Babysitting it up

9 Jul

Got to babysit for this little booger last night.

I am totally obsessed. I LOVE getting to hang out with a family here.  And a really cool family at that. It is a much needed taste of normalcy. Bets, Evey, Sali and I had a grand old time. We made Barbie beds, watched a really weird movie called The Last Memsie, ate Kraft shells and cheese (big deal for Africa) and made pudding.

In other news, I have amoebas again. I can’t even make mocking jokes about it anymore, because my illness has gotten to a ridiculous point. I am utterly shocked that they are back. SHOCKED! I keep thinking, “Is this a sign from God that it is time for me to come home and eat Chick-Fil-A?” Maybe so.

But I have one idea of how I may be getting these intestinal enemies (they are not my joke friends anymore…). Today I walked into the kitchen and what did I find…a stray cat on our counter eating out of the brand new container of rice our cook had just made. Yes, this is real life. And the weirdest part of all was that it took the cat about 15 seconds to stop eating the rice and run out the door. I just stood there screaming because 1. TIA, 2. Shocking, 3. Cats are the spawn of satan. No offense to those of you who are cat people, but gross. So if you see me in the Americas soon, know that it is because my insides are being eaten alive by microbes and ferrel cats are snacking on my food. Not cool.

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For real Africa…

6 Jul

So I am sure you are tired of hearing about the medical issues I have encountered since living in Rwanda. Sorry bout that people. I am just shocked that they are still persisting. I give up. My mom tried to problem solve with me the other night about how to avoid the disgustingly common booty flu which Africa prides itself in. The answer is nothing. Nothing at all. Blerg.

But last night I came to the end of my illness rope. I spent the night ralphing up my guts (I figure ralphing is a nicer word than some other ones I could use, plus my old roomie Callie used to say that and I like it) and wondering, “Is this really my life? Why did I move to Africa again?”  Rough times. And even rougher…come to find out even the boys could here me from the other side of our duplex. Embarrassing. And now I am telling you all. Even more embarrassing. Oh well.

So if any of you have any suggestions on how to avoid such nights of misery, I would love your wisdom. Don’t worry, I gave up eating floor food. So if your suggestion is, “Well, you could stop eating rolls out of the gutter,” don’t worry, I already stopped.

God Bless you Amurrica

5 Jul

Sorry for the lack of posts these last few days…business has gotten the best of me. Fun business of course. A lot of fun.

Happy 4th of July yesterday everyone. Glad to be an American…living in Africa. You appreciate it a lot more when you live in Africa I think. Which is why we made the celebration last from Thursday on!

Thursday we headed to the US embassy for a 4th of July fair. That’s right…a fair, in Rwanda. But it felt like mini America for suresies. Only Americans were allowed in (so like us…) and I was shocked by the amount of Americans living in Rwanda. Utterly shocked. It made for especially good people watching because you wondered, “Who are you. What are you doing here. Why don’t I know you.” But there was American food, decorations, cotton candy, ice cream, and of course dressed up characters like at Disney Land. I always think dressed up characters are as creepy as anything can get, but these took the cake. We had a creepy lion with a giant stuffed tush, a dalmation whose costume had to be 30 years old, and the best of all was the gigantic green Telletubby. Terrifying. And the worst part of all was that it kept picking up children unwarranted and swinging them around. Not cool. The night ended with fireworks…on a projector…with sound affects. It was bizarre. I can only imagine what all the people walking down the street were thinking hearing the deafening sound of fireworks but without any visual. Wish I had pictures of this event to show you, but the US embassy does not mess around. They confiscate every electronic device upon your arrival.

Friday I got to hug some of Betsy’s babies necks at their end of the school year fair. She gets to teach 4 and 5 year olds all day and then relay all of kinds of hilarious stories about them to me! I love it. So I was Betsy’s family member at this affair, as well as face painter for a portion of the time. One of the kids I was face painting decided 3/4 of the way through to wipe his entire face off on the sleeve of his mom’s shirt. Good times.

