Molly in Africa

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Birthday Fun :)

To start, thank you to everyone who sent birthday wishes my way- I was overwhelmed by the show of love and support I received. My 21st birthday was on Sunday and we had a most wonderful weekend in Mbale to celebrate. I’m not sure if I mentioned this in my last blog post, but my friend Sergio (Serge for short) came and stayed with us for the past two weeks and he actually was the one who planned everything for my birthday (which was awesome)! On Saturday, Serge, Erin and I went hiking up towards some waterfalls on the nearby mountain (Wanale Mountain). As we walked up, we passed through a few villages and it felt great to greet people in the local language here (Lugisu). Granted, I ONLY know the greeting, but it still was nice to say hi to the old women as we walked past the little trading centers of the villages. At one point, I got a cramp in my right calf (I used to get those a lot when I played soccer in high school) and I felt like I shouldn’t keep going so I chilled at a river while Erin and Serge went the last fifteen/twenty minutes of the hike by themselves. One of the things that I am quite proud of myself for is that both times that I have been in Uganda, I have not allowed myself to spend time feeling sorry for myself and I’ve just made the best of the many random situations I’ve found myself in. For example, instead of being really frustrated with myself for not being able to keep hiking up, I went to this river and ended up interacting with this woman who was washing her clothes in the river and then played with about twelve kids for the half hour that I was left by myself. At that point, it began to rain, so I started heading back to the path and back down. After walking for two or three minutes, I looked back and saw Serge’s bright blue shirt and walked back to meet them since they weren’t very far behind me. We walked back in the pouring rain, passing by all the children who had greeted us on our way up.

My friend Mary (from my study abroad program last time) is back in Uganda for the summer as well and she came to Mbale for my birthday so after hiking, we met up with her. The four of us had dinner together and then went to the ONLY club in Mbale- Club Oasis. We had a blast- both dancing and talking together and dancing and talking with the locals. Two things that were particularly fun: 1) the walls were lined with mirrors and when we arrived around 11:00 and the place was just beginning to fill, people were all standing facing the walls and watching themselves dance! Of course Mary, Erin and I got in the middle of the dance floor and just started dancing together. 2) People would imitate our dance moves. At one point, I was dancing with three women and anytime I would do a different move, they’d all watch for a moment and then do it. It was hysterical!

On Sunday, we had a birthday lunch at my house here and I invited three friends from CRO- Joshua, Robert and Moses. After a delicious lunch, we started listening to some music and had a mini dance party with those three boys plus Erin, Mary and me. Then we all gathered around my laptop and watched Sister Act II (which they’ve seen before since CRO owns it). Erin, Mary and I walked them home (they live about twenty minutes away by foot, but that’s the polite thing to do in Uganda). . I was in such a good mood that I was singing and dancing the whole way as we walked them home so when we got near their house and lots of kids came up to talk to us, I completely entertained them. They had seen me dancing so they started to clap, chanting, “dancing, dancing, dancing.” So, I stood in the middle of this dirt road in front of about twenty five children and danced like a fool. Then I turned to them and started the same chant in hopes that they would then dance. One little boy in pants that he had outgrown and a superman pajama shirt danced but everyone else just started at me with a facial expression that screamed, "crazy muzungu!" Typical 21st birthday celebration…right?

All in all it was a great day. The one downer was that Sergio left and is now in Kenya. I don’t think I’ve written much about him in here, but he was (and I think will continue to be) a wonderful blessing in my life. He continuously challenged me to interesting conversations about development, C.R.O., faith, life, people, etc. He has only been gone for a few days, but I definitely notice his absence.

Erin and I are still truckin’ though and I think we’ve hit a good stride in terms of our daily schedules at CRO. I’m now helping a few of the older kids with some typing practice because they are participating in the youth exchange program to Norway starting in August and will need to be able to communicate with CRO through emails on the computer (which they have had little exposure to). The discussion group that I am facilitating for the older kids is also going well. We’ve now met three times and we have another meeting this Thursday. I am excited about their willingness to share and am looking forward to many more conversations with them.

As always, I could write more, but I’ll stop here. Hope you all are well!


At 10:45 AM, June 16, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update, Molly. Love the pictures!



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