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Thanksgiving #30: St. Mary Kevin Orphange Motherhood

Posted on November 30, 2011 at 2:15 AM

What a way to end this month of Thanksgiving... I am ever thankful for St. Mary Kevin Orphanage Motherhood. (Hold on cause there are a lot of thanksgivings to follow!) First of all, I am thankful to the orphans that call SMK their home. Despite personal tragedies that have brought them to SMK, they are sincerely the most loving, friendly, inspiring, talented, spirited children I have the pleasure of knowing and loving with all of my heart. From the youngest orphans in pre-Primary to the older orphans in Secondary school, I have such fondness for each age level in different ways. (But yeah, nothing could compare to my love of the Big Boys!) I am thankful for the vision and tireless dedication of SMK’s Administration. There are very few people that I admire and respect more than Rosemary and Joseph Kavulu (and their daughter, Joan Faith) for their years of unconditional love and support for these children. Without their direct interventions in the lives of the orphans at SMK, it is frightening to think of where some of them would be today. I am thankful to a staff of teachers, matrons, cooks, and coaches who work together as a tight-knit community to raise these orphans. Finally, I am thankful for the unique atmosphere of SMK that is truly blessed. From my first visit at SMK, I could feel something special in the air in and around SMK. The more time I have spent here, I honestly believe it is LOVE. SMK is truly one of the most special, contagious, gracious, friendly, loving places in the entire world!!

 

 

I sorry to see November and this activity of sharing Thanksgivings end. I have so much more on my list, so I will be sure to drop more thanksgivings in future blogs. Thanks for following along. (And again I would recommend this activity to anyone...it will really fill your soul with joy to take a personal inventory.)

Thanksgiving #29: Change The Truth

Posted on November 29, 2011 at 6:10 AM

There are many thanksgivings attached to CTT... my direct involvement with CTT only a few short years ago completely transformed my life. A simple invitation from Gloria to travel to Uganda with the first CTT team began a series of events that has led me to today, living a dream in Uganda. I am thankful (and proud) to be a member of this organization. I am thankful for the mission of CTT and its ability to assist dozens of Ugandan orphans with their continued education in Secondary School, Vocational School, or University. I am thankful for donors of CTT that are directly enriching the lives of sponsored students with their generous financial supports. I am thankful for Gloria Feinstein, who is one of the most incredible woman of vision, compassion, energy, integrity, love, humor, and support that I have had the honor of knowing. Finally, I am thankful for the encouragement and friendships that I have formed with other members of the CTT family.

 

To learn more about Change The Truth, visit their website at www.changethetruth.org

 

Thanksgiving #28: Peacefulness

Posted on November 28, 2011 at 1:25 PM

I am thankful for a peaceful spirit that I have rediscovered this past year. I can not remember another time in my life where I have felt complete, pure peace. Much of that peace comes from thanksgivings previously mentioned... my life has slowed down considerably, truly fantastic people are filling my life with positive and loving energy, my son is happy and healthy, my lifestyle is much healthier than it has been in years, my faith is strong, and my family is doing well back home. Each of those (and more) has contributed to my peaceful spirit and utter contentment. And honestly one could not ask for anything more than that!!

Thanksgiving #27: Holiday

Posted on November 27, 2011 at 1:20 PM

I am thankful for the freedom that holiday represents. (However, as the holiday progresses, I find I am thankful for the structure that the school term represents.) School children in Uganda have such regimented days during the school term, so I am thankful to see them slow down and breathe. Holiday time is usually more hectic for me, as I try to keep up with these kiddos. But I enjoy spending that time with them!!

Thanksgiving #26: Music

Posted on November 26, 2011 at 1:15 PM

I am thankful for the power of music to fill the soul with joy, energy, peace, sadness, and memories of yesterday. I don’t have the gift of rhythm or lyrics memory. I usually have to hear the first few lines of lyrics to recall a song title or artist. But here in Uganda, there is very little about the culture that does not directly revolve around music. Drums (or other tribal instruments) create music for dancing. Voices harmonize to create music for worship. Popular music (from all countries, all genres, and decades dating back to 70s) is blaring from store fronts, taxi vans, cell phones, or small portable radios. It is contagious to enjoy or sway to the beat of the music. I have had many laughs and good memories involving music, and I am thankful for each one of them.

