Monday, November 29, 2010


The clock has struck twelve, and I wanted to take people through my typical evening.
I was to meet Patrick at 6pm, to talk about the chicken farm & see whats up. I was late (to my shame) 6:40. We walked to a not-so-nearby restaurant from a bustling, crowded, not so organized bus station.
We talked about food- the kids diets, after he re-produced the quotes he'd gotten for the chicken farm. We met a guy named Yasin, who ran the restaurant we went to when he conficated a card that asked for help- from a deaf guy.  He would later contribute good ideas like alternative/collective schooling, and some other stuff.

Patrick & I are trying to find a sustainable, cost-effective diet that DOESN'T CONSIST OF CORN-FLOUR 3x a day. Maize is their cheapest 'grain'/grain substitute, and the flour mixed with water & heated is what they give kids for lunch at school, with beans (which are ten times better than Heinz back home, btw). EVERYDAY FOR LUNCH. Breakfast is porridge (which after 5 months of thinking it was oatmeal I discovered it was again...: CORN FLOUR!! mixed with a touch of sugar, and boiled water- just more than what they get for lunch).
Of course, when the kids come home to the orphanage, they get: POSHO & BEANS- the sustainence food.

Patrick was kind enough to remind me, after 2 hours of wracking my already blood sugar depleted mind (which I addressed with a plate of fries.. not supposed to eat- how can wrong taste so right, I wonder?) the set-up of the home-phanage:
1 group: 43 in #- goes away to school at 8am (gets breakie, lunch- mentioned above) and comes home later in the day
2 group: comes to home-phanage at 8am and stays till 4- they are actually 60 community children who can't afford school, whom they feed breakfast (though it's ideal b/c its seldom there) and lunch (POHSO & beans it is!)- it's what they can afford.
We looked at cost effective ways to make more of things.
We produced the following priorities:
1. all meals are had
2. main meals are varied (i.e. not POSHO & BEANS) whenever possible
3. that they get ANY vegetables
4. that they get some fruit

Right now they are struggling with the first priority.
But get this- someone from the Netherlands (friend of a volunteer there) just pitched $250 towards them, refusing to be named. So now the children have food. My guess is that it can take them about 2- 2.5 weeks, ish.

With this tying them over for a while, I want to build something sustainable: CHICKEN COUPE (COOP) (COUPE)?? (CUP?) (CUP-A-SOUP?)

ANyways, the list is posted on my comments, so you can see which components are needed/how much they cost.
A few people have come out of the woodwork, really seeming to have perspective & trust towards this endeavor. Thank you for joining the team. I intend to keep us all informed as things roll out- but I want the chicken farm for this next week to be up- before I scoot. (WHAT A CHRISTMAS PRESENT!!). True Christmas

The way home was through dark, wide, downtown streets to the bus station. They were litterally littered in a littersome way. We passed a lot of people, but Patty caught these two boys & had to talk, an addiction of his. Our convo ensues:
[to come! sorry, technical issues- basically Patrick talks about living on the street and how they had to eat scraps & scavenge, spoken as we walk through the dark dirty streets]


-He's really good about keeping legitimacy & cooperation (of parents & authorities) in the home. Looks like we'll have 45 (plus the 60 day-timers) to feed.

Then I took a bus- nope, can't find one- BODA home. Guy had glossy eyes and looked.. scary to a judgemental, overcautious Jamie, so I made sure I knew the way he was taking home. My pocket knife- how ridiculous is this- was open in my side pocket. On the ride, you think about things like: how best to not let your guy crash- talk or not talk, how-if ever- I would even actually use the knife, and how I' react if he took a de-tour (I've thrice hopped off the back of one for that cause, only once may have been legit).
I gave him some g-nuts (peanuts but littler) when we arrived down the homestrech on a used-to-be-garbage site on one of Kampala's many large hills. I jogged to a man at a bbq, out front of a shanty bar with men enoying their favorite corporate pasttime- watching English Premier league football, to get 1 dollars worth of goats meat- enough to satisfy- and brought him back my change to pay for the ride (3000 shillings or $1.50).

