Saturday, December 27, 2008

some new photos uploaded on facebook:

hope everyone had a merry christmas!

- joe

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

bunny -- the newest member of the LGH family.

disturbing betty and kymbi while at "work".

Joe and Santa...words cannot express....

buying day at Santa's -- melissa and amberle at work


the Rakalaka

merry christmas from hot hot uganda

Thursday, December 18, 2008

walk to danida

christine's daughter, patricia (she names all her dolls Melissa. so cute!)

christine made us good food... because she said it would be good if we all ate together.. I agree!

dust (fufu) : )

our road

our home

the view from the front porch.

we love and miss you all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Veronica named her baby after Joe. She only met him once and her first born is named Joe. He’s beautiful and I am amazed at Veronica’s strength and spirit. She will be returning to the village with her little one in a few days. I’m so excited for her.

There’s a group of children that live in Danida that I like to call my own. I don’t know how we found each other but we did. I have spent many days trying to get them used to me… this crazy mzungu with wild hair and blue eyes. They were timid but still followed me everywhere. No matter how many times I told them my name I was always Mzungu. This past weekend I went to their little corner of Danida and they all came running screaming “Auntie Melissa! Auntie Melissa!” my heart leaped. The spot between my shoulder and my neck which I believe was made for Nebido’s small head was filled my knees that bend to look in Ajaci’s face were bent – And I wondered for a minute if this is what Jesus feels when we come… when we run & scream His name. I feel like I understand His heart a bit more now.

I feel like I have waited my whole life for THIS life.To dance worry free with Acholi women, to sing with children covered in red dirt, to feel so close to creation when it rains. This is it. This is my life.


ha l le luj ah!
- Melissa
The three days I have been here in Jinja, Uganda have been wrought with adventure, amazement, and emotions I didn’t know could come out of me. After a delayed 50+ hour trip from Washington DC to Entebbe (including a mostly unwanted one-night stay in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where I danced traditional dance in a club full of content Ethiopians), I finally arrived and greeted my fiancĂ©e Melissa for the first time in over 3 months. Being with her for these three days has been incredible. Her heart for the people here reflects her love for God.
Upon arriving, Melissa told me that Julie (the current in-country director) will be leaving early (in about 2.5 weeks) as opposed to February, when she was previously going to leave. This means that Melissa and I are “in charge” now. It’s an odd feeling, but we’re ready to dive in. She has shown me around Jinja, including the ways of getting around (piki – motorcycle, boda – bicycle, and by “footing it”).
We live in a house with 4 other people – Julie, Josh, Ian, and Amberle. They’re all wonderful in their own way and I’m having a blast getting to know them. The house is beautiful. We have a “house girl” – Betty, and night guard, George. They’re quite the duo, and really amazing, beautiful Ugandans. I’m sure I will post pictures sometime soon.
Monday, Melissa, Ian, Amberle, Josh and I went to Amani Baby Cottage, an orphanage for children 5 years or under located right near Lake Victoria. After years of hearing about this child, Bobby, from Melissa (see picture below!), I finally met him! He is a child who has suffered much yet has the strength and hope to find ways to laugh and to love. I am anxiously awaiting the next time we go to Amani. We will probably go once a week or so.

Yesterday was my first day in the village of Danida. This is where many of the ‘Suubi’ ladies live (the women who make the necklaces – Danida is full of dirty brick buildings, boarded up windows, and children who seem eager to hold the hands of us Mzungus. The trip there was overwhelming to say the least. One of my favorite moments there was meeting Jaja Margaret (Grandmother Margaret). She is a woman with a happy disposition and many children. I was surprised to find that she had made me a necklace. She gave it to me and I said “afoyo” (thank you in Luo). Overall, an overwhelmingly beautiful day in which I gave thanks to God for his faithfulness in bringing me here to be so blessed. There are no words and there is no way of describing the beauty of the people and of this place.
The past few days have been some what of a whirlwind. People coming and going, babies being born, and slowly getting used to the idea of still having over a year here in Uganda. To say the least I’m nervous to say the most I’m so excited. But isn’t it the most to say the least?

Sunday was a bittersweet day. Seeing Morgan leave was hard – she had become such a source of encouragement and joy here in Uganda (Morgan, you are surely missed, sister, by everyone.) Seeing Joe arrive was such a sign of God’s faithfulness and love.Yes, Joe is finally in Uganda. After months of longing and wishing he is here. It’s been surreal showing him around this land that I love and introducing him to people I have talked about for so long. It brought me so much joy to see him experience village life for the first time yesterday. The village has been such a huge part of my being since I was a small child sitting in a pew at church listening to missionaries talk about tribes in Venezuela or untouched people in Paraguay. It meant a lot to me for Joe to be there so he can understand my heart a little bit more.

We were only in Danida for a few minutes and it started to rain. So we found shelter in the SUUBI building with Carol and JaJa Margaret and two of her children. We started making necklaces with them and then Carol told me that Veronica (a new member of SUUBI) was having labor pains. I was so excited to hear that but when we went to see her I started feeling so scared for her. This 18 year old girl was having her first baby. We all got on pikis and headed for the main hospital in Jinja. Veronica is such a strong girl – she had to walk quite a ways just to sit and wait for a nurse to see her. Joe and I waited with her awhile but realized we weren’t very much help- and probably made here even more nervous. So we gave Carol our number and told her to call us when Veronica had her little one. We got a call today saying that she had a boy. We are going to visit tomorrow and I’m sure I will upload photos sometime soon.When Joe and I are getting ready to leave Africa a little over a year from now Veronica’s child will be turning one and I will think back to yesterday and how I was so scared for Veronica. So much is going to happen in the next year. More people will come and go, babies will be born, and I will be here through it all. But for now I am just waiting and anticipating and taking it a day at a time.