Saturday Betsy and I got to hang with our new favorite family ever. We are obsessed. Betsy gets the pleasure of teaching Evey, just about the spunkiest of all 4 year olds. Their fam also works at the church we go to here, and I have often seen Evey’s momma and little sis looking super cool at church and have thought to myself, “Dang, I want to be friends with her.” And luckily now I am. And come to find out, Onawa is a craftess and was a textile major like myself. Immediate bond.  It is such a breath of fresh air to be in the presence of a real live family. And their house here is another mini America. As you can see we used fabric scraps to become the most awesome of super heroes. Booyah hiya, as Onawa said!

And yesterday, of course, was our 4th of July Rwandan celebration. Highlight of the event…ranch dip. Onawa taught us how to make sour cream, and now a whole new world of cooking opportunities has opened up to us. Pumped. We even had fireworks…or giant streamer candles from the chinese store here…but they sufficed. The night concluded with The Sandlot. Duh. What a classic. “You’re killing me smalls.” Love it.

I made Joel a 4th of July Rwanda tie (Rwandan’s wear really short, hilarious ties.)

American pie, yeah.

So all in all the long weekend was an utter success. The only thing missing was bud light lime, but I soldiered on.

 

I miss art

30 Jun

I love living here. Every second of every day (Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but still). I would not change my life one little teeny tiny weeny bit….except for one thing. I miss being an artist. I guess you can never really stop being an artist. But you can stop being in practice, and living in Africa has stolen my practice away from me. And I really miss creating. A lot. If any of you are artists, you can understand that your work is a really big piece of who you are. And I’m missing that piece. I LOVE this quote:

“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” Twyla Tharp

I want to run away without leaving home…

I have recently gotten a new all consuming obsession. Pinterest. Enough said. It is like etsy on redbull and it totally rocks. I am so inspired. Especially by the DIY. It has inspired me to point of ignoring the fact that I live in a country with a shameful lack of art or supplies, and I am determined to feed my art need.

I also decided like a lunatic that I am…again…going to host a Christmas art sale supporting Rwanda. Last year it was such a success and such a sweet boost of my artist/craftess confidence. But I spent all fall slaving away on it…literally slaving. My only friends last fall were the stuffed owls I sewed because I made no time for real humans.

And now I live in Africa…but when I set my mind to something, no matter how absurd, I complete it. Hey mom, remember when I said, “Never let me throw another art show again.” Welp, I would say to try to stop me, but you can’t. I need this.

 

 

 

Africa Bucket List

27 Jun

As I told all of you a while ago, I had come up with a short bucket list for my time in Africa. Today I was inspired by one of my favorite blogs, Joy the Baker, who in the past has been a reason for the tightening of my pants. Her recipes are ridiculously awesome and she is incredibly witty! But she made an adorable checklist of 30 things before 30 years. Thus, I was inspired by her to put my bucket list in writing so it would be official. No turning back now people…I have to complete this list. I have no excuse. When else am I going to be living in such a cool place, able to mark incredible experiences off a bucket list? Never…now is the time. So here goes:

1. Meet Paul Kagame (Working on this…I am very confident we will be besties)

2. Strap a babe on my back for a few hours (I know, it is shocking this has not happened yet, but it will)

3. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro (Yes, this is for real…January!)

4. Swim with dolphins in the Indian Ocean (DONE!)

5. Shake hands with a mountain gorilla (Or just stand really close to one…as soon as I get my visa!)

6. Kiss a giraffe (Kenya in October…Giraffe Manor…Bring it)

7. Hike an active volcano in the Congo (Yes, the Congo…don’t worry there will be sherpas with AK47’s)

8. Attend a Rwandan wedding (Working on this…I’m sending out all kinds of good vibes into the engaged community in Kigali)

9. Dance with traditional Rwandan dancers (Done…cultural village…awkward and awesome)

10. Eat an African Thanksgiving meal (November here I come…I’m thinking I may witness the slaughter of our turkey, TIA)

11. Attend Rwandan Zumba (Saturday’s…bring on the body odor)

12. Sing “The Circle of Life” on an African Safari (Uganda in 3 weeks…Queen Elizabeth National Park. Anna and Betsy, don’t be too embarrassed by my performance)

13. See the tallest building in the world (Dubai…I am counting on this one…don’t know when or how, but Dubai is going to happen)

