Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Oh Happy Day!

Project Hope Worldwide is so excited to announce that our first set of orphans have moved into Calo Me Lare! I think it is so neat that I got to meet each of these kids individually and I know them by name. I know their stories and where they came from. Things can only get better for them now! They now have hope for a great future and a new family with lots of brothers and sisters to play with and mommas to hug their necks!

You can see individual pictures of all the children and read their profiles on the Project Hope Worldwide facebook page here. And here are videos that Helmut shot of many of the orphans while we were in Uganda...

Continued donations to PHWW will fund the immediate construction of an administration building, five more homes for forty orphans and a school! Please go here to make a donation. Thank you for giving these kids hope for a new future!

Common Luo to English Phrases

General Costs to Travel to Lira, Uganda

* Passport and Book - $165 (You can learn more about how to obtain a passport and print off an application online here.)

* Shots - You can read about which shots you'll need on the CDC website here. I think I paid close to $300 and had to get them at the health department.

* Medicines - You'll need to take Malaria medicine before, during, and after your trip. You'll need to get this from your doctor - you can not get it from the health department. I took Malarone and had no side effects. It's supposed to be gentle on your stomach and you don't have to take it as long as the other options available. Several Malaria medicines have really bad side effects so do your research when choosing yours. My doctor also prescribed Cipro (for below-the-waist "issues") and Amoxicillin (for above-the-waist "issues"). It is also good to take medicine for diarrhea, constipation, sleep issues and head aches. My cost for medicine was probably close to $80 or so.

* Airfare - We paid about $1,400 roundtrip from Tulsa to Entebbe. Of course, air fare prices fluctuate often. My family back home enjoyed tracking my flight online. You can do so here and view an actual live simulation of your flight. Pretty cool ;-)

* Car Hire - You'll need to hire a driver with a car. Costs vary but you can view information on this topic here. If your driver is not driving safely, we learned you have to be upfront with them and tell them in a firm, but respectable, tone what you expect them to do or not do. Do not take the bus service. Not safe - enough said.

* Spending $ - Prices are much lower in Uganda than in the States. It's fun to shop at the market but I found the best place to buy gifts to take back home are the stores at the Entebbe airport. You can expect to pay a little more than at the market, but they are typically better quality and they have a great selection of items you'd be interested in.

* Hotel and Food - You can typically expect to pay about $30-40 p/night. We stayed at the Gracious Palace and 291 Suites while in Uganda. We ate most of our dinners at the Lillian Towers Hotel. You can expect to pay about $4-8 p/meal.

Adoko Rd, Lira, Uganda
Plot 8/10 Erute Road Dokolo Rd, Lira P.O.Box 350, Lira, Uganda+256 256473420024 
A 104, Lira, Uganda
Lira, Uganda
Lira, Uganda

Friday, February 4, 2011

One Last Video From Our Trip...

I made this video as soon as I got back from our trip. The songs came to me while I was on the plane home.

The Vision of Project Hope Worldwide

This is another video Helmut filmed while we were in Uganda. It was so exciting to actually see all that Project Hope Worldwide stands for first-hand!

Uganda Update

This is an update our pastor, Derk, brought to the congregation the Sunday after we got back from Uganda...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Day in the Field

This is a video Helmut filmed while we were in Uganda. He did an amazing job and it shows the work Project Hope Worldwide is doing in bringing hope to orphans in Lira.

Sweet Nothings Go a Long Way

One thing I did for my girls while I was away to Uganda was to give them a small gift to open each day - kinda like a countdown until I got home.

I thought I was being so sneaky but the girls and Steve came up with their own countdown of notes for me to open on my trip. I found them in my suitcase on our first night in Uganda. They were so special to me and something I looked forward to opening every morning and re-reading every night. I posted the girls notes to me on this blog on my daily journal entries, but I'm keeping Steve's letters secret ;-)  Such sweet letters and notes that I'll treasure forever.

Home Is Where the Heart Is

We woke up early this morning, ate a quick breakfast then hopped on the plane headed for Oklahoma! It was great to get a good night's sleep last night so I wouldn't be a total zombie when I saw my family today.  The flight was on time and we landed with no problems. I knew I'd be excited to see my family but I guess I didn't know how emotional it would be. 15 days is a long time to be away! The most I've ever been away from the girls before that was for about 4 or 5 days and I've never been away from Steve for more than 2 days. As soon as I saw them at the airport, the girls came running up to me with big hugs and welcome cards. Steve's parents were there, too. Everyone was teary-eyed and we were all so glad to be together again.

The girls were also excited because the Duggars were at the airport. I don't know how that family gets around with all those kids! I suppose they just learn to watch out for each other!

I spent the rest of the day unpacking, doing laundry, and spending time with my family. I gave the girls a little rag doll and a purse, both made from widows in Uganda. I had a hard time finding Steve a gift while there so he got a coffee cup with a Uganda flag and an "Africa" t-shirt.

While I did miss my family a ton, the trip was so well worth it and I'm so glad I got to go! It truly was the chance of a lifetime! I got to see everything first hand and now I will be blogging for Project Hope, so be sure to watch for upcoming posts - which reminds me, I better get busy! Stay tuned! ;-)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Uganda Trip - Day 14

Sunday, Dec. 12 -

Today's notes from my girls...

