Life in America

I’ve officially been back in America for 8 months. Wow. I don’t think it hit me until right now. I haven’t been to Uganda in 8 months and probably won’t be able to go back for 13 more. Wow. This breaks my heart. I miss Uganda so much. I miss my family. I miss the people. I miss the smell. I miss the dirt. I miss it all.

Even though its only been 8 months, its gone by so fast. I feel like I was just in Uganda last month. I think a huge part of me feeling this way is because last year when I was home I was rarely able to communicate with anyone of there. It was terrible. However, now one of my good friends is over there and she sends me videos and pictures on a regular basis.

Even though so much has happened in my life here and their lives there, I’ve been able to live through it with them because of my friend.

Baby Kayla Started Walking

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She also had her first birthday

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Andrew got a mattress I sent

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The church has been added on too and painted

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I was actually able to see my friend and pastor from Uganda this month too.

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They were here for a few weeks doing ministry in America. It’s crazy to think that I will be graduating from college in 51 days. Life goes on here just like it goes on there. It hurts to think that I won’t be able to see them for a year, but they will always be in my heart.

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Thankful

Every thanksgiving I like thinking about what I’m thankful for. Before going to Africa I was always thankful for the same things family, friends, food and a house to live in. I never understood the extent of these things until I went to Africa. I also realized how much I was taking for granted in my everyday life.

I’m thankful that I have a bed, blanket, and a pillow to lay my head on at night
IMG_3059I’m thankful that my house is big enough where each of us has our own room
IMG_3277I’m thankful for an amazing thanksgiving dinner with pumpkin pie

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I’m thankful for a toilet and toilet paper
African toilet

I’m thankful I don’t have to walk a mile in the morning to fetch water
MTV2010_Kitomba_10I’m thankful for clean water

00b45d9e-8e90-5169-873d-6a3a5a259bfa.preview-300I’m thankful for a closet full of clothes
IMG_1810I’m thankful for more than one pair of shoes
IMG_1780I’m thankful for a washing machine
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I’m thankful for the opportunity to go to Uganda and experience their culture. To meet these beautiful people who have nothing, but yet have everything.
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My Dear Ugandan Friends

I wanted to share with everyone some of my dear friends from Uganda. I apologize for misspelling of any Uganda words or names.

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Nagawa
Nagawa is our pet monkey that stays at the Jesus House. She can be very loving or very sassy it all depends on how much she likes you. Thankfully she liked me and we were able to hold hands ;)

IMG_2528Peace
Peace who also stayed at the Jesus House with us, but not in a cage like Nagawa. Peace was an amazing housemate who was always full of joy and was willing to serve in any situation. She loved watching Tangled and coloring with my team and I.

IMG_3800Adrian
Believe it or not those are not contacts. Adrian has the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen and sadly he gets made fun of for it. I instantly fell in love with this boy. Sadly I only got to see him twice while in Africa, and I can’t wait to see him again one day.

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Baby Ester
Baby Ester was actually the first baby I ever held in Africa two summers ago. This past summer I was determined to be her friend. Sadly she hated white people and would cry every time she saw me. Each day I decided to bring her a sweety (a sweet treat) and by my last day in Africa she was saying my name and was letting me hold her.

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Baby Ester

IMG_4222Betty
Betty is a spunky women who lives down the road from my Ugandan family. Betty is always full of joy!! I loved being able to go to her house and hangout with her and her children. She also owns her own salon, she is the one who always did my hair.

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Martha
Martha was found by Betty abandoned in a house left to die last summer. Betty took her in and cared for her. My dear friend Kate fell in love with her and was excited to see Martha again this summer. Sadly she was just like Ester and hated white people and would cry every time she saw us. After about 9 weeks she warmed up to Kate so much!

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Kate and Martha

IMG_1650Jumping Bean (Swibo)
I met Jumping Bean last summer in Uganda. I’ve never met someone with so much energy(hint: that’s why we called him Jumping Bean). He’s a great kid and I loved being able to play with him.

IMG_3443Swabula
Swabula is Jumping Beans sister. She is such a cutie and is always full of energy and joy. She loves being held and as well as playing around (what kid doesn’t).

IMG_3580Lillian and Harriet
Both Lillian and Harriet are teachers at the school I worked with in Kyampisi. I love these two so much and am so thankful for their friendship. I miss them immensely!

IMG_3717Samuel
Sam is a little stinker. Even though he knew my name he would still run to me screaming Mzungu, Mzungu. (Which means white person.) I once pinched a worm out of his ear, gross I know. Sam is a great dancer who would do anything for some chapati (a type of flat bread).

IMG_1892Bruce
Bruce is Sams older brother. Bruce was really shy this past summer and as the summer went on he slowly warmed up to us.

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Anita
Gosh I love this girl. She and I would joke back in forth like no ones business. She’s grown to be an amazing women of God, always serving and loving on those around her.

