Monday, May 14, 2007

Poop-Poo-Agie!!

Somebody in our group explained it best: “each day feels like a week, and each week feels like a month.” We do so much each day. It feels like I’ve been gone for a month because of all that we’ve done here. SO much has happened this last week. The biggest thing is that the group of volunteers arrived last Wednesday. So there are 14 of us now, sharing a little tiny house with one bathroom. The first night they were here there was no electricity that night nor the next morning. It was certainly interesting getting everybody showered that morning. Every morning is kind of interesting because there are so many of us. Yesterday I was in mid shower with all the soap on me and all the water pressure in the sink and in the shower went out. There was a small drizzle, but that was it. Luckily we had a bucket of water in the kitchen that I had someone bring me. Tomorrow we are moving into a second house really near by. A week ago from Saturday we moved out of the hotel into a house. This place as a dump! I’m not sure what I expected an African house to be like, but there was trash everywhere, rat dogs, mice, cockroaches, geckos, all kinds of interesting insects all over. We spent the whole day cleaning. When April opened her suitcase three mice ran out. We’ve put rat poison everywhere but the mice continue to live, every morning we see tons of mice droppings in the kitchen and on our porch. The first day Freddy pointed at the droppings and said, “Ahh, poop-poo-agie,” which means, “who’s poop.” That’s kinda become a funny saying we say a lot. I’m finally getting used to the cold showers, it takes a couple of seconds of shivering. The thing is, I don’t feel like I get clean after cold showers. I’ve been running in the mornings, so I come home all sweaty, cold showers feel good. Tomorrow the house I’m moving into has hot water, a fridge, and a stove, so I’m excited about that. Last week I went four days without seeing my reflection. When I finally saw my reflection in the mirror of a motorcycle, I was scared…everyday I get really dirty from all the dust going around. I’m not sure what it is, but I can go a whole day with just eating in the morning and at night, and going to the bathroom in the morning and at night.

Here’s an interesting little cultural tidbit- husbands don’t know the age of the wives, kinda like how husbands in America don’t know the weight of their wives in America. Freddy thinks his wife is 28, but she has never told him. The missionaries say that there is a lot of witchcraft and devil worshipping in this area. They said that there have been beheading ceremonies. The male/female roles are sometimes very apparent. When we were in the hotel they gave me, the guy, a room twice as big as the one they gave the two girls…I also got the fan. When we go to schools and meet with the directors, they ask me questions and talk to me, even though the girls know more about those things.

Last Thursday the mission president here was killed in a car accident. I hung out with the missionaries for 5 hours that day, it was so sad. I just can’t imagine what that would have been like if Pres. Hamilton was killed while I was serving. The drivers here are the worst I have ever seen. They think that if they honk their horn they can get do whatever they want. They remind me of the Brazilian drivers, but to the extreme. The other night when we were coming back from the airport in a taxi, there were several times when I thought we were going to die. The drivers here really have guts. Saturday we went to the funeral in Kampala, the capital, I sat in the front with the driver and made sure he would drive safely. I actually had a good chat with him. His name is Adrien and he really likes white women. That was kinda awkward cause there are 13 girls and 2 guys in our group. But he fell in love with an English girl a year ago. She said she would send for him, but she hasn’t gotten in contact with him. He wears a ring on his left hand out of hope. But he was wondering why white men like African women, but white women do not like African men. I explained that everyone is different and has different tastes. He asked me why America is so segregated, compared with Brazil. Ha, we saw a white person on the road and he asked me if I knew them. I told him that if people in America drive like Ugandans they must pay lots of money, could lose their licenses, and could get arrested. Nice guy.

