Uganda Quarantine & Update
Updated: Jan 24, 2021
Let’s talk about Quarantine...
We arrived in Uganda Monday the 18th sometime after 7am. I believe it was around 7:25
because I believe we were on time...but after the travels we had I honestly have NO idea what time it was or really even what day it was. We left our house in Oregon on Friday the 15th at 3:45pm. We hoped this would allow us to miss traffic and arrive to PDX some time around 5. We hit traffic early of course but I was already on maps checking different routes and we took one that my dad was unsure about but followed along. When we pulled onto i405 and passed the tunnel from 26 we saw a jackknifed Semi in the very front of the tunnel. We never would have made it had we stayed one 26, we exited on Sylvan so literally never would have made it...we probably would have been right behind the Semi lol
Praise the Lord he heard my prayer for clear streets and easy passage with on time arrival. Everything went well.
We boarded Alaska for our flight to SFO.
My favorite moment of the flight was when we had to listen to the new security measures haha oh man, who listens to those? NO ONE but now y’all do cause its all changed and they made lots of new rules and I have seen way too many videos of people getting kicked off for stupid things these past months....so I listened. And the flight attendant said “In case of a drop in cabin pressure the oxygen masks will drop, please remember you must remove your mask prior to putting on the oxygen or you wont get enough oxygen.” I wont lie I giggled.
We got a hotel in SFO, what we didn’t know was that Alaska decided our layover was too long so they wouldn’t transfer the bags to Qatar Airways, or hold onto them, so we had to pick up our luggage (giant totes) and bring them with us to the hotel for the night haha thank God we had a hotel though cause over night with totes and carryons in a airport does not sound ideal lol
It was a whole adventure to get there. Two cars later we were at the hotel checked in and passed out.
We arrived to the airport too early lol the counter wasn’t open so we just had to stand in the line with everyone waiting to check in.
We got the guy we hoped for, he just had a kind face. We explain we have an extra bag, and so does our companion, they all weighed in at 23kg or 22.8/22.9 lol right on the money! (All credits to my dad on that one)
What we didn’t know was that since we weren’t able to purchase the extra luggage online because our first flight was with Alaska that it would cost us an extra $50 at the counter. $250 for kitchen stuff....it was worth it though.
And what we ALSO didn’t account for was the 7kg limit on carry-ons...7....that’s like 15.4 lbs.....that’s a light women’s purse! Lol
So, he weighs the first carry on. Says “oh man yeah that is over weight you’re going to need to move some stuff into your other carry on.” I said “its full too.” He then starts to get panicked. He is realizing how much weight we’re actually taking lol Then he proceeds to weigh the second bag...both bags combined were 22kg hahaha basically we took 6 full sized pieces of luggage.
He is freaking out internally and barely holding it together externally. I say in the kindest voice I can. “You’re looking at everything I have, I am moving to Africa, this is all my stuff...if you need me to pay a heavy luggage fee I will, but I can’t remove anything.” His face went from panic to empathy and immediately said “oh no, its fine, you’re fine...just go pay at the cashier for the extra bag and I will get you your tickets.” Such a kind man. The lady that helped us pay was also super nice and understanding. As far as customer service goes Qatar Airways has been phenomenal for me so far.
What we didn’t account for was yet another time that they weigh and measure bags was in the Qatar Airport when we boarded for Entebbe, we have just flown in and one would think that means you’re done with more bag checks...
I shouldn’t have been too surprised though. In order to create a safe environment SFO checked our tickets and ID’s at the Main Counter, Security, Gate Desk, through the door right after the desk leading to the hallway of the gate, by the police at the gate, in the walkway next to the door where they walk out, and then one final time (four feet away from where you JUST SHOWED IT) once you stepped on the airplane. No that is not an exaggeration, the guy behind me made a joke after the Police asking how many times they were going to check our boarding passes...little did he know that it would be checked two more times haha
But we weren’t done with our baggage checks. In Qatar the Business Class side didn’t weight bags but Economy did. Business class all went through right before it was my turn to go so the lady on the Business Class side called me up, and I was able to avoid weighing my bag, or Robinson’s lol awesome blessing from God there. She finished more quickly than the Economy line so Ashleigh (our companion and now roommate) got the business class Also and her bags went without weighing. We were able to fly with all our stuff and only have to pay the one extra bag fee. God is so good!