I got home to several sleeping people, there was Kennith, Jja Jja and Amos all in different spots in the big bedroom, where I entered out little comfy abode, and Bubeada had come to let me in before retiring to the small room, which is hers right now. Dora- the pastors wife- was at an all night prayer service- devout as she is, she needs a job and wants direction, and has been devoting herself in prayer.
Me- I sleep on the couch, which is good, because the most functional of our 3 power outlets is next to it, and I have my space here. The mosquitos find me, but the little super guys help clean them up. (I have geckos that run all over walls & ceilings- they're cool)
I swat a lot still though, and as I mentioned I sweat a lot too- like  right now. "Canadians hate showers when they come to Africa" said my old roomate Elvis- but thats because the "shower" is a bucket and cold water.
Super-cold stuff comes out of the shower head we're blessed to have, but last time I got a cold, so I avoid.

Anyways, so my task list for tonight- which began 30 minutes ago with two bowls of cow peas/oil and this blog, is underway- including a letter to CGC about a ongoing problem that hasn't been addresses, putting up some info on the chicken farm, and taking my turn on conquerclub,com- aka RISK (strategy board game), amongst a few other things.

Ok, be blessed & have a hay day today- thanks for tuning in.
PS I hear someone out side.
Usually when this happens, I pick up a [I LEAVE, I RETURN] knife and poke my nose out back. Three murders in this little area in the past 2 months, although 2 of them were by mob justice- basically the general public hating theives so much to beat them to death in the streets. It's a wild place I live in, and people still don't get it that although I'm white umm.. I LIVE IN THE GHETTO!! There's manisons after mansions not far from here, although Im not in one I'm still try to be aware of little impressions I give people.
I know if my heart is genuine, something true in it will win them over, but not all. I accept what fate comes, as long as I'm doing my best. SO when I'm not- and people are given the right impression of a guy being wrong inside his envionment- slacking, being around all day, not working but eating like it's leisureland.. then I get worried.
And rightfully so. Life is short & judgement, I feel more & more- since I've been here- will be based on what we have been given.
To him who's been given a little, a little is expected.
Much, much is expected. EYE OF THE NEEDLE basically concludes my typically philosophical/existential/spiritul thoughts to close the night, though my night has just begun...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Paint a picture by numbers

I was invited to share my thoughts on any topic of my choice on a Sunday morning with a group of very open minded villagers; they were almost all below middle age and there was children- about 25-30 in total,  They really impressed me with their charachter & wisdom, there was a lot of genuine people I met.

I shared my feelings/thoughts about hypocrisy in Christians with the church, and them being what the Bible says (the 3rd commandment, for example, or Chirst's hard-core warnings) is the worst thing a person could do, and which composes the current mission Christians have to address. A Christian first must walk a life worthy of the high claim it is to say one is "following after Christ" before trying to convince others of doing the same. I'm still trying to figure out what it all means though, and I know that Jesus sought out genuine people over self-rightous or overly-religious ones. I'm trying then, to be the former first; there's a lot of top-heavy people- of which I am one- with minds full of the knowledge of God, but whom know themselves very little. 
It makes people like lolly-pops- good stuff up top but sometimes just kind of bare bones down below.

Pastor Moses by numbers:

18- the number of wives his dad had. He was a Buganda tribal prince, people like to get close to power
83- bothers & sisters, of which he was the last-born. His mom left his father for (get this) lack of attention, and our young Pastor man ended up with one of his aunts
14- the age he was kicked out of his aunt's home, for having Christian beliefs. (His Prince father was a Muslim- who apparently & conveniently didn't believe in schooling children.
6- the number of year he worked between his grades 1 and 6
6 - the number of years he was educated (nick-named pa-pa at school, he'd work one year, and school the next). And we complained about our walk to the bus stop..
17still living in the slums of Kiseni (see my pics for some snap-shots), the age he set in his mind the truest purpose he could have is serving others spiritually
7- the number of churches he's planted, getting some solid movement going
34- the man's age; Moses is married, though with no children he's got 5 living with him
of his children were 'given to him' by their parents, saying "You've spoiled them, they don't respect our shrines anymore. You can have them now then"
29- the group size on the morning I went. some cool people there

