Monday, October 19, 2009

The Past Two Weeks

Sorry I am a little late in blogging this week, it has been a crazy and weird week. This previous weekend was Independence Day and we went to Luweero with the IMME group.
For Independence Day Kristina and I along with our Mom went to Kampala to what reminded me of a massive state fair. There were craft booths everywhere and I was able to get a lot of shopping done which was wonderful. The highlight of the day was the opportunity to eat real, delicious icecream that actually tasted like icecream, it was amazing!!
In Luweero we had the opportunity to hear Father Gerrie speak of his work and his role of a priest. The most influential thing that he spoke of in relation to poverty was that it needed to be a combined force between the Catholics and Anglicans. He spoke on the issue several times throughout the night, but one phrase that he mentioned was wonderful: “for the challenges we have, we must unite and not worry about the trivial things – we are all Christians – we have too great a challenge to get caught up in doctrine.” I loved this quote and the unity expressed for a common goal that God has called all of us to accomplish. I hadn’t expected this relationship between the two churches but it was later reaffirmed that night we spoke with the Bishop of Luweero. It gave me a new and much better realization of Catholicism. Both churches realize the extreme need of helping the poor, and instead of working separately and combating each other, they have chosen to work together in order to be more effective. I found this a little startling, for I had previously heard that the relationship between the two wasn’t great, and wonderful. It has changed my knowledge and perspective on the topic. I love the emphasis that we are all Christians and by letting doctrine interfere in so great a problem it hinders not the church people but the poor.
Not everything seems as cute and sweet and exciting. The children have become very annoying, the ones that we pass everyday and follow, and stare, and point, and giggle, you just want to say “yes, I realize that I am white, thank you for reminding me, now shut up and stop staring.” I know it sounds harsh and ridiculous but it can’t be helped, I’m convinced of it. The communal aspect which I have fallen in love with can also be hard to bear. I have been sick the past few days and have been continually asked how I am feeling by my family as if I could drastically change conditions in a span of a few minutes. All I wanted to do was sleep, which was impossible do to the fact that I was sweating in bed and because Mama can in about three times in a couple hour period telling me to wake up and have tea, by the end of which I just wanted to be like “I don’t want any more *@#$ tea!” but I didn’t so don’t worry. But at the same time I couldn’t be upset directly at her because I knew that it was all done with the best of intentions. Then we have a ‘nephew’, Chachi (at least this is what I call him) who randomly cries for no apparent reason other than because he wants to, and he does it all the time. He starts off with a whimper/ soft sob and rapidly progresses into body shaking/ gagging/ throwing up ridiculousness. It is crazy and you almost just want to give him something to cry about as awful as that sounds. I am ashamed of myself…maybe…a little. Yet as awful and funny as these sound I absolutely love it here. It is hard to enjoy everything though because exhaustion comes so easily, it is easy not to look at life as a wonderful gift and getting everything out of every minute. The books my mom sent me have been wonderful God-sends. They allow me time alone to just escape to another world giving me rest and relaxation from this one that is always imposing and always drastically aware of me. Another thing that I am enjoying is my classes, I am being stretched and pushed in new and exciting ways and even though they are challenging I still love them. We have been viewing God, and church, and how we live our lives with new perspectives that have been extremely enlightening. It is through these classes that I learned that the bitterness is just a phase that should pass, just maybe not before I go home, but hopefully:) This past weekend, though most of the time was spent resting and reading from being sick and homework, we had a guy come over that sold fabric which we brought and are having dresses made as I write this. I wasn’t able to walk down to the seamstress so I sent measurements so it should be interesting to see what comes back, but I am very excited! They are supposed to be done this coming weekend but we won’t be here. On Friday we leave for rural homestays and will be gone till the next Sunday. Today I received an incredible package from Aunt Debbie and my cutest cousins, Molly and Maggie. It was amazing and EVERYBODY is enjoying the oreos that were sent!! Everything had post it notes on it with little notes and it was wonderful, I love you all!! I almost cried because I had notes from Molly and Maggie as well and it was wonderful to see their handwriting and pictures drawn for me. It was great! I hope everyone is doing wonderful and enjoying the fall weather that I am missing. I miss you all and love hearing from everyone, you all have been wonderful!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Jinja Excitement

