Mzungo Oscar party

Mzungo is what they call white people here in Uganda (the children call us munu, pronounced mono) and there are a lot of us here. Most of us either work with Krochet Kids, 31 Bits, Invisible Children, Restore leadership Academy, or are teachers at various schools. Its pretty awesome having so many ex-pats out here and we all got together this past weekend to have an Oscar themed murder mystery party at Bomah Hotel. Everyone was given characters to come as and I had the privilege of being "Pappi Razzi" and documenting the night haha. 

Sometimes it seems surreal that such a random group of Americans (and British) are gathered in the middle of Eastern Africa. Its hard to imagine how we all found ourselves here in this group of crazy, adventurous, fun loving, hard working, twenty-something-year olds from around the globe. But I love how random it is and how I've not only made friends from Gulu but also : Washington, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Colorado, Oregon, and the UK! 

Praise God for randomly awesome friendships. 

 Steffi Wood and Angel Wood. Sisters who secretly despise eachother
 teen pop star, rapper, lead singer, and journalist 

 Dan played a legit security guard haha
 the boy band is back together! 
 T REDD with the two hottest teen pop stars
 hearing instructions on how to guess who is to blame for the crime
 Beau our fearless MC
 LUCAS...or sorry...Brady Comeback DID IT!
 Rachel wins best dressed chicka. She got this dress made in town (yes made). She said she just google searched "best oscar dress" and this was the first one to pop up. I hope this dress stays around for a while and makes an appearance at Halloween - its that good! 
 Ben, or rather, T REDD, wins for best dressed guy. He got this huge puffy jacket at the marker and i'm pretty sure he wore those sun glasses all night lol
Brady Comeback and Angel Wood lol 


around our home

A few things to know about the house we call home here in Gulu...

1. We live across from a big, yellow catholic church. Holy Cross Church to be exact. This is significant for a few reasons. One being the fact that every Sunday morning (and a few times a week) we are woken up by the beautiful but very early 5am hymns. The other reason being the fact that Holy Cross is a landmark of sorts. Here in Gulu, no one really has an address. Or at least the kind we're used to. Addresses here sound a lot more like, "go past the first round about, turn left, pass the boda station, and we're the second gate to the left." Or "In town, past the post office and across from coffee hut." Or in our case... "past the prison and across from Holy Cross Church. You know Holy Cross?" It works out really well actually because all the boda drivers know the Church so we can get home easily.

2. The couches in our living room were once comfortable....until the day we realized they make you 20 degrees hotter than you already are and you will definitely get attacked by bug bites if you sit on them. So now we all avoid those huge purple bug infested couches and usually just sit at the dining room table.

3.Our day guard Samuel works at our home Monday - Friday. It's common to have day (and night) guards here if you live on a compound (gated house) because people tend to get curious and robberies do happen. Samuel tends to the garden, he watched the gate if anyone is coming, and keeps our home safe all day. We really love having him around because he is such a kind and funny man! He greets us every single morning and loves hearing about how work was that day. 

4. Life in Africa poses some interesting problems that we've had to fix. For example, that big blue water jug you see on the counter there...thats our water filtration system that we're trying to get used to because the water taste like a mixture of plastic and ocean (it uses sand to filter). yummm. But it's clean water so you learn to deal with it. And the power goes out every other day so we have managed to keep candles and our headlamps always around. Thankfully the gas isnt affected by the power outage so we can always boil water for tea or cook when the powers out. 

5. mosquito nets are a necessity. I forgot to put mine down one night and I woke up with 30 bites on each leg. You're an easy target when youre sleeping at night, so you gotta make sure those nets are up. We even have to spray them with bug spray to add another layer of protection.  

this house has truly been a blessing, and an adventure, to live in. Its funny, amidst the lack of electricity, the chickens running around our yard, the puddles that we find when it rains, and the bug infested couches...i've found a lot of peace in this home. Every morning I get to wake up, make tea, and spend time with God in this house. Conversations and friendships and so much laughter has been shared in this house. Meals have been cooked and lessons have been learned and after all of this you realize that as cheesy as it sounds....It's the people in the house that make it a home, and not all the comforts you once thought. 

So anyway..enough rambling..here is our Gulu home 

Kitchen : tiny fridge and pantry out of sight 
scary purple bug couches
Dining room with our random assortment of chairs. Fun fact : plastic chairs are very popular in gulu
variety of shoes that get extremely dirty in this town!
the essentials: bug spray, sun screen, and books 
I live in the tiny room off the kitchen. (yes, I get to fall asleep to the sound of the fridge running) and here's how the mosquito nets work. All our beds have tall posts on the side that the nets hang off of.
Charissa and Syd with out pup Louie 
Front porch
The guard room where Samuel and our night guard keep their belongings...and Louie (dog) favorite place to hang out haha 
Samuel loves this spot by the tree!
Samuel always snaps his fingers and says, "lou lou....lou lou" these two hang out all day together and we're glad Samuel has someone to keep him company.



