A day in London

On my way to Africa this summer, I had a 12 hr layover in London and was able to go out and explore the beautiful city for a few hours. I met up with a photographer who lives in there and she was able to show me around for the afternoon. Alex Beadon is super sweet, talented and passionate about sharing her love and knowledge of everything photography. Do yourself a favor and check out what she does.

Ikotos

Greetings from South Sudan!

Life here is very different from the business of Kampala. Ali and I flew in by plane. Definitely the easiest and fast mode of transportation in to Ikotos. I was completely taken back by the beauty here. I can’t even begin to explain. It takes my breath away. Ikotos sits in a valley between two mountain ranges. Mountains captivate me. These mountains captivate me. I wish pictures could capture the majesty. Everything is so green and lush. Being here during the rainy season is such a blessing. Not only is it so much cooler, but the beauty is so spectacular.

It was a bit of a shock for me. Coming from my fast paced week in Kampala to here. Its like going from NYC to a tiny town in the country with no traffic lights. I probably don’t see more than 10 cars in a day. It is peaceful though and it has given me a lot of time to reflect and read. God knew I needed this. I’m sure of it. :)

Monday was their independence day. The celebrating started Sunday night and didn’t really end until Wednesday. Who needs a sound machine when you have drums, whistles and singing going on all night long. They had an all day celebration on Monday with speakers, dancing, singing and more. I got super lucky (I’m sure it was because I was a white visitor) and was able to stand inside the square where everything was happening and take pictures. It was a wonderful experience!

Today we made a trip to village I don’t know how to spell, so I’m not going to even try it. There is some paperwork that Scott and Ali needed to get done and it looks as though we will be spending the weekend here. The road here was a little rough. Ok, it was quite bad. But, it was so much fun! For me, the passenger. ;) We only got stuck once. It was a 60 mile trip that took a little over 3 hours. The fastest we hit was probably about 40 mph on the “good roads”. Those still felt like you were driving on rumble strips with potholes thrown in every 2 feet. If you go fast enough they don’t hurt as much. There were 4 of us in the back seat. The more people you have squished in there the less you bounce around. I cracked my head on the lady’s head to my right and on the car window to my left, but I don’t have a concussion so its all good. I can’t wait for the ride back to Ikotos! Really. I can’t. Really, I’m not kidding.

Just a little celebration.

The woman here wear such beautiful vibrant colors!

We get children visiting every day. Just hanging out with these sweet girls.

This was one of the easier holes to drive through. Nothing this truck couldn’t handle. ;)

 

Much love to you all!!
Amanda

Picking up where I left off…

Saturday we were able to see some of the chess program that SOM has. It provides an opportunity to minister to the girls as well since they don’t have a girls futbol team.

Sunday we visited Watoto church. It was very similar to my church, so I felt right at home. We had these two cute companions with us.

That evening we were able to see some traditional dancing and music! It was fantastic.

It is so hard to see things like this. People passing by without giving this little boy a second glance.

Monday we got caught in a heavy rainstorm in one of the slums. Fortunately they do not happen a whole lot during the rainy season. We were stuck in a church for over an hour as we waited it out. People in the slums fear rain like this. Most houses flood with dirty, disease filled water.

Kampala in the rain.

This is what happens after an hour of very heavy rain. People would cheer every time a vehicle made it through.

Haha.

Finishing off a long raining day with these kids.

These kinds of signs were all over the school where the team trained. I really liked this one ;)

This is what happens when someone has a camera. The smiles and giggles are contagious.

Samantha really wanted to have her hair braided while here. She got her wish. ;)

It is very difficult to get a photo of just one child. Everyone wants to be in the picture.

Joel. Oh this boy. So precious. When we first arrived he was so serious. You would have to tickle him for several minutes before you got a smile. Now, you just look at him and he smiles!

These are the wonderful people I spent my first week with! So so blessed to have met and learned so much from them. This is a forever kind of friendship.

It’s been one day away from my host family and SOM and I already miss them so much. I am now at a beautiful little Inn outside of Kampala, with Scott and Ali Hara. Scott will hopefully head to South Sudan tomorrow with their new vehicle and Ali and I will fly up on Tuesday. Please be praying that the border crossing goes well for Scott!

