. Simon Peter

my mum on a boda boda :)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Molly's got visitors from home!

Written by Molly's mother:

We arrived safely after hours and hours of plane time, and were greeted by Molly, Fr. Simon Peter, his brother and sister,the sister of one of Molly's friends at CRO, who had flown from Norway,and another man who was the driver of the second car. Lots of hugging! What a sight we were! 4 Ugandans and 4 "muzungus" (white people) and lots of luggage! The Heineman part of that group is staying at a hotel that has an armed guard, but very friendly workers, and Molly can speak to them in Luganda and her dad and I are trying to learn a few words.

Today we walked around Kampala and then took a drive to the area where Molly lived when she first arrived. It's trulya whole different world-both from America, and even from the city of Kampala. Traffic here is crazy, streets packed with cars, taxis (mini-vans stuffed with riders), bodas (motorcycles with a driver who carries a passenger on back), and brave pedestrians. On our way back from Molly's first home, each of us took a boda, so we were weaving in and out of all the traffic on the backsof motorcycles- it was quite a fun adventure, and clearly the most efficient way to get around in the city. Molly wasn't sure we'd want to ride that way, but her parents are a little more adventuresome than she thought!

Tomorrow, we go to Mass at Fr. Simon Peter's and then he will drive us 4 hours east to Mbale, where Molly worked and lived for the past 6 weeks. We will all stay there a few days, see her students' Christmas show- which I'm sure will be different than the oneI missed at my own school, and connect with her Dayton friend Matt, who is spending this entire year in Malawi. He will join us for the next week's travels. We'll be leaving all the t-shirts, hand sanitizer, protein bars we brought from folks at home with the people at CRO (Child Restoration Organization) for the children with whom Molly worked. Also hope to do the paper work to set up some type of scholarship support for young people who've completed secondary school, have been accepted to university, but can's go due to lack of funds. Then we'll head way west- going on an animal drive in Queen Elizabeth's Park, and then to Rwanda for the genocide memorials. Then it will be to Masaka, Fr. Simon Peter's home village, where we will celebrate Midnight Mass with him, spend Christmas with his family, and visit the area where a school is being built with money from the students and parishioners of St. Joan of Arc.

Won't have internet access very often during the time here, so thought we'd send a post right away. It's wonderful to be here with Molly and learning about a wholoe new part of the world for us.

Friday, December 15, 2006


The hotel that I'm staying at has free wireless internet access, so I'm going to put up some pictures with the other blog entries for those of you who haven't been able to see any pictures yet. These pictures are from was beautiful there!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Endings and Islands

Well, it’s been another busy week! Last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, my SIT group went to Sesse Island on Lake Victoria to give our final presentations and have some final bonding time. To be honest, I wasn’t that impressed with Sesse Island and because of a broken ferry, the trip to and from the island was quite long: 7-9 hours! The presentations went well- it was really interesting to learn about what the other students did for their six week practicums. Just to give you a glimpse, here are some of the topics: refugees, internally displaced persons, children affected by the war in the north, women in slum areas, theater for development, AIDS support, subsistence farming and corruption. The bonding time was great- it was fun to be back with the whole group for a few days and to catch up with some people who I hadn’t been in touch with during practicum.

The day before we left for Sesse, I had decided not to go to Kenya to visit my friend Matt. It turns out that he’s coming to Uganda next week and will be traveling around with me and my family and celebrating Christmas with us which I’m really excited about. I didn’t really have that great a desire to go to Kenya, I wanted to have more time with my friends and since I was going to get to see Matt soon anyway, I just decided not to go. Three of my closest friends from the SIT group (Gabe, Marisa and Krista) had decided to go on holiday to Zanzibar for their last five days in Eastern Africa and had been trying to convince me to go for the past three weeks but I had been reluctant to agree. Once at Sesse, they brought it up again and while I thought it was too late, I realized that it really would be fun to go and one of those opportunities that I might regret later if I let it slip by. So, after a few phone calls from Sesse, I had a plane ticket to Zanzibar! We left on Thursday morning and came back yesterday early afternoon.

