Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Outings in Uganda

Court was held on March 14th and we did not receive our ruling of guardianship until April 15th so we had an entire month of waiting. We were often sick during that time (mostly diarrhea and vomiting - probably from parasites you can pick up so easily there). One time, Steve was so sick we had to take him to a clinic & he had to get two bags of fluids through an IV and another time Mackenzie was so sick we had her tested for malaria. They both ended up having a bad bacterial infection but got better within a few days with meds.

When we weren't sick, we made the most of that time bonding with Asher & sightseeing around Kampala. I had no idea there were so many fun things to do there until I started researching before we left for our trip. I had to set up a Pinterest board because there were so many great things I wanted our family to try while there & didn't want to forget anything.

Most adoptive families hire a driver while in Uganda because they drive sooo different than here in the states. They drive on the opposite side that we do & you have to be aware of what is all around you at all times because there's so many walkers, bicyclists, boda bodas (motorcycles), cars, taxis, & trucks going in all directions & squeezing into whatever space they can find. There's no such thing as following stop signs or stop lights or taking turns - it's every man for himself! ;-) (Side note: It's funny - while we were there we thought they drove so crazy but we never saw one wreck happen. We get home to the States, someone ran a red light & totaled my car. Now I think maybe WE are the crazy ones! LOL!) Here's some of our favorite drivers. They were the best! They knew the backroads to anywhere & were so helpful to adoptive families...



So here are some pics of how we passed our time during our waiting periods...

One of our favorite things we did was watch the N'Dere Dance Troupe perform. We went with some friends from our guest house who were also adopting and had such a great time! We were served a buffet dinner and watched the show in an outdoor theater. The dancers did different dances from different regions of Uganda and were so talented. Asher especially liked it as he loooves music!

The last dance was the Acholi Courting Dance (also known as the "Pot Dance"). How they balance all those pots on their heads, I'll never know! Simply amazing!

(I didn't take that video ;-) )

When the show was over they invited everyone to the stage to dance "in harmony together". Such a fun night!

We went swimming at the hotel of some adoptive friends - such a nice break from the warm weather...

Another favorite thing to do was to go to the craft markets. Our favorites were "Exposure Africa" and "National Theater". The girls and I could spend all day there and they got really good at haggling down prices with the vendors there. We learned quickly to never pay full price & if they didn't have what you wanted at one booth, to keep looking & you were surely to find it. Here's a few pics from the markets & our special finds...

Abby was on a mission to save all orphaned dolls she saw at the markets ;-)

We attended a Town Hall Meeting at the US Embassy. It was neat to hear the US Representatives give an update on relations between UG and the USA. We were all given these pins and the kids especially enjoyed home made chocolate chip cookies served at the end - oh how we missed chocolate chip cookies!

There were actually several malls in Kampala that we liked to go to and pass the time. Can you believe this one had an ice skating rink?!

It was so strange because it was in the middle of an open court yard. The day of this pic it had just rained so these workers were washing it off and I guess smoothing out this surface. We never saw it opened so we never figured out if that was just a tarp covering or if they actually skated on it. Ice skating in Uganda, a country on the equator. Who knew?!

One mall had an indoor playground which we were very surprised to find...

And of all the things from America you could find in Uganda, we came across this eyesore!!! ;-)

We went to a huge flea market at the American Recreation Association, a great hangout for Muzungos (white people)...

We tried some great French food at La Petite..

And yummy Mexican at The Little Donkey...

Church in Uganda is amazing and the music was our favorite part. It was so awesome to hear so many African voices belting out songs that we sing back home but the meaning just took on an entirely different feel while in country. Our two favorite churches we visited were Watoto and Gaba Community Church.

Hiring a driver can really add to your expenses so we tried to walk to places when we could. A special treat for us on Tuesdays was to walk about 25 minutes to the mall for gelato - buy one get one free on Tuesdays! Woo hoo! The gelato was so good as they rarely served desserts at our guest house...

On our last few days in Uganda, we took a few boda rides to very close locations by our guest house. We weren't that adventurous & have heard too many scary stories of injuries on those things - but we just had to try them before we left. The girls liked them a little too much. I, on the other hand, was a little freaked out and I probably freaked our driver out by squeezing him so tight ;-)

All in all, we made some great memories while in country & consider it the chance of a lifetime. So glad we were able to experience it together!

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