Sunday, June 17, 2012

Love is Just a Game

Church in Uganda is quite the adventure. We are asked for money and sponsorship and just about everything you can think of every time we go. Today however, well that was a whole new experience. There is this man named Ivan... well Ivan was recently baptized and he has been terribly friendly with me. He has asked me on a date to which I politely declined because I have a fiance. And he has called...daily. He is now labeled "Ivan NO" on our phone so we know not to answer.

All these precautions were not sufficient...

Today while we were walking out of church he handed me an envelope and told me to wait to open it until  I was gone. And this is what it says...(same spelling and all)


Hi sister hayley, how are you? very nice to meet you and nice to talk to you it is my pleasure what about you?

sister, GOD gave us the law of chastity for our happiness, self respect and enjoy trust and confidence in our family relation ships and be blessed does it favour you? sister the law of chastity requires that sexual relationships be reserved for only marriage between aman and awoman on your side, how do you think about that?

with guidance of the holy ghost, I request you and me to develop greater wisdom, face trials with greater courage, feel God's support and direction in our lives, and be examples to our families and others.

The purpose of the text therefore, is to date you for marriage and we be sealed from the temple of GOD. Hayley may you give me afavour of accepting my request of you becoming my and your spouse and we do receive the expression of love with in our marriages so that allows me and you to participate in the creation of our lives?



That was about the only thing going through my head as I read this. Now what?! Sit him down and be like, 1. I am ENGAGED! 2. that is SO not appropriate.

I'm dyin here. I'm used to the constant cat calls and "bring me back to America" stuff, but a full on written proposal?! Just another day in Uganda I guess!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Down In Africa

I cannot believe I’ve almost been here for 1 month. Time flies when you’re…living in a cement box with scarce electricity, going to the bathroom in a hole many feet away from your house, showering once a week (and by shower I mean dump a cup or two of water on you), eating one sure meal a day, going on crazy bus/motorcycle rides, traveling between 10 health facilities, oh and the fun stuff, rafting the Nile, playing soccer and hand clap games with children, blowing bubbles, eating fruit, and working our tails off.

Ups and downs are definitely the name of the game here.

I’ve learned there is probably a reason that people don’t usually get engaged and leave the country right before their wedding… because it is HARD and CRAZY! I mean, it has been fun falling more in love over emails, but it’s pretty much the hardest thing I’ve ever done!

But among the bad and the hard, it is good- so very good. I am learning about myself and my limits and my capacity to love and grow and serve, and my limits of patience and strength. There are good people here living hard lives, the least I can do is suck it up and get to work for the 3 months I have here.

I’m surprised how many of the stereotypes of Africa are actually true. All of my expectation have been met which has surprised me.

There are a lot of children running around without shoes, in dirty and ragged clothing.

There are mud huts in the middle of lush green trees and red-ish dirt roads.
The sky really does go on forever with the beautiful landscape of trees on the horizon.
There are men and women working all day in the fields and getting water from wells, and yet a lot of them are sitting on their shaded porches all the day long.
Breast feeding really is a public event, with no shame in bearing it all.
Their hospitals are nothing like I’ve seen before.
I have yet to see a man touch a child, while the women or children always have them on their backs or in their arms.
The Ugandans are fascinated with us white people, and most especially with our cameras. Even the older women laugh and scream with joy as they see their faces on our camera screens.
They really do have little to nothing. I try to peer into the mud huts, or cement box houses, and seem to see nothing in them. Our little cement box has electricity; we must be living in the lap of luxury compared to most! I find myself missing the amenities of home. I miss my shower and bathroom and constant electricity. I feel as though I was not built strong enough for a life such as this. But even though they have nothing, they seem to make themselves happy enough. It is a hard line to find because they seem happy to me, and yet I know most of them want more for their lives.

We do not go one day without people asking us for money. It wears on you. Yesterday I was playing soccer with the kids and I was loving it! It was a busy week of visiting health centers, where lots of things went right, and lots of things went wrong, and a break with the kids was so much fun! But once we were done playing soccer, the kids were impressed a white girl could hold her own, and I thought I made a lot of friends! But…one of the boys comes up to me and says:

You are rich. Give me your bag. Give me money.

You get the point.

It happens every time! I feel like I am getting a friend, then all they really want is money. Little do they know I am a poor, almost married college student. But to them they see the color of my skin and think that I have so much to give. The hard thing is that compared to them I do have something I’m sure I could give. But the organization tells us not to give anything, because if you give to one, you’ll be expected to give to all. It is hard. At first I felt guilty but now I think I am just jaded because no one just wants to be our friend and everyone wants something.

The work is going here. We have visited all 10 health facilities we are working with, we have given them forms to fill out on each labor, and we have begun our first round of interviews. We try really hard to make everyday productive, but I feel like we have so many things fighting against us. Time, distance between centers, language barriers, cultural barriers, Western formalities, small amounts of staff at the health centers, and so much more. But we get up every day with all the hope in the world that things will go smoothly and we will return home safely and it will be a good day in Uganda.

There really is lots of good to counteract any bad we may encounter. The initial shock of holes in the ground for bathrooms, no showers, new food, new people, and constant attention from everyone has worn off and it has allowed us to focus and get to work!

I will be back in America in 2 months from now. That is a crazy beautiful thought. But for now I need to keep my mind in Uganda and just be here. Be here for the people and for Safe Mothers, Safe Babies, and for all the women and children we can help with the solar power research!

Sorry this is a lot of writing! The internet isn't good enough to get pictures...maybe one day! For now, facebook is the place to go to see Uganda!!

With love from Africa!