Thanksgiving #25: Cooking

Posted on November 25, 2011 at 1:00 PM

For those that know me well, this thanksgiving could make you laugh. I have never been a cook. I was blessed with a mother and grandmothers who are excellent cooks, so I have not had reason to expand my culinary skills. Meals prepared in America were usually one of convenience for me (as evident by my fuller-figure). Here in Uganda, there is no such thing as fast food, microwavable dinners, or 5 minute dinners (unless it is cooked eggs). So, I have developed more cooking skills thanks largely to the teaching of the big boys. I am thankful for the small kitchen to prepare meals within (cooking on a charcoal clay pot would be much more of a challenge), and even more thankful for the family experience that having a good, home-cooked dinner provides. Nothing beats dinner-time conversations to recount the events of the day or share funny antidotes! (Also thanks to my Mom and Eddie, I now have a working oven, which for the past year only stored my vegetables.)

Thanksgiving #24: Being an American Citizen

Posted on November 24, 2011 at 1:25 AM

On this day of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my country and the benefits that citizenship allows me. I am allowed great freedoms as an American citizen that millions of other people will never know. While government is not perfect, there is Democracy within America. The advances in technology, medical services, and social services that America has made are impressive, especially while living in a country in the infancy of such systems. There is a pride, comfort, and confidence that I carry being an American citizen (even when I share I am from Kansas and no one knows where that is at in America).

Thanksgiving #23: Rain

Posted on November 23, 2011 at 5:25 AM

As I lay in bed listening to the thunder and see flashes of lightening, I am reminded of a Kansas thunderstorm in the Spring. Although such a storm is unusual, I recognize how thankful I am for the rain. (Typically rain falls heavy and quickly with the sun returning afterwards to dry any traces of the rain.) I have always enjoyed the rain and the confined, cool environment it provides when I am nestled in my house. The benefits of rain in Uganda are abundant, too, as they help provide much needed nutrients to the vegetation. For me last night, nothing provided a better night’s sleep than the sounds of rain outside my window. Ahhh...

Thanksgiving #22: Ugandan Family/Friends

Posted on November 22, 2011 at 2:25 AM

My entire Ugandan experience would have been much different and difficult, if not for my Ugandan family and friends. I am most thankful for the presence, love, and support they have offered to Antwain and me over this past year (plus). There are certain kindred spirits in this world, and I have found many of mine here in Uganda. My family at SMKOM (Administration, teachers, children, CTT students, My Big Boys) has accepted us as their own, which has provided comfort and assurance during challenging times. I have also made some fantastic friends in Uganda, too. They have been gracious, hospitable, and helpful during my times of need. Uganda is said to be the friendliest country in Africa, and based on my experience, I would absolutely agree with that whole-heartedly!

Thanksgiving #21: Public Transportation

Posted on November 21, 2011 at 1:20 AM

For anyone who has travelled to Uganda, you will have to chuckle at this thanksgiving, but nonetheless, I am thankful for public transportation here in Uganda. Upon my first experience in Uganda, my hat of respect was off to any brave soul willing/able to navigate Kampala traffic. I harboured as little desire then to drive in such a helter-skelter mess than I do today. Therefore, I gladly and willingly negotiate with boda-boda (motorcycle) drivers and board small taxi vans to navigate my way to my destination. On special occasions or far-away trips, I will hire a special car for travel (with an able driver). Public transportation has not at all impeded my ability to get anywhere in Kampala or surrounding areas of Kajjansi. In fact, I rather enjoy it!! I am proud that I can get around Kampala via taxi, and I just keep my patience while the driver navigates through ridiculous traffic by allowing additional time, bringing a newspaper, or just enjoying the people watching along the roadside.