Wednesday, December 30, 2009

On a visit to Uganda...

For those of you who have not YET visited Uganda, I figured I would give you a taste of what life here is like and what you could expect to find as a visitor to this country.
Wherever you go people will say, 'You are welcome'! As in, 'you are welcome to our country', 'you are welcome to my home', etc...
Gorgeous chocolate children everywhere!
The people are friendly and hospitable when you visit their homes; you will be served both food and drink, whatever they have they will provide for their honored guest
Hair Salons here are called Saloons
You can buy a large pineapple for about a dollar in the market
Most electronics sold here are cheaply made and not of good quality, and the quality ones, rare as they are, will cost you a fortune
While sitting in a taxi or a bus you can buy a variety of items from street vendors through the windows; water, fruit, chapatis (fried bread), jewelry, bedsheets, shoes, and the list goes on...
Everywhere you go people tell you Gyebale (pronounced Jebalay) - meaning, 'well done'. You may be just walking out of your house in the morning and already people are telling you 'well done' before you've even accomplished anything!
Everywhere you go, as a white person, you hear people calling out 'Muzungu' - Swahili for white person. When you're in the more rural areas, kids will get so excited to see your light skin and jump up and down screaming 'Muzungu'. If you give them attention, you'll make their week!
On the streets or by the roadside you can buy a multitude of things roasted; roasted bananas, roasted casava, roasted maise
Driving in Uganda feels much like playing a video game, with all the obstacles to avoid; people walking, potholes everywhere, motorbikes weaving in and out of traffic
The steering wheel is on the opposite side of the car and you drive on the opposite side of the road (from Canada) - something to get used to!
Speed bumps are called 'Humps'
There are no stop lights or stop signs in Jinja and no speed limit - basically no rules on the road!
It isn't a rare sight to see chickens in (or on) a taxi. Yesterday I saw about 6 chickens tied to the top of a taxi (taxis are vans that are supposed to fit about 12 people but usually are jam packed with about 15 or 16 people instead)
Most people don't wear deoderant (imagine this with the last point - 15 people in a taxi on a hot day!)
Boda Boda's are everywhere - motorcycle or bicycles that you pay for to get a ride on the back
Almost anything and everything is carried on a boda boda - a few years ago i even saw someone carrying a COUCH that way!
Leopard is pronouced LEE O PARD
Men like their women with big hips and bums here - in fact, people feel sorry for someone who has no hips or bum and most men are proud to have women with this type of figure . There are even pills that 'supposedly' help a person to develop this type of figure. When you see clothes on display on the streets they are on frames with HUGE hips. For the first time in my life I'm grateful for the hips I've been given. Ha ha...
99 percent of the movies and music you can buy here are pirated - some of which are the ones that were filmed right in the movie theatre
The main languages spoken here are Luganda and English, however there are many other tribal languages spoken in each district
The land here is FERTILE; mangoes, bananas, pineapple, matooke, casava, cabbage, dodo, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes/potatoes, avocados, beans etc... basically whatever you put in the ground will grow...
Posho and beans is the staple food here... posho is ground maise that is boiled into a thick porridge-like substance that people eat with their hands, it has no taste, it is basically a filler food to eat with beans
Their peanuts are slightly different and called G-nuts (ground nuts)
Music - you'll mostly hear hip hop - some Ugandan, some North American and other very random music artists such as Dolly Parton, Celine Dione and Boney M Christmas songs
Ugandan music videos - all hip hop and rap music with the camera constantly zooming in on girls shaking their booty. Something to note is that the girls in the music videos are all shapes and sizes, there are thinner yet curvy girls as well as round, full figured women... a good realistic picture of real people!
That is but a taste of Uganda and a few things you might see or experience here...
Let me know if you're planning to visit! I promise you, you'll love it here!

