Archive for June, 2011

June 29, 2011

Uganda Trip continued….

Day 4:

Ok – can’t find my trip notes so my trip posts are going to be different. I’ll post about general things that happened during the trip and not specific days – because honestly, I can’t remember what days we did what! It was a BLUR! :)

We started working a little later this day as we spent some time running around trying to fix some paperwork for one of our adoptive families who had court that day. We spent several hours sitting in a probation officers office working on a letter that needed delivered. We got as far as we could with the letter then headed to court to deliver what we were able to get. Met the adoptive family (fun) and sat with them for a bit in court as everything was being prepared.

We then headed out to see some more orphanages, meet with some more people, meet some children waiting for families and deliver care packages for kids in the process of being adopted. We did some shopping for some of the orphanages and delivered food, diapers, soap, and other necessaties to some of the homes we’ve been working with.

I think I mentioned this before, but the homes and caregivers get SO excited when we show up with donations. We try to find out what their immediate needs are and help with what we can. Sometimes its diapers, sometimes formula, sometimes school fees. We don’t have nearly enough money to cover all of the needs but are usually able to help with some of the needs at each place we visit.

Linda, Patrick (our driver and new friend) and I had dinner this evening at a new (to me) place called Bamboo Nest. YUM. We had a fish eating lesson where Patrick enjoyed the eyeballs and brain while I tried to hide my gagging and shuddering. ;)

Here’s a fun video of a traffic jam we came across one day:

Traffic Jam from sister haiti on Vimeo.

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June 28, 2011

Protected: Together

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June 25, 2011

June 2011 Uganda Trip Day 3

Day 3:

My overnight flight from London to Uganda was decent.  I had a bulk head seat and slept about four hours.   We got to Uganda at about 8am.  The visa line was long.  The immigration officer looked at my passport and asked why I was only staying for 6 days.  I explained it was only a short trip and I couldn’t stay longer.  He pointed to my visa renewal stamp (my visa expired last year when I was in Uganda for so long and I had to get it extended, a huge pain!) and said that he didn’t want me to have to go through that again if I decided to stay longer so he gave me a 90 day visa.  :)

I’m always nervous my bags will get lost but all three were there!   I got my bags loaded on a cart and headed out.  Linda was out front waiting for me and it was so good to see her again!  We found Patrick outside in the car and made our way to our first stop – my friend Robin’s place!  I had a ton of stuff to deliver to Robin plus we had to see one of the sweet babies being adopted by one of our families.  We spent about an hour there sorting through donations, getting some pictures and catching up before heading off to our next visit.

We visited another babies home we’re currently working with, dropped off donations, met some adoptive parents in country, got updates on kids and went to visit the orphanage director who was in a local hospital sick with malaria.  Oh yeah, in between that we stopped and got some American dollars exchanged into shillings and went to the market and bought some supplies for the orphanages we were seeing that day.

Robin had told us about a new, poor orphanage in Entebbe she wanted us to check out.   So we took a bunch of food and a million pairs of underwear (thanks to the generous donations of our AAI families!) and set off to see what this new place was all about.  We were greeted at the orphanage by 40-some young children, most between the ages of 2-10.   We were led to the back of the property where we found a renovated chicken coop turned children’s home!

Several months ago a good Samaritan working on the islands of lake Victoria started taking in orphaned and abandoned children.   The story she told us was that she came home, asked her husband if she could bring some orphaned children back with her.   He said OK, how many?   Her reply:  40.  :)  They renovated the chicken coop and boys quarters and they are doing the best they can to care for them.   When we were there each child had ONE outfit (the one you see in the video).   On laundry day, the kids go naked until their clothes are done washing and then they put wet clothes back on.   They don’t have much of anything at all.   But my goodness, this lady is committed to these kids and the kids are seem so happy and full of life!  She showed us some pictures of the kids before they came and the transformation is amazing.    She’s doing a great job with the very little she has and I hope we have the chance to help her with some of her needs.

singing kids from sister haiti on Vimeo.

 

After this stop it was coming on evening and I was exhausted!  It was time to head to Kampala and get checked into the hostel.  It was my first time at Red Chilli, the most popular youth hostel in Uganda.  I was impressed!  I had a private, ensuite room for less than $30 per night.    It is very backpacker-ish so not the best fit for everyone but was perfectly adequate for me!   The bar/restaurant area (also the internet area) can get a little rowdy in the evenings but I never felt unsafe and everyone was super nice.    I ran a personal errand that evening (will come in a seperate post) then settled in for shower and bed.   All would have been almost perfect except the crazy dog outside my window that barked ALL NIGHT LONG.  So another night of not the best sleep but at least I was in a bed!  :) 

Day 4 coming soon!

June 21, 2011

June 2011 Uganda Trip Day 2

Day 2:

Our flight got to London at about 9am and I got through customs in record time.  By 1030 I was on the metro on my way to central London.  I had about 8 good hours to spend in London and I was looking forward to wandering around London for several house, having a good meal (or two!) and seeing the main sights again since I hadn’t been outside the airport for ages. 