I WROTE THIS PRIOR TO US HAVING INTERNET SO THERE IS AN EDIT TO HOW I WROTE THE FIRST PARAGRAPH TO ONCE WE GOT COMMUNICATION FROM BACK HOME AGAIN
*****One kinda pretty shitty thing happened from SFO to Qatar, $1500 went missing. We’re assuming I left in the hotel somehow, but surprise surprise no one turned in an envelope, and we couldn’t find it on the airplane anywhere so I had to chalk that up to stupidity and pray that God has that all under control. Cause that was all our money for the first 3 months. ****
*One Kinda amazing thing happened from SFO to Qatar. During our layover at the hotel the tv wasn’t working so I allowed Robinson to do ABC Mouse on the iPad, which happened to be where we were storing our 100 dollar bills.
Why there you ask and not in a wallet? Well in Uganda if you are exchanging money you get a better rate the bigger the bill, pretty normal for anywhere, but (maybe in other places this is normal but for was a first for me) they only exchange “perfect” bills for the best rate. So if you had a $100 brand new from the bank but the corner has a bend in it cause you put it in your wallet, they will give it a lower value, if there seems to be a water mark they will say its fake and exchange it at a very very very low rate cause the y know its not but to them damage lowers the value of the bill.....sooo in the iPad case it is stiff, the front and back cover are stiff and big enough to hold bills without anything bending...
We left the envelope in the hotel room. I noticed on the flight that I didn’t have it. The Airline was honestly so kind with me through it all trying to help locate it as I did take the iPad out of the suitcase to have it next to me but I fell asleep at one point (15.5 hr flight). And I never opened it to see if the money was in it until I was putting it back away to get ready for landing. So anyway they were so kind. We set up in a back corner of the Qatar Airport to watch 26 West Church Sunday Service live since we were 11 hours ahead. We were worshipping in the airport at 10pm blaring some Jose Zayas to the families that decided to join our secluded area sometime during the service.
I asked for prayer from my fellow church body. Ashleigh contacted her church and they prayed too. My body began to physically calm. I felt like I was losing weight. I could literally feel the prayers of support and understanding as they all called out to God on my behalf. Not to ruin the rest of the post because there’s a lot of fun info it wasn’t until Friday the 22nd that I found out, while the hotel didn’t have anyone turn anything into lost and found (at this point it had been almost 20 hours since we check out of our hotel when I noticed the money was missing). My parents spoke to the Manager and he said he would watch the tapes on Monday and get back to them. Monday came around and while my parents weren’t able to communicate with me, the manager communicated with them that indeed he had the money. And I was wrong, it wasn’t $1500, in fact it was $1800 he had it and my parents would have it soon. And thanks to technology and the fact that Africa uses Mobile Money for EVERYTHING my parents can send the money directly to my Ugandan phone number and I can pay our gaz (yes that’s how they spell it here because its not gas gas, its gaz) electricity, transportation, even food.
So Praise Jesus cause He is SO good and SO faithful and i was comforted through the whole experience. And to know I have such a big team praying for me, Nate from church replied to my praryer request immediately letting us know they were there for us, Margaret also from my church (and friend) followed up with an email to see if we had heard anything and I was so happy to be able to tell her the prayers were answered with a “yes”. * PRETTY COOL EDIT HUH?!?!?!
Our layover in Qatar was also a long one, this time only 8.5 hours though. Our flight out of Qatar was at 2am. Qatar Airways has these automatic tinted windows, so when we were coming into Uganda and you looked outside it was like some weird apocalyptic event it was this beautiful sunny blue sky to the right with light clouds, and then this ominous blue solar eclipse like sun and darkness to the left...when we realized we were able to brighten the tint suddenly that ominous view because a beautiful clear blue sky as well haha ...technology...
I watched Sandlot and Free Willy...no regrets
We ate around 5am that Monday...we landed around 7:30, stopped to grab basic supplies at the grocery store so that we could eat during quarantine, tried to get phone lines but the internet was shut off so all phone stores were locked shut and closed...and then we caught our boat across the lake to the house. It’s fun being able to pull up to your dock and unload....oh wait that’s right theres no such thing as docks anymore. This past year has been crazy wet, and literally EVERY dock is flooded underwater. The dock at the end of our property is about 4 feet under water. Half of the bottom part of the yard is now lake. So we had to Jerry-rig a device to disembark and carry all our stuff up the hill...Thankfully there was an ATV bought before leaving Uganda last year and we were able to load that up and carry most of the cargo up that way.
