Friday, June 8, 2012

From Africa, With Love

What an experience this has been so far! I am have only been here for almost 24 hours.  I left the Orlando airport at 2:30pm and made it safely to all my connection flights on time. It was really hard saying goodbye to my family, but I am SO glad to be here! It was great to meet Megan in person on our connection flight in Amsterdam. We clicked instantly! It is so funny because all of the volunteers believed that we knew each other before Amani. Once we got to the airport in Entebbe, Megan’s luggage didn’t make the journey. We did not leave the airport until about a quarter to midnight. It was a nice sight pulling into the Amani gates at 2:30am. The volunteers get the first day off to get adjusted and sleep in. Megan and I both woke up at 2:30pm! So technically I spent half of my first day sleeping J
            Everyone is SO nice and friendly! We spent the first couple of hours holding and playing with the twelve little babies that live in the room across from the volunteers room. In our room, there are 3 bunk beds with mosquito nets. I sleep on the bottom bunk. As I was unpacking, I took out my bags full of headbands. They were a hit! It was a really nice icebreaker to have with all of the other girls I will be living with. Within an hour, we were all sporting the headbands I made. At Amani, there are only 16 girls! So we counted out 16 headbands and 40 for the Ugandan women that work here. I will be giving out the other headbands to the “Mamas” tomorrow. I went with Sara, who was working in the girls room this week, and handed out the headbands. It was hands down one of my favorite memories so far. I sat on the floor and had all of these precious little girls crawling all over me with huge smiles that lit up their faces. I seriously had to try really hard not to start crying as I tied each one around their little heads. It was one of the most rewarding, sweetest moments hearing them say Thank you Auntie! Something so simple and little meant so much to them.
            After that, Megan and I went with Sandra who is the volunteer coordinator to go into town to exchange our money. Uganda is soo different than the US. First off, there is pretty much no rules traffic wise. You might only see one or two traffic lights. Also, there aren’t any police that patrol the roads. Instead, they will have police checkmarks randomly down the road. The Ugandan version of security men standing in front of the stores with a large rifle in hand. Pretty reassuring right?  It has been really nice that the official language of Uganda is English. Although, sometimes they do not understand American slang or phrases so we have to rephrase a lot of stuff.
            Today was one of the volunteers last night so a large group of us went into town to have a local delicacy called a Rolex. This is basically a breakfast burrito wrapped in Chapati bread. It was so good and only costs 1000 shillings which is 50 cents in US currency. While we were waiting for the Rolex’s to be made, a group of street boys came up to us wanting money. It was so hard saying no because we are not allowed to give them anything. A lot of the kids are sponsored in schools so if they can get money off the streets, they will not show up to school. Instead, we talked to them, took pictures and taught them silly hand games. Afterwards we went to a restaurant called The Keep and had milkshakes while listening to live music. All of the volunteers are really friendly and I look forward to getting to know them all throughout my two months here. I found out today that since I am one of the volunteers that is staying here for a while, I might be in charge of running the preschool! It is hard to believe that my day has already been so busy and its only been my first day. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to serve here for two months. God has already blessed me so much and I cant wait to see what He will do throughout this trip.
            Unfortunately, the internet and wifi are really inconsistent. My cell phone has no service half the time and it takes forever to upload anything. I am going to do my best to upload pictures later on! All I can say I am SO happy to be here!!!

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