Thursday, July 2, 2009

Home Sweet Home

We had our goodbye dinner in Uganda on Thursday, and we cooked and hung out all day-all of the friends and family were over, and it was just really nice to see that we were more than just host students to them, but that they took us in as their own daughters, just as the way my host family in Rwanda did. I'm sure it was also a combination of nerves, sadness, and exciteness, but also a little bit of food poisoning, because by Friday I couldn't eat anything, and when I did, it came out both ends. Still feeling sick we got on a bus at 7am Saturday morning for five hours to take us back down to Kampala. Once there I pretty much slept all day Saturday and most of Sunday and then met up with some friends to say goodbye. Monday morning comes and at 4:00am we take a taxi to the airport and 5 plane rides later, on Tuesday night, I'm back in Seattle!!!

I thought it would take a lot more re-adjusting and I would experience a lot more culture shock than I am...maybe I'm just too happy to be home to notice, but I've been alright coming back into this culture. Cooking is definately a huge difference though-to use a stove top, four burners at once, and to have a sink right behing me and not having charcoal over my hands and smoke in my face. And it's really been nice going to the bathroom in the middle of the night just walking across the hallway, instead of outside with a flashlight a ways from the house.

All of the different cultures that I have experienced have taught me so much-some parts I love, and some parts not so much-in my culture as well as in Rwanda and Uganda. But what definately made this trip was the people, and the experience after the program ended. I have truly made genuine friendships and relationships with amazing people with beautiful hearts who have opened their homes to me...

I am going to the doctor today to get checked out and make sure I have no weird diseases or bugs in me, so if I am all healthy with nothing exciting to post about, then this is the last post! Until my next journey....

Peace and Love
Kuc ki Mari


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Winding Down

Sorry that it has been a while, I havn't been able to make it much tot he internet, we've been so busy with everything and getting ready to leave, but I will see everyone soon! We went to Kitgum this past Saturday-took a 2 hour bus ride to visit a host sister who is at boarding school and to say goodbye to her. It's been really weird starting the goodbyes. We've just had to make a list and each day go visit someone else... Just outside Kitgum is where my host dad is from, so we took a bus there and met all of his family, and then got a ride back to Gulu with him.

Other than that, it's been the same things. Town is about 45 minutes walking so we go to town everyday to pick some fresh vegetables and fruits, and then usually take a long route home, which is about another hour and a half. The days have been going by so quickly, I really don't know where the time is going. This week especially, trying to say goodbye to people and get all of our last minute things done. We spent all of Monday roasting groundnuts to peeling and sorting them to grind with this other seed to make this paste called oddi. We've also ground and made millet flour, and we are making a few other things to bring home with us! So everyone be excited to have some little treats. Tomorrow we are having a big wabinen cok cok (see you soon) dinner, so we will be cooking all day tomorrow, and then Friday just finishing up packing and saying our last goodbyes. Saturday, we are catching an early bus and spending Saturday and Sunday in Kampala, and then leaving early morning monday to go catch our flight. After two days fo traveling I will be back in Seattle on Tuesday night!

I will probably do one more final wrap up post when I get home, but until then, this is it!!

Peace and Love,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Living in Gulu

We have been back in Gulu now for two weeks, and the time is going by so fast! We have kept ourselves really busy, and I don't know where the days are going. The daughter living at home went to boarding school last Friday, so we spent most of last week helping her prepare for school. Since she was leaving, the family was teaching us how to cook everything so we could take care of the house during the day. I've learned how to cook most of the local dishes on my own, even using the charcoal stove. We took all of the jerry cans to the pump today and filled and carried them back to the house-I think that they were suprised that we managed.

I've really settled myself into a routine here and it's been such a different experience not being with the program and tied down. We went to the villages of where the host parents grew up. It was so beautiful and quiet, I'm glad I was able to go out and visit those places. I've also gone and visited back with the family that I lived with-they are all doing well.

