"to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faithin me." Acts 26:18

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How many times do Tuininga adventures begin with...

"don't worry, Dianna, I've studied the map on Google Earth and I think there is only one section of the road that you won't really like...

....the rest will be great..."

And with this, my husband managed to convince me to take the family on a day trip up Mt. Wanale.

This is Mt. Wanale as seen from Mbale.  On the top right side are some radio towers and that was where the aforementioned road ended.  So that was our mission.

 The road up was not as terrifying as I had thought it would be by Eric's description.  Mind you, it wasn't really paved either like we thought.  In all fairness, once upon a time it had been paved and we could almost always see bits and pieces of tarmac, but I wouldn't have gone so far as to call it paved.

But the scenery was lush, green and streaked with waterfalls.

Alas, we made it!  And as soon as we arrived to this field that looked just right for a picnic, we looked out the back window and noticed a crowd of kids descending upon us.  The group also brought a sweet lady, Silvia, who was carrying her baby and as is often the case, she offered to show us around.  We let her and it was fun. 

She took us over the hill behind the towers and showed us all the fields.

They were full of beans, maize, peas, onions and coffee beans:

Suddenly we came around the corner and much to our surprise was another mazungu who was getting ready to parachute off the cliff.  When we walked up, I think we surprised him, as much as he surprised us.

He had quite the crowd gathered to watch. 

After a bit, he jumped...

He jumped over the valley that holds our new little corner of the world and a our hearts... Mbale.

After he was no longer in sight...the crowd turned their attention to the only other Mazungus up on the hill....us!  After a few minutes, we decided to leave and so the crowd followed.

We went up the path back to our truck... Rebecca...standing out because of her red-hair, handled all the kids swatting her braids quite well and was very confident in charging ahead in the crowd.

Then we jumped in the back of the truck and drove off...a hoard of kids running behind to wave good bye.

For lunch we found a "quiet" stream to eat by.  Within 5 minutes we had about 20 people standing around watching us.  Finally an older man came up to us and greeted us.  He was very happy to meet us.  He said, "You and I are the same.  Under both of our skin is blood, bones and meat.  Our people used to eat other people, but now we don't, because we know we are the same."  True that...

And then we happily shared our food and continued on our journey home... ;) 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Trying to Establish a (New) Normal

As I'm sitting here, the rain pouring down...it's nothing like the rain in Oregon.  This rain comes with loud booming thunder and the windows that are open to let in the cool air, are also letting in the sounds of a drenching rain.  The birds that sound like monkeys, have stopped momentarily...and I'm sure the boda drivers have also stopped and taken shelter.  The noise of my children however, continues.  They have happily moved from playing outside, to building a fort inside.  The power is out, but now our battery back up system is working again, so it makes very little difference in our daily life.  Hopefully it will be on for shower time tonight, though...or else it's cold showers for us.  Our city water has gone on and off several times today, but thankfully (again) we have a back up tank...so it, too, makes little difference in our daily life...unless of course it decides to go off for more than a day... then there would be no showers for us...hot or cold! :)

This past week I've learned how to drive into town, I've learned to bring my egg crates to the store if I want to buy more than a few eggs.  I've learned that you buy potatoes in "kilograms," but tomatoes in "heaps."  Beans come in "cups," and sweet potatoes come in the monetary amount of "shillings" ("I'd like 1,000 shillings of sweet potatoes, please!).  And if you think that is funny...think of me asking our friend and helper, "how do I ask for 10 "ears of corn?" ...um, ears?  Contemplating how Ugandans use English causes me to contemplate how I am accustomed to using English!

We had our first compound party.  We had a lot of fun!  Homemade pizza, mangos, posho chips and salsa, chipoti and soda.  After we ate, we went out back and taught our new friends the Virginia Reel.  In the back of the house, there is a large trellis covered with green foliage and pretty flowers.  The sun had already set, so we hung lanterns from the trellis.  It was beautiful ambiance and beautiful fellowship.  It was a great time!

