Wednesday, April 21, 2010

happy with a limp

so, we have been here 1 month. i can’t really believe it. i don’t know why i haven’t written more. this first month in uganda has been….hard. i guess there is no other way to really say it. i have thought about writing something and beginning to share life here but each time i sit down to write i just can’t. there are so many stories to tell…

…the one about the intricacies of furniture making

…the crazy things people do when they are finishing a house for you that they think you won’t notice like BIGHT GREEN mosquito screens

…what it feels like to look up at the stars with your son and realize you haven’t actually stopped to see the stars in a few years

…connections and difficult challenges i am making in yoga practice

…trying to describe how amazing it feels to have your feet filthy from red dirt and how awesome it feels to get them finally clean at the end of a long day

…how i went to a birthday party at the us military house (i didn’t know the us had a military house here either…that again is a TOTALLY different story to tell) and it was SO strange because it felt like i was at a frat party …with girls in mini skirts & leggings and a wii on the front lawn

…communal living when there is no water, no power and your son decides he wants to stop sleeping chasing butterflies, drawing in the dirt and dying easter eggs with a 2 year old makes me feel like a kid again.

…how it feels to know that your son just simply greeting an old man in their tribal language made the old man’s day so much he is probably still laughing and talking about it with his friends in the village

…how i am still in a little bit of mourning from not being in new haven, where i thought i would be

…how much malaria sucks

…what it feels like to worship with music both alone in my room with only with a guitar and my voice and in a loud vibrant ugandan church…how they both kind of feel like home

…how not much of anything feels like home and there have been moments that i have cried because i know this is where jesus has brought us, knowing that staying here is going to be a beautiful challenge…

…yes, indeed there have been stories to tell. the bad ones i haven’t wanted to tell at the risk of worrying mothers and dear friends who are far away…the good ones i haven’t wanted to share at the risk that mothers and friends would think that we are doing great. both felt a little shallow and incomplete….i guess they are. how can one month in a place where your world has been flipped upside down really tell anything different. so maybe i’ll just start telling them… so promise me mom, don’t freak out AND know that it isn’t all roses. so….meet happy!!

happy is ogeiko’s new friend, a 3 month old ugandan mut that is really just always happy. when she came over for the first time a few months ago she was very quickly named happy. all she wanted to do was play, run and snuggle up against your leg. she is just happy. so ben named her that.

she doesn’t belong to us but to the neighbor down the way. she is always here though. in fact i think there has only been 2 nights where she didn’t sleep right by ogeiko’s side. one of them was the night she was beaten for being a “thief.” the next morning she hobbled into the compound with a very sad broken leg and her tail still wagging…still happy.

after 15,000 ugandan shillings (roughly $7) the vet fixed her up with a cast and gave her some pain meds right with Judah and I watching on the front porch (which is an entirely different story for another time). she got up after the procedure (which also could have been mistaken for a mild form of torture) and just licked the very hands that were holding her against her will howling a few minutes before. she kissed the vet on the nose and then just hobbled off to find a shady spot to rest…tail still wagging. still, even still, happy just with a limp.

i don’t feel very much like happy with a limp right now. maybe more like a broken body that sometimes smiles and laughs pretty hard. i want the tables to turn and the scales to balance a bit the other way. maybe if i could find shady places to rest, friends to play with and be willing to show my broken paw.

the vet said he’ll be back in 3 weeks to take the cast off…a lot can happen in 3 weeks. bones can heal. wounds can be mended. i imagine happy will still be happy just minus the limp. maybe in 3 weeks the scales will look different for me too.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

when life flips you on your head...learn how to do headstands!

Happy Easter! He is Risen!

It has been a long time. We have come and gone in Denver and spent some amazing time with friends and family. We have now been in Uganda for nearly 2 weeks…2 weeks the amount of time it take for the symptoms of malaria to set in. Yup! Looks like I have malaria. Think one little malaria mosquito bit me the night we landed in Kampala. Needless to say the last few days I have been hanging out in bed with a massive headache and ridiculously sore joints. My hips have just wanted to fall right off. The doctor told me yesterday malaria is Africa’s way of saying “Welcome to Africa.” What a welcome! (photo above from church can hardly tell that I feel like junk!)

Judah has this crazy heat rash all over his body yet he still manages to bring just some gigantic smiles to everyone in and out of the house. He wore his little suit to church today. So stinkin’ cute! He just stole my heart. He is enjoying chasing butterflies, jumping in puddles and “coloring” in the dirt with his new little friends in the village….and of course greeting everyone we pass on the street.

Kimbal has been amazing. He has really been a strong rock for us weak folks, helping me to not feel so crazy when I feel so bad. We have all been running around trying to find a house that will work for all 7 of us. And he has been thinking of ways to design kitchens and beds that will be both cheap and a little fun. I am sure I’ll post pictures when we find the place and have taken residence. I know it is really a short update but it is one indeed…

…in the middle of all this chaos I have been thinking of something…

Back in New Haven (my how that seems forever away), during my last few weeks of yoga practice I decided I would just take a chance at doing headstand. I tried. I kicked up my legs and used all my gusto to get up. I didn’t get very far. “I’m just not strong enough yet,” I thought.

After class, I gathered my things and then Peg came to find me. She told me how I was coming into headstand wrong and tried to show me how to do it differently. I told her my thought that I must just not be strong enough, she smiled and said back, “Oh, no I think you are plenty strong. You just need to make a few conscious adjustments.”

After some long days with malaria and all of these other crazy adjustments our family is making—like the never-ending battle to try to keep Judah somewhat germ-clean-ish, living in a new place, little power, little water, battling to get Judah to sleep with out a fan in a crib that he just learned he can climb out of, I have broken down several times. Each time in the middle of it all I think to myself “This is hard and I just don’t know if I’m strong enough to do this.”

I feel as though as we sit on the other side of the world that our lives have been flipped on their heads. Literally, they have. Today I am remembering that day in class and wondering what conscious adjustments I could make to wind up stronger and in a beautiful headstand…

[insert photo of me on amazing African Grass with the sunset behind me doing a doesn't exist yet because my head hurts WAY too much from the malaria and it take oh, 2 hours to upload a you only get one today! ]