.dry season.

it’s dry season over here in Uganda.  while America seems to be in some kind of polar vortex, we are going strong with the sunshine.  and let me tell ya, we’ve had some HOT days.  I’m one that quite loves the warmth, I’d rather be sweating than even SLIGHTLY cold, but this heat tends to get me sometimes!  (can’t complain too hard though, I quickly remember my friends in Chad and this weather would be a sweet break of relief to them.  once upon a time I thought I could live in Chad, hahahahahaha)

dry season means the rains are scarce and the maize (corn) is in abundance.  though I haven’t been a fan of being overheated lately, I have loved the sweet things that come with this harvest season.  many people here have crops, including many of our friends, which means we have been recruited to help with the task of preparing the maize for selling.  after harvesting, the maize is dried in the sunshine on massive tarps.

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once dried, the maize is put in large bags where it is beat with a stick to remove a portion of the kernels. after a good beating, many hands help in removing the rest of the kernels.  what’s truly amazing about this part is watching the kids help out.  you can give a 2 year old a chunk of maize and they know just what to do.  it’s a complete group/family/community effort.  people will sit for HOURS working this way, sitting in a circle, talking and working until the task is accomplished.  and that’s why this activity has made it to the top of my “favorites of dry season” list.  it’s the perfect time to build relationships while helping them out with their normal harvest season.  love love love it.

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after all the kernels are free from the cob, they are dried again before being ground up in a machine to make flour.  boil up some water, add the flour and you have one of the main foods eaten in this area of Uganda…posho!  (quite tasty with some beans and greens!)

stay warm America!

xoxo

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.home again home again.

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someday i will do better at updating this blog, promise!

so maybe a little run down of the past month??  we were in KENYA for training and it was lovely and cold and i wore my sweatshirt 93% of the time.  i met some of the most perfectly beautiful people this continent holds and learned so much from them.  they encouraged me and made me feel known and understood and at home.  i’m extremely thankful for the sweet sweet time i had with them.  so again there were some sad goodbyes, apparently you’re suppose to get use to that as a missionary or something.  whatever, that part’s just lame!

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after our training b and i spent a few extra days in Nairobi to enjoy a little wild life before the long drive back to Uganda.  so i may have kissed a few giraffes, you know, nothing too big!!!  and here’s the thing, one of the giraffe’s name was KELLY.  yes yes, its true.  we bonded and smooched and then off i went.

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and here we are back in UGANDA!!!  now that we are done with our hospital orientation, we will really be digging into language learning.  and language learning just goes hand in hand with relationships with people in Tororo.  we spent the last week focusing on language learning strategies and now B and i are in the process of looking for language helpers.  please be praying God directs us to the perfect people to help us learn.  these relationships are usually so very important and critical and i’m incredibly excited to get started!

we are now in Kampala for a few days to complete our paperwork with the nursing council, we each begin a week long homestay with a Ugandan family.  we will live life with them for that week, eating what they eat, doing what they do, and staying in their home in order to build strong relationships while allowing us to learn about their home life.  should be pretty fun!

and that’s where we’re at people!

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who’s this do you ask!?  why this is Palmer Jane!  niece extraordinaire!  perfect peach!  new love of my life!  she decided to be a silly little muffin and come into this world early while i was still in Kenya with an incredibly terrible internet connection.  oh palmer jane, already doing things your own way!  so here she is, as perfect as perfect can be.  i must say my heart aches because i can’t snuggle her in my arms and kiss her squishy little cheeks.  but seriously, look at that perfect child!  who WOULDN’T want to kiss that face?!

.nane wiki.

WE ARE DONE!!!

bethany peterson and i have completed our 2 month hospital orientation!!!

and that makes us two VERY happy (and tired) girls!

