Lauri Update 012010

Greetings from Uganda!

I can’t believe it’s been a week since I last wrote – Sorry!

Carl and Mary left this morning after sharing ideas and wisdom, delivering medical treatment to numerous children and adults and finishing many home repair projects.  The water tank repair didn’t go so well but we now have 4 solar powered motion sensor lights installed around the house, a new kitchen faucet, showers that are slightly more functional, a door that latches and a shower bar in Renee’s bathroom.  We didn’t have access to Lowes for supplies but did manage to find a hardware section in the middle of the city market surrounded by every imaginable type of vegetable, meat, pot, shoes, etc.  We have become quite regulars there and they were even willing to loan Carl a set of pipe wrenches for the day so he didn’t have to buy them!  Renee and I went there yesterday to buy a water hose and were handed a roll of 1/2″ plastic hose with no ends.  They found us a female connector for one end but no need for a fitting on the other end as there are no spray nozzles!  Although the selection at Lowes is much better, I kind of enjoy the sense of adventure and interaction at the market!

A local lady named Sowder has been digging a garden along the compound wall behind the kitchen to plant a garden.  I have enjoyed talking to her and trying to figure out what seeds to buy and how she will go about planting them.  She is very knowledgeable about gardening here but laughs with me about the way we do things at home!  We had some of the boys stay after the feeding program yesterday to carry water to start getting the soil wet but quickly decided that a hose would be a great addition!  I think that perhaps by next week it will be ready to plant.

The big news here is that Renee has been GIVEN a van!!  Her friend Katie bought a larger one a month or so ago and her board voted to donate the old one to Renee!  Praise the Lord for His perfect timing – He is so faithful to provide!  The older Toyota van has already simplified life in just one day!  Sunday morning we went to church with 6 adults and 8 children (6 under the age of 3) on 4 pikis – quite an adventure!  We all arrived safely and on the way home stopped at “Yummy’s” (a local restaurant) for the traditional Sunday after church chicken and chips which we took home with us to eat.  Needless to say, I am really looking forward to the trip to church on Sunday!

Thankfully we have all remained healthy and are adjusting well to the food.  The main meal is at noon and the ladies prepare it outside on either a charcoal stove or the fire.  The weekly menu is:

Monday-irish potatoes and cabbage,
Tuesday-matoka (a squash like root vegetable) and fish,
Wednesday-beans and pasta,
Thursday-chicken and rice (we had to buy 2 chickens today as “Thursday” either ran away or changed her name to “Saturday”),
Friday-posho (cornflour boiled until you can cut it with a knife) and mukena (a lovely stew made out of something like dried minnows and g-nut sauce) and Saturday it’s beans and chapatti.

Breakfast is generally a slice of bread, hardboiled egg or spoonful of peanutbutter and a piece of fruit and dinner every night is….beans and rice.  So there you have it, fine dining in Masese in a nutshell.  The children here are the fortunate ones though as there are many here that have little to eat but gratefully stand in line to fill their stomachs with a bowl of beans and rice with fruit every Tues and Thurs.

I have been experimenting with bread baking and it’s been interesting…!  The flour here is more like very fine cake flour and Renee’s oven will only go up to 350 degrees; those factors along with the increased altitude here have made for a daily experiment!  I’ve had pretty good success trying to come up with a nutritious bread with only white flour to work with!  The Big Bazaar Supermarket sells soy flour as well as a powdered milk with all the fat of whole milk which have worked well to make some great bread!  Bathshir, the 10 year old boy here, is fascinated with the bread making and started learning how to make it today.  When I got up this morning he greated me with the measuring cup I use to make the bread and asked me “This day you will teach me?”  I hope that he will take over my position when I leave and keep Renee’s house smelling like fresh baked bread for the children.  An interesting side note about cooking here, there are no pots with handles – all cooking is done in stainless steel pans with lids but no handles!  Other than that, Renee’s kitchen is very well equipped thanks to so many generous donated items!!

I am loving every minute I get to spend holding little Selah!!  She is the most wonderful little child and definately the princess here!  She is starting to cut some teeth so has had a few challenges but still maintains cheerful and responsive!  She generally goes every where with us and attracts attention wherever we go.  I don’t know if it’s because she is always with a group of white people or that she is a black baby and a little on the chubby side – whatever the case, we are happy to show her off!  It’s hard to believe how quickly I can be wrapped around her cute little finger!  When I first got here I wasn’t too thrilled when the older kids called me JaJa (pronounced shja shja)which is the Lugandan word for Grandma, but if it’s a package deal with Selah I can get used to it!  Most of the ladies here call me “Mama Renee” because I am Renee’s mom but most of the kids that aren’t old enough to catch the family history and call me JaJa!) call me Auntie.  All the children in Renee’s house are amazingly well behaved and easy to get along with.  It does get a little crazy at times but for the most part they all function as a happy family.  What a blessing to have the opportunity to heal in an environment like this!

The house is filled with smoke as the ladies have started cooking for the feeding program tomorrow.  I will go to bed tonight imagining that I am camping and wake up smelling like I have!

We join with all of you as we pray for the victims in the earthquake tragedy in Haiti.  The world is full of many needs and I am glad that I worship a God that cares for ALL.

Serving His Children here in Uganda,