Other than that-we have just been walking around all day, doing laundry and dishes and cooking. I feel like I am at home here-enjoying my time, relaxing, and just living. It's getting weird though, so think that in two and a half weeks we will be leaving to go back down to Kampala to catch our plane back home...It's difficult just getting settled somewhere for a couple of weeks, learning the language, making relationships, and then leaving, and not knowing when I will be back here.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Back in Gulu..once again

The last weekend in Rwanda was really nice. We celebrated Peace's birthday Friday, and then on Saturday she took us to a wedding reception. There was traditional dancing and music-which was amazing and beautiful! It was a nice way to end the weekend. We just had a nice dinner together Sunday, and then on Monday Caitlin and I hopped on a 6am bus back to Kampala, which was up there on one of the top worst rides of my life. I was already feeling sad about leaving and had a stomach ache from probably something I ate, and i just felt sooo nauseous. About halfway through (Luckily I had brought a plastic bag with me, just in case) because I started puking in my seat...and then had to sit there for the rest of ride holding my puke bag! retrospect it was really funny, but at the time, during the 11 hours bus ride, it was not funny. We stayed two nights in Kampala, and am now back in Gulu. We watched the game on Wednesday and it was soo fun! Everyone was pretty upset that Man U lost though! I wasn't really going for either team...

So we are now staying with Caitlin's host family, and they have been very welcoming. It's nice to be back cooking and helping around the house. We walked and pumped water on Thursday and have been helping with dinner every night.

Peace and Love,

Friday, May 22, 2009


It has been a week since the group has left-and a week on my own with Caitlin in Rwanda. It has been wonderful living with Peace and Victor. I cannot seem to emphasize enough how amazing these people are-and it is people like them that reinforce my faith in the kindness of human beings. Caitlin and I have been walking a lot-usually between 6-8 miles a day, but we were really bold and walked 14 or so miles on Sunday. We have just been walking around, reading, eating, talking, and spending time with Peace and Victor. It has been the relaxing time that we both really needed after the program. On Wednesday we got up early and took a bus to Lake Kivu in Kibuye. We ended up spending our money on a traditional Rwandan painting instead of going to Burundi. So we ended up going a little cheaper and spending 3 days in this small town-smaller than Cashmere. We found this small little guest house, and just walked around. Everywhere in the town has an amazing view of the lake. Yesterday we decided to go swimmer, despite contradicting responses of how safe the water was. But we found this small bit of sandy beach and decided to join the locals and jump in. It was soo refreshing, and hopefully we dont end up with any weird parasites of bacteria...but honestly, if we do-it was worth it. We got such a deal going ont his little trip-for around $30-I paid for the bus ticket to am from, two nights in my own room with a view of the lake, a clean towel, single bed, two buffet dinners, breakfast, and a guiness and coke at the beach. It's going to sure be hard going out in the US and going on trips, because there is no way you can get all of that for only $30.

We got on a bus this morning, and came back around 4 for Peace's birthday. We had cake and wine, and an amazing dinner. It was nice to be able to celebrate this with Peace. It's really going to be hard leaving and saying goodbye, and not knowing when I will be able to see them again.

We are going to head back to Kampala on Monday, then back up to Gulu on Wednesday in time for the big football game!! Everyone watches the football matches, so it will be so exciting to watch! Although if ManU looses, then I think it will be a rough night, since everyone in Gulu supports them. Either way, I think it will be a fun night. Then we have about 4 weeks left in Gulu, and back to the US. It's weird to start thinking about coming back-by the time I come home I will have been gone for 5 months...

Peace and Love,

Saturday, May 16, 2009


So last Saturday I turned in my 42 page paper and did my 20 presentation, and I think it went well! We left Gulu Sunday as a group and went to Murchison Falls and went on a game drive and saw amazing animals! Then we went to Jinja to see the source of the Nile, which is still debatable. It was nice being with the group again, although it was really weird having everyone getting ready to leave and packing and knowing that I wont be going home for another - weeks. It made me a little homesick.

So the group left Friday morning for the airport and Caitlin and I hopped on a bus and 11 hours later arrived in Kigali. We are staying with my homestay family, who are amazing! I think we may go to Burundi or just travel around Rwenda, its kind of exciting not knowing what ours plans will be. We will try to get back to Gulu by the 25th or 26th or May so we can try to still do something with a womens soccer team.

Peace and Love,

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Almost done

The program is almost over. My paper is pretty near finished, all 43 pages plus 20+ pages of transcribed interviews. Only 1.5 spaced by the way. :) All I have to do now is print and bind and give a 20 minute presentation on Saturday! Then on Sunday we leave with the group to do some traveling to Murchison Falls and Jinja.
Caitlin and I confirmed out flight for June 29th. I think we will go back to Rwanda and visit my host family and from there take a bus to Burundi. After that-back to Gulu and we will stay with Caitlin's host family. We are not sure what is going to happen with the soccer idea. We are hoping to sitll meet with the empowerment soccer group from Seattle and try to buy soccer balls for the Gulu High School team. Right now, after being so busy and stressed about the research, I am ready to just play it by we'll see what happens.

Peace and Love,