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i’m incredibly thankful for all i’ve learned through this time, though it hasn’t been easy, and i’m very happy we get to move forward with life in Tororo.

but before that happens, we will be spending almost 4 weeks in Kenya for ABO (Africa Based Orientation) where we will be learning all kinds of things about life in Africa with other new AIM missionaries.  we’ve been enjoying the beautiful views of Kenya as well as the ZEBRAS we saw on our drive in!

tomorrow the training begins!

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love you all!

kwaheri!

.mbale.

well hey there!  it’s been a little while, so let me tell you about what has been going on over here in Tororo.

after interviews with the nursing council, B and i were placed (thankfully together!!!) at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital to complete a two month orientation.  unfortunately Mbale is about a two hour public taxi ride away from our home in Tororo.  we’ve had lots of funny moments during our last two weeks of commuting…

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rough roads

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tires falling off mid ride

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and tight quarters (B was smashed in so tight her poor little arm just wouldn’t fit)

it always ends up being an interesting ride!

the hospital has been interesting as well.  we have two weeks down, six to go!  the orientation is split between four different areas of the hospital: medical, surgical, outpatient, and pediatrics.

so far there’s been a lot learning, it’s not the easiest place to be.  many sad stories and unfortunate outcomes, but this time is definitely helping me understand some bigger picture concepts and struggles people face as patients and healthcare workers.  we are often running out of basic supplies and medications which then puts the responsibility on the patients and family members to buy treatments from the pharmacy for us to administer.  even the oxygen wasn’t working when it was really needed this past week to give a patient some comfort as she passed, things you just don’t see in our hospitals back home.  it doesn’t make for the easiest of days by any means, but it’s given me the chance to learn more about Uganda, have my eyes opened a bit wider, and hold the hands of some really beautiful people.

but you want pictures, right?!  well then, here you go!

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two weeks in the medical ward down!

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each patient must have an attendant (usually a family member) who does all the bathing, feeding, running labs, buying medications and much much more!

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rounding with the doctors

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ohhhhhhhhh the laundry

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and my favorite, please note item three on the list

other than hospital life, we get to spend some time with our favorite people on the weekends which helps me remember there will soon be a time we get to spend most of the week with them as well.  always a happy reminder.

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.lets change it up.

alright now, change in plans!

today we were suppose to be interviewing with the nursing council in order to be registered as nurses, but due to today being the end of Ramadan, they have closed their office and moved the interviews to next wednesday.  since we are getting REALLY antsy to be in Tororo with the kiddos, we have decided to finish our house shopping and leave this weekend to set up our home.  we will then venture back to Kampala on tuesday to be here for the interview again!  of course all of that could change, but that’s the plan as of today!

but hey, here’s something fun…

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meet one of our two new guard dogs!!!  so intimidating, right??

b and i were put in contact with a woman who had found 10 puppies a few weeks ago and has been trying to find them new homes, which was just perfectly wonderful because we were in need of puppies who would grow into guard dogs for our home.  next week we will be taking our little babies home with us to grow big and strong and protect our home!

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.and here we are.

wellllll, these past few weeks have REALLY been such a whirly swirly time!  I’ve had the most amazing summer…and that’s because of you guys…yes indeed.  my dear Annie and i have declared that July has been one of the best months.  of all time.  so i’m thankful for such a fun last month in America, but it sure didn’t make leaving any easier!

last monday B and i had our difficult last-for-now hugs at the airport before leaving for a few days of orientation in Georgia.  on wednesday night we began the journey to Uganda, and about 27 hours later we arrived in Entebbe, Uganda!  we’ve just been resting up and meeting our new teammates this weekend and we are hoping to make the move to Tororo next saturday!  until then we will be going through some more orientation and meeting with the Uganda nursing council to work on getting registered as nurses.  after arriving in Tororo we will be starting our two month internship at the government hospital to officially be registered as nurses.  please be praying it all goes smoothly!

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family pictures during the sleepover we had the day before leaving, thanks jami nato!

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and friend pictures too of course

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airport cuddles

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so thankful these all made it to Uganda with us!

