Update - Thursday 2/07/08

(Sorry, since our internet connectivity is as of yet unresolved, my preferred blogging style of ‘picture-heavy and text-light’ is taking a backseat to rambling prose!)
Today is Wednesday, February 6th (now yesterday!) and we’re having a rainy day. Yesterday, we had our first rain shower. It started out unimpressively, but quickly turned into a major downpour! I think we got over an inch or rain in under an hour. But it is all wetting the ground – which is good and bad: good because we have been covered in red dust everyday now, but bad because we will now be covered in red mud! It’s coming to the end of the hot season so it’s been high 80’s here during the day and high 60’s at night. So the coolness this morning is welcome in our book! Funny to think you are all battling snow back home, while I’m fighting a sunburn!
But the boys started school this week (B&J yesterday, G today). They seem to like it so far. Brodie has met a couple of friends – Garrison and Emma – and seems to be liking it. We’re still figuring out the best way to make that successful though, so Alisha will be going to school with Brodie and meeting with the teacher fairly regularly for awhile. His teacher doesn’t have much experience with autism, but she is very willing to learn and is a very structured teacher, which is great for Brodie. Brodie really likes her. Jonah also likes his class, and the teacher said that Graysen spent most of his day on the tricycle and making the class laugh.
So far, life is good here, but not without it’s difficulties and frustrations. #1 on the list is our lack of reliable internet access so far. I tried to sign up yesterday but they told me it wasn’t available where we lived because too many people in our area are signed up –argg! They told me to check back in a week to see if they’ve “added space”, whatever that means! So I am pursuing other options for the interim, though in the long-term the DSL is what we want as it is the only option that will possibly allow “Skype”.
#2 is the fact that we don’t have a car yet. It’s hard to do much here without transportation, so we’ve been getting good at the public transport – either the Matatu (mini-van bus) or the boda-bodas (motorcycle taxis). I have been spending my days going into town to get things (or unfortunately, return things as some things just don’t work out of the box). Since the traffic downtown is terrible, I have been taking the boda-bodas. I love them! The boda drivers have no rules really, so they go whatever way they need to to make progress. Yesterday, Alisha’s dad and I were each on one heading downtown, and the boda drivers took this shortcut down this dirt ravine that was nothing more than an 8 foot wide path down a hill between all these peoples huts. I don’t want to drive one (at least not yet), but I sure love riding them. They weave in and out of traffic like a video game, going the wrong way sometimes if necessary!
#3 is things breaking and/or not working. We have contacted a plumber and need to contact an electrician to fix a variety of things around the house. But also, a number of the items we purchased for our home have not worked properly or at all – the blender we brought from home, the oven, the vacuum, etc. – so I’ve had to carry them back to the store on a boda..
But around the house, we’re just trying to establish any kind of routine we can. We couldn’t have understood it ahead of time, but taking away every routine that you have in life forces you to think about everything you do, so the amount you can accomplish in any given day is drastically reduced. But our house is almost done being setup, and our house-help –Stella - started this week so that has been very nice – though hard for Alisha to let go of doing things herself. Stella is a very sweet mother of 4 (no, I didn’t try saying it like on Seinfeld – I’m pretty much 100% sure she’d have no idea what I was talking about). But Monday, she did all of our laundry (we hadn’t done any since we left) and also mopped our floors (the red dust here is so thick). Then yesterday she took Alisha to the market and showed her what to buy, and then came home and was helping her prepare dinner (rice and beans – my favorite!).
I think it’s such a blessing for Alisha to have a local Ugandan helping her learn the ropes, and the boys love following her around and “helping” her! I think adjusting to life here has been much harder for Alisha – she seems to be really having a hard time missing life in Medford, and all of you. After spending so much time with family and friends, we are suffering from withdrawal – the thought of being gone for so long and so far away makes it all the harder. At various times, I’ll see her close to tears, and I don’t have to ask anymore – I just know she’s thinking about any of a number of you all back home!
I am doing pretty good – I feel really comfortable here. There are a lot of frustrating things, but overall I feel really at home – and though I haven’t started work yet, I can see that I am really going to like the atmosphere around the office. But like I told Alisha, in time, her reaction will improve, and I will begin to feel the losses more (missing my soccer team back home, or working on familiar projects with familiar clients, or hanging out with the Sampsons, or planning the next weekend in Castro Valley or Klamath, or going to all the KU basketball games – though they’ve all been cancelled of late because of the snow!)
But we do feel so blessed to have a nice home – the people here from eMi picked it for us. It is way nicer than we’d imagined, though it’s not without it’s oddities. Alisha’s dad has been switching all the locks around so the ones that work are on important doors and the ones that don’t aren’t (almost every door in the house has a lock on it – with a different key!). The power fluctuates too, so in the evening when the load is high, we still have power but nothing big will run (fridge, washer, etc). Also, we only run the hot water heater for about an hour or two each day since power here is very expensive. All the little idiosyncrasies of living in a 3rd world country – but when we drive by some of the places people live just a few steps from our house, it’s clear that we are blessed beyond belief. It really is a struggle to see how poor people are living so close by to us, and then to feel frustrated because our internet connection is taking forever to get connected! As another eMi person put it, there is a constant ‘tension’ between wanting to live comfortably (by U.S. standards) while being in the midst of poverty like we’ve never seen before. I think the tension is a good thing though, and I’d be concerned if we ever lost it.
Cute story: Jonah and I were walking down this dirt road by our house to buy eggs from this little market a woman named Harriet runs, and we passed these kids playing. The older brother (around 11) was tormenting his little sister (around 3) by dragging her by the arm towards us, to which she was responding by screaming and crying, while the others all laughed. So I figured out what was happening and stopped and asked, “Is she afraid of us?” And the brother shook his head yes. So I squatted down and stuck out my hand, and she slowly inched over to us and shook first mine, then Jonah’s hand. After about 30 seconds, she reached out again for Jonah’s hand and started shaking it up and down, as her and Jonah giggled their little heads off for a couple of minutes. It was pretty cute. So I think we’ve at least relieved the fear of the white man in one little girls’ mind now.
Update for Thursday: Jonah was up all night last night throwing up and also with bad diarrhea. He threw up the ice and tea I gave him this morning, but after a 2 hour nap, he has now kept down some ice and a little tea and a “Mrs. Cathy” popsicle. So please pray for the little guy. Between throwing up, he acts fine so I think it’s a bad stomach bug. (Malaria takes 14 days so it’s not that, unless he caught it in the U.S. before he left! J )


