since we have a few days “off” before our next (and very important) round of appointments we are headed out of the city for a little exploration. time to see some more of uganda!
So, I channeled my inner Jacobi today and decided to make the family sauce recipe. We’ve been eating a lot of meat and rice the last three weeks, and changing it up sounded really good. Everyone went on an outing with the neighbors and I stayed home with Elias and Cora and we played, and cooked, and did laundry, and listened to music for most of the day. It felt good to be able to make food for my family, wash their clothes, and just do normal “mom” stuff. I’ve been realizing how much I enjoy taking care of the home and the family and meeting their needs. It’s been one of the hardest parts of the transition to a different environment, especially with the loss of a lot of the conveniences we are used to at home. With days with no water, power, laundry, etc, and with being so tired and out of rhythm, there have been many days where I have been frustrated at my lack of ability to provide what I feel my family needs. It’s made me think a lot about the challenge of living in poverty or in a place where you don’t have access to the “essentials” and the stress that comes along with that. I’ve always thought the stress was more related to the loss of convenience, but since we’ve been here in Uganda I’ve been realizing that the stress of being without the essentials is more about not being able to take care of those who depend on you and not being able to provide for the basic needs of your family. It’s maddening! And when you feel helpless to change the situation (i.e. no power and no water and no way of getting any), it’s the ultimate defeat.
I know the levels I have experienced these things are so so small compared to the reality of the people living just down the street from the community we are living in here. It makes me sad to think about the struggle going on to put food on the table, and to bathe, to keep warm, and to clothe the children that are living there. I’m wondering what it means to be an advocate for these people, to help them have access to the things that they really need. Wondering what it means to be a peace-bringer during our time here, and to not perpetuate these disparities any further. I see a ton of NGO’s (non-government organizations) around here and they are doing phenomenal work along these lines. It’s amazing to see the renewal that can take place in a community and in a household with a little assistance. I’m thinking about how our family can participate in that transformation while we are here. One thing I know it involves for sure- how we spend our money while we are here. Where we eat, shop, who we hire, how generous we chose to be, how we get around, where we hang out. I’m sure it goes beyond that, but that’s where I’m starting since it’s a daily reality and choice we are making.
This experience also has me thinking about home and the way I deal with need and discomfort, and how I participate in the renewal of our neighborhood and city. I’m sure that there’s work to be done in our town, just like there is here in Uganda. I just get too comfortable to see it, and I get too consumed with my world of convenience and consumption to want to do anything about it. Good thing I have a few more weeks to think about this!
My helpers in the kitchen today.
A sign that the sauce turned out pretty good after all (be proud dad)! Making pasta sauce from scratch with supplies from local markets could have yielded a very different result.
Any time we have to be in downtown Kampala we plan our trip around at least one visit to this little eatery called Prunes. With great outdoor seating, a yard with a swing set, slide and trampoline, a menu full of phenomenal selections, a juice bar, home made desserts, a warm and hospitable staff, and a really cute clothing shop in back, it’s hard to go wrong. There have been a few days when a stop here has served as a “reset” button for our family in the midst of long drives and appointments. Today, we were particularly thankful for the clothing store in back as Cora had a blow out upon arrival and needed some new threads. Owen has instructed me that this is where he wants his birthday cake from in 2 weeks. He has the flavor all picked out.
Prunes is a place where both the kids and the adults are happy to visit and linger. It is located on Wampewo Rd and is close to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (where you go for Ugandan passports).
For those of you who check this blog for the personal family updates, I apologize for the random “what to do in Uganda” posts and some of the other general adoption commentary you are getting. I know that when you get an email notifying you that I have made a post you are probably hoping for new kid pictures or stories (not frozen yogurt shops or cool Ugandan eateries). Please don’t be frustrated! For those of us in the international adoption process, it can feel like we are on an island with no concrete information and no clear idea about what to expect. We lean heavily on the experiences of others through blogs and Facebook groups. It is a tremendous help to read about the experience of others when you are preparing to enter the same season, and you are in-country looking for trustworthy recommendations on food, kid-friendly places to visit, or coping strategies for difficult behavior, it is the virtual community that really sheds light and encouragement on a very lonely road. I have benefited much from the postings of others, and so I too am trying to share the love with some of the things that are keeping us sane in the process. Thanks for understanding!
So now, without further adieu, the day’s update:
- another rainy winter day here (which I am really loving). I am starting to feel very at home in the village where we live, in the city, and in the place we are staying. I’ve been thinking a lot about the transition home, which all of a sudden seems to be coming quickly, and how much I will miss certain things about life here.
- the washer got fixed today. Kind of. But it runs for the most part, so it’s an encouragement. I am hopeful that they will return tomorrow with the final solution. I have never got so much joy out of doing laundry before in my life. It’s a big deal, especially when you have 4 little kids and 2 of them poop like crazy (blowouts apparently aren’t just for infants any more).
- took the big kids on a little date for some frozen yogurt. Trying to find times when they can be around Dave or myself without the twins so they can feel like they get our primary attention. This was super fun. It was also fun driving the city with just the older kids. It’s a totally different experience!
- Elias (e-lie-us for those who aren’t sure) and Cora created their own walking-aid today out of a cylinder container we have here for legos. They turn it over and push it all around the house while walking. It’s so fun to see them mobile on their own. The speed of their development already has me so surprised. It’s just been 2 weeks!
- Macy was in a creative mood today and spent most of the day with her journal (a notebook I bought her for the trip) in tow making all kinds of entries. Most entries were stories from our trip so far with classic illustrations to go with them. There were two that did not have a story, but were just portraits. I have included them below. I love seeing her express herself and develop her love for story and writing. She’s good at it, and I’m proud.
- I took an african hip hop class tonight. One of today’s highlights for sure. Half the class was a tribal/pop style dance, and the other half was more zumba/reggatone. I’ll be sore tomorrow. Hip hop and yogurt… some things transcend culture. #feelingathome
- Dave ordered a new shirt yesterday that is being custom made for him. Be excited about that. Some of you who know him well might be able to guess what it looks like… it’s of the long sleeved varietal.
- Owen still thinks “everything is awesome.” He sleeps in, eats well, wrestles his little brother, works in his journal, sings all the time, plays superheroes, misses his buddies, and throws the football like a champ. Oh, and he LOVES hugs from his mom. She’s not complaining.
- Sophie and Tyra are doing well. They are managing to be a huge help here while still finding time to get out and explore a bit. I’m so thankful for these ladies and their sacrifice to join us on this journey.
- We have a few days “off” before passports are ready and before embassy appointments, IOM screening, and visa interviews commence. We are going to try and play a little bit and enjoy this beautiful place!
Cora & Elias. Drawn by Macy (6 years old) Note: Elias has more hair than Cora. #truestoryrightnow
Tyra, being awesome to the twins even though she was trying to read.
On my list of things I’ve been missing: frozen yogurt. Visited this place today with the kids (the only one of it’s kind in the Kampala area that I know of) and felt like I was back home on 17th street. I had to take a photo because it was just too comical how similar it looks to our local yogurt shop. The yogurt and topping selections were impressive, I highly recommend it for those of you who are in Kampala area. You can find it at the Village Mall. Added bonus: there’s an outdoor atrium area where you can sit and eat and get wifi. Satisfies the sweet tooth and also the craving for home. #thingsyoudontthinkyoullfindinuganda