Zanzibar was beautiful! It’s really really tourist-y so that was a huge adjustment for all of us, but it was a nice relaxing five days. Oh, I should mention that in addition to Gabe, Krista and Marisa, we were also traveling with our friend Laura who is doing an independent research project in Uganda for the year. My buddy Gabe was able to get me to come because he paid for our accommodations, which was wonderful! It did mean that we would squeeze into rooms that weren’t exactly large enough for us, but it was perfect. We stayed in Stonetown for the first two nights in a hotel room called a triple. It really was enough for 4 and it just meant that two people had to squish into one bed- which ended up working out. Stonetown is a pretty town on the water with beautiful tall white buildings and narrow winding sidewalks in between. On my second day there, Krista and I went swimming with a bunch of little kids- about 18 8-yr-old boys. It was really fun and they taught us numbers 1-10 in Swahili. When we got out and the boys got dressed, I realized that some of them were street kids- I just can’t stay away! That night we had dinner at a market on the water and the food was great- tasty barracuda, Zanzibari pizza and a fun dessert of bananas in fried dough with chocolate sauce.

The next two days we went up to the northern part of the island to Kendwa (sp?) Rocks. It was straight out of one of those commercials for the beach vacation- glisteningly white sand, light blue water, palm trees, very hot weather… it was perfect. We went swimming a few times, went snorkeling off of a boat and just chilled on the beach. Snorkeling was great- I saw some beautiful fish and starfish. After lunch, my friends and I were sitting on the second deck of our wooden boat and we jumped off the top into the water which was a lot of fun. On our boat ride back, we saw some dolphins which I’ve never seen in nature! Oh, and if you haven’t figured this out yet, I was swimming in the Indian Ocean!!! After two days there, we went back to Stonetown for our last 24 hours and relaxed a bit more. I really enjoyed the people there- they were quite friendly and we had a lot of fun with them.

Yesterday, we arrived back in Kampala in time for the final group dinner and for Marisa and Krista to join the group flight back (Gabe had to stay at the airport to catch his flight to Paris). I went with to the airport and that was such a great decision! My van, which had most of the group in it, sang Christmas songs the entire way there- for about an hour! It was wonderful, but also made me realize how different it is going to be for me here where there will not be any snow, like so many of those songs talk about. At the airport, it was weird to say goodbye- some people I will really miss and others I won’t even notice that they’re not with me. The plans have already been started about who is visiting who when. I’m pretty excited to visit some of my friends at school this semester, so that should be fun.

Well, it’s a rainy day in Kampala which means no laundry for me today, but I have a ton of errands to run so I’m going to get to that. My parents are coming in two days and we are all really excited! The plans are mostly set and it should be a fun filled (and when I say filled, I mean our schedule is COMPLETELY packed) two weeks and I hope that it will give them SOME sense of where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. I am already predicting disappointment in the fact that there is no way that they can know what I experienced in many ways, but I think it’s good that they’ll know a little more.

Hope you all are doing well and thanks again for keeping tabs on me!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

last week in Mbale : (

I leave Mbale tomorrow for Kampala. Then I'll have the last week of my program, a free week (where I'll probably be traveling to Kenya to see a friend from UD- Matt Maroon, for any Flyers reading this), then I have two weeks with my parents in Uganda and then I'm back to America- YIKES!

This past week has been a whirlwind. I was at work all week this past week doing interviews mostly with the staff which were really helpful and informative. On Thursday night, I went on the monthly night survey with about five social workers and the Norwegians and that was really interesting. First, it was a beautiful night- cool in tempature, but completely clear sky, so it was nice to have an hour long walk around Mbale. Second, it was really interesting to learn more about this aspect of the children's lives and to hear how the police do round-ups of the children. Third, it was great to walk around with my co-workers. We had a lot of fun goofing around and being silly, and then also having serious conversations as well. It was a really fun thing to do on the night before my last day of work.

Now I am frantically trying to get my paper done since it is due tomorrow when I get back to Kampala. I haven't had power at my house for the past two weeks because a transformer in our area broke. This has meant that I haven't been able to use my laptop as much. Also with having malaria last week and not feeling good these past two days, I have not been able to do nearly as much work as I would have liked. My malaria is completely gone- please reassure grandma that I'm fine. :)

It was really hard to leave work yesterday. I've learned so much from CRO and have really loved being a part of that community. The staff have been wonderful and supportive to me as well as just really great people who I'm glad I had the opportunity to meet. The kids are indescribable and I am really sad to be leaving them. Their reactions to my leaving didn't make it any easier- some of them just hung on me all day yesterday, others tried to avoid talking to me because they were mad that I was leaving and others were just kind of quietly sad. Then there are the kids that still didn't really understand that I was going and I hope taht they don't get really mad at me next week when I'm not there. Ok, my internet time is about to be up, so that's all from here.