berrytribe said…
You must know that we all wait with baited breath for your updates!! Thank you for taking the time to fill us in-especially as you get settled!
Praying for Jonah-poor little buddy. Give Alisha a hug. I know its not the same. We all have to find a new "normal" with you in Uganda. Loving you and praying daily for Uncle, Auntie, and the cousins!! If only you could hear Jake's prayers each night - so sweet. You are definitely in the forefront of our kiddos' minds!!
Joe said…
Soooo great to hear from you Brad and Alish, I pray for complete healing for Jonah and protection for the rest of you all against any flu bug or any bug. "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end, they are new each morning, great is Thy faithfulness" my prayer for you today, tender mercies to bring you comfort, peace, and health, tight hugs to each of you, We love you and are praying xoxoxolove, Terri
Traci Morrow said…
WOW! You are so good at writing Brad - I feel like I'm experiencing it all as I read. :) and :(

Praying for a connectedness for Alisha and another woman. I know they are probably all nice - but you know, that CONNECTION that makes one person a CLOSE friend. :) Like meeting in a line at Costco. ;) (nod to the Sampsons, whom I've never met but heard wonderful things about)

STELLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!! :) Love it. What a blessing your job for her must be! :) But at the same time I "get" that it would be hard to not only have someone doing your stuff (when you're looking to stay busy and away from stillness and thoughts of the US) but to just have someone in your space. Another woman. I get that totally.

But you know whats weird? Is that with time THIS will be your norm, and fast forward however long of time passes when you come back to the US, when you will feel out of place back with US traditions. God is so cool the way he's made us so adaptable!

Praying for you all - as you go through the natural phases of adapting - and then LOOK OUT UGANDA! :)

God is very near. :) He sticks closer than a brother! And he is the giver of all good gifts! :)

Loving you, loving Ugandans with you, and putting our hope in a God whose brought you together!

TRACI/Aunt Ta +7

Hey Lish - do you need some help with your Beachbody customers???
Kristen said…
Hi guys, sounds like you are busy adjusting over there. I can't begin to imagine what it must be like for you guys, because the only time I've been in a 3rd world country it was with a bunch of fellow Americans, mostly my age.
I can feel for Alisha, and will pray that God will bring some special friends into her life, and help her to adapt to this new way of life. I know God has amazing things in store for you guys!!

Love you lots, and thinking about you daily! Thanks for the updates!!

Alisha...like Traci mentioned, if you need help with your Beachbody customers, please please let me know!!
David Baca said…
Hi Brad and Alisha...
Amanda and I have been keeping on your posts, so thanks for spending the hours to do them (they take longer than non-bloggers might think!) I completely feel your annoyance with things "not working," whether it be locks, electric, appliances, whatever. Your last post about the steps was AWESOME. That's all I can say. I understand, I understand. I'm assuming the boda ride you mentioned was from the top of Tank Hill, past the cattle/pigs, and by the outhouse? That's the way I walked to EMI when it was at the old office. There is actually a shower near the top of the hill, so keep you eyes down. You should buy a boda, correction, 250 cc dirtbike. You're living in one of the few places in the world where 4WD and a dirtbike are the most practical modes of transportation. FYI, I started a job as a structural engineer with the goal of being just like you, kind of. We want to be available to engineering/construction missions for the rest of our life, maybe after the PE is out of the way. Maybe before :)
Kristi said…
Hi. I am a friend of Tam. So yay for you making it over safe and sound. It sounds like you are learning and growing leaps and bounds. I will certainly begin praying for you both and your beautiful family. Yay for you and for all that God is doing in your lives. Are you all from KC? That is where we came from too. Anywho, when things settle down, I would love to connect with you. Love, Kristi

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