March 10, 2013

Fifty Lanterns Uganda Trip

This trip has been absolutely amazing! And that's an understatement!  I am sorry I have not posted any blogs we just had wireless for about 2 minutes well we've been gone. I have so many amazing stories to tell you and pictures to show you-even some video.

A lot of people are already asking if I will come back, all I can say is I definitely want to;  the trip has just been so amazing and life changing. I am hoping to catch up on all my blogs today as we wait for our flight I have had a lot of smiles and moment that have brought tears to my eyes.

The power has been out with the exception of about 2 minutes today. I will keep communicating as we have wifi.

March 3, 2013

Exploring Outside

I have been sitting inside all morning,  it is 2:00 pm so I decided to walk outside. I have been inside for the past few months I figured it was time to warm up and unthaw from my life in Minnesota.  It is sunny and degrees with a slight breeze occasionally coming through. 

The hotel is surrounded by a wall with a gate that we entered last night.  I found they have a beautiful courtyard with chairs, tables and umbrells. I also found a small bar outside.  And who is behind the bar? Our host Sam joined by another staff member. They are watching CNN. I took a seat in the courtyard to work on some blogs but I think an African beer might be calling my name soon.

I looked on the wall and saw an orange headed lizard; he must be camera shy because he scurried away when I took his picture. If my nephew Charlie was here I am sure he would have reached up and grabbed him. The only other wild life I have seen is a lazy cat snoozing away.  

I tried a Nile Special Beer 4,000 Schilling ($5.00 US) It is a lager beer from Uganda that is 5.6 % ABV . According to it's label it is the "International award winning beer brewed at the source of the great river Nile ". The Ingredients include Water, Barley, Maize Grits, sugar, hops, and CO2. Nile Special has a simple taste that goes down smooth. Even at a cold temperature it forms a long lasting head.

Sleepless in Uganda

It's 5:33am I have been laying awake since about 2:00am. I have tried all my tricks to try to fall asleep-staring at the ceiling fan,  saying a rosary,  reading, and even playing Fun Towers and Majoung on my tablet.  Linda was up too for awhile but has been able to get back to sleep.  I am hot it has to be about 75 degrees in our room. We have a portable air conditioner, but it doesn't seem to be working unless you are standing right by it. There is a ceiling fan but unless it is turned the right way you won't feel cool air, besides the room has a high ceiling. I keep checking the hotel Wi-Fi to see if it allows me to get online, the signal says it is strong but maybe they do something to conserve energy. Time to try it again. I will give it a few minutes to see if it downloads any emails or let's me get online. No it didn't work. I will try again at 6:00am when the staff might arrived to prepare for breakfast. Linda and I were planning on waking up at 7:00am, that is one hour and ten mintues, to have breakfast, pack our stuff and be ready for our ride to arrive. I am so hot that I will take a quick shower before I get dressed. I was hoping to sleep because we have a 10 hour ride ahead of us and I don't want to spend it napping. 

***This entry was written 3/3 but I didn't have wi-fi to post it.

We Have Arrived!

We arrived in Entebbe, Uganda last night. According to my calendar it is March 3rd. was two days of travel. I saw the sunset as we left the United States and then saw it rise is we flew into Amsterdam, I saw the sunset again we headed towards the southern hemisphere to the country of Rwanda. It different flying into someplace that is almost completely dark until you taxi to the gate and see the lights of the terminal. I can now officially say I have been in the Southern Hemisphere.
When we arrive in Entebbe we stepped off the plane to a temperature of 74 degrees; I was instantly sweating, but I was happy not to see snow on the ground. We met another American from Chicago who was here working with a local Orphanage and School. He has worked with them for a number of years. He had two bins of "gifts" for the kids; he led us past customs without any questions or having them open our five bins.
Our hotel host Sam greeted us with a welcoming smile outside of customs. He is a wonderful local man born and raised in Uganda. He showed us pictures of his two daughters (6 years & 3 months old)-he was a very proud dad. Unfortunately where he parked the police didn't like and they put a boot on his wheel to prevent him from moving. He had to speak with the Policeman standing nearby to convince him to release the van; Linda even went to ask and apologize because it took us longer than Sam may have planned. It was a short trip to the Executive Airport Hotel.
Our room is simple, but the best part was laying down to sleep after only a maximum 30 minutes of sleep on the plane at a time. maybe I should say just laying down because I was showing Linda how to use my Samsung Note 10 tablet with stylus to send emails; she was having fun and I think will be purchasing a tablet upon her return. Wait until I show her the drawing apps.   We were told last night we only had our room for one night, which worried us because we didn't think we would get to rest as long. We did find out this morning we get to stay one more night at the Executive Airport hotel which will help with our sleep recovery. The staff here is wonderful and accommodating. Plus they have free WiFi which is a benefit for us bloggers.  

For some reason I cannot easily add photos and captions go I am adding them at the end . Our plane in Amsterdam. My view of Rwanda. Hotel Room

March 2, 2013

"I just show up."

What a journey so far!  Linda and I left Minneapolis,  Minnesota on March 1st.

I have to give a big shout out to my friend Emma Held for taking such great care of Linda and I.  We enjoyed a light lunch at Shoyu of Lettuce Wraps, Spring Rolls, and Spicy Noodles. Before we left Emma gave me a Moleskin travel journal and provided Linda and I each a bag with snacks and water (unfortunately we had to donate the water to the very friendly TSA staff of Terminal 5. The young gal thanked us and assured us they would be drank)

We flew Delta to Chicago with our seatmate Tamera. She was flying from Los Angeles to Chicago for her friend's 50th birthday; not only was it a surprise party,  but she was a surprise guest.  Tamera is a mother of two, her son is off to the University of Michigan to study theater; he is already an accomplished entertainer. Her daughter is a teenager. Tamera was awesome to sit by. (Linda and I wished she was sitting by us the rest of the way) We told her about our trip to take solar lights to the Ugandan Grandmothers and she was moved.    

In many conversations with strangers often the question is asked "What do you do for work?" this conversation was no different.  Tamera said,  "I just show up." My puzzled look led her to clarify she does whatever the job is she is being paid to do. I did find out she moved from Chicago to Los Angeles to do hair and make up 20 plus years ago and she is "still in the business".  We talked about the things we do that make us happy and how we thrive and become better people when we do things we love.
"I just show up." That is what I feel I have been doing since being laid off in September 2012. I am doing things that I enjoy (and sometime get paid for). I am happy!  Yes, I am still pursuing a full time job,  but until that comes I will keep showing up!

March 1, 2013

“As we work to create light for others, 
we naturally light our own way.” 
― Mary Anne Radmacher

Kristine Knutson
David & Beth Branscomb
Rick & Claudia Lund
Kristy and Marty Chromy
Mark O'Conner
Betty Pell
Tom & Lindamarie Branscomb
Kimberly Koehler
Bob and Anita Doll
Mary Lempke
Celeste Riekala
Joy Altman
Vicky Baum
Todd Mace

Thank you for your generous donation towards my trip! With these donations I have raised $2,065 towards my trip.