Heart for Uganda

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Thanksgiving #20: Delicious Ugandan Food

Posted on November 20, 2011 at 2:15 PM

I love everything about Uganda foods. There is such an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits. Our food is prepared with the yummy tastes of tomatoes, onions, green peppers, cabbage, avocado, potatoes, eggplant, garlic, greens, French beans, fresh red beans, and so many more. In addition, the sweetest banana, pineapple, mangoes are so plentiful that every day you could easily enjoy them and many more. Other goodies, like fish, are abundant, too. The foods have such a rich flavour to them. They are about as organic as they come...no pesticides to alter the taste or shape of the natural produce. My favourite Ugandan local food is matooke and ground nut sauce. The matooke are small underripe bananas that when peeled and boiled have the consistency of a sweeter mashed potato. The ground nut sauce is ground nuts (like peanuts) that are crushed and ground finely into a powder, which is cooked in water with vegetables for taste. It is so delicious, and I could honestly eat it every day. But then I would not be able to enjoy all of the other yummy foods, too!!

Thanksgiving #19: Ease of Boys

Posted on November 19, 2011 at 6:45 AM

I am thankful for the ease, laughter, and profound joy that boys have added to my life. Boys just make me smile. I have admittedly always had a soft spot for boys. Boys were the first friends that I made in Uganda, and I was truly blessed with a son. They are just easy...easy to be around, easy to please, easy to laugh with, easy to entertain. My boys have enriched my life so much, and I am most thankful for them. I love that we live by the Big Boys, and most day I celebrate their friendly banter, loud music, and carefree nature. I love Antwain and his boy friendships, which are that combination of wrestling, conversation, playing around, and deep loyalty. And although there are days that I have to fuss at my boys (cause boys just think and make choice differently than girls), I would not trade them for the world.

Thanksgiving #18: Old Friends

Posted on November 18, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Most of my oldest friends in life remain my best friends to this day. Some of them even date back as far as primary school. I am thankful for the comfort, acceptance, and unconditional love that old friends offer and enrich my life! I love these women and men with every fiber of my being, and there is nothing that I would not do for them. I enjoy having history, inside jokes, funny stories, and countless memories with these friends. There is something about sharing life’s joys and tragedies with someone else and loving each other through them that has bound us together for life. I am extremely fortunate to have many such friends. LOVE all of you!!

Thanksgiving #17: Individual Freedoms

Posted on November 17, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Being an American, I am thankful for the individual freedoms that I was born with. Living in a foreign country has opened my eyes to the millions of people in our world who do not/will not ever have these same freedoms. As Americans, we are able have a free quality education, pursue career interests we are passionate about, protest openly about issues against our values, have an open relationship with whoever we fall in love with, know that our vote for political parties are counted, go against gender role stereotypes, worship freely (and respectfully), and so many more. I am so appreciative for the opportunities that have come about in my life, and my heart aches for those individuals living stifled due to societal influences.

Thanksgiving #16: Health

Posted on November 16, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Health is something that I admittedly take for granted, but I am extremely thankful for it. Entering my mid-30s has really caused me to evaluate my lifestyle. I definitely feel more aches than I remember! Although I have glasses/contacts and am still overweight, I still have all my teeth, keen hearing, great immune system, strong heart, and excellent blood pressure. Can’t ask for much more.

Thanksgiving #15: Girl Power

Posted on November 15, 2011 at 3:20 PM

This week I have had lots girls in my house, and I am thankful for Girl Power. Although a girl’s life in Uganda is plagued with various challenges, there are still many opportunities for girls in this country. (Even though there is no pretence of equality with boys.) Women can vote, get a quality education, and juggle family/career. Uganda even elected its first female Parliament Speaker this year!! Progress is happening... In America, Girl Power makes me smile, too. I think of my niece, Grace, who can be literally anything she chooses. Right now, it appears she has become a tomboy, who enjoys soccer and football. I LOVE that she has the ability to wear her soccer shorts with the same fashion and acceptability as a frilly skirt.

Thanksgiving #14: Chocolate

Posted on November 14, 2011 at 1:15 PM

It is simple, perhaps a little on the pitiful side, but oh, so true. Chocolate is one of my most divine thanksgivings. Uganda has incredible chocolate made by Cadbury, which beats Hershey anyday. I love chocolate...rich milk chocolate, white chocolate, mint chocolate, hazelnut. It is yummy and as I savour every morsel, my eyes naturally close and a delicious ‘yum’ emerges from my mouth.

Thanksgiving #12: Slowing Down

Posted on November 12, 2011 at 9:45 AM

I can’t count the number of times I have been thankful this past year that my life is not dictated by the appointments in my planner, the emails in my Inbox, or the time displayed on my clock. Life in Uganda slows down...way down. To avoid being consistently annoyed, frustrated, or angry, I have learned to take things as they come. There is more value placed on having a cup of tea with an unexpected visitor than scheduling ‘quality’ time with one another. It is considered insulting to cut a conversation short, because you may be late for another appointment. Time is relative, and it is just a given that nothing will begin or end at a scheduled time. I am thankful that I have been able to appreciate the smaller moments in life. It has frankly been liberating, and I have to say to myself ‘TIA’ (This Is Africa) if I find my American impatience rearing its ugly head.

Thanksgiving #11: My Niece and Nephew

Posted on November 11, 2011 at 10:00 AM

If I had to choose the most challenging part of being away from home, it would have to be missing my niece and nephew grow and mature. I am most thankful for these kiddos!! Gracie Beth and Ganno-Ryo are my buddies, and I can hardly believe photos of them lately. When I left home, Grace was missing her front teeth, and now they are half-way grown in already. Gannon still had his teeth, and now several are missing. I have missed many soccer games, wrestling matches, holidays, birthdays, and just hang-out days. However, I am looking forward to making more memories with them when we are home in a few months for a visit. I got an email from them (thanks Dad), and I smiled through my tears as I savoured every little word from them. Couldn’t have asked for a more perfect highlight to my day!!

Thanksgiving #10: Household Utilities

Posted on November 10, 2011 at 1:00 PM

I am ever so thankful for the availability of clean water and electricity within my house in Uganda. In America I would have considered these above mentioned basic essential, but here in Uganda, each is a luxury. Although we often go hours or days without water and/or electricity, there is still a comfort to knowing they are there. The nearest water source is about ½ kilometre from our home, and if not for the water in our home or the usage of SMK’s bore hole (hand pumping well), we would have to fetch water from that source with a jerry can at least one time (if not more) daily. Such a chore is done by nearly every villager in Kajjansi. In addition, many homes don’t have electricity, so all work is completed either during daylight hours or by candle light. Within Uganda there are entire villages that still have not introduced electricity to their communities. So the next time you turn on your light or water faucet, recognize that many in the world still do not have either.