(I want to join forces with this joyous man, and all that is being done through him...)
SwEEtTTT!! Mo' lives in an old converted witch-doctor's house (he had to dig up & burn some funny charms- armpit hair & snakeskin, chicken skulls..) but evenmoreso do some casting out to clean the place up; apparently all the neighbours didn't believe he'd slept there. Nobody would go near the place- the fruit would fall off the trees & rot, even the landlord halved the rent. So far 2 other doctors have left the village (complaining to the local council that their power/influence has been waning because of him) & he's claimed the village in the name of all God. [Child sacrifices still happen here in Uganda, amongst other evil things, at the hands of witch doctors. I think that sometimes we can be too logical here in North America. Evil is.. afterall evil, and this guy's leader is putting it to rest through him. I find him to have a great choice affinity and incredible perspective. And hes a chillin guy who smiles when he talks, but not creepily- its real, you know?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Today I saw...

a man, begging; he had no feet or fingers
I tried to help him, through a translator, by initiating conversation about a sustainable trade/income that he could manage 
(I met a similar man in Rio/Brazil who made a living from drawings)
but he only wanted money...
he needs understanding and his next meal, right now, so I left him with meat and my open offer to help find work

a child, sweetly sitting on the sidewalk, with dirty feet and no shoes
a busy city sidewalk... not like the one in my childhood neighborhood
I thought.."not money" and realized I'd bought water. 300 shillings or 15 cents = 1 bottle
then I turned back and left sweet crackers as well. 220 shillings or 11 cents = 1 pack
total expenditure = $0.26 (twenty six cents) + 1 child's day is revived

a large delivery truck with an adage on the side (not uncommon)
"promote Jesus' name"
and I wondered if that's what the world needed
not whether or not they needed Him, but
whether or not we need people throwing out his name, from 'rightous' lips (for doing so)
The third commandment (that's top three, remember)
Jesus' cautions (READ THIS)
He came to chill with the down-to-earth, & broken hearted, and those who knew themselves
as many of the religious were too much for even Him (in my view- you can check it out, i.e. John)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The village cycle of poverty? Eeek

UPDATE: Met with Patrick this AM, and after establishing there was a need gave 50,000 shillings (25$) to sustain them with the better part of a big bag of maize(corn) flour. They make 'posho', but this is 1D aid- it fills an emergency need, but is not long term (2D) or comprehensive (in the community- 3D).

Some good news! 2 donors came forward- in the Emtages from back in Ontario, and a commitment to pledge in general from my buddy Josh Schug, who will work in North Alberta and share the dough he rakes in working so very hard. Sweet. Also recieved was a 100$ cheque from the great mother-daughter duo (AND FAM) Tanya & Celita. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU (this goes towards Jja Jja's leg surgury fund). We also had a secret donor from the British Columbia Indian community offer strong support should Jja Jja need it for her leg. And Kellie for E-stuff & encouragement! (Am I forgetting anyone.. maybe? SORRY-if I do, forgive me!)
There's a young chap (a:15)
who sells cassava (like potato) wedges across the road for 5 cents a serving.
his family- brothers & sisters & mom
also sell charcoal, which he sifts through with his hands
from like.. 6am until around 10 pm, (on a day without school)

But in the meantime, the boys pasttime & passion is Rugby- his possible way out of the cycle of ridiculous poverty. He is strong, has charachter, and Uganda has a good Rugby system. He should be at a 2 week camp right now, but his mom keeps preventing him with excuses and more work.
I think she's scared to let go (aka CODEPENDENT), something I saw rise in our family through the ages.
So, she's crushing his dreams. We had a heart to heart where i told him to be honest with her about how important it was and is to him. I don't know if he mustered the courage.

