Hello friends and family!!!! My parents sent me a list of questions to answer and I hope maybe a few of your own questions are on that list as well, if you want to send me a question just tell one of my family members.
1. What types of sports are played in your area?
Soccer is probably the biggest sport played around Uganda as a whole, but there is one sport that I saw played this week that I had never seen before. I actually saw a group of kids playing street hockey. They had banana leaves (the bottom, curved parts) and were using a ball made of plastic shopping bags. They had a couple goals rigged up at each end of the field and were playing hockey like all get out. Pretty funny to watch. ;)2. What kind of games do you play?
For myself I haven't had much time to play games. We do have a chess board in the apartment and I play with the guard every once in a while (haha like twice this whole transfer) and I have the concentration game SET that I may play every once in a while. I have started taking some fun party games to the FHE (YSA Family Home Evening) at the church each Monday. I have found scriptures to go along with them to make them kind of spiritual as well.
3. Do you have a Bishop in your area?
We don't have a Bishop in Bugembe, it is still a branch even though we usually have 150-160 people in Sacrament meeting each week. The Branch President's name is President Kikare (CHIH-KIE-RAY) and he stays in my area so we get to see him quite often.
4. Do the women there wear ear rings?
It's pretty much 50/50. Some do, some don't. I have had people ask me if there is a lot of traditional dress and to an extent there is. Not like grass skirts and nose rings, but bright colorful dresses. A lot of the rising generation (teenagers and young adults) dress pretty modern with jeans and tee shirts, most of the girls though rarely wear anything other than a skirt and top.
5. How much soda do you drink? What kind?
Lately I haven't drunk much soda. At the beginning of the transfer I was drinking a 300ml Fanta every day with lunch but I started noticing a little ring of fat beginning to develop around my midsection so I cut down on the soda and I drink maybe one a week. They have Fanta, and Sprite here which is usually what I drink, but they also have a drink called Mirinda Fruity which is a kind of black cherry/black currant soda, pretty good too.
6. Do you have a 6-pack still?
Hmmm...haha, I don't know if I should answer that one. I guess the honest answer would be no. I don't think one missionary in the mission has a six pack anymore. We walk a lot, but still have a way to get a little chubby. I still have a flat stomach if that counts, but the food we are eating and the work we are doing is not too conducive to building muscle. Even my shoulders have lost some of their "tone." I'm sure I will be back to my normal self within 3 months of returning home. ;D
7. How often do you get to play piano?
Right now I am teaching 2 people piano lessons and they are doing really well. We meet about 2 times per week so I have a few minutes to dink around a little bit before or after a lesson.
8. What is your current Mission baptism goal?
I don't quite understand if this is my personal goal for mission or goal per transfer or whatever...Right now I am averaging around 2 per month. I would like to see that go up to about 3-5 if possible. Obviously the area, companions, and weather (yep, weather impacts peoples church attendance here...haha) play a pretty big role in things. I will be happy however if I am able to do whatever God puts in my hands. One thing that I think is one of my real purposes here in the Uganda Kampala Mission is to build member-missionary relations. A lot of missionaries are not too nice or considerate of the members. They see them as servants to do their will somehow. I have made it a point in each of my areas to leave the area loving and being loved by each member of the branch. One of the best ways to do that is by serving the members. Each Saturday I go with my companion and we clean the chapel with the members. Not because they need our help but becuase it allows us to get with them, talk with them and interact. So I guess my goal is to baptize as many as God gives me, and to build the relationships between missionaries and members. So far things have been fairly successful!!!
9. What is the maximum number of Books of Mormon you have handed out in a day?
I think I have handed out 6 in one day. We have to be pretty careful about who we hand out Book of Mormons to. We can't just hand them out while contacting, usually it isn't even till the 2-3 lesson. Many people have difficulty with the old english that is used in the Book of Mormon as well as the LDS version of the King James Bible, so we are very careful who we hand them out to. One other thing is that they have to be shipped from Salt Lake City, so we only get a certain amount per month or transfer. I remember a little while back we didn't have any Book of Mormons in the entire mission for like 3 weeks.
10. Any Books of Mormon given out to the Bishop’s daughter?
Well...No Book(s) of Mormon(s) handed out to a Bishop's daughter, but I did give one to a Bishop of some Anglican sect back in Busia. That was pretty neat, I don't know if he read it but I don't believe in a badly placed Book of Mormon, God has a way of making sure that every book or pamphlet will perform some needed task.
