Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Rocket Stove

 My father has many wonderful qualities and skills but the one I admire the most is he research. He is always looking into new ideas and how better to do things. When I was younger it was Mother Earth News, when I went to dance lessons he would spend his time at the library researching healthy eating, there are always articles, books and websites on canoe building, kayaks and of course camping. Since I’ve moved to Africa my father’s research has changed to very practical things that help my life here. And now I have finally done something about all his hard work! We made a rocket stove!!!

Isaac and I gathered bricks and did our best to put together a stove that resembles a rocket stove.

The trick with the stove is to place a barrier between the bottom 2 layers of bricks but not pushed all the way in to block the chimney. This barrier goes in to hold the wood up so that the air can enter the stove at ground level and then go up the chimney. It produces less smoke and cooks faster.

It was great seeing the children abandon the old, three stone cooking “stove” and cook only on the rocket stove.

Thanks Dad!!!


We’ve had visitors to our house.

Well we didn’t let the turkeys inside, but they do enjoy our back and side yards.

We have had the privilege of having a boy come and bring us water. He charges 300 Ugandan Shillings per 20 liter jerry can. That amounts to about 10 cents. The other day we were in need of water so badly we saw him out the window and asked him to help. He happened to be holding a baby. So Isaac traded empty jerry can for the baby. I got to hold the little one for a little bit but once I passed him off to Isaac the little guy wouldn’t return to me. When the boy came back with the water it was funny because the baby wouldn’t go to him either. We forced the hand off with whining from the baby.
Isaac commented that this is what our lives will be like in a little while. We admitted to each other that it was very nice to have a little one in our house. 

Our nephew Denis spent the night with us last week. I have to admit it was interesting hosting a 16 year old boy in the house. I was very glad that the carpenter had finally put a door on the bathroom before we hosted him J Denis enjoyed American style pancakes for the first time. They were a hit.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Our Home

 Our home is starting to look and feel more like a home. Things are becoming more “normal” around here. We have purchased enough buckets and jugs to carry water from the spring at the bottom of our hill. Isaac hasn’t allowed me to do any heavy lifting of water. I’m very grateful! 
I just play games with the neighbor boys. This is Emma (Emmanuel) and Iggy (Ignatius) they call us Aunty and Uncle. It is always great to come walking home with children running at you for hugs! We are loved. 

We bought a dining room table and chairs. It was a challenge to make sure everything got put together properly…it didn’t come with directions.

It is the only thing to sit on in our living room right now so we call it a couch, but you might know it as a rug. This giant 6’x9’ rug was folded and rolled so small that we were able to put it in the mini bus with us on our way home. Again Isaac doesn’t allow me to carry things that are too heavy so he carried it down the hill. 

Angel's Center

Angel Center is a place for children with special needs to receive early childhood education. This is one of the only centers in Uganda who is serving children with disabilities at such an early age.
I was introduced to Angel's Center last year when I traveled to Uganda for surgery. Rose, the founder, hosted Isaac and me in her home while I waited for surgery. Little did either one of us know that we were both working with people with disabilities. God has an amazing way of putting people together.

 It was great to visit the Angel’s Center the other day. Rose needed some help on sensory items and asked me to come in. The children are still on holiday (Dec and Jan is their big 2 month holiday in Uganda) so it was just the staff working on things. Rose reminded me that when Isaac and I had visited last year they had only been open for a month. It was great to see all the changes that were made.

December Burundi Trip

While in Burundi we were able to see many friends.

Media worked with me at the King’s School as an assistant in the Kindergarten class. She was always so sweet to me while we worked together. She was on maternity leave having her second baby. We were able to visit her at the hospital and give her one of the Something Deeper Ministries Quilting Group’s quilts. She was so happy to see us and receive a gift for the baby.

While living in Burundi we had a night guard who slept under a few sheets. We were so happy to be able to take a quilt to him. He was so happy that he ran away clutching the quilt. I was confused until Isaac explained that someone offered to “keep it for him”. He was protecting his new gift.

