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One Month Update

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

I have been writing a lot lately so that I can get my thoughts down and attempt to communicate them...however the internet service has been so so poor (There is still heavy internet restrictions and control by the government, people love to have power and are so scared to lose it...2016-2020 demonstrated that to us in the sates)

So I have attempted to inform the best I can, some of this will be “old” some of this will be timely. Either way I am going to give my month update now, after 5 weeks haha

So, where to begin...

We have been in country for 5 weeks, and I don’t know where to focus. We started off with no power for the first week. Solar was inconsistent during the day but obviously by night it was used up. After three trips from the power company out to the house they finally figured out that last year when they installed the new batteries for the solar that they never connected the house back to the main power source. But no one was living in the house for most of 2020, so therefore no one was aware of the issue.

We had a washing machine for the first month, that was a blessing I wont lie. But now we are back in the village and back to frequent power outages (for some reason this village CONSTANTLY has no power when the city always does lol) but this time with constant running water. So an improvement from last year!

The NGO that runs the village drilled a new well, which brought new clean drinking water to the village. But they also then piped that water into the same tanks that had the contaminated water, so the water is still not palatable. Makes sense to spend all that money drilling a well and then not cleaning your storage tanks or pipes right?!?!

Thankfully we have clean (storage) bottles and are able to go to the DS site and get clean water from our well for drinking and cooking.

We started at a house that was astronomically too big for us and our roommate. It made us all feel uncomfortable and we we’re spending way too much on rent as well. Now that we are back at the village we are 3 people in a 3 bedroom. This house is bigger than the rental I had in Oregon so the space is a bit nice I wont lie, however we have an electric stove and when you have constant power outages its just not reliable or convenient...Also this year they are operating on low voltage power. Meaning somethings work and others dont. We bought a fridge for the house (so that we could keep food) and with that plugged in there is not enough power to the stove to make it hot enough to cook.

We are negotiating with the NGO on using our rental fees to get a more functional stove/oven and a functional sink for washing dishes. The one that is currently there is about the size of 2 coffee cups wide and 3/4 a cup deep. In a corner...did I mention its a corner sink?! Cause it is. And sucks haha

I hated it last February and I am still not a fan :)

** Update already is that the power company is at the house presently trying to fix the voltage issues **

So what is next?!?!

We left January 15th out of Portland, Oregon and arrived in Entebbe, Uganda the morning of the 18th, which is the evening of the 17th in Oregon. Our return flight was scheduled for July 3rd. I was walking in faith the whole time that God would be provisional and miraculously we would have been able to stay til around December. I didn’t see how it was possible with the funds that I raised and the rent we were paying in the big house.

But in our time there both Ashleigh and I realized we wanted, or needed, to be apart of the community of which we are serving.

Now with that move we are spending less on rent and that automatically allowed me the finances to stay all year. That meant just having to pay the change fee on the tickets. I got them VERY cheap, and was simply going to do whatever I could to stay as long as possible without spending more money. The week we officially decided to move back to the village I received an email from Qatar Airways stating that my flight had been cancelled due to operational reasons and so now I can call to refund my money or change the ticket at THEIR expense.

HA! Talk about miraculously provisional.

God has truly had his hand in every step of the process.

Which also means are actual return to the States day is completely up in the air at this point.

One of our only concerns with living in the village is the fact that privacy is not an option. The houses are built from red brick primarily, therefor sound has no containment. Every conversation is heard by everyone. But more than that the beautiful, wonderful kids that you want to surround yourself with decide that they now also live in your home...or outside of it. So they will set up camp on the porch or in the back yard on the little hill sit and just watch us through the windows, like were a television show...I had to explain to the kids, we’re people too, were not on display and it is highly inappropriate to stare into windows at other people. We wont feed you when you watch us eat, and you are not allowed in as most kids that come in try to steal something.

A related issue is that you also can not have anything NEAR your windows. And most certainly can not leave them open. The community kids are thick with ingenuity and if they cant reach in and grab it they make a tool from fallen branches and banana leaves, like a hook, to grab whatever they can reach with that. Yesterday two girls asked for one of our bags that was on our front porch, I said “no these are our bags (you have to pay for shipping bags here too) and we use them consistently for shopping.” I then said goodbye and went inside. If you entertain them too long more and more kids come to the porch and it becomes uncontainable. I sat down at our table so I could look at finances for the month and start this post when I saw the curtain in my room start to move. I knew what that meant quickly yelled “absolutely not this is my house not yours” and then you heard giggling and running. I went to the front door knowing I would see who it was, and it was Irene and Brenda, the two girls that I used to chat up last year and kindly told them no to our in I KNOW them and they still tried to get one over on us....

** Update while sitting in the house trying to finally post this the same two girls came yet again and rummaged around our burn pile and the side of our house trying to see what they could get. This time I followed them, they went past our DS Site so I checked with the kids there. They knew who they were and where they lived so one of them stopped by the house to let their mother know what they had been up to, and Pastor Paul will be visiting them as well **

So the Pastor, knowing these are issues offered us a proposal, if we pay our rent in advance as they don’t have the capital right now, then he would have a fence and gate built around the house. I don’t know how fancy it will be, but a barrier of any kind is better than none. It is rather disappointing that most adults you meet ask for money, food, or a job and then their kids just try to steal your things...I greeted a girl on the road who went to the school here in the Village before COVID (haha that’s a whole other issue) and after I gave her ‘knuckles’ and started walking away she ran back grabbed my hand and tried to take my bracelet off my hand looking me dead in the eyes with a big smile on her face saying “I steal this ok!”. I had to be blunt and say absolutely not. Unacceptable behavior.

There are cultures where you make comments on something you like and they will offer it to you (experienced a lot of that in Mexico). But here, a Mzungu (white person, or white traveler) has always been a “white savior” someone who comes for a short time, gives and gives and gives and assumes giving to temporary needs is enough and then leaves. People get in the habit of getting anything and everything they want from the Mzungus and I dont like perpetuating that mentality. More people than I care to mention, and most of these I call friend, upon my return immediately asked what I brought them. The answer to all of them, even my boys, was ’just us’.

The term Mzungu and I have a ‘hate-love-hate’ relationship. You are no longer an individual but rather simply Mzungu. They yell it as you while you pass by, they dont yell hello in fact they just yell “Bye Mzungu”. They aren’t taught proper greetings so ‘Bye’ is their universal greeting. Our Director Brenda got a lot of them all over the peninsula to start saying ‘See You’ at least. But I wont lie, it is tiring. I am working on teaching the kids of the community that I am not Mzungu but rather I am Tina. They all know Robinson’s name and call him Robinson but with me I am still Mzungu haha

In the Village I am Mama Robinson. When you have a child your identity is taken by that child...for example I have a friend who has twins. She is not known by her name anymore but rather ‘Nalongo’ meaning “mother of twins”. I call her ‘Desire’ as that is her Christian name, but the community and most of the village calls her Nalongo.

I am also Aunty Tina to many in the community. I dont mind that one as much, in fact its probably my favorite, it seems the most endearing.

This post was all over the place, but we have been here a long time, and internet has been absolutely TERRIBLE. So being able to sit and actually communicate is quite difficult, and now that we are in the Village our internet is even weaker. But we are able to get our work done and that is what matters. I wanted to include photos but I think that will leave to wait for other posts. Cause I will be honest, we’ve been so busy I haven’t taken many photos anyways. Your prayers are always welcome and felt. We thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and if you feel led you are able to donate to us at:

Thank You for your consideration!

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