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Day 341 - It's here!!!!

>> Sunday, August 15, 2010

So the day has finally arrived! We leave for Uganda tonight (first leg of the journey is an overnight flight to London). I'm all the things I was last year (nervous, excited, exhilarated) and more (sooo happy to be able to see my friends there again, stressed 'cause Ryan from GIVE isn't on this trip and overseeing everything is up to Chris and I, and not quite as excited about the actual travel part as I was last year 'cause I now know that the journey there is a long and tiring one).

I am incredibly thankful though for this amazing opportunity, and I know that this will be a great, purpose-filled trip!

I'm going to try and keep a daily journal while I'm there (I tried last year, but there were some days where I just felt too tired at the end of the day to do much of anything). I really want to document this trip well, so I hope to have some detailed stories to share when I get back.

Please keep our team in your thoughts and prayers, and I hope everyone has a great couple of weeks!

See you in September!


Day 335 - a few things about Uganda . . .

>> Monday, August 9, 2010

I love Uganda for many, many reasons - it's a fascinating country and would take me much longer than one blog post to articulate why I love it so much. I thought I'd take a few minutes though on this 'ole blog of mine, to share with you some things about one of my favorite countries that you might not know. So here goes:

* "U-gan-da or U-ghan-da?" A question that I've been asked by more than one person when they find out I'm going back. From what I know, you can say it both ways, but most people (including the locals I met on our last trip) would pronounce it "U-ghan-da." You can actually also pronounce it "oo-gan-da". Interestingly, I've also seen Uganda spelled "Ughanda".

* The two official languages of Uganda are English and Swahili, but there are a ton of different indigenous languages and dialects, and Luganda is pretty much the major language spoken in Southern Uganda

* Uganda's largest export is coffee

* 84% of the population is Christian

* Winston Churchill was the one who coined the term "The Pearl of Africa" while describing Uganda's beauty

* Lake Victoria (on the southeastern side of Uganda) is the third largest lake in the world

* At 236,040 sq km, the country of Uganda is slightly smaller than the state of Oregon in the U.S.

* Uganda achieved independence from the UK in 1962

* The movie "The Last King of Scotland" (which takes place in Uganda) was also filmed in Uganda!

* Uganda has about 2.5 million orphans

* Uganda is one of the few remaining places in the world where Mountain Gorillas reside (im fact, at least half of their population is in Uganda)!

* the average humidity is 80.3% (my frizzy hair would attest to that)!

* the average annual family income is $200.00 US dollars

* the source of the River Nile is in Uganda (near Jinja)

* the highest mountain range in all of Africa is in Uganda (the Rwenzori Mountains)

Those are just a few little interesting tidbits about the country I'm going back to in just a few short days!!


Day 334 - one week to go!

>> Sunday, August 8, 2010

Well today marks the start of our one-week countdown! I can't believe that one week from today we'll be getting ready to head to the airport! We had a great morning at church - our lead pastor called the team up in front of the congregation during both services and had everyone pray for us. It's a wonderful thing - to be prayed for, and know that our church family will be keeping us in their thoughts and prayers while we're away. It was also nice just to be at church with everyone to be honest. I usually work on Sundays during the day and can't go to church too often, so when I can it's always nice - especially today when the whole Uganda team was there and we could have this time together in service before we leave next week.

After church, we had a team meeting to go over some details, and then a bunch of us went out for lunch. Hearing everyone talk about how excited they are just keeps getting me more and more excited, and I'm counting down the days (and hours) until we can load all our luggage into the van and head out! Chris and I have spent the last two days running around Markham and Mississauga, having doctor's appointments, running errands and doing all of our trip shopping and getting final trip details sorted out. I still feel like we have a lot to do this week, but I know it'll all get done and it's more just the "pre-trip stress" I always get before we go away. I'm actually having a rather relaxed afternoon right now - I'm sitting on our couch in the family room, working on trip paperwork on Chris' laptop (okay besides taking a break right now to update my blog), but I have the "Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers" movie playing in the background, so I still feel pretty chill (while getting things done - awesome)!

On a fundraising note - it looks like we've made it! We had a great week last week for fundraising - a lot of cheques and online donations came in, and we got a large sum from the church, which is such an amazing blessing! To have the fundraising side of the trip finalized is a huge weight off all our shoulders, and we are so incredibly thankful to everyone who has supported us financially!

I'll try and do some more blog posts before we leave. It's gonna' be a really busy week, but I'll get in a few updates over the next several days. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!


Day 330 - kinda' out of it . . . .

>> Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I had to go to my travel doctor today to get my third (and final) Hep B vaccine. I normally don't mind shots at all, and hardly ever have allergic or adverse reactions to anything.

Not the Hepatits B vaccine apparently! I knew going into it that I may have some issues - when I had the second shot several months ago, I started feeling sick about 10 minutes after leaving the doctor's office and then felt like I had the worst flu ever for about 24 hours straight (and then felt fine after that). When I told him that today, he said that kind of reaction was very rare and that although I may have the same kind of reaction with the third shot, I probably wouldn't. He did say we could forego it altogether, but of course I'm like "no no, I'll be fine - it's cool".

Well I get the shot, feel fine afterwards and head to work. Sure enough, after being at work for only about 10 minutes I start feeling really, really weird. Thankfully I didn't feel flu-ish or even sick really - I just felt really weird. It's hard to explain, it's kind of like I felt just really drugged or something. I was kinda' just out of it - even my co-worker was asking "are you sure you're okay?". My head felt really foggy and everything felt kind of dreamlike and not real. It was the weirdest sensation, probably made even the more weirder by me simply thinking "wow - this is really weird . . ."

Argghh - it was not fun, although thankfully a few hours later my head started to feel a bit clearer, and now I'm feeling pretty normal again.

Needless to say I am not fond of the Hepatitis B vaccine, although I recognize it's importance and I'm okay with dealing with some temporary side effects so I don't ever actually need to suffer from the horribleness that is Hep B. It's just scary to react to something and not really be able to do anything about it and just wait it out.

I do quite like my travel doctor - he really is very knowledgable and I find him really funny at times. We were talking today about possible malaria medication for me as I'm allergic to Malarone (of course the one thing I'm truly allergic to just happens to be the best and most popular anti-malarial available). He talked about the first option, which sounded okay, then started talking about the other option. When I asked him about the side effects for that one and that I'd heard they could be pretty bad, he goes "well yeah, there is a chance you could go slightly psychotic on that one."

Hmmm - I think I'll go with option #1 . . . .


Day 327 - What??!!

>> Sunday, August 1, 2010

How in the world can it be August 1st already? Seriously, what??!!

I am in serious denial that July has come and gone. I kinda' feel like July just passed me by completely and I have yet to experience anything "summerish"! I've only been to the beach once for goodness sake, and I'm a total beach bum!!

Most of me is actually stoked that it's August, as we leave for Africa in less than two weeks now, but I know that it'll be September when we get back and in my mind that means summer is over! It's also stressful, as my work schedule is a bit crazy right now, and I still have some scheduling to do for our trip, and shopping and packing, and all sorts of last minute prep work.

Oh time - you're going by too quickly!


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