I should just be a full-time missionary my whole life, I enjoy it and as opposed to dating, I think I have it figured out. I went with Elder Soko, from Zimbabwe, and Elder Metemi, from Kenya all day Thursday and it was amazing. Elder Soko’s parents were killed when he was younger; both of them are older and very humble, they have gone through lots of sacrifices to come on missions. We had some really good appointments with some people, they gave me lots of opportunities to teach principles and bear testimony. This lady we taught told us, after peeling the onion, that she doesn’t have a personal relationship with God. I think we helped, but it ultimately comes down to whether she has enough desire to do the things we asked her to. That appointment made me really grateful for the teachings of the Church and how our doctrine stresses the importance of a personal relationship with Deity. Elder Soko told me some funny stories about Pres. Mugabe, the president of his country. I’ve seen a documentary about the guy, and basically he’s just like King Noah. Elder Soko said Mugabe is very anti-US and anti-UK. He says he’ll let Blair have the UK if he can have Zimbabwe. To those that say the country doesn’t have fuel, he says they should lie down on the road and see if that’s true. I had a good time playing the Book of Mormon game with the missionaries, when one reads a chapter heading and the other two guess. 3 Nephi 22 gets everyone!

Friday we went to the Crane School and played games with the kids. There are several students from the North, where the war is. The school situation is very interesting here. There are so many schools with tons of kids. Often the school boards some students as well. School directors have told us that private schools are better than government schools because they are allowed to beat the kids, and they need that for discipline. It costs a lot of money for the parents to afford their kids to go to school. I’m kind of torn about education in the developing world. Before I came here I thought that education is the answer to all problems, but now I’m really not sure. Both of the elders say that their countries are more developed than Uganda but education is better here. I’ve met a lot of people that have high education levels but there just aren’t enough jobs. I have lots of ideas for job creation, maybe I’ll mention these business ideas when we start teaching. This last week I’ve been thinking so much about this education dilemma and development in general. Do we want Africa to become like America? I think there is a parallel between prosperity and wickedness. Hardly anyone here smokes because they can’t afford it. So yeah, if anyone has any thoughts, I’ve discussed this a lot recently, but any thoughts you have, let me know.

Our favorite game is werewolves. We played an amazing game last night. Yeah, this game was definitely one of the better ones I’ve played.

The sunsets here are amazing. Our house is on a hill so we see the wide open sky, African trees, the clouds, and an amazing sunset. Every evening it is amazing and just spiritual.

The members here are amazing. Their testimonies, lessons, and talks are so simple and great. I’m learning a lot from them and how they are so happy with what they have, even if it is very little. What they cherish most is the Gospel, and as long as they have that, life is good.

This was kinda long, and I’ll only be able to post once a week. But the group has a blog at www.help-internationaluganda.blogspot.com

I think they put pictures on there and stuff. I'll pretty much copy this entry and paste it on there too.

K, so I wrote this post yesterday (Sunday) and now it is Monday evening. Holy cow today was an awesome day, by far the coolest so far. I spent the whole day in the Parliament building meetings with several members of Parliament. Tomorrow I’m going to an economic development meeting and later in the week I’ll go to a defense meeting…this is insane. Stay tuned for next week’s post!

4 comments:

Chelsea said...

Wow, Kase...sounds like you're having an amazing time! Even if you are working hard, and have a ghetto house. I don't care if its a sin...I envy you. I hope you have a great week. Good luck with the Parliament stuff. I'm glad you got in there. I know you really wanted to, so that's awesome.

Chelsea said...

I just realized that the abbrev. version of your name means cheese in German.

Becca said...

I love thinking about you playing Werewolves in Uganda. Way to spread the love, Kasey.

Deb2TZ said...

Glad your mom got me to your blog. You're correct-we don't want Africa to be America-Africa is too unique. Our other missionaires keep telling us-"be silent,listen, learn"--"when an American starts to talk, the conversation is many times over". They don't want to be told how they must do something & we cannot fix Africa as Africa is not broken. I spent sometime with a priest from Kenya last wk & he stressed this again. He said I will find much joy in TZ but will also feel much heartache. I'm sure you will too. God's blessings to you Kasey & keep the blogs coming. I too will start blogs next month when I get to TZ (when I have electricity). Have you given names to your rats & roaches yet?

Be sure to check out Becca's Blog