I decided to do one of those extremely touristy (which I usually detest) hop on – hop off bus tours.    Not something I would usually do but I thought it might be the best way to hit some of the major sites quickly.   I’m actually really glad I did it!  If you sit up top you get a great view of the city and I honestly enjoyed just riding around for a couple of hours watching the world go by.   I was able to get off at some of the interesting looking places and do some window shopping.  I had lunch and I hopped back on to continue my drive by tour of the city.   

Unfortunately it had started to drizzle…not enough to make me not want to be on the top side of the bus but enough to make the already slick floor very slippery.  A kid was going too fast and collided very quickly into me, knocking my feet out from under me.  Let me tell you, that was a lovely sight.  Me, a screaming kid and my carryons flying all over the place.   We were both fine except for my foot.  I have no idea what actually happened to it but it hurt pretty bad.   So I decided to do less walking and more riding.  So around we went some more.  I had to do Big Ben and Westminster Abbey though so I did get off there and made it just in time to hear Big Ben do its ringing.  I’ve always had a soft spot for Big Ben and it was fun to be there.

I hobbled around that neighborhood for a bit before deciding to call it a day 2 hours early and get the metro back to the airport.   I was really, really tired at this point  (Remember, no sleep during my last flight?) and my foot was hurting when I walked on it.  So off I went.    I got incredibly lost in the metro system (this line goes to this line, which you take to this stop then get this line….) but finally got back to the airport, grabbed some quick dinner and made myself comfortable in the waiting area to wait for my next flight.   Another overnight flight.  I was really hoping I would be tired enough to sleep during this one, no matter who I’m sitting next to! 

Uganda tomorrow! 

 

June 19, 2011

June 2011 Uganda Trip Day 1

Day 1:

I made it the airport in plenty of time the day I left. My sister brought me up and dropped me off. I was going to drive myself and just leave a car at the airport but I’m glad I didn’t – hauling three big suitcases plus my carryons was not a one person job.

I had a small hiccup at the check-in counter. I was allowed 3 bags by British Airways (yay donations!) but my first leg was on American Airlines. I was concerned that AA might say something about the extra bag so I called them a couple of days before I left to confirm it wasn’t an issue to bring the three checked bags. They assured me it would be no problem. Of course, when I got to the airport the agent put up a stink. My printed itinerary didn’t state I could have three bags. After some back and forth I was finally able to pull up the itinerary on my phone and showed them it said “3”. He was satisfied with that (yay smart phones!) and my three bags were on their way.

I made it to my gate with plenty of time to spare. Shortly before our flight was set to board we heard the news that the flight was delayed due to weather in Chicago. About a half hour after we were supposed to leave they announced we could go, but the flight was overweight. They started asking people to volunteer to give up their seats and were offering some lovely incentives. Several hundred dollars in flight vouchers plus they would put you up in a hotel, give you dinner, etc. I would normally jump on that but I knew this was a crazy busy trip and I was already short on time. ~sigh~ So I whined to my mom on the phone about how much I wish I could do that, then got on my flight.

I only had a 2 hour layover in Chicago and while that sounds like plenty of time, I know from experience that 2 hours can be cutting it short if I had to change terminals (I did) or if there were long lines in security (there were). So with a flight delay…I was really going to be pushing it to catch my flight to London. I raced through the airport, got to my terminal, through security and made it to my gate right as they started boarding. WHEW!

Nothing like a heart pumping start to my trip.

We boarded the plane and I got settled in my lovely, carefully selected aisle seat ready for the overnight flight to London. My time in that seat was quickly cut short when the lady next to me asked if I would mind switching with her husband a couple of rows up so that they could sit together.

I agreed before I saw my new middle seat.

On one side of me sat a large older man and on the other side sat a large middle aged woman.  I hate middle seats.  I hate climbing over people if I have to go to the bathroom or stretch my legs. I hate being squished between two strangers.  I always pick aisle seats.  But nothing to do about it now…. there I was. 

Oh well, I figured I’d make the best of it and just sleep the whole flight. Oh no, no sleep for me. The lady decided she wanted to cuddle throughout the trip. Not only was she half on my seat, she had her head on my headrest every time she fell asleep.   And the old man? Snoring like a freight train. Ear plugs were no match for his snores. So after trying for hours to sleep I gave up and just did some reading, some people watching (ever watch people sleep?  can be quite entertaining) and watched a movie.

Finally, after what felt like forever it was time to land in London. 12 hour layover here I come.

June 17, 2011

Protected: Sweet Jovia…

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June 15, 2011

Protected: The Babies!

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June 15, 2011

Protected: The Announcement…..

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June 14, 2011

I’m home…

I’m home from Uganda!

I had just NO time to blog while I was there.  It was a crazy trip for work!

I have so much to write about.  Will be working on it over the next week or so. 

Check back!  :)

June 1, 2011

One year….

One year ago today, exactly four months after we legally became his parents,  this sweet boy finally came home.  

That was probably the longest four months of my life.

In contrast, this past year has been one of the fastest. 

I can’t believe it was all a year ago.

Sometimes I just stare at this little man and can hardly believe we’ve been given this amazing gift.

We feel so blessed to be his parents.  

We love you Mayer!!