So 16 days until I fly home....crazy! I'm at the stage where I'm super excited to go home but where I'm loving Uganda (minus the writing papers part, haha). I feel like I'm climbing the top to the peak of the roller coaster and about to fly down the other side. Once I get all my papers down...the sliding down the other side with my arms in the air starts. Last night Denise and I made dinner for our family. Denise is a great cook and we made homemade tortillas, 2 kilograms of meat (I have no idea how much that is in pounds, haha), homemade refried beans, spanish rice, guacamole, toppings for our tacos (lettuce and tomatoes), and fresh pineapple. We cooked it all on two small charcoal stoves- it kinda felt like we were camping. Anyways, our meal was a hit and I'm pretty sure our family was shocked that we could actually cook something edible. They saved the leftovers for breakfast and lunch today, haha.
Tomorrow (Dec. 1st) is World AIDS Day. We've been learning a lot about HIV/AIDS here at school and the sermon at church yesterday was dedicated to it. Everyone is Uganda has been affected by AIDS, whether they themselves are battling it or have a family member or friend living with it or that has passed away. AIDS is a monster that is wiping out a huge section of the young adult/middle age generation leaving many children behind. You've got grandparents raising their grandchildren or child-headed homes. Last Friday I went on a fieldtrip to Mildmay hospital where they treat HIV/AIDS patients. It was a Muslim holiday so there were no patients coming in for treatment but we did get to see the children's ward. That was tough, especially knowing that those children got HIV/AIDS from their mothers or through sexual abuse. Treatment at Mildmay is free, which I think is awesome because medical treatment is not an attainable thing for many low income families, especially when ARVs are needed.
So I'm not sure how much everyone knows about the conflict that has gone on in northern Uganda and southern Sudan considering the LRA, child soldiers, and Joseph Kony, but it's terrible. If you want to learn more you should check out www.invisiblechildren.com. Anyways, the church I attend in Kampala brought in women from Gulu who had all been abducted by the LRA as small girls and that were all HIV positive. One woman was named Evelynn. She was a beautiful 27 year old woman who revealed to us that she had been abducted when she was 12 yrs old. She was given to a much older man as a wife and she had 3 of his children. This man was Joseph Kony. For real, this woman had been one of Joseph Kony's wives while she was kept there in captivity for 11 years. One of her children was lost during the war and a second child was lost during their escape. She doesn't know whether that child is dead or alive. It was amazing to see how God had transformed her life and how He's healing all the hurt she endured. One of the officials of Gulu came and spoke as well saying that millions and millions of dollars have been poured into Gulu...but that most of it has not brought about change. Sure you can build a community center but what good is it if you don't address the emotional and spiritual needs of broken people?
On a lighter note it's grasshopper season here and last week it looked like the plague. Children here go nuts and run around hunting them down...to fry and eat. Apparently they are really good, but I haven't had the chance to try them, so sad. Not, haha. Those things fly around and hit you in the face and I'm not going to lie they are terrifying in the squatty potties as you pray that they don't fly on you while you're in there. Our family's cat found a dead chicken into the house the other night. It was gross and smelled worse than it looked as the cat was chewing on it. My brother Brian and I collaborated and we've named the cat Stupid (Brian's contribution) Kevin (my idea). So Stupid Kevin once again is on bad terms with my family.
I can tell I've been in Uganda for a while. I've worn my flip-flop Teva's all the way through the soles. I've tried duck tape to repair them...but they leak really bad when it rains, haha. Oh well, I got my money out of them and have walked many many miles in them in the past 3 and a half-ish months.