Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Living life with teenagers!

So it has been a little over a month since I returned from Uganda. It's crazy to think it has only been one month! I miss it everyday but everyday here gets a little easier. Tomorrow I will get to Skype with everyone there. I'm so excited! Acheru has received a lot more kids from the north recently and they have also built their new kitchen!

I have now started my new job at Thornwell children's home and after a busy week I finished my first shift! Everday is an interesting day when living with 7 teenage girls. They keep you on your toes! I have loved every minute of it though. Getting to know the girls has been such fun. They each have their own personalities and each one adds a special feature to the house. 

My days now consists of making sure the girls get to school, running them around (to swim practice, cheerleading tryouts, work, and doctor appoints),  cooking dinner (yes..that's right…I'm really learning to cook!), and everything else that involves raising teenagers! 

I'm excited to get to know these girls even more and build our little Silliman family. On Friday I head back to work and start the week off with one of the girls going to her military ball…and then leave for our spring break to Arkansas bright and early Sunday morning!

Prayer points:

1.Continued prayer for Acheru, the staff, the kids, the caregivers, and the development!
2. Relationships with the teenage girls!

3. That I would continue to seek God in this new role as a family teacher.

Resty and Olivia modeling their new clothes they got in the mail. 

Daisy modeling her new outfit!

Out and about on the farm at Thornwell!

Our home sweet home: Silliman Cottage.

I get the joy of driving around this 14 passenger van daily!

My second successful meal for the girls: Philly Cheesesteaks

Cooking with her brother

Living with teenagers also means a lot of selfless are taken.

Friday, February 28, 2014

All the funny things about home.

So now that  I have been back in the USA it has been fun for me to see what things feel different to me. Even just being gone for a short 7 months I got really used to things in Uganda and somethings became so natural. Now that I'm back I see that some of those things pop up in random moments. Most of the times I stop and chuckle at the things I have become used to!

1. Cars drive really slowly and really far apart from one another here.

2. Sometimes I wake up in the middle night and freak out thinking I forgot to put my mosquito net down.

3. A few people have found it odd when I return their how are you by stopping and turning to them and saying "I'm fine, and how are you?"

4. I want to call every guy Sebo and everyone woman Niabo. 

5. Sometimes I feel out of place when driving in my car because I'm on the opposite side. I've also nearly walked out on a busy road because I looked the wrong way.

6. I go for a glass of water and my first instinct is to ask "Is this clean?" The same for veggies. My first instinct is to ask "have they been soaked?"

7. Every shadow I see on the wall I keep looking for the gecko running down. Everything I see out of the corner of my eye I think is a bug running by.

8. I keep not watching youtube or any videos because I'm scared the data will run out.

9. Everyone is really still at church. No dancing? Come on folks! Move a little!

I know there are even more things I find funny here. It's all apart of the transitioning back home. It's all gone really well and I thank you guys for your prayers. Tomorrow I am moving down to South Carolina to start my new job at Thornwell Children's home. Its nice to keep my mind busy but every morning I wake up thinking of my friends at Acheru. Somedays are hard but it always makes me trust in God. I have to remind myself that He is still there and that is way better than me being there. 

A few of the faces I miss daily!
Doris and Jennifer!

I miss the constant hair playing/pulling haha




and of course...Daisy!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Final goodbyes and video!

If you have 10 minutes to spare and would like to watch...this is the video that Luke made for me at my goodbye party. The ending was such a sweet surprise!

Goodbye Emily!
(Click there!)

Final goodbyes. I wish I had videos to show how the mothers from the north had come crowding the cards shouting and dancing around it. I will forever cherish that moment.

Aisha and Olivia.

Olivia didn't want me to go. She tried stealing my bag

My roommate Brenda!

Our matron Auntie Maggie. The woman who took care of me for the first 5 months :)



Saying goodbye to the moms. "When are you coming back?" "I don't know!"

My final hug goodbyes to my sweet Ronald and Okello.


Goodbye smooches for sweet Daisy.



Martin and his daughter Olivia!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Blessings that work. Blessings from above.

:: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all now and forever:: 

2 Corinthians 13:14

So here I am sitting in my bed for my last night in Uganda. Suitcases are packed and ready to go. How do I even go on from here? This week I was completely blessed by so many touching moments that really encouraged me in the work that God has done through me here at Acheru. The relationships that He has brought to me and the community that He will continue to build long after I have left.

I just want to pinpoint some of these special moments:

1. On Wednesday we always have a group of people from the village come into lead worship for the caregivers/patients. This particular Wednesday they had me stand in the middle of the room and invited people to come pray for me. Instantly all the moms and patients walked up and circled around me as they prayed in their languages for safe travels. I couldn't help but just start crying in the middle of it all. To be surrounded by so many people that I love praying their hearts out for you….there's nothing like it. I love these small glimpses of Heaven where everyone will be praising God in different tongues.

2.. The kids have been well aware that I am leaving this week. Though it was hard every time they said "Emily…this friday…america?" it was always sweet to hear after "America…don't go." This happened multiple times through out the week. One day in particular a group of kids from the north were hanging out beside the guest house. I went out to join them. We had photo shoots, ate guava, and sang songs. At the end of it Ronald and Okello came to me and said "America..nooo. Uganda…yes!" In their broken english I knew this meant that they wanted me to stay.

3. One night when having dinner with the new visitors in the guest house we hear out on the veranda "Affoyo Emily..Affoyo Emily… (with other Langi words that I soon learned meant Thank you for teaching us, Emily") coming from 3 of the teenage girls from the North.

4. Random moments that the staff and mothers just grab my hand and tell me how they will miss me.

5. On Thursday night we had a goodbye party for me (I initially thought I would be leaving acheru on friday, but due to some circumstances I ended up staying 1 more day). The party consisted of popcorn, movie, soda, and a 3 hour dance party! We turned the lights out handed out glow sticks and for 3 hours everyone was gathered in the school room dancing around. It was the most incredible send off. I couldn't have thought of anything more perfect. During this same night I was surprised by a movie that Luke had made for me. I knew that he was putting pictures together of Acheru to show everyone before the movie, but the ending is what made me start crying all over again. At the end of the movie he had gotten kids and staff to send me a video message saying goodbye. To hear all their encouraging words and love was the best blessing. It ended with my buddy Okello sending me with his wishes. At the end of this dance party I found some of the girls crying. This is pretty unusual for Ugandans and so I had to go over and see what was wrong. One girl looked at me and said "She is crying because you are leaving." I couldn't do anything but just hug each and everyone of those girls and remind them how much they were loved.

6. As today was my last day of work I handed out my little gifts to the staff. In return I got numerous notes, gifts, and words of encouragement from each staff member. 

I could go on and on about the things that happened this week. Dinner at Charles (our PT), unexpected tears from my roommate, etc. Each moment reminded me of just the incredible blessing God has given me in this community. He is at work here in Acheru and has created something special from everyone here. 

The kids last bible study with me. Adam and Eve! Here they are making flap books.

Dinner with Charles and his sisters.



Seriously...so cute.

Dancing the night away!

Me with Teacher Juliet and Rose

Lukka and me! The two Bazungu!

Peter! (Landscaper)

Tom! (Nurse)

Last day of class with teacher Emily!

As I write this post....3 of the moms came to my door to make sure they got to say goodbye to me. Thats number 7 special moment.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Rest for the soul

::Stand at the crossroads and look, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls::
Jeremiah 6:16

I feel my life is always in a crossroad and I'm constantly wondering whats next? A year ago I was at one of these crossroads. Asking Christ what was next. Where was He leading me to next? That answer? Uganda. Though it wasn't always easy and sometimes I really questioned whether I was to go or not I followed His command. I walked in His path. And what did I find? I found rest for my soul. 

A week. I officially have 1 week left here in Uganda. 1 week and I'm at another crossroad. 

I remember this same countdown seven months ago. Counting down to leave for Uganda. I remember every emotion I felt at the time like it was yesterday. Scared, excited, nervous, and unsure. It's funny how those are the same emotions I feel now going back "home". 