In short, my days are filled with attempting to establish some sort of "normal." We are working hard to learn how to shop, how to greet, how to show hospitality, how to not get into the kitty bowl (Benaiah!), how to get clothes ready to be washed,etc...all in hopes that one day, we will have a "new" normal, everyday life.  It's a lot of work...mentally and physically, but it is a good work.  Lord willing, as we establish "normal" here, our home will also be established...once again it will become a refuge and a place to be used to glorify God.  To that end, we are also eagerly awaiting the arrival of our container...it has an estimated date of arrival of August 30th, but we will be glad if it is here before the end of September. 

For now, we are trying to sloooowly start school.  I know there is no hurry, but the beauty of homeschooling for years now, is that it feels normal.  It gives some comfort...some taste of "home."  We are also developing a new system of chores...again, it feels normal for the kids to have something productive to put their hands to.

The rain is finished, the power came on for a brief moment but is now off again, and I am back after a short break to clean up Benaiah's mess of hand soap dumped on the bathroom floor...

I guess some things are still the same... :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Getting settled...

All of our suitcases are finally unpacked.  It feels so so good to not be living out of them anymore.  This past week has gone far better than we could have asked or imagined.  We thought we would be very stressed, but we aren't.  We thought that it would be absolutely exhausting, but it hasn't.  We thought that the kids would really struggle with jet lag, but they didn't.  God has been so good to us! 

We are starting to learn our way around town and make connections with various people.  African culture is one of knowing people.  There are no yellow pages to look things up in.  When we needed an electrician our first night to get the generator going, we were able to get one because our friends, living on the compound with us, knew one.  So now that we are starting to settle, we are getting to meet people...the dutchman that delivers us milk, the people at BAM super market, the man in charge of our security, etc...  We are also getting to know the ex-pat community here and the community of believers that we will be working the closest with.  Eric and I met a lot of these people last year on our trip here and it has been great to see them again.  The wonderful thing about this, is that they are all so sweet to us!  Everyone has been friendly and eager to help us settle down!  In church this past Sunday, they even made us yummy chocolate cake and brought pop to welcome us.  We are so thankful that God is blessing us with opportunities to meet and greet our new friends.

Yesterday we had an amazing tour to CURE hospital.  Cure is an amazing facility that treats neurological disorders (predominantly hydrocephalus and spinal bifida) from all over East Africa.  They have world class surgeons on hand to perform brain surgeries that save lives. 

Here is their CT scanner.

And the kids studying some of the brain images and comparing a brain effected by hydrocephalus with a normal brain.  It was absolutely fascinating.  I also found out that we can go anytime we want and hold the babies and talk to the mommas.  I'm so excited about this! :)

Behind CURE is our kids official "most fun bumpy road in Uganda."  It's full of pot holes that toss the kids to and fro in the way back seats!  They just have to be careful not to bang their heads on the windows! :)

And here is another answer to much prayer...our land rover.  We got this with 12 seat belts installed.  And AC.  It is a huge blessing to have a vehicle that can handle roads both in the city and in the villages and hold all of us!  There are 3 seats in the front, 3 in the middle and two benches in back that face each other...each holding 3 kids.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Our first dinner in Mbale...

We arrived Friday morning to Uganda.  The power has been out in our section Mbale for about a week.  We have a generator running now, but when we first got to the house it wasn't cooperating.  So we managed to get out of our suitcases what we needed before dark.  Then Mr. Charles, our friend and helper on the compound, found us lanterns, some others (that we haven't even met yet!) had made us supper and we were grateful to God for all his blessings...seriously, we were filled with joy as we ate our meal.  It was a sweet time.  


