Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Recent Conversation With Jackie

Ever since Jackie has been home, she has slept in my room in my bed, which she boldly proclaims is our room and our bed. I'm not real sure when it ceased being mine and became ours.
In the other room, there is a twin size bed where Yosam sleeps as well as a triple decker where Mary sleeps, leaving two extra spaces for whoever else might be here. Recently I was thinking how great it would be to have my room back and my bed back so I thought maybe since all the kids get along so well, I could convince Jackie that being a big girl meant moving into the other room.
Our conversation went something like this:
Me: Jackie, why don't you sleep in the big bed with Mary? That would mean you are really a big girl now.
Jackie: That room is for THE CHILDREN. I'll stay in OUR room.
End of conversation. Somehow she isn't a big girl, she's a full grown woman that doesn't want to move into the kids' room.
Needless to stay she is still sleeping in our room and in our bed........

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

An African Adventure...... I Mean Bus Ride

After a recent Facebook post, I decided to look for this old post from way back in 2005 on a blog I had then. The writing is not the greatest or most thought out but it should be good for at least a laugh or two.
At the time I was working with an organization that had branches in various parts of the country as well as neighboring countries so I got to do quite a bit of traveling, although traveling of the cheapest variety.
So here is the old post:
I had to travel all over the country last week and had to go by bus. Not a greyhound where you purchase a ticket and know what time the bus is leaving. Here you just show up at the bus park, board a bus heading to your destination and when it is full it leaves. Well, leaving from Kampala, I found the bus already full. Actually it was already leaving..... meaning its wheels were already moving. It was already full and by full I mean every seat was taken and any other available space had someone standing in it. However, although the bus was moving, the door was still open for anyone who might be able to hop in a moving bus, which I decided to do. I didn't feel like waiting for a couple of hours for the next one to fill.
I managed to jump on but obviously it was standing room only. This is quite a feat with all the potholes (craters) in the middle of the road. Possibly, it was a bit like water skiing?????
After about an hour, people started getting off the bus. I managed to snag a manmade seat (cardboard and cushion over the engine). Yes, the engine was inside the bus! Toasty buns anyone?!
Then, after about three hours we stopped for a potty break. Modern toilets? Nope, find a bush and drop your pants. Men on the side of the road, ladies a little ways off of it. We finally reached the town near where I was heading. Notice I said near. My actual destination was a bit outside of town so I had to get a matatu (a minivan that serves as a taxi). They are supposed to hold 15 people, including the driver and the conductor. We had 20+ people squeezed in there like beans.
Then I get to the farthest place that this taxi went and had to hop on a boda boda (motorcycle taxi). Halfway, I need to visit a place of convenience again........ find another bush.
When I was finished at this particular destination, I decided that possibly it might be better to get a special hire (a car that serves as a taxi), thinking it might be more comfortable/convenient. These are supposed to hold a driver and four passengers. We had ten adults squeezed into this tiny little vehicle. Imagine, hips everywhere!
Then, that night another bus. This time I had to wait two hours for it to leave. At night there are no potty break stops. This one did stop for gas though so we were able to get out and quickly visit the place of convenience. Bladders were very happy. There were no bushes, although with the result, I think most would have preferred a bush. The gas station had rows of pit latrines. They were in no way fresh smelling. In fact the one that I used was especially foul. In fact, really foul. When we got back on the bus, people were noticing a really disgusting smell. Turns out it was coming from the clothes of the people that had used the especially foul latrine. We had gotten back on the bus smelling like a bunch of really nasty baboons. Definitely didn't make for a pleasant night time grab some sleep ride. We all ended up laughing and threatening to remove our clothes and toss them out the window.
Next morning, another bus and more bushes (I think I was thankful for the bush this time).
That night another bus. This time the bus didn't need gas and we were in an area that had a lot of rebel activity at the time. However, my bladder didn't wish to cooperate. The driver was refusing to stop. My bladder was screaming! I was begging the driver. He continued refusing. Finally, I threatened that if he wasn't going to stop, I was going to make my own toilet on the bus. He finally stopped at the next town, which really wasn't a town. It was more like a row of shacks called a town. There was NO TOILET there. Thankfully there was also no electricity. I went to the side of one of the buildings and visited a place of convenience while having a conversation with several guys sitting there. Can you say UNCOMFORTABLE?????
The next morning another bus. Again, it was a two hour wait. The bus finally fills and the driver tells us that the bus isn't going but that there is a bus a little way up the hill that is empty and ready to leave. We looked like a bunch of mad cows running up that hill. There was no line or order to get on the bus. No gentleman to offer to let women/children go first. You had to fight your way on. I don't know how I managed it but I was like #6 to get on. Only a few minor scratches and bruises. At least I got a seat and didn't have to stand up for the next four hours! Finally, I was able to sit back, relax and enjoy my ride back to Kampala.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Don't Leave Them Alone In The Kitchen

You have just seen the result of my kids being left unsupervised in the kitchen for too long!