We unpacked and got the download from Brenda and Jason of what was going on what our quarantine looked like and what work will look like after that week of quarantine. By the time we finished that we were all pretty well unpacked, its about 5pm by now, and we have decided to go to bed. We woke up around 3:30...super hungry. The propane gaz however was locked so we couldn’t turn it on, so even though it had been 24 hours since we had eaten we were going to have to wait a little longer until someone with the key woke up.
By the time we had eaten it had been about 28 hours since we all had something to eat. It hasn’t got much better since then. On the 20, we ate 3 meals finally. So that is definitely progress if you ask me.
Thankfully we have a house with solar power, unfortunately we didn’t know they upgraded it since I was here last so we spent most of the 19th and all the 20th without power...but now that we have learned how the new solar system works we should always have power. Well after the technician comes to look at the power bank cause there has been a consistent issue every day since arriving. The house hasn’t been lived in since last year so there are some quirks to work out still.
The family that stayed here last year bought themselves a washing machine, so there is a watching machine which allows us the first month to save money on a house cleaner. So that is a blessing.
We will be moving out of here in either 3.5 weeks or 7.5 weeks...were not sure which yet. That depends on how the construction goes on Brenda and Jason’s house. If we move out in a month then we will be needing go buy furniture soon. That is an expense we have to decide what all we want. I have been considering talking to Pastor Paul about purchasing some of the furniture from the closed orphan houses. There are lots of materials just laying around right now. Hopefully that is a way to save some money.
We are SO bored. I thought that quarantine would allow us to adjust to the time difference without any issue because we wouldn’t have to worry about entertaining people or being awake when other people are awake.... but alas I write this at 2 am because my body is still being very stubborn. However every morning I get to wake up to this beautiful Bird Song while the Morning Star rises.
We had a very nice day on the 20th, warm and clear, so after lunch we spent an hour at the pool just relaxing...what we didn’t know is that when I turned the oven off from lunch that it over turned and went to a different setting and the gas was slowly leaking into the oven for about an hour...
And then as a TRUE world class idiot I was like, let’s test it... So I lit the stove, with a lighter, because that’s how you have to light it...and a giant all consuming fireball engulfed me. This is where Gods sense of humor just gets me...I was being a good girl and wearing my glasses. I wore them down to the pool, took them off in the water, and then put them back on when we left. So when I was trying to light the stove my glasses were on. Said fireball consumed my whole upper body. As it consumed me I jumped back and turned my face away in instinct. Robinson of course is seeing all this and while I am processing that I can smell my arm hair, begins yelling my name. I am still processing and so I replied the second time he yelled my name by looking up. Where he began to laugh when he saw me, I smiled and then he realized I was ok and just began to sob uncontrollably. Suddenly his legs began to itch and burn. His poor little body just went through so much shock I told him to take a shower, see if that would help him and while my wonderful roommate was cutting my hair (let’s just say it’s not cute, and I’m definitely going to get my hair braided when quarantine is over lol) we could hear him sobbing in the shower. I went in there with him and he just falls apart again. He thought I was dead. But I showed him, God is teaching me to wear my glasses so I can be healthier, and guess what, those glasses protected me from losing my eyelashes or eyebrows. I still look like me in the face and that is a Praise Jesus moment...especially when you see how deep the fireball got into my hair and how much I lost lol
Man...Internet. You know how we all say “I would love to go back to how it was before internet ruined everything”, well...here in Uganda were definitely experiencing what that is like haha
As some remember earlier this year the news was letting us know that Uganda was making statements that they dont want Facebook or Twitter to infiltrate the election like it has been doing in the States. So the perception is that Social media shouldn’t influence an election.
Seems nice like oh they don’t want corruption....ha.
The real story is President Museveni doesn’t want to lose his power so he turned off the internet access for his people and all residents of Uganda. Communication was/is halted, Now that he has been declared the winner again you are allowed to email, And browse...but still has blocked all access to social media and has banned over 100 VPNs so you can’t access social media through a VPN.
The irony is that 35 years ago Museveni said:
“The problem in Africa in general, and Uganda in Particular, is not the people but leaders who want to over stay in power”
We were able to get phone lines though which means we can apparently access this blog, email. *The shut down of the internet has forced all Apple IDs to sign out and now there is no way to sign in. So no imessage or FaceTime*
The day we crossed the lake to get the phones it was warm, yet foggy
....very fogy. Eerily foggy. But the clouds lifted around 2 and the ride back was fairly clear and nice.
All in all we are so happy to be here. I can’t wait to get to work. But that’s for another post.