These beautiful faces

MATTHEW 18: 2-4
And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom on heave. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me"



daily life @ KKU

Today, at work, a bunch of us randomly happened to be wearing red. Even Raymond (the little guy in front of me). We spend a lot of time with the production guys as well as the tailors and they are a huge part of Krochet Kids. Before I came out here I didnt realize how big of a crew they have working behind the scenes. Along with the 130+ women...KKU employs 6 productions guys, 4 tailors, 5 assistant tailors, and 15+ people within the mentorship and business training program. The Ugandans we work with here are not only incredibly hard working, they are also so welcoming and genuinely fun people to be around.

L to R - Bosco, Wycliff, Raymond, Joska, Dennis, a friend of our guys, and Gideon

ALSO...I wore my goPRO to work the other day and I wanted to share with you all what a typical morning looks like for me. Enjoy! (and sorry if it makes you a bit dizzy...there is a lot of fast forwading involved haha!)



A few weeks ago I had the privilege of meeting this amazing woman and visiting her home. It is truly incredible to see her story come to life on film! Also, this video gives a really good insight into what life is like here at Krochet Kids Uganda - please watch!!


a saturday at Restore.

This past Saturday was quite possibly my favorite day here in Gulu thus far. 
In order to fully explain why...i'll have to back it up to a few weeks ago...

I was walking home from work one day with Charissa when we befriended a teenage girl and her younger cousin. The girl introduced herself to us as Winifred, aka Winnie. She had such a gentle voice, and a cool confidence about her that I liked immediately. We started talking and she was telling us how she was staying at her Aunt's house in Gulu trying to find a way to get back to school. I asked her where she went and she said Restore Leadership Academy. I had heard of Restore before coming to Uganda (senior year of college I read Bob Goff's book Love Does) and also because we have a couple guy friends who work there. Winnie said she was really praying for a miracle to get back to school and didn't know what to do next. A small part of me thought, this girl could be crazy, but that slowly faded once I realized how badly she wanted to go back to school to get an education- something we often take for granted in the states. I saw the sincerity in her eyes, and told her to come back to my compound in a few days to talk about it more.

Winnie came back with her cousin Bridget and we sat down on my front porch and talked about her schooling. She had already missed the first two weeks of term, but I told her not to worry. Weeks prior I had met an American guy out here named John who graduated from APU four years before I did. Turns out John is the man in charge at Restore Leadership Academy so I gave him a call, ended up seeing him at a futbol game the next day, and we worked out a way to get Winnie back to school. God works in crazy ways like that and its simply the best. 

So, fast forward to present time...Winnie has been able to go back to Restore Leadership Academy to finish off her Junior year of h.s. She has hopes to graduate next November and ultimately wants to be a veterinarian. I wish you all could meet her, she is the most incredible 17 year old I know. Shes brilliant, confident, a leader in her friend group, and amazing example to the younger girls, a singer, a dancer, and has an unwavering faith in Christ that is contagious. This past Saturday I was able to make it out to Restore (40 minutes from town) to visit Winnie....and coincidentally it happened to be the same day Bob Goff (founder of restore) was coming to visit with 30 other Americans - so basically it was the best day ever. It was so much fun seeing Winnie in her environment at school. She showed us her dorm room, her notebooks, the things she is learning, and her face beamed with pride and joy as she gave us a tour. 

I loved every minute of it...welcome to the best day ever...

Winnie is the second to the right...and these are the girls in her dorm. They were all hilarious and we had a blast talking about music we liked, food, school, what we wanted to do when we grew up, our hometowns, etc. 
We even spent some time doing some impromptu dancing 
This is Winnie's notebook on North America. She has incredible penmanship and I kept telling her how proud I was of how dedicated she is to her studies! 
Thats our friend Dave who works in the computer lab (donated by intel) at Restore. The primary kids loved scooting their chairs closer and closer to him hah 
Rice and beans for lunch!
running to welcome Bob Goff and the team
Dave gave this girl his glasses...hahah 
Primary students in pink, secondary students in blue and yellow 
Winnie suggested we stand like this! Restore is in the process of building a guest house (a mini hotel) on their property so when people come and visit they have a place to stay. We're standing in the almost finished dining room/kitchen area!
Mr. Bob Goff himself! Such a joyful guy! Its really awesome when you read someone' book (love does) and then get to meet them in real life. He is really so much fun and the kids loved taking photos with him.
The secondary (high school) students all live at school while the primary kids walk home to their surrounding villages. Maddy and I were able to walk some of them part of the way home and they are seriously the most friendly kids you will ever meet! Every year they are adding a new grade to the primary school to hopefully get all 7 levels! 
on the boda ride home from the best day ever

SO THANKFUL to have spent the day at Restore Leadership Academy. My heart was so full knowing that Winnie was thriving and loving life out there and I cannot thank the Lord enough for the way he orchestrated everything out. 

"Now to him who is able to do far more ABUNDANTLY beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the GLORY in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever AMEN." - Ephesians 3:20-21