Sunday, June 10, 2012

Shopping Adventures, African Church and Smiles Galore

                                                   Calvary Chapel of Jinja, Uganda
                                                                    Sweet little girl
                                        Kids in Uganda are always wanting hugs and pictures!
                                       Say "Cheese!"- That baby was holding on for dear life!

There is so much that has happened in just this weekend alone. When I take pictures or describe it here in this blog, I feel like it just doesn't do Africa justice. The colors are so much more brighter than in the photos. The kids smiles turn into giggles after screaming "Cheese" and then they hop into your lap or peer over your shoulder to see themselves on your camera screen. I think that is becoming one of my favorite things about Africa. The easiest way to form a friendship with a child is to take their picture and enthusiastically ask if they would like to see their picture. The children here in Uganda find joy in the simplest of things. It is not just Amani children. Children on the street will stop walking and say hello, asking to take a picture. Being mobbed by a crowd of silly, happy kids is the best :)

On Saturday, a group of us decided to embark out on our own and go into town. This meant hailing down a Boda Boda. Now, I have never been on a motorcycle before. So the idea of hopping on behind a complete stranger on a motorcycle taxi in AFRICA both excited and freaked me out a little. Getting three Boda's for the six of us was no problem at all. It is nothing like trying to grab a taxi in NY or something. They zoomed right up towards us literally begging us to jump on. One thing we were taught is that you have to negotiate the price first before getting on. If not, they can tell you any price and you will have to pay. Some Ugandans believe they can overcharge "Muzungas" (white people). Shopping is also an adventure in itself. First off, you have to figure out the conversion between shillings and dollars to decide if you are getting ripped off or not. The market is full of hand made bead necklaces, drums, shoes and other trades. I have fallen in love with this local artist's work. I am planning on getting a canvas to bring home. We ended the day by playing and feeding the babies before they went to sleep.

I was really excited about going to an African church service this morning! The volunteers and a missionary family working with Amani went to Calvary Chapel of Jinja. I was actually really surprised how American it was. The worship was probably my favorite part. It was led by an American but they sung songs in both English and Lugandan. I find it amazing that even though worship was sung by two completely different languages, God still understands. The pastor was really good and spoke in English. After he would say a sentence, there was a translator that would translate it into Lugandan. After the service, we were of course surrounded by all the kids wanting to take pictures. It is definitely an African thing :) For the rest of the day, we took a tour of the new building Amani is building down the road. Tomorrow we will actually be working on it. We later played with all the kids in the front lawn. There is a little boy named Simon who became my constant shadow. If I attempted to put him down to play with the other kids, he would instantly start crying and trying to climb up on me. Of course, I am such a sucker and did not want to be a bad auntie. These kids already have me totally wrapped around their little fingers and I have only been here for three days!!!

Overall, I am just feeling so blessed to have the opportunity to be here. Already, I feel so fortunate to be a part of these children's lives and even the mama's. It is a great feeling to be needed and for them to be just grateful for the little things you do. Tonight, I was on my laptop trying to upload pictures and stopped to help a mama fold laundry. She was so kind and thankful for something as simple as that. Let me tell you, that is a ton of laundry! 

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