Daily Life

Let there be light!!

We are so excited to have power back, we have been without power for 5 ½ days.
Here is a little about our daily life here in our training at New Hope Uganda.

Week days start off with same annoying cell phone alarm Monday-Friday.  Most of the time we truthfully don’t need an alarm as the sound of kids wheeling a wheelbarrow full of empty Jerry Cans (big water jugs) to fill with water for the family wakes us.  This starts at first light which is around 6:30.  Our second alarm is Pierce coming in the room every morning, pulling up our mosquito net and asking for milk and butter (peanut butter).  We are thinking we are going to have to change his nickname from “Chubby”, since he is thinning out, to Butter.

Once we get up and get going we head down to the kitchen, about a quarter mile walk or a little more, for breakfast at 7:30 am.  Breakfast usually consists of bread, jelly, peanut butter (Pierce’s new favorite) and hot tea. On good days we get either a boiled egg or scrambled eggs to go along with our “raw toast” as one of our classmates calls it.   After breakfast it is time for Karson, Everett and Hadlee to head up to the house with Auntie Rachel for school. Pierce, Tristan and Cole all stay down at the kitchen area and wait on Auntie Gertrude.  Auntie Gertrude watches the “littles” as we call them while the big boys and Hadlee are in school.  They generally play for awhile and go on walks around New Hope to see the cows, sheep, gardens and other fun things around. 

At 8:30 am we begin our training for the day.  We are in school until 10:30, at which point it is proper to have tea and a snack for break.  We break for 30 minutes and then get back to work on our training. I will be updating the topics of our training in other blogs to come. Our class is made up of 16 students.  There is another American family with two kiddos.  Their boys Tristan and Cole are Hadlee and Pierce’s age. There is one other American man and the rest of the class is made up of Ugandans. We work up until 1:00pm, which is lunch time in Uganda.   The kids come back from their adventures and join us for lunch.  We eat lunch with our families and everyone going through the training institute with us.   Lunch usually consists of some sort of starch like rice or posho, which is a thick dough like substance that I compare to very verydry, very thick mash potatoes without the butter, sour cream and void of any taste. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posho

  After lunch we head back to the house for rest and nap time, unless it is our day to do dishes first. The boys at this point begin watching the clock and counting down until 4:00pm at which time they head out to play with their friends until dinner at 6:00 pm. Dinner is a much smaller crowd, it is our family, the East family and 3 others.  After dinner we let the kids play for a bit and then head back up to the house for a little family time.  Then it is time for the shower, pajamas and bet routine.  This is made very adventurous because a lot of the time we do not have power and we are working by flashlight.  It has also been made even more of an adventure because we are out of running water due to it being the dry season in Uganda. We have a cistern under our porch, however since it is filled by the rain water and since it has not rained in months, we are out of water. The rainy season runs from March through May.  If we can just make it through February, it should rain again.  February is the hottest month of the year, with temperatures reaching up to 100 degrees.  They have said we have had a couple of 100 degree days, but it has not felt like it.  The heat is a very dry heat, unlike Texas, and most afternoons there is a nice breeze.  At night and early morning the temperature drops down to the mid to low 60s, which is very nice.

When we are not in training, we spend time with our family group, Samuel family.  The kids here are all divided into family groups.  The family group consists of a mother and father figure and about 15-20 kids.  The family groups live in a village type setting at the end of the road.  The family groups have chickens and a large garden they are responsible for.  They grow their own food and cook their own meals, they function as a large family.  Every night at 7:30 they have devotions, they work in the gardens around 4:30 everyday and on Saturdays they do laundry and work in their gardens.  One of the things we are required to do during our time here is to plow the fields using Oxen to plow.  That should be an adventure for me!  The Samuel family had already harvested their maze and were working on taking it off the cob.  The girls were doing so by hand and the boys were putting the maze into large bags and beating it with a large stick.  I asked if I could help with this process.  I worked on two large bags and by the time I was done I had a large blood blister on my hand.  The kids thought this was hilarious.  We were also able to tour the fields were they keep the cows and the oxen for plowing.  When we got down there Pierce jumped down and yelled cows!  The man keeping the cows looked up and in a very thick Uganda accent yelled Pierce!  Our kids seem to know more people here than we do.  Another one of my tasks is to get drinking water for the house from the big water tower up the hill.  I fill up to big 20 litter Jerry cans and carry them back to the house.  A full Jerry can weighs about 50 lbs.  I do this once a day, so by the time we are done here my arms and shoulders should be pretty strong. 

Life here has been very busy, but we are learning so much.  Being without power for almost 6 days really makes you appreciate having power and water in the US.  We have lots more to share about our daily lives and what we are learning so stay tuned……..power willing. 
Matthew OrtegaComment