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Guess what?! I went to church with 8 of the babies from Sonrise today and 3 other people and the babies got Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes after the service!!! I was SOOOO excited for them! I have seen many people in different parts of the world receive shoeboxes but it was something special to be able to experience it with these babies whom I adore! I love Samaritan's Purse, and their special shoeboxes packed with love! Thanks for sending these sweet kids love wrapped in a box!!!
Much love,

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas in Uganda...

Christmas was a little different this year. This was my first time spending Christmas away from my family in Saskatchewan. There was no snow, but heat and rain instead. All of December did not feel like Christmas was coming at all, except that there is a lot more theft in the area, ironic isn't it?! Until two days before there was no sign of it... rarely would you see a sign in a shop window announcing the holiday to come, no decorations in the street, and to buy a Christmas tree you needed to wait until just a couple days before.
I did buy a cut tree to decorate (for about two dollars) and spent the evening of the 23rd decorating it with Joel, (the one everyone refers to as my son, though he is 19 - because I sponsored him for many years). We popped popcorn and strung it together on dental floss and i bought a few other decorations for the tree as well.
Christmas was nice... i had a few people over for a huge meal that Francis and I prepared and we had a small gift exchange game (something they had never done before), and then I went to another Christmas gathering in the evening.
Not much new to report for now... Life is good and I'm looking forward to my mom visiting in just 2 weeks time!!! I and others are so anxious for her to come!

I have wanted to update my blog for days now... but the internet at times is sooo slow. I sat in the internet cafe the other day for 25 minutes and couldn't even get my inbox on facebook to open... one of the challenges of life in Africa! I'm praying for another laptop so i could do email from home with a mobile internet stick. Please also pray with me for this. It was quite a discouragement to have mine stolen and to be limited with my contact with people from home.

Well, thanks for reading and keeping up with my life.
Love always,

Friday, December 11, 2009

9 little pairs of shoes...

Yesterday another girl, Olivia, and I took 9 of the Sonrise kids for a walk. Two adults for 9 children is NOT enough!!! This one wandering this way, this one with his pants down peeing on the ground, this one climbing on big rocks, another one sitting on the ground because his shoe fell off. Ha ha ha! We were quite a sight I'm sure. We had to sing children's songs to keep the kids focused as we attempted our walk.
I'm enjoying each day here... life is different, to be sure. Today i spent 2 hours washing my clothes by hand and then felt constrained to my house waiting for them to dry on the clothes line... you don't dare leave them outside when you leave your house because there's a good chance you will not have any clothes when you return!
Tomorrow I'm going to Masindi, a province in the far Western part of Uganda. I have never been there before but a boy i've known for years from the orphanage (Bob) has family that lives in the village there and I am going with him to meet them, and to surprise his younger brother who i have not yet seen here. I'm sure it will be an incredible time!
As for Rays of Hope, Francis went to Kaberamaido yesterday and today is looking at pieces of land for the ministry. Already, by text he has told me that the first piece he saw looked perfect, but he is still continuing to look. Please pray that the Lord leads him to the right place and that all the details will fall into place. It is a tricky thing here, buying land!
My address...
For those of you who wanted to know... You can send me mail to Francis' mailbox which is as follows.
Karen Hulowski (c/o Francis Okullo)
Box 1033, Jinja, Uganda, East Africa
That is all you need! Be sure that if you send anything that you send it via AIRMAIL otherwise, i can guarantee you that i will never see it!
Well, love you all, thanks for reading and keeping up with my life out here, half a world away!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chickens, chickens, chickens!!!

So every morning (Kev, you would understand this), i wake up to chickens squawking outside my window... and then yesterday went in my kitchen and looked out my window to see chickens tearing apart my garbage! Ha ha ha, dogs and raccoons aren't the problem here, it is chickens!!!
And then this morning, i walk in my living room and low and behold, what do i find between my couches, a chicken!!! Ha ha ha... it had crawled through the bars on my door and got in, so i had to shoo it out.
Life is different to be sure...
Just wanted to bring a smile and a laugh to anyone who happened to read this post.
Have a blessed day my friends!