Our flight left Washington DC at 10:30 at night.  We ate supper before we got on the plane and as soon as we took off, we told the kids to all try to go to sleep.  Amazingly...they did!  (Perhaps we may have helped them to sleep their sniffles with some Benadryl...just sayin'...)  So after a good 5 hours of sleep or so for most of us, we landed in London.  We dropped off a lot of our carry-on bags at a secure storage facility and took off to the tube...a one hour train ride into down town. By the time we made it there we had about 5 hours to burn before we absolutely needed to be back on the tube.  So we literally had a fly-by tour of part of London.  That gave us enough time to get off at Piccadilly Circus, walk to Big Ben, eat lunch by the Thames, take a quick walk through Westminster Abby, walk by Buckingham Palace and head back to the Tube.  By the end of the day, the kids were ready to get back on the plane and sleep their way to Uganda.

Now for the onslaught of pictures...

Taking the tube...

Of course, you have to climb into the red phone booth...mind you...the kids had no idea why and thought we were crazy when we told them to climb in...then they thought it was hilarious when they later saw all sorts of other tourist doing the same "weird" thing...

We missed the changing of the guard at Buckingham, but we did see the guard change at this Calvary museum.  That was fun.  Only a few of the kids were brave enough to stand next to the horse for a picture though.

 Big Ben... as you can see, it was a beautiful day...lower 70s and mostly sunny...although we got rained on once, but only for about 5 minutes.


Eating Lunch by the Thames, across from Big Ben...

And this, my friends, is exactly how we made it through London with eight kids. :) Soooo good! :)

Most people think that Big Ben is tipping because they built the subway underneath, but we all know it is actually Miss Tessa...

Mind you...Timothy doesn't help matters either... :)

Then on to Westminster...we could have spent all day there...but alas...we had about an hour.  While there, we discovered that there are perks to being in London with 8 kids, ages 11 and under...and one of them is that Westminster doesn't charge for kids ages 11 and under. :)  They might have momentarily regretted that upon seeing all of us come in though. :)  The kids thought that the coolest part was seeing the room of the knights and the sword that was used to knight them.  So many people that we know from history are buried there.  It was absolutely amazing.  Too bad I couldn't take pictures inside....actually Eric is probably happy that I couldn't take pictures inside...we might not have caught our last flight. :)

Then onto Buckingham Palace.

Talitha chillin'...not on a beach in the Carribean...just at Buckingham palace...

All of us were extremely jealous of Talitha and Benaiah being able to sleep in the stroller by the end of the day...

But, it wasn't too long before we were back at the airport, watching the sun-set, and ready for the next flight...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Leaving on a jet plane...

We made it!  We are here safe and sound to our new home and doing quite well, all things considered.  We had a great flight, ALL of our (ahem, 41) bags made it, the kids slept very well on the plane, we had a blast in London and we even drove into the town of Mbale today and got Internet and phones...all by ourselves... (no small task!)  We praise the Lord that it has gone so well.

We don't have power right now, though.  Apparently, someone tore into the generator to steal the oil...and the electric company people have to go to Kampala to get a new transformer...and they work on Africa time...so, long story short...it's been off for a week and who knows when it will be on again.  But someone loaned us a generator and so during the day we have enough power to run our refrigerator and some lights.  No hot showers, no ironed clothes for church tomorrow...but those are just details, right? :)

I have lots of pictures to share. (I know, not surprising...) but here are a few to get started...

We showed up at the airport very early to check in.  Afterwards, we had a lovely, but way too short, visit with the Proctors, the missionaries we are replacing.

Uncle Jeremy drove with us and helped unload everything and we said our good-byes to our big-blue van and trailer.

Then we created Mt. Luggage and waited for the counter to open.

Then it was time to check in.  It took a loooong time, as the bag-tag machines were messing up.  Finally, they were all done, but the lady went down stairs and hand checked every single piece of luggage to make sure they were all done correctly.  So thankful for that.

So the kids and I hung out, watched Courageous on the laptop and watched Uncle Jeremy make laps around the airport waiting for us.

But we were all very happy when it was done.

Leave it to Uncle Jeremy to be ever so obedient to the traffic laws...

Pictures from London will come...