 

Much love
AM

 

 

Kampala

I have been getting the grand tour around Kampala all week. Definitely a lovable city. That is, if you can get past the dust, car exhaust, burning garbage, and sometimes potent smell of dead fish. I’ve got the garbage and fish under control, its the dust in the eyes and headache causing exhaust that can be a bit trying at times. I’m told you don’t notice it after a while. I love learning about Uganda. The people. The culture. I’ve always wanted a longer period of time to experience Africa, but I have already gotten so much in just this week. It is wonderful.

I couldn’t have been blessed with a better host family. Fred and Nicolette are two people who love the lord and serving his people, and they have the gift of hospitality. Five months ago they adopted a little girl named Angel. She is just that, with a little spunk. They also have a live in house helper, (common in Uganda) Agnes, who is a phenomenal cook! They tell me I don’t eat enough, and that I need to stop worrying about my figure. So…I eat more. Agnes has two sweet boys, Joel and Jovan (not sure of that spelling). All three of those kids have THE greatest laughs. You know, those great belly laughs. We have tickle wars about every night.

I have lost track of days. Really. Still stuck in US time because I am one day behind here.

Tuesday I flew in in the morning and was fortunate enough to be able to rest the whole afternoon and get a good nights sleep.

Wednesday I did a little physical therapy with the kids from the School for the Physically Handicapped. That is where SOI (here it’s called SOM, Sports Outreach Ministry) has it’s Kampala office. Then a bit of turing around the city.

Thursday I met another American. Her name is Samantha. We both have pretty much the same last names (Farrell/Farwell), our first names are kind of similar too. We are both the 2nd oldest in our families of 4. There are 3 boys and 1 girl in hers and 3 girls and 1 boy in mine. This is both of ours 3rd trip back to Uganda. We are both staying for an extensive period of time. We both have brown hair and some children have asked if we are sisters, but that may only be because all Mzungu look a like to them.There are more similarities that I won’t bore you with. We visited the first slums that day and co-taught a tiny school there. We were totally unprepared but managed to keep their attention for a time, and then completely butcher the pronunciation of their names when calling attendance. The other teachers really just wanted a good laugh, I’m sure of it. Then we watched a few fubol games, that’s part of SOM’s outreach program, and hung out with lots of kids. We got questions like, why is your skin clear, or what is wrong with your skin, at our freckles. I was asked why I had fur on my arm. Uh, that’s arm hair and we all have it. Kids.

Friday we (Samantha and I) climbed on a bus with the SOM soccer/futbol/football team and drove two and a half hours to a remote village and did outreach. They make sure that the villages where they do outreach, have an established church so that they (the church) can follow up with anyone if any of the villagers come to Christ. Very well done SOM. We may or may not have won, 5-0, but what mattered most was that we were able to present the Gospel to many.

Saturday we went to another slum and saw the ministering they are doing there. It’s pretty amazing. I have two great stories coming in another post.

Till then, here are a few snaps from the week!

The home of Fred and Nicolette

In case you were wondering, there are beautiful puffy clouds here in Africa too.

Jovan on the left and Angel on the right, washing their cups. Angel told me that about 5 times, it her cute little accent.

A few of our pupils.

Some sweet kids that came up to us when we were watching the football team train. Mzungu, Mzungu. Interpretation. White person. It’s one of the 5ish words I know.

Taught them pound it. Tried to teach them pound it – explosion, but it didn’t really catch. They just got this really confused look on their faces. Why am I waving goodbye to the Mzungu?

Speak english. No problem, got it.

Futbol! Or as we Americans call it soccer. I accidently asked one of the kids if they played soccer.

I think I need to start watching futbol more often. Or maybe just teams I know. It’s fun. They all have such skill.

We put stickers on their faces, as you can see, and they did not take them off. No matter where they were.

That guy has a great smile.

The sunset over Kampala is pretty spectacular, even from the back seat of a car.

Much love,
AM

RSVP

There is this book I am reading. Some of you may or may not have heard of it. Love Does by Bob Goff. If I can recommend a specific book right now, it is this. Well, right after you read Kisses from Katie. ;) It’s changing the way I think about life, for sure. A great book with great tips on how to life a life of love.

Chapter 20 was one that stuck out to me. This guy Bob, he is pretty crazy. Me trying to tell you isn’t good enough, you will have to read and find out yourself. In this chapter he tells how he and his wife decided early on, that when each of their children turned 10, then he would take them anywhere in the world that they wanted to go. He would ask them on their 10th birthday where they wanted to go, and within the next few weeks, he would have a plane ticket purchased or all the supplies needed for whatever they wanted to do. Super spontaneous.