14. Compete in a Rwandan Boxing Tournie (Hahaha, yeah I know. But I am aspiring to this)

15. Pet a baby elephant (Kenya…Elephant Orphanage…so excited)

16. Visit a brand new Rwandan baby in the hospital (Done…Baby Answer, because he is an Answer to prayer. Son of our sweet friend from Musanze, Christine)

17. Swim with great white sharks in South Africa (In a cage of course. Yeah I know, crazy terrifying, but awesome)

18. Track chimpanzees in the Rwandan Rainforest (One month from today my Don and Sus (mom and dad) are coming…and we are meeting some chimps. So excited)

19. Swim in the 2nd deepest lake in the world (Bujumbura, Burundi. A weekend trip is in the works)

20. Throw a Rwandan bachelorette weekend in the rainforest (DONE. This weekend we threw a bachelorette weekend for Frances, getting married August 6. Let me tell you, the only place to have a bachelorette weekend in the whole world is in Nyungwe Rwanda. Stinking awesome)

Stay posted for the adventures to be embarked on in order to complete this rocking list. There is always an adventure to be had in Africa.

Jesus Calling

24 Jun

Lately I have been obsessed with what is next. “What is next Lord…come on, just tell me. It’s no big deal, I’ll still live in the moment and everything. Just tell me.” Sometimes I think the Lord is up there just laughing away at all the ridiculous things I think and say. Because, as I admit, I can be a totally ridiculous person.

But lately I have been really striving, not always succeeding, but striving…to focus on daily joys. To be totally and completely present in each day and not think too much about what is next after my time in Africa is done. And that’s just the thing, I have no idea when my time in Africa will be done. Sometimes I just want some indication so that when I finally feel a call one way or another, I won’t be totally blown away by where He is taking me. But from the little I know about life, being blown away by the Lord is a really wonderful thing, and not a scary thing.

Thus, I want to share an excerpt from Jesus Calling, a devotional that has been the sweetest gift to me daily here in Africa. It really is like Jesus is whispering his sweet truths in my ear every morning, preparing me for another day filled with His precious gifts.

“Rest in Me, My child. Give your mind a break from planning and trying to anticipate what will happen. Pray continually, asking My spirit to take charge of the details of this day. Remember that you are on a journey with Me. When you try to peer into the future and plan for every possibility, you ignore your constant Companion who sustains you moment by moment. As you gaze anxiously into the distance, you don’t even feel the strong grip of My hand holding yours. How foolish you are, My child!  Remembrance of Me is a daily discipline. Never lose sight of My presence with you. This will keep you resting in Me all day, every day.”

Sandra McCracken says it best in her song Hidden Place. “I cannot see with human eyes, the secret plans you have devised. My heart is full as I contemplate the frailty and the fullness, oh I marvel at Your goodness…to me!”

Glow in the Dark Fris

19 Jun

So this weekend was a good one. Most are in Rwanda, however. Friday night we played some pool, did some dancing, ate some chicken (good chicken in Rwanda is hard to come by…usually it has hairs in it and is the consistency of rubber), and we finished the night playing drums with our feet and singing karaoke in a non-karaoke bar…but when they play you 90’s tunes, there is no denying the microphone. And I got to do it all with this wonderful group of people…

I really do live, work, and play with just about the coolest people in Rwanda…and beyond.

And tonight was another round of Scholars Young Life, or more like game night. We taught the kids Ultimate frisbee (Glow in the Dark, to be exact) and I was yet again astounded by them. They were really good and caught on immediately. One kid was far superior to all of us…I told him we would be signing him up for intramural fris in college.

Happiness was a frisbee champion.

Now the frisbee was nothing too special to them…but the glow sticks…oh wow. They were intrigued. When you really think about it, glow sticks are intriguing. What is that stuff in them that you crack, and once you crack it why do they become glow in the dark, and how do they last for hours? It really is perplexing. Driving home we could see the kids in our rear view mirror for miles…it was a good way to keep tabs on their safe arrival home.

The only thing that reminded me I was not playing Ultimate with a bunch of American’s…in America…were the goats grazing on the field. Of course…we wouldn’t have it any other way in Africa.

(excuse the really poor quality picture…we only had an iphone to take pics…but we wouldn’t have had documentation of this hilariousness without your iphone Betsy Walker, so thank you!)

 

 

Yellow/Orange team domination…in other words, we won!