11. What kind of shoes are you going to bring home?
I don't know. The shoes I came with will probably be destroyed, the Eccos are still sitting on my shelf with no bottoms. I will probably just take them to a "shoe doctor" and get new soles put on them, they should last another 6-8 months that way. Maybe I'll save those shoes for my last 6 months then wear them home. I have seen some pretty cool "tire" shoes that are literally what the name sounds like. The people who make them collect blown out tires on the road then cut them into feet sized pieces and put straps on them like flip-flops. I think I'll bring a few pairs of those home just for fun. ;)
12. How tan are you getting?
Well, compared to the surroundings I'm still pretty white...but I was taking a shower the other day and put my arm next to my belly and there is quite a difference. I guess I won't know until I get around you guys from back home and compare. December to March is the hot, dry season here so I will be getting a lot of sun then coming back in May 2013, so I should be able to compete with anyone there and win pretty easily. ;D
13. How many missionaries are there in your mission?
Right now we have about 160 missionaries including senior couples, I hear that we will be receiving a lot more though as 2012 moves on.
14. What do the kids use to draw in school?
They usually use pens, there is a company in Kenya that manufactures pens pretty cheaply so most kids can have their own pen.
15. Do they have paper?
Yes they have paper, usually they use paper that they find on the road and stuff. They wrap their books in old newspaper to keep things safe. I have seen kids drawing on legal briefs, tax documents, etc...pretty funny I must say.
16. Have you had popcorn since you arrived in Uganda?
You know I have. I don't know if you can do this with the corn back home, but you let the cobs and kernals dry then rub them off the cob. A little oil in a pot and add the heat and you can make popcorn. I have also seen microwave popcorn here but it is really expensive.
17. When did you last drink real water?
I drink "real" water every day, it is well filtered by a mission provided filtration system. The water availability is the bigger problem. In Jinja we have had several days without water at all, I must say that 4 days without a shower (even with a bucket) is not fun. We try to fill up as many water bottles as we can with filtered water to prepare for a "famine" as we call it.
18. Are your toilets better?
The toilets are still pretty much the same. The toilet seat we have has a big crack in it so if you aren't careful you may find that you are being "bitten" from below as you sit. ;D
19. Are people artists in Uganda?
I have actually seen quite a few artists in Uganda. Most stay in Kampala, they use water colors, oil and charcol. I have also seen a lot of wood carvers and clay sculptors. I'm sure you can see some examples of their work online.
20. What percentage of people in your area speak English?
Most everyone can at least understand and speak a little English. As far as fluency goes probably about 50/50. We work with a member from the branch to help translate for the more difficult investigators. Even in our church services sometimes the prayers, lessons, talks, etc...are done in Lusoga (LOO-SOE-GUH) the local language of the Busoga tribe.
21. How is the literacy in your area?
Jinja has pretty high literacy, well higher than other areas I have been in. There are many government primary (Grade) schools and high schools so most kids have an opportunity to at least make it through about 10th grade. Some continue on from there and others just stop and look for work. English is not taught too much until half way through grade school so the young children have a difficult time understanding anything other than their tribal language.
22. Do you give away Books of Mormon in different languages?
I have handed out several Swahili Book of Mormons, and in Ethiopia they hand out Amaric. Mostly English though.
23. Do Ugandan babies sit in high chairs?
I don't think I have seen a high chair since I got here. Mostly babies are fed on their mother's laps. When they aren't being held they are sitting on a woven mat or just play around in the dirt.
24. When did you ride a horse last?
Haha, you could probably have asked me that question before I came and I would still have to think about the answer. I guess I would probably have to say about 2006 or so. I don't know. I was going to ride a camel at the Entebbe zoo a few months ago but that didn't work out. Come to think of it, I don't even think I have seen a horse since I got here. I have seen a few donkeys but nothing else.
25. What is the daytime temperature?
The daytime temperature at this time of year is reported at about 80 degrees farenheit, but it feels a lot hotter. You must remember that it is so humid here, somehow like Tennesee (that is the only humid place I have been, haha) so the heat feels a lot hotter than the thermometer might say.
26. Are the people there doing Family History work?
I know that some of the branch buildings have computers with internet access and the goal is to get started on Family History work, but I haven't seen it done too actively. Since there isn't a temple here there is not a lot of motivation for the people to search out their ancestors, especially since they are still working on getting themselves to the temple.
27. Are there libraries?
They do have libraries, but probably not the same kind of library you would imagine. They have mostly movie libraries which you can "check-out" a movie for a certain number of days. The way they make it work is that you give them a pretty big deposit that will be partially returned when you bring the movie back. They do the same thing with soda bottles and stuff, big deposit for collateral, you know that it will come back ;D
28. Do you remember how to speak English?
I remember how to speak the English language yes, but my accent, the way I speak, sometimes the words I use have gotten a little wonky. I keep telling everyone that I will need to take a high school English class when I get home just so I don't sound like an idiot in a job interview. haha
29. Are you still washing your clothes in a bucket?
Here in Bugembe I have a member of the branch wash my clothes for me. She uses a bucket and a scrub brush. I was thinking about continuing to wash my own, but it sure is nice to not have to worry about it.
Thanks for the questions everyone!!! I love you!!!
Inside a giant hollowed (burnt) out tree in Mabira Forest
That very giant hollowed out tree
|One of the many young children in our area|
|Sour milk, never buying at night again...haha|
|Nature in all it's beauty|