Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Safety Regulations?!?

I stopped to buy fuel one day.  They were painting the shelter above the tanks.  I pulled up to one of the tanks farthest from the man on the ladder.

The attendant quickly waved me over to the tank directly underneath the man and ladder!

Somehow, I don't think OSHA would approve. . .

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ugandan Wedding

Pastor Moses called me on Thursday and invited me to attend a wedding at his church on Saturday.  I agreed.  After hanging up, I realized I didn't even know who was getting married.  It turns out it is Pastor Jacobo from Lake Victoria.  Moses said the wedding starts at 9:00, so arrive at 10:30.  My American culture made me start sweating around 10:25 and we had not arrived yet.  We arrived at 10:45.  We were the only ones there besides the choir warming up!

About 45 minutes later, a band came in, playing loudly.  They were escorting the groom, best man and some other men into the sanctuary.

There were still not very many guests; mainly just children from off the street with nothing better to do on their Saturday morning.

After something was said, everyone got up and ran out of the church.  The bride was coming!

 I was sitting behind a building, talking to Brenda about a patient's medicine.  I spotted the bride through the fence.

The children were so excited.  Everyone gathered to watch her grand entrance.  And Grand it was!

  Everyone stopped to watch the Bride's entrance.  Here in Uganda, as Moses says, "People like to take their time at a wedding. The bride walks slow to enjoy herself and take her time."

The bride had to walk the distance of a city block.  She took 30 minutes!  She and her attendants danced, slowly from the car to the front of the church.  All the community watched, laughed, smiled and generally enjoyed themselves.

Still dancing. . . still dancing. . . I watched a grandmother with her 4 small grandchildren.  She was walking down the road, but upon seeing the bride, stopped and smiled.  She watched the entire dance from car to the church steps.  She was so happy!  So excited for the bride.  She never took her eyes off the bride.  When the bride arrived at the church porch, the grandmother turned, still beaming, gathered her grandchildren and went on her way.  

It showed me how important these events are to the people her.  Strangers stop to celebrate with the happy couple.  The wedding begins in the street with much fanfare and excitement.  The shop owners and bicycle-taxi drivers stop to watch, suspending business for a while.  Children come from everywhere!

Yes, still dancing. . . 

You guessed it, STILL dancing.  I have to say I feel so "white" as I watch them.  All the people have such great rhythm.  Even the babies seem to dance in their mother's arms.  I can not even sway to the music right!  

I timed the "bride dance" out of curiosity - this is not my first wedding here.

As if there had not been enough music, EVERYONE danced again, for about 20 minutes this time!

This is one of the ushers.  She carries the stick because she shoos out the children when they gather in too close.  She dances up and down the aisle as she taps the unsuspecting children on the head.  She takes her job very seriously.

We had to leave right as Moses was beginning the actually sermon/marriage talk.  After they finished Busia, the wedding party was going to take the reception to Lake Victoria where the bride is from. The groom is from around Busia but pastors a church at Lake Victoria.  

It is 6:15 in the evening as I write this and I have no doubt the party is still going on.  Singing, dancing - general happiness!

Outside, I noticed this sign.

Monitor Lizard in the back yard!

Forget bears, coyote and fox!  I have hyenas and monitor lizards!

Some of the workers caught a 18" monitor lizard at on of our fish ponds. 

They then brought him up and put him in our rabbit cage. (The rabbits are not in it). 
Monitor lizards can get up to 10 feet long. We saw one on the Nile that was about 4 feet. 

They are poisonous and have forked toungues. This one hissed at me!

Needless to say, all the children were gathered around, looking, screaming and trying to scare each other. The kids were reaching down and touching the ankles of each other. The scared were jumping left and right. 

I am not sure what Willie plans to do with the lizard. I made the announcement  "the lizard is poisonous. If you touch it, you will die. ". I know, a bit exaggerated, but u decided it was better for the kids to have a healthy fear. I don't know how to treat monitor lizard bites! 

They lined two sides of the cage with bricks. But then ran out of bricks. So the left him hanging in the cage. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

"Al"ison, the Nanny Goat

My grandmother bought a goat in honor of my grandfather for his birthday.  She thought long and hard and decided she wanted it to be a nanny, "So it could produce more goats" and she wanted to name it "Al"ison after my grandfather, Al.

Great!  We have found that goats are one of our better ventures here at the Village of Eden - they seem to thrive.

Then, my mother, as she sat on her soft couch in her air conditioned house decided that I should get a picture of said nanny goat, to send to my granny.  No problem.

But, as she sipped her coffee leisurely, she decided that just any picture wouldn't do - the goat should be wearing a hat!  "Al"ison the Nanny Goat, in a hat.

