Molly in Africa

Friday, May 18, 2007

Arrival and ants!

After travelling for a little more than 24 hours, Erin and I arrived at the airport in Entebbe Uganda (just 45 minutes south of Kampala) to be greeted by Fr. Simon Peter (probably my favorite person in Uganda), two of his sisters (Teddy and Noelline) and his friend George. We spent the day going out to a village near Masaka where I celebrated Christmas with my family to see the school that he is building out there- St. Joan of Arc. It's coming along amazingly- when we left, they only had the land bought but no progress on it, now it has a foundation, walls, and they are in the midst of putting up a ceiling. While there, I had my first adventure- attack of the ants! Fr. Simon Peter had warned us to not step on the ants and even after we stepped over them we stomped our feet, but apparently some ant had gotten onto my skirt because about five minutes later i felt something biting me on my side. I reached under my shirt and pulled off a large ant. Soon after that I could feel another one biting my leg and then one had attached itself into one of my fingers on my right hand. Since I was holding something in the left hand, I tried to just brush it of, but it had a stinger literally IN my finger, so I had to turn to Fr. Simon Peter for some help with that. That one drew blood. They (Fr. Simon Peter, his sister and Erin) spent the next two minutes checking my skirt and patting down my back to make sure there weren't any more on me. I found a couple more a few minutes later, but then I really was all clear. To be honest, it wasn't even a big deal,just a surprising adventure to start off this summer!

I've gotten a chance to use my Luganda skills a bit, but I still feel like I wish I knew the language better. Luckily, once Erin and I go east to Mbale on Sunday or Monday, I won't really need to know Luganda at all.

Today, Erin and I spent the day in Kampala- changing money, getting me a cell phone and picking up some other things. We're having dinner tonight with a friend of mine who did my study abroad program in the fall and has also returned to uganda for the summer. I just spoke to a friend on the phone today and I'll get to meet up with him tomorrow. It's fun getting to see people again!

Oh, CRAZY story! While walking around in Kampala this morning, we were walking my the taxi park and it was very busy- people everywhre, bumping into you, asking for money etc. Well, these two kids say, "Mzungu!" and I didn't even look down because I didn't want to have to make eye contact with some kid that was going to ask me for money and then have to tell him no. Well then they said, "Mzungu, how are you?" So I turned to look at them and said, "fine, how are you?" Then they said fine and I was going to keep walking bu t they tugged on my hand and asked how i was again. Well, once I responded they said, "CRO!" These two boys were some of my CRO boys from Mbale!!! They weren't regulars at CRO, so I didn't know either of their names, but once they gave me a context for why I would recognize them, I did. I was so impressed by them! Not only did they remember the white woman (because really that wouldn't be that impressive), they were able to distinguish me from Erin enough to know that I was the one who had been with them last fall! So cool!

Ok, that was way longer than I intended, but thanks for reading! I'll post again after we've been in Mbale for a week to let you all know how that is going!

Monday, May 14, 2007

I'm going back... TOMORROW!

Sorry for not updating this blog sooner, but I AM going back to Uganda this summer!

I applied for a grant through my school (the University of Dayton) called the Learn, Lead and Serve award. I had to write a project proposal and have a faculty mentor. I found out back in March that I received this grant as well as an international Learn, Lead and Serve award! So, I will be working in Mbale, Uganda again with CRO (Child Restoration Outreach). I will also be staying with Esther again which I am very excited about! This grant pays for my transportation there, my transportation within Uganda, and my living expenses! I am so grateful for this grant because I know that it is a complete blessing to be able to return to Uganda so quickly!

The other exciting part of this upcoming adventure is that I have a partner in crime! One of my best friends from UD, Erin Bole, will be travelling with me! She did not apply for the same grant I did, but has received funding from her church, some family and a few other sources. She will be staying with me at Esther's and will also be volunteering at CRO. Once we are there, we will meet with the directors and talk about what exactly we will be doing this summer. When we know that, I will update the blog.

Well, it's back to packing for me...

PS- Things I'm looking forward to: seeing Fr. Simon Peter again, spending time with the kids at CRO again, visiting some of the older CRO boys at their colleges/universities, seeing the SIT staff again, seeing a few of the other SIT students who will also be back in Uganda this summer, using lanterns again, eating dinner with Esther and breathing in the fresh air of Mbale :)