I'm sooo glad I had this opportunity to go to Uganda but I'm also sooo glad I'm going home! I've missed my family and friends a ton and can't wait to see them all! We switched planes in Amsterdam then headed towards the States. We were supposed to fly to Detroit then on to Oklahoma but the flight crew needed to change so we made a stop in Boston. Then the new flight crew never showed up so Delta had to  reroute about 200 passengers on different flights! Ugh! We were supposed to be home in a few hours but they don't have any flights going to Tulsa this evening so now we have to stay the night in Boston! :-(

We had to go collect all our luggage - which took forever but thankfully it was all there. Then, we waited in the Delta reservations line for 2 1/2 hours to make our new flight arrangements. The next flight out is tomorrow morning so they put us up at the Hyatt Hotel for our "inconvenience".

I am writing this from my hotel room and looking out my huge window with an AMAZING view of Boston. Here's the daytime view...

And here's the nighttime view. If only we were here a little longer, we'd have to stop by "Cheers!".

But just getting here was great "fun", to say the least! We made our way outside to wait for the Hyatt Shuttle to take us to our hotel. Now mind you, we just came from 90 degree weather in Africa so the 40 degree windy weather was really a shock to our system as we were not dressed for the cold! We waited and waited but the shuttle never came! I'm pretty sure Kelley and I were driving Derk nutso as we were shivering and jumping up and down to keep warm - and the complaining probably didn't help a whole lot, either. So we tracked down an airport bus and we were finally taken to our hotel. The driver was very "friendly" and gladly watched us as we struggled to get our luggage on and off his shuttle without his help.

Then we checked in at the hotel and were given our room keys.

I was on the 7th floor so I wearily took all my luggage and made my way to my room. Just as I was about to go in, I thought I could hear someone in my room and the "privacy" sign was on the door. I thought that was strange, so I knocked on the door and there was a lady staying in my room! Evidently, they assigned me to a room that was already occupied by another guest. At this point, I just had to laugh because I could have easily broken down sobbing right there in the hotel hallway. I was exhausted, hungry, and just wanted to be home.

I made my way to the registration desk and was assigned another room. It was very nice and spacious and the bed looked sooo comfortable, I just wanted to dive right in!

So I ate a quick dinner of Clam Chowder (because when in Boston, you must have chowder!) and showered (felt oh so nice!). This is a picture of me right outside the hotel restaurant. Too bad it was cold outside - the view was amazing! I could have stayed out there forever!

Our flight leaves at 10 in the morning and we should be home by 3! Having this "adventure" today makes me miss my family even more! I really wanted to be home but this was probably a blessing in disguise because at least I can now get some good rest and a shower before I see my family tomorrow. Now I'm really counting down the hours! It's almost 8:30 and I'm about to go to sleep because I can't keep my eyes open any longer! Signing off here and tomorrow I'll be home!

Sorry - being a former "Cheers" fan, I just had to post this ;-)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Uganda Trip - Day 13

Saturday, Dec. 11 -

Today's notes from my girls...

This morning we woke up early and took a boat ride down the Nile River! We saw hippos and crocs really close up! We also saw water buffalo, gazelles, monkeys, wild boar, antelope, and deer. The ride was about 4 miles in length and 2 1/2 hours long. It was so much fun!

After eating an amazing buffet lunch back at the hotel, we packed up our bags and began the "journey" home. And what a journey it was! We were told when we entered the Park to go through the north entrance because that was where most of the animals were. We found the north side is a lot more grassland and fewer trees, so we did see more animals. We took a barge ride across the Nile to get to the south side where the exit was.

I thought the best part of the safari was actually getting to see the waterfalls. They were amazing! The noise alone took my breath away! The water was so powerfully beautiful and strong! Words can't even describe it - it was jaw dropping!

It took us about another 2 1/2 hours to get down the narrow, bumpy dirt rode to exit the Park. It had just rained the night before, too, which made the dirt road really muddy. I was a bit worried we'd get stuck in a ditch or a pothole because our van was sliding all over the place! It was interesting how everything turned from grassland to tropical jungle so quickly. We were soon covered with trees and vines all around us. Didn't see many animals on the south side - just some chimpanzees and tropical birds.

We were so excited to see the exit sign because we had driven for what seemed like forever not really knowing if we were going in the right direction or not. It then took us another 8 hours or so to drive to the airport. I don't think I've done as much praying at a single time as I did during that drive to Kampala. Kelley and I were scared to death - we were literally ducking from cars and pedestrians as they passed us! As I mentioned before, they drive C-R-A-Z-Y here - they drive super fast, often times lanes aren't marked, roads are typically 2-lanes that you have to share with walkers, bikers and those on motor cycles, cars and busses. And it's especially scary at night because there is no electricity which means no street lights. The roads are very narrow and often times are bumpy, dirt roads. We had way too many close calls! Amazingly, Derk slept through most of it in the back seat of our van! When he woke up, I told him he was like the story in the Bible of Jesus sleeping on the boat and a storm came and his disciples were freaking out because of the crashing waves all around them ;-)  It truly was a miracle that we made it to the airport without an incident - PTL!

So I am now writing this journal entry on the plane. We can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! We have an 8 1/2 hour flight to Amsterdam. So I'm going to try to get some shut eye and maybe catch a movie on the way home. Will write more tomorrow - counting down the hours until I'm home! :-)