These are just a few of the wonderful people that I’ve met and have gotten to know over the past two summers. I can’t wait until I can go back and see them all again and maybe even meet more people! I love them all so much and miss them terribly.

 

Baby Kayla

I never thought that I would make such an impact on someones life that they would name their child after me, but that’s exactly what happened. As most of you know two summers ago I fell in love with a little boy in Africa named Peter. That summer I got a chance to get to know him and his family really well. Even thought they speak little to no English and I speak little to no Luganda our bound is unbreakable. I can’t explain the impressions that we made on each other. I will never forget the moment when Mama Peter asked me if she could name her child after me. I was sitting on a small log with Peter on my lap and a translator on my left. I remember talking about her baby asking if she knew if it was a boy or a girl. Of course she didn’t know what it was but she asked if it was a girl if she could name it Kayla.

After returning back to the states that Christmas break I went on a retreat to Texas. It is very rare to get phone calls from Africa, but when you do it makes your whole week. However, this phone call I received made my whole year. I got a phone call from the director of the organization I worked with that summer telling me that Mama Peter had her baby and it was a baby girl. They named her Kayla. I couldn’t have been more honored.

My favorite part about all of this was being able to meet her this summer when she was six months old. From the moment I met her I fell in love. Here are a few photos of her. IMG_1402The first day I met Kayla

IMG_1440Mama Kayla and Baby Kayla

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Being Gangsters ;) IMG_2359IMG_3059

Taking a nap together IMG_3253 IMG_3776

Look at that smile :)IMG_3908

I don’t know what they did to her hair… IMG_4234They eventually fixed it haha 

Here are some more photos that i’ve received after being back in the states. She can’t officially walk yet… but she can stand on her own :)IMG_0069 1470317_555298387884367_1150343725_n

A Dangerous Way

I love adventures and I love hiking, so why not put them together? This past weekend I was able to climb Garvin with a few of my friends. Normally I dread climbing Garvin, I hate stairs with a passion and the Garvin stairs are THE WORST. So my friends and I decided to go up Garvin the “fun” way. The hike consisted of going straight up the hill rather than using the stairs. It’s probably more of a workout than the stairs, but it’s a lot more fun!!

While climbing we had to face fallen rock, glass shards, broken branches, and loose gravel. It was truly an adventure and I loved it!!
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1454932_10151952306071702_1075748132_nOn the way down we decided to not take the stairs again. We slid down the hill. This was a little more dangerous than going up. I got a really bad sliver in my finger, my friend was hit by a nice sized rock in the head, and everyone at least got a few scrapes and bruises. No hospital visits yet, though my friend may have to go in, but overall it was a successful trip :)
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November 1st

Have you ever dreaded a day? Sitting there just waiting for it to approach, and wanting to do anything you can just to skip it? That’s today for me. Summer 2012, I met and fell in love with a little boy named Peter. Sadly, a year ago today he died. To read more about his story check out my old blog You’ll Be In My Heart.

To be honest, when it comes to his death I just try to ignore it. It doesn’t seem real. I thought that when I went back to Uganda this summer it would hit me, but it didn’t for a while. Six weeks into my trip it really hit me that he was gone. From that moment on I went back to pretending that it didn’t happened. Peter feels like a far off memory, a good memory that is slowly slipping away. But the thing is he was here, he was alive and he changed my life. Peter really showed me that threw any circumstance you can still have joy. Even though he was sick he would always be smiling, dancing, running around, and playing.

Peter and I

Sadly, I am in America and wasn’t able to be with his family today. However I have an AMAZING friend who is still in Uganda that bought flowers for Peter’s grave and went and prayed with his family.

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Even though today may be hard, I’m glad I was able to meet Peter. He truly has touched and changed my life. I know that he is dancing and laughing with Jesus and I cannot wait to see him again.

Home Is Where the Heart Is

The other day I was working on homework into the wee hours of the morning (which is very normal for me). For a study break I decided to go on Instagram where I saw that my friend got a new phone case. I really like it, so I ended up finding it online and buying one for myself. I couldn’t resist.

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The saying on this phone could not be more true to my life. I really did leave my heart in Africa; with my Ugandan family, with all of the kids I’ve fallen in love with, with my dear friend that’s still there, with the KCM staff there, and with the culture.

The phrase “home is where the heart is” is very fitting for me. While I was in Africa this summer, I missed home. But when I am home here in America, I miss my second home, in Africa. It makes life confusing because my heart is so torn. I love being in America, serving on WSU’s campus, and see all my family and friends, but to be honest, I wish I could take all of my family and friends and move them to Africa. Unfortunately though, it doesn’t work that way…

There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about my home in Africa. I wonder what all of the people are doing, whether or not they are sick, and if they’re eating or not. It’s hard for me because I feel so helpless here… but I know that I have an AMAZING God who takes care of them. In the bigger picture, it’s not me who can help them…it’s God.