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the lovely matoke inn, we get to stay here for the week while we sort out all our Kampala stuff!

thanks for all your prayers and sweet messages over the past few weeks!  hopefully there will be far more interesting stories for you guys after the next week!

.off we go.

it’s official people!  b and i have tickets to uganda!!!  thank you thank you thank you for praying and giving so generously, we both received financial clearance last week!

on the 29th of THIS MONTH we are heading off to the AIM headquarters in Georgia for our last bit of training on this side of the ocean.  from there we will be making our way to the African lands on August 1st!

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thanks again for all your love and support, i’m thankful for each and every one of you!

.about the benjamins.

alright, let’s be real honest, these kind of posts are NOT the easiest for me to write, but here it goes…..a support update!

let me first tell you a little about the financial needs i have for making living and serving in Uganda a reality.  there are two kinds of funds needed: outgoing and monthly pledges.

outgoing funds will cover plane tickets, travel costs, luggage fees, first month of living, medical costs, housing set up, and training.  the total i need for this is $10,500.  i currently still need $5,000.

monthly pledges will go toward general living expenses in Uganda: housing, food, transportation, health insurance, and ministry costs.  the total i need for this is $1816/month in pledges.  i currently still need $746 per month.  sounds like a LOT (i know, whew, stressful at times!) but it very could easily all come together with 15 people pledging $50/month, OR maybe 30 people pledging $25/month, OR 746 people pledging $1/month (ha, yes, still wonderful no matter how small)!  all to say, anything and everything helps.

so there we go!  thank you so much to you guys who have so generously given and who have been praying for many months (and some of you years!) as i prepare to start my time in Uganda.  the financial aspect of serving overseas is by FAR one of the most intimidating, humbling, and stretching things to deal with, BUT God HAS taught me a lot about His love and His people, which i am immensely thankful for.

ok, lots of words!  so here’s the rundown:

OUTGOING NEED: $5,000

MONTHLY PLEDGE NEED: $746/month

if you are at all interested in partnering with me financially, just shoot me an e-mail (kelly.grdnr@gmail.com) and i’ll give you all the information you need.  if you can’t help financially, but still want to be a part of it all, please be praying for the kids at Smile and for B and I as we get ready to move over there!  i am required to be at 100% by July 3rd in order to get out of town, so please be praying for that all to come in!

thanks for being patient with me through the nitty gritty.  love you all to pieces and i am beyond thankful for each and every one of you.  and now we’ll end with a cute kid picture because that’s way more fun than money talk!

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.we gon-da uganda.

well hey there!

my name is kelly.

almost 3 years ago i became a nurse and then a few days later hopped on a plane headed for Uganda.  i started a 6 month term with Africa Inland Mission (AIM) serving at Smile Africa, a ministry focused on caring for orphans and street children.  here’s a few of those sweet little faces i fell in love with.

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to see a million more beautiful babies, check out my old blog for stories and pictures galore.

and then i returned to the people i love so dearly in my beautiful home in Kansas City.  i began work as a NICU nurse at Children’s Mercy where i fell in love with more little babies.  and i prayed lots about someday going back to Smile.

and now i am just 7 weeks away from flying to Uganda.  i’m headed back with AIM to serve at Smile again, this time starting out with 2 years.  while there i will be focusing on discipleship with the kids, helping provide medical care in the clinic, building relationships, hosting short-term teams, and receiving a million hugs a day.  and guess what!  i get to do this with one of my closest of friends, b.

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there she is!  ER nurse and friend extraordinaire!  she was patient enough to deal with me all the way through nursing school and then we ventured to Uganda together in 2010.

thank you thank you THANK YOU to all you amazing people who have been praying for us and giving so generously to make living and serving in Uganda a reality.  i love you all to pieces and feel overwhelmed by the ways you have loved me AND the kids at Smile.  i would very much appreciate your continued prayers during this time of transition.  specifically needing a whole bunch of prayer for 100% funding by july 3rd, as well as prayer during the process of trying to get registered as nurses in Uganda.

thanks again my dear friends!