He tells of a great adventure he takes his daughter on in Europe, because she wanted to have tea in England. Naturally he takes her there and everything they do is spontaneous.

God wants to take us on an adventure. He is just wanting for us to except the invitation. It’s an invitation to something that he has made us to love. And it’s an adventure that isn’t always carefully planned out and laid in front of us. We need to be spontaneous and ready for whatever it is God has for us next. Bob says ”He (God) shapes who we become, with what happens along the way”. It’s this adventure that inspires and challenges us and we get to experience it with our Father, Creator, and Friend.

It made me realize something. I RSVPed to the invitation for an adventure in Africa. God did the planning, all I had to do was check yes. As soon as I did, the adventure began. He taught me so much along the way, and our relationship is much stronger because of it.

Chapter 21 had just as much impact. Bob talks about hearing God. I will be perfectly honest with you guys. Leading up to my trip, I kept thinking and praying to God that he would show himself in a BIG way to me. I wanted something audible, that I would clearly know as Him. Being consumed by that, I was missing out on all the little things he was saying. He may have been whispering, but it was still him talking. I just had my music up too loud. Bob says, ”God doesn’t talk to me in an audible voice, because he isn’t a human being; He’s God”. He speaks to us in many ways because he is God and he can and he’s not limited. He speaks through the feeling of joy, beauty, a new found talent, you name it.

As I was reading this chapter, I was on the first flight. Let me just tell you a little about this flight. When my tickets got booked, I was blown away at the price! It was a little more expensive than I thought it would be, and by a little, I really meant a lot. Turns out, they had to book my seats in World Traveler Plus because those were the only “cheap” seats left. WTP isn’t quite as nice as first class, but it’s the one in between that and coach, at least on this flight. As an experienced coach traveler, I’ll say, this was a real treat! Here’s what was different. I had lots of leg room, meaning I could lean forward in my seat without smacking my head on the seat on front of me and when the person in front of me reclined, my tv screen wasn’t 2 inches from my face. I’d take just that! But, there was more. There was a blanket and pillow (both very nice) headphones (the gigantic ones that DJs use), a pare of socks, toothbrush/toothpaste, a sleeping mask (I’m sure they have a proper name) and pen. That was all sitting on the seat waiting for me. Now the meal. That was some airplane food I’d be willing to eat again! It was served on a real plate and I got to eat it with real silverware and then wiped my mouth with a real napkin! I ate a steak. Yep, and it was really good. To put it plainly, I felt spoiled. I was also over come with this incredible joy. I know that sounds silly to some, but it was a real treat for me and God was speaking to me in that moment. It was wonderful! It hit me hard. Here I was, caught up in my own desires of wanting God to show up big, but I was missing out on the whispers. Not appreciating those small things that come on a daily basis. Now that I know that it’s God, I will treasure those moments even more. Sometimes he just wants me to get lost in the details of his love for me. Live in the moment with him.

Great lesson learned right at the beginning of this grand adventure.

I made it safe and sound to Africa by the way. I arrived in Entebbe around 730am and got to my wonderful host family’s home around 11am. I’m pretty sure I slept all afternoon once I was settled. So thankful for their flexibility and hospitality. Seriously such a wonderful family! This cup of coffee was waiting for me on the dinning room table when I woke up. :)

Much love to you all!

The Potter

Back in January, I had the chance to hang out with my friend Kari as she spent an evening at the May Carter Pottery Studio downtown. I love pottery and most of all watching it being created. It makes me think of Isaiah  64:8, “O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand”. Have you ever watched a potter work? They begin with a simple lump of clay. It’s shaped into somewhat of a ball and then placed on the wheel. From there it is pushed and pulled. Sometimes it crumbles and breaks, but the potter pieces it back together and begins again. There are bumps along the way, but are smoothed out with special tools. Soon a beautiful shape begins to appear. The potter’s gentle hands guides the clay into different shapes and sizes. Not one piece is the same. Each is one unique. Designed and carefully thought out by the creator. It is not a quick process. There are many steps in preparing a beautiful work of art. But, each one is important for the survival of the pottery. It makes it strong, able to withstand the purpose that its life holds.

It was a wonderful night. Not only spent with a great friend, but being able to be creative and capture a beautiful form of art.

See some of Kari’s beautiful work here!

Much love,
Amanda

No place is boring, if you’ve had a good night’s sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film.  ~Robert Adams

…or a phone in your pocket. ;)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.