Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What have we been doing?

I know that Amy and I have a habit of writing about emotions and reflections, and rarely actually tell you what is going on, what we are doing, or even where we are. I think for us these seem less important because we know what we are doing. We know where we are. I think we use these blogs to help us understand and reflect on what has happened. This can be frustrating to the reader. You may know we have had a good day, or a bad day, but that may not tell you much. So here it goes, my attempt at what our Lent looked like:

Jan/Feb/March is a dry season in East Africa, and our water supply in Ratta depends on the rains. We were never without water (someone brings barrels of water to the compound) but we had to be economic with our supply. This meant reusing our laundry water to flush the toilet, minimizing amount and length of showers, and getting creative when doing the dishes. I have never prayed for rain more. I have never appreciated water more. And I hope it is enough not to take it for granted again.

March began with a long weekend from school. Amy and I took advantage by crossing the border into Jinja, Uganda, where we went bungee jumping and whitewater rafting on the Nile river. One of the most fun days of my life. There were times between rapids when we were able to just float in the Nile, alongside our raft. The river had a very cleansing affect on both our body and soul.

After the Jinja, Amy and I had a great week. We were revitalized, we finally had a full class load (3 English classes, 1 Math, a computer class in the evenings, and I taught PE to the whole school. , and we got great news about our future plans. That week we decided to move back (for me) to Louisville, KY where I will attend LPTS. It was an exciting decision, and helped keep us going.

There is not much to say about the rest of March. Quite honestly, it was a little boring. We taught during the day, we read or watched a movie at night, and we went grocery shopping in Luoanda or Kisumu on the weekends. We would be called mzungu about 100 times a day, and asked "How are you?" another 100. The only acceptable response being: "I am fine." Which is still not enough to warrant children to stop shouting the question at us. Amy stayed regular with running, I did not. We played a lot of games, we read a lot of books, we watched a lot of movies, and we wrote a lot in our journal. I found a good tree on our compound to climb, and sit, and think. Amy found sanity in planning trips for our parents and looking up apartments on craigslist. Our students enjoyed lessons in the computer lab, Amy's poetry unit featuring K'naan and Bob Marley, and the chance to get outside and run around in PE.

At the end of March we spent a weekend in Kisumu to celebrate Amy's birthday. We stayed at a hotel with a hot shower, a cold pool, and air conditioning. We had dinner at ex-pat restaurants. It was a nice break from Ratta.

But even with that reprieve, we started to go a little bit crazy. We had been in Ratta for 3 months straight (minus a visit from Aunt LeeAnn, and our 3 day Nile trip). And we needed a break from Kenyan country life. We were done. We were/are exhausted. We had nothing left in our tank, but we needed to stay through exams. So we did. We cried a few times, we yelled a fews times, we curled up in a ball and went catatonic a few times. Our last night in Ratta was the most dramatic/emotional. I was marking a Math exam while Amy marked an English one that included a journal entry section. Amy read traumatic experience after traumatic experience, and it put us over the edge. That night I felt crushed by over-whelming worries, Amy cried over the situation of some of our students, we fought about who knows what, we stood in the cold rain, the power went out and we held each other crying in the dark. But we made it through. The sun came up, and it was a new day. We finished out exams, turned in our grades, and got on a night bus to Nairobi.

Since then we have been staying with Amelia, and had Easter dinner with Phyllis and family. It has been nice to have other people to talk to. It has been nice to have restaurants and grocery stores within walking distance, it has been nice to go to a B-movie, it has been nice to talk a hot shower, it has been nice to go for a run without everyone staring, and it has been nice to walk down the street without our usual theme song: "Mzungu How are you?"

We have until May off of school, and our planning a trip around the National Parks of Southwestern Uganda, and to the city of Kigali in Rwanda. Our goal for April is to enjoy our time here, and make sure to leave East Africa with some great memories.

So Happy Easter. I hope this was a more informative blog than usual. Thank you to everyone who reads these, and is keeping us in their thoughts and prayers. It means a lot just knowing someone anyone cares that we are here.


  1. I love reading whatever you and Amy choose to write. Love and peace to you guys.

  2. friends! thanks for the 'what we're doing' update, it's definitely nice to have a bit of a better handle on how you spend your time. also... i can't wait to see you in JUNE!!!

  3. Thank you so much for the blog!! We think of you often, and remember, memories grow sweeter with time!! Love you! Ann & Steve