I'm scared with what my future will look like. Excited at the possibility of a new career, seeing family, and friends. Nervous of this same change. Unsure of what is going to happen and how I will feel.

Most of all I'm sad. Sad to say goodbye to the kids. Sad to leave the staff. Sad to loose such an amazing community. Sad to leave the simplicity of life. 

Today I spent all day with the kids and moms. We painted nails, made bracelets, taught each other our languages, laughed, sat in silence, and played games. Through out it all the older girls would randomly come and sit with me and start singing songs and reciting our memory verses.  It was the perfect last Saturday. 

Later in the night I sat and watched a football (soccer) match with everyone. One of the little girls Sharon snuggled right into my lap. Ronald snuck his way in beside me and leaned against us as we watched the game. I didn't want to leave. I didn't want to let Sharon go. I held her tight. As she looked up to me we both just bursted out in laughter. How can I leave this? 

Can you spy the one mzungu? 

Some of my new friends. Resty, Monica, Brian, Ronald (in the blue) and Sharon on the far right.

I also got to stop by GSF one last time to say goodbyes. Here I am with Julie and all our babies at GSF!

Two of my hardest goodbyes. Solomon and Kenny!
Can you believe that I have known this boy for nearly 4 years now? Me and Solomon on my first trip to Uganda. He had my heart from that very first trip!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Beauty at Acheru! A picture filled post!

This past week I have spent so much time with everyone here. I leave my house in the morning for work and don't return until late at night. I want to make the most of every last day I have here to be with the kids and with their caregivers. I wanted to just take this week to make a photo post to just show more of the beautiful people I get to live day to day with. 

On Sunday I am leaving for a few days to visit my friends at GSF and say goodbye to my Solomon and Kenny. Then I will return for my last week here at Acheru. 

Okello and his father. Okello is one of my students who is always there first thing in the morning ready to learn! He is about 11/12 years old and has never really gone to school before.

Momma Stephan and baby Stephan!

Scovia and Okello both came back! 

This is our Orthopedic officer Johnson. He has become a close friend and neighbor!

All the patients waiting for dressing and or exercise!

Resty is a shy teenage girl who loves to just sit by me and after about 10 minutes of silence she will tell me a little bit about her life in the village.

Doris and Jennifer with baby Joshua (the nurses baby)

Catherine with her mother and brother Frank.

Aisha with her mother and brother Musa. Aisha is here due to a sore on her leg that we believe comes from the water in her village. Many patients have come from this village with the same sore.

Mama Peter, Lookman, and Peter waiting for dressings! Peter has been here nearly the whole time I have been here. He is finally saying "Emmy". He will hopefully go home soon. Pray for Lookman as we continue to figure out how to best heal his wound as it doesn't seem to be getting better right now.

Adolph and Allan. Two crazy boys!

This is how I spend a lot of my free time. Painting nails for the girls. Keep Aminah in your prayers as well as her wound seems to be getting worse. She comes from the same village as Aisha. We believe the same dirty water has caused this bacteria in her.

Daisy and Peter.

Seriously so cute.

This is Adolph's dad. He has been digging none stop since they arrived. He works from 6 in the morning till 7/8 at night with only about an hour break for lunch. He decides to work these hours. He is the most patient and hard working man I have ever met.

I peeked into the house one afternoon and found Lookman and Luke peeling potatoes.

This is how I spend most of my saturdays. Under the mango tree with everyone.

The kids playing their favorite Ugandan game. I still have yet to figure out all the rules, but somehow I win everytime! I think they let me.

Entering into home!

Lillian also came back for a visit!

One day Bosco and Martin decided to try and bathe our dogs. They did not enjoy it.

Adolph has had one of the quickest recoveries we have seen! He was only here for about a month and a half. When we first arrived they took him on an emergency trip to Corsu (the hospital) for surgery as his bone was dead and sticking out of his leg. A month and half later it has closed up, healed, and he is running around like nothing!