Friday, July 27, 2007

curt's journal from Uganda-July 27? (part one)

I can’t believe we’re actually in Africa! We landed yesterday morning in Entebbe, Kampala and the airport was way different than any other airports I’ve been to. This one is under construction, so we may have just gone through a temporary area. We weren’t really sure where to go, but eventually figured it out and got in line in this huge room to get our entrance visas. I was really worried about this before we got there. I had hoped to get our visas while we were still in the States, but with Leslie’s passport coming so late, we couldn’t. I also couldn’t get a Yellow Fever vaccination, so I was worried that they wouldn’t let me in the country. They didn’t even ask for our Yellow Fever cards, so all that worry was for nothing. That’s starting to become a theme in my life. I’ve started to realize that even though I’m a really laid back person, inside I worry a lot. (I had to be hospitalized when I was in kindergarten for “almost ulcers” so that should tell you something. What could I have possibly been stressed about? “I wonder if there will be enough milk with our crackers today?” “I wonder which animal they’ll use to illustrate the letter A?”, etc).

While we were standing in line for our visas, Leslie noticed that the baggage was coming in on the other side of this the room. She suggested I go get it because it looked really disorganized (which it was) and was just getting thrown into a big pile. I wasn’t sure if I should leave the line, I didn’t want to make trouble on my first day, but it was fine (Again with the worry!). Once we got our visas we walked out this long passageway and there she was! Hillary or Heery or Hillally, whatever they call her. It was so great to see her again. That three months was the longest time we’ve gone without seeing her before. She was happy to see us too. Big smiles all around! We met a bunch of the team that we had heard so much about. Pastor Dithan, Hopkins, Sam Straxy, Resty, all gave us big hugs. We crammed all of our stuff (I’m so glad most of it is staying here) into the back seats of a van and then crammed the rest of us in and we took off for our hour ride from Entebbe to Kampala.

It was hard to really soak it all in. I went back and forth between catching up with Hillary, who sat between Leslie and I, and looking outside at the amazing sights. It’s all so very…African. This is a long way from my roots in Nebraska and then Oregon. I just kept thinking, “I can’t believe I’m actually here!” From the storefronts and dirt roads to the people and scenery, I’ve just never experienced anything like this.

We got to our apartment and were let in through a secured gate. Once we got to our apartment, and got settled, everyone laid down for a nap. For Leslie, Courtney and Mary, it turned into a seven-hour nap! Hillary woke me up earlier than that because she was going to play basketball at the secondary school and I told her I wanted to come. We walked outside that gate and I instantly felt like I was in another world. It was a very interesting feeling. I tried to look nonchalant and pretend I was just a regular Ugandan, but man, I was a mixture of really nervous and at the same time I wanted to run around and touch everything and ask a million questions.

We walked down a dirt road to an intersection and found a group of guys sitting on small motorcycles called boda bodas. Because of the bad roads and CRAZY traffic they are the quickest way to get from “border to border”…get it? Boda boda. Anyway, Hillary started talking to one of the guys. She told him where we wanted to go and we hopped on the boda bodas and took off. Wow, what an experience. I think Hillary thought I was going to be really scared and freaked out by this experience, but it was really fun, in an exciting, adrenaline-inducing-I think-I-might-die sort of way. I totally understand why she likes it and I totally understand why Pastor Moses and everyone else here try to discourage her from using that mode of transportation. These drivers are amazing, darting in and out of really heavy traffic, anticipating everything from oncoming trucks to goats and chickens. Apparently, though Hillary’s driver knew where the school was, mine didn’t. He THOUGHT he did, he SAID he did, but not a clue. At one point, we took off the wrong way and Hillary’s driver honked and yelled something that no one on my boda boda seemed to understand. Hillary and her driver going one way, me and my new best friend going the other! He pulled over to the side of the road and said, “Where?” and I was thinking “Where?!? You’re asking ME? I don’t even know where I am, let alone where I’m going.” I said, “St. Mbuga School” and “Lusaka” but it didn’t really help much. He pulled over three times to ask people and finally I saw Hillary up ahead. Whew!

(I'll write more about the rest of my first evening in a later post. I'm finding that getting on the internet is not super reliable, so I can't promise when, or how often I'll post again. Right now we're sitting downstairs at a bank trying to get the best rate for our rapidly declining dollar. They wouldn't give us the full amount for one of our 100 dollar bills because it was dated 1999! Funny)


el & fel said...

Hooray you guys made it. We are rejoicing! Your description of your arrival was so colorful it feels like we made the journey - much less sleep deprived than you of course. :) We've been enjoying reading the girls' blog journals and their amazing photos. We wish we had visited the site earlier in the summer. We hope you guys have a blast and that your bodies figure out what time zone they are in soon.
His greatest blessings,
Felisha and Ellis

Stephanie said...

Oh wow it sounds like ur on an adventure! Wow I can't express how happy I am for you guys :D I'm glad u didn't get lost and hit by a chicken or something lol Oh and Dr. RathBONE!? that's a little ironic don't u think!?!? BTW puppies are behaving graciously. Sometimes I think there smarter than I am, especially Pippen...which is REALLY creepy @ times but that's ok.

Anonymous said...

Oh, wait...I'm getting a visual of Curt on the Boda Boda - ha! Sooooo glad to hear you guys made it there safely. Will keep you in my prayers. Pippin & Feona (sp?) send lots of wet kisses. Love to all, Stacey

Anonymous said...

Hey Guys!! Thanks for the updates Curt! I'm so excited for you guys and the rugby has me laughing out loud over here! We're praying for you and hope everyone is feeling good and doing well. The dogs are great and Matthew may go through Animal Planet withdrawls when you guys get back.


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the latest on the sells

As of May 27, 2009...

Wow, it's been almost a year since we've updated this. Our family had a wonderful experience traveling to Uganda two summers ago, which prompted us to keep a journal on this blog. You can read our daily journal from our month long trip

This year brings new adventures. Our eldest daughter, Courtney, after graduating from George Fox University with honors, left for her third trip to India to spend nearly a YEAR to work at Happy Home for the Handicapped in Shimoga, India. You can read about her first trip to India and the impact it had on her life here. She'll also give us new updates from her current trip on this site (here). As of this writing, she is just starting to settle in and is very excited to be there. She has been looking forward to this for a long time!

Meanwhile, Hillary spent all of last year
touring the western U.S. with Matsiko, the choir of children we grew to love as our own in Uganda. She journalled about her experiences in Uganda if you'd like to see what that was like. At some point during this tour, she felt led to join the U.S. Army. Quite a big decision, and one she didn't take lightly. After moving through Basic Training with flying colors, she is now at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio training to become a combat medic. It's a very intense training, but we're sure she'll do well. Our whole family was able to travel to South Carolina to watch her graduate from Basic Training. What an awe inspiring experience!

Leslie is having a great year of teaching 5th graders. She's also in a Master's program, which takes a good chunk of her time. She's still finds time to read a TON of books. Literally, a ton!

Curt was overwhelmed by his experience as a first time overseas traveler and kept up his journal here (you can also read his random posts on everyday life here). The busyness of life and keeping track of his traveling kids has slowed down his writing, but he hopes to begin writing on a regular basis again soon.