So, being the loyal, loving daughter and granddaughter I am, I endeavored to get this picture.  (My hat will never be the same. . . )

I went yesterday evening to get my picture, after the goats were locked up in their pen for the night.

I must admit, just the prospect of getting inside the small, overcrowded pen with the goats made me nervous and question my resolve. Goats are flighty and unpredictable in my experience - head butting, urinating, pooping and the like - you never know what or when.

 But, I ventured in, trying to spot a worthy nanny of my grandfather's name and my hat.

I then timidly started trying to get the hat on the goat.  The whole herd started running around the pen.  I realized that selecting a specific goat was not going to work.  I decided that if that goat was female, that was good enough!

I held out the hat, trying to see if one didn't bolt at the sight of it.  No takers.

So!  I tossed the hat onto the first available female head and snapped a picture (see above).  Then, the goat panicked and began running around in circles!  Which caused all the others to run too!

The worst of it was that my hat was hung on the horns of the goat!  I briefly considered sacrificing the hat, but decided I had to get it back.  I chased this goat around this pen.  She ran, her kid ran too, trying to nurse and I ran in circles.  I don't think I have to tell you how I felt at this point about my mother's "great idea".

 Finally, the hat fell off the horns and behind this other nanny (see above).  I reached in and grabbed the hat just before one of her kids began urinating right where my hat had fallen!

I recovered the hat, brushed off who knows what and left the pen.  Forget Mama's idea, I'll just tell Granny how much we appreciate "Al"ison the Nanny and be done with it.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Guest of Honor! (Follow up to "Humbled, Nervous, Amazed blog)

The invitation letter said to arrive at 1:00.  So, being in Africa, I left the house at 1:15 with Winnie and Brenda, two of our residents.

We arrived at 1:35.  They ushered us into a store-front office and after welcoming us profusely, asked us to be patient and wait.

I wandered outside to get a picture of the Top Nursery kids in their caps and gowns.  Another man came, welcomed me profusely  and ushered us back into the office.

 Many "Honorables" came and introduced themselves to me.  One honorable, Grace, thanked me for the VOE project and for supporting the government.  She said that they cannot help everyone, so when there is a project like ours, it is a great support to the government.

We were delayed by rain - in the end, I waited in the office for an hour and a half.  Social worker Winnie came and visited with us - she is the one that arranged for me to be the Guest of Honor.

Then, a group of 15 people came to the door, and formally said, "We are here for the Guest of Honor."  I looked at them and they looked at me, with anticipation.

 Finally, Winnie whispered, "You have to go first." I had to lead all of them!

We walked down a muddy lane until we came to this archway.

All the "Honorables" and I had to put our hands together on a pair of scissors and cut the ribbon to celebrate the grand opening of Jabema High School.  This was a graduation and grand opening.

 Then!  I had to lead all the honorables down the red carpet.  We cut a cake together, all hands on the knife.

 Then, a "bridge" was made to bridge the graduates from Nursery to P1. They walked down the bridge, hatless.  My job was to put the hat on them, shake their hand and tell them "Well done."  I got the last two things right, but putting on those hats was a problem!  Their heads were just not cooperating!  Crooked hats!

 After all the crooked hats walked away, we sat down.  I was at a table, all by myself, as the Guest of Honor. (after a bit, an honorable moved up to talk to me)

 Then, there were dancing, and speeches.

 Then more dancing and more speeches.

 Then more dancing and more speeches.

Afterwards, I was called up as the Guest of Honor to deliver my speech - I was the 14th speech of the day!

Finally, the parents were able to give gifts to the graduates and they danced and sang. (yeah, more dancing)

There was more dancing during the gift giving.

Baby nursery sang a song - they were so cute!

I gave out gifts to the parents who had four or more children in the school - there were 8 families that fell into that category.  Then, suddenly, the pastor announced that the Guest of Honor was to be taken away!
Winnie came and got me and took me back to the office.

"What are we doing?"

"Going for lunch."

I glanced at my watch - 5:50 PM.

We waited 20 minutes - the grads came to give back their caps and gowns.

The pastor's wife came with a cake!  (Cakes are VERY expensive here)  She said that they wanted to prepare something for me, but there was a lot of chaos. She thought a cake might be better.  YES!

I took the cake home to the kids - it lasted less than 5 minutes!  They were so happy!

We saw this rainbow on the way back to the VOE.

  Overall, it was  a great day.  I was humbled at being the Guest of Honor.  When I had to walk first down the red carpet, I would rather have crawled underneath it.  When the "Honorables" came to escort me, I certainly DID NOT want to be the leader.  But, the people were so proud to have me there.  They were so thankful for the help that Helping Hands gives to them, the school and the community - it was a great honor to represent Helping Hands on this great occasion.