Fear (of not being loved) is the glue holding the wheel of poverty in place, I think.
I see the problem, but how do I help? Since the cure for fear of conditional love is Unconditional Love, I reminded him He was Created and is cared for, in a true way. It seems superficial on the outside, but if he accepts it, he will find in the moments he does such a hope- from the light of faith/positivity (call-it-what-you-want) in his life, no matter what. And that will see doors open, I believe- doors that might otherwise be missed by negative inferences & (more heavily) actions

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Word with the JJaaJ Jja


Ok, she's doing well: because she's in our house (and has been 3 weeks now)
-she's become a member of the family (we're starting to get her to contribute, by knitting & selling- soon)
-she is very grateful, but she not perfect (I can go into her struggles & story in comments, if you are interested)

her leg was put into a cast after 1 week (loong week)
-at first we were going to take her to a private clinic, but Amos (one of 3 of us adults in the house) connected with a public hospital doc and said we can get her surgery for free (it's been a LLOONGG 3 weeks, 2 visits, and other attempts though)
- I am growing impatient with the system
(and.. ITS CLEAR to see why she'd been booted from the ER with a still broken leg, the system for emerg here is struggling- they didn't even make sure she got back to where she was staying. With all her money taken (common if you get hit unconcious- I've seen it 2 times) she was left on the street after being turned away from hospital (for not having 'someone to stand for her'), only to sprawl on the sidewalk and be passed by.. thousands. I'M GLAD YOU CARE FOR HER- FROM ALL THE WAY OVER THERE.

-There will still be surgery fees, so you can stay excited ( =) ) about continuing with your commitment (in financial support). THANK YOU. She's sweet and she's very grateful. But if she wasn't we'd still try to help

FOR NOW.. I'm going to check again with the hospital, to advance to the next step (so far we've made progress each time, but the process is subject to subjectivism). Fewer fees though I'm triple checking on that*

Jja Jja thanks you for caring!


I'm starving, because the madam (my friend Amos's wife) who lives in our family didn't have dinner ready by 7 as she said. but like 10:30. In a nutshell they live with me here- we live in community, and we serve eachother & everyone has their role. Mine is more rent related, but truth be told when all things are well the load is equal.

But far worse than my meager longing-for-supper-hunger is the surprise I got in a phone call to my man, Patrick. I'll tell you more later maybe, but he's a 20 year old orphan, trying to care for as many street children as he can. Blessed to be given a home, he houses 43 of possibily the most inspiring young people (below grade 8) I've ever met in one go.

But tonight things weren't so well. The sacks of rice/posho(ground corn)/beans which they feed from were all but empty this morning, so they haven't eaten today. WOWZERS.

(Patrick is assisted by a few others- another F/T teacher - to ANOTHER 60+ community children who have no school fees- whose name is WIlliam, and also lives at the house, as well as a mother who lost a child but stayed on to help, and a volunteer couple from northern Europe who are mostly teachers).

ANyways, I'm mad at Patrick for not caling me- as I told him to- but I know he goes hungry along with the kids. It may SOUND irresponsible, but these kids are still 10x better off at an orphanage that lacks food once in a while than being on the streets and all that goes with that (starvation included!).

Sooo... thats what going on tonight.
Thanks for tuning in.
(Oh, I plan to.. yes, call a church in the morning to see if they'll want to help.If they say no, than I'll turn to other sources, like a family back home (The EMtages!) and other faithful/compassionate supporters who come out to help out. This is only emergency action though, we're building a chicken farm/raising support for it, and I hope to be helping organize. This is little too, a lot of people I know are realizing their pot'l & doing much- i.e. my former manager Hannah of CWG Canada facilitates about 80 kids school fees getting sponsored. So COOL!)

-PIC: we sent this to Tele-company (Orange) after they donated left over shirts. Yeay!


Namaste, Cle Kio, Welcome

Ok, basically I want to share some of my experiences in the closing weeks of Uganda in this blog. SOme things will be surprising, like the extent of poverty, ignorance, and perhaps humility in the people & places I encounter.

I want to keep it short, sweet, and positively controversial.
Hope you become a part & enjoy.

Peace & war (which brings peace, necessarily at times)
Yours truely,