Okay so I haven’t gotten better at remembering the past week, but I do remember this weekend. This weekend we went back to Jinja, the source of the Nile. This weekend was the white water rafting and bungee jumping weekend, and yes, I did both!!!!
Saturday morning we left from a hotel in Mukono at 7:30 in the morning (the people from Adrift Adventures came to pick us up) and took the ride to Jinja. We had first heard that half would bungee jump on Saturday and then white water raft then on Sunday the rest would bungee jump. Because of the rain that we had on Saturday we couldn’t jump so we waited for a little bit and then left for white water rafting around 10:30. My raft asked for the extreme experience so we had a lot of training in the raft before we went down any rapids. We had to practice jumping out, finding air pockets when trapped under the raft, getting back into the raft, and then getting down and holding on to the raft. The rapids were fours and fives and amazing! The weather was perfect and cloudy with a little drizzle in the beginning; I still got burnt but not nearly as bad as if it would have been sunny. I got trapped under the raft once and couldn’t find the air pockets for a while but I survived and the second half was incredible. The only part that wasn’t exciting was the extremely long periods of stagnant water that we had to paddle through in order to get to the next rapids. There are pictures and a video which will be widely looked at and watched when I get home because I probably won’t be able to load them unto facebook. We rafted all day, starting at around 10:30 then breaking for lunch on an island (which was delicious) and then rafting until about 5:30. It was incredibly amazing even though I am incredible sore at the moment and is very painful to bath, go to the bathroom, and get into bed, as well as practically every other normal body movement. It was definitely a little frightening at some point when all you can see are clouds and white foam and you are about to go through it, and seeing rapids about to engulf your entire boat wondering if you will actually stay in the boat or where you will end up if you come out. It was crazy and amazing! We got back and they fed us and then loading unto waiting buses that drove us back to Jinja. We rafted 22 miles. When we got back we lounged around resting and waiting for the video that they showed at about 11:00 which we bought and will be shown when I get back.
On Sunday we woke up and some had breakfast. No, I did not because I did not want to see it again, I didn’t know when I would be jumping. They split us up, fifteen going first and then a thirty minute break and then the rest of us. I opted for the second shift to give me a chance to watch fifteen before I went. It actually made me much calmer and relaxed after watching everyone else go. While watching them one of my friends commented that she thought she would rather go with a partner and starting asking around and I was like heck yes I will go with you! I was then much more reassured that I would be going with someone for I wasn’t sure how I would jump if someone wasn’t going to be there to help me the entire way. At this point I am completely excited and pumped and ready to go!! After the break the rest of us climbed up to the platform to wait for our turn. Julie and I were third in line and extremely ready to jump. It came our turn and we walked up to the platform at the end to get strapped in. We sat in separate seats to begin with and were individually strapped in; a towl was wrapped around our ankles and then a strap was tied and wrapped and twisted and then another strap was wrapped around that the carabineers were attached to. We then sat next to each other and they hooked our ankles together with the bungee cords. He then gave us instructions and what to do and how to do it. We both stood up with our ankles next to each other and put our arms around each other’s backs. We then had to shuffle to the edge of the platform/cliff. And we had to keep shuffling together until all of our toes were hanging over the edge. Once at the edge we held on to a bar above our heads. He instructed us not to look but it didn’t really matter because I felt like I was going to throw up anyway. I started panicking and was trying to remind myself to breathe and yet I was completely excited! He had us take down our arms which I did not want to do, we told me that he still had us but I still questioned him for reassurance to make sure, because I felt that when I let go I would just tip forward. We let go and then Julie and I had to face each other and embrace in a massive bear hug which was okay for me. They then counted 5-4-3-2-1-BUNGEE and at this point we had to start leaning out over the cliff and he would push us the rest of the way. The feelings going through you are indescribable and incomprehensible. You are excited but at the same time you are like WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING THIS IS INSANE AND I WANT TO CHANGE MY MIND NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Being in the air you have this amazing adrenaline rush come over you mixing with a huge warning signal that something is wrong! You can just feel yourself FALLING 145 FEET!! We both started streaming in terror the second we left the platform. Screams of terror soon changed to screams of pure excitement once we realized that we were alive and then once we realized we were having the time of our live we started laughing hysterically!! We squeezed each other the entire time and screamed into each other’s face and made sure the other was still alive and had an INCREDIBLE TIME!! The feeling is crazy and once over the puking period it is so exciting. I didn’t see all of it, the pictures that I remember seeing are random and splotchy, either from my eyes being clenched in fright or being buried in Julie, I just remember seeing Julie’s hair and the sky and platform above me and then the water and the men in boats as we started to slow down. They then lowered us into the boats who then rafted us to shore. It was an incredible experience and I am so excited that I did it!!
We got back to the lodge area, which overlooked the Nile and was beautiful, and I ate lunch which was delicious and treated myself to the dessert bar! Then we all rested and read and took pictures and then headed back to Mukono around 4:00 and then went home! Please comment because I had no comments on the last post and I definitely lost the competition with my friend!