Hope Africa University had graduation while we were in Burundi. It was great being able to see many friends finally get their degrees after four long years of undergraduate work.

It is not possible for me and Isaac to visit HAU without eating some rice and beans at the school cafeteria. It was a great time to chat with friends we hadn’t seen in six months.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Our Home

Off the main road to the airport, down the dusty road over many speed bumps, take a right down the foot path, take a left at the new two room daycare and when you get to the brick wall on the left take a right down the steep hill of the water eroded path, and our house is on the right. You can’t miss it. In a neighborhood full of brick houses our painted house and grass lawn our house stands out.
We weren’t looking for a house as large as we got, but when the price is right and the neighborhood is safe what can you do. We live in a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house complete with living room, dining room, indoor kitchen and garage. It has a very small back and side yards. When we moved in it was an empty shell. When you move into an unfurnished house in the states the house at least comes with closets, cabinets in the kitchen, cabinets in the bathroom and maybe even a linen closet. This house, and many I’ve seen in East Africa don’t come with any closets or cabinets! We literally washed the tile floors and put our things on the ground in piles. We have a bathroom pile, a clothing pile, an office pile, and a huge stack or random stuff that doesn’t seem to go into any pile.
Power has been one of our biggest challenges. With nowhere to cook we found ourselves eating many peanut butter sandwiches the first few days. Again the kitchen has nothing in it but some counter space and a sink, the water doesn’t work in that sink though. We bought a hot plate and an electric hot water kettle to begin our time. Our long term plan is to buy an oven but…with an expensive purchase like that we need to make sure we find the right one for a good price.
When the electricity works it comes in anywhere from 50-120 volts. Remember though that Uganda’s power should be coming in at 240v. We have been told that people in the neighborhood have been stealing the electricity which reduces the volts. This means that our hot plate and kettle take about a half an hour to warm up and work.
In addition to our electricity being weak we also have faulty wiring in this house. Our lights in the kitchen will work well but if we turn it off and on again it may or may not come back on. Oh it’s interesting. Also certain parts of the house work at certain times. So the bedroom will have light but the living room won’t. This all applies to the rooms that actually have functioning light fixtures. Our bedroom, the bedroom we are storing things in, and the dining room don’t have any working fixtures so these rooms remain dark once the sun goes down.
Day 6 in our new house and the neighbor children have figured out that we don’t have water flowing in our pipes anymore. Yesterday our reserve tank ran dry and we paid an 11 year old boy about 11cents for a 20 liter jug of water. This morning when we were getting very low on water after using it to shower, boiled for tea, and washing dishes; who shows up on our back porch… two six year old girls and each with a small jug and the boy with his large one. What a blessing. We were happy to part with our 22 cents and quickly collected all the water bearing containers we could find!

There are down sides to living in a house that hasn’t had someone in it for a while. The neighbors. It’s not their fault, this land has been their walking path and playground for quite some time. Although for our own sanity we have discouraged shouting right outside the windows, peeping in the windows, and pooping in our front yard. The random people walking through and the visitors knocking on our back door are welcome.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Quilts for Orphans in Burundi

Many people don't realize that even on the equator a 20 degree drop in temperature from day to night feels cold no matter what the temperature.

Something Deeper Ministries Quilting Group was happy to make over 30 quilts to donate to those who have no form of warmth in the nights.

What a joy it was to be the one delivering these quilts. I felt guilty bringing such joy when I didn't make the quilts, I just carried them in my suitcases.

The orphans are divided into family groups with one mamma and one aunt to take care of them. This family group was so happy to stand for their picture.

Thank you again to all the women who helped out, made quilts, donated material, helped sew, and all that was done!! Blessings

The Mamas were so happy have quilts for the children placed in their care. I could tell this was an answer to their prayers!

In delivering these quilts I was shocked to see the thread barren sheets these children are sleeping under at night.

So happy just to be together with such a huge blessing.