new construction

The kids have been busy building houses the past couple of days…

…building card houses that is!

By accident, I discovered that the kids had never heard of building houses with playing cards before.  This discovery has turned into hours of construction.


a couple of houses I helped them with

 


they have to watch out for busy sisters who don’t understand the delicacy of building with cards:)

 


they’ve decided the floor is a more stable option than the table

 

As expected, there have been some arguments and threats of “wind storms” to knock each other’s houses down, but overall they are really enjoying it.
For example, today, one of the boys blew over his sister’s house, so I gave her permission to knock his house down one time, she can choose the day and time and doesn’t have to warn him.  She really liked that “punishment.”

 

much love!

fresh

One thing that is not in short supply around here is fresh fruits and vegetables.  A perk of living in this equatorial climate is the fresh food year-round.  

It’s pretty cool seeing how much Sam’s mini-garden, here at the house, has grown.  He planted it towards the beginning of April, and this was taken earlier today:


there are various greens, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, and other produce

 

This is corn Sam has planted on CITY land.  It is doing really well.

 

Maddie really enjoys fruit, which makes me happy.


really liking the watermelon

 

When things are in season, there is potential to have a lot any one fruit or vegetable. 


avocados given to us

And yes, we ate all of those avocados:)

 

Have you been enjoying any fresh fruits or vegetables lately?

much love!

masking up

Slowly, the restrictions of our lockdown are being lifted.
As of today, we are allowed to start driving private cars, again.  This is with the limit of three passengers and everyone has to wear a face mask.

So what did Sam do today?
He took Maddie with him to the garden!


about to leave this morning

 

I am thankful for having time during the day to work on a few things, but in all honesty, I miss Maddie’s little interruptions.

Sam typically has a number of projects going on in the garden.
Here are some of the current projects:
– expanding the pigs’ house and moving the pigs over
– finishing one of the rooms, to be used for sleep and storage
– roofing a room so we can move the goats to the garden
– packing bricks (getting them stacked for baking)
– growing produce (including tomatoes, matooke, cabbage, cassava, and corn)


part of the pig house expansion

 

We are thankful that restrictions are being lifted.
Maybe, just maybe, I’ll even get to leave our house sometime soon:)


no, we don’t usually wear masks around the house:)

 

much love!

 

life, love, kids, lockdown, Mukono, Uganda, Africa, restrictions, driving, freedom, garden, farming, baking bricks, face masks, CITY Uganda

our Daisy-do

The following is better if read (sung) to the tune of The Brady Bunch theme song:)

Here’s the story
Of a cow named Daisy
Who came to our house last year
She has brown and white fur
All over her body
And two white horns on her head

It’s the story
Of our cow named Daisy
Who gives us milk everyday
She used to have a son
We called him Danny
Sadly, now she’s all alone

Everyday we give her grass and peels to eat
She can eat and drink a lot
Daisy is such a sweet, sweet cow
That’s the story of our dairy cattle, Daisy

Our cow Daisy, our cow Daisy
That’s all about our cow named Daisy


our cow, Daisy!

 

much love!

amanda*

In case you didn’t know, we cook most of our food on charcoal stoves.


cassava and matooke cooking for supper

 

With everyone being home all the time, we’ve been going through more charcoal than normal.  Which is not surprising.
We are making our own charcoal “supplements” to help our supply last longer.  We’ve done it before, but are doing it a bit more seriously now.

These “supplements” are little charcoal balls.  They are made by mixing soil and water together with charcoal dust and small pieces.

 

After the mixture is made, little balls are formed

 

Then placed in the sunshine to dry

 

It’s a messy job, that’s for sure!

 

When it comes time to cook, less charcoal [than normal] is put on the stove and a few of the “supplement” balls are added!

Is there anything you’ve started doing during your lockdown?

 

much love!

 

*amanda is the Luganda word for charcoal:)

reading, writing, and arithmetic

What have you been doing during your lockdown?
I feel like I’ve had so many mom fails over the last few weeks, but I also know that in the long-run, it will all work out.

I think my biggest “fail” was using the wrong device to get school work for three of our kids. Their school actually uploaded notes and assignments online.  Well, little did I know, I would be able to access them, but only the first page. Two weeks later, I tried again and there are multiple pages for many of the subjects.

For example, our one girl had notes to copy for Computers, for two weeks she has had one page.  Yesterday, when I looked, there were actually 66 pages of notes for her to copy!


working on their school assignments

 

Most of the younger kids were not given any work to do.  So, I have made work for them on various days.  Some days we work on reading, spelling, or the multiplication table.  Not sure how much they’ve actually learned over the last few weeks, but I don’t think their brains have turned to mush!


doing work I gave them

 


Maddie always wants to join

 

I think the thing I have enjoyed about their work, is the enthusiasm to read.  As some people put it, they don’t have a reading culture here; a lot of people tend to read, only if they have to.  Well, a few of our kids have really taken to reading and that makes me smile.


reading (an I-Spy book:)

 


hard to put down a good book, isn’t it?!

 

Besides school work, we have started exercising some mornings; they also watch TV and play some games.


running up and down the hill behind our house

 


playing Ludo – it’s kind of like Sorry

 

What are some things you have been doing during this time of quarantine?

 

much love!

 

and the lockdown continues

Sometimes, it’s hard to fully understand what things are like in other countries. Even in other cities in the same country.

So often, our opinions and perspectives are shaped by our own experiences.

As much as I am an American, it’s hard for me to really understand what it’s like in the USA with the virus spreading and the various levels of lockdown. That’s something I’ve never experienced while in America.


young American me:)

 

The way it’s hard for me to understand what’s going on in America, it’s probably hard for you to understand what it’s like in Uganda. I thought maybe a couple of stories from here might give you a better understanding.

I can’t speak to what things are like for everyone, each house is different. In the capital, Kampala, there are restaurants and grocery stores that do delivery, that’s not an option around here.


mingling posho

 

Most all of the food we eat in our house is fresh. We don’t really buy any ready-made food, canned goods, or frozen food. Those aren’t really options or even practical for us.

Having a ban on public transportation makes it harder for many people to get food.


we have started using our bicycle more, in order to get things or go somewhere

 

Take for example, the people who work for us in the garden.  They have no car, no motorcycle, or bicycle.  If they want to go anywhere or get anything, they have to walk.  With the ban on public transportation, the amount that Sam goes to the garden has dramatically decreased.  When Sam does go, he takes larger amounts of food for them to cook, and is more often giving them money to buy ingredients.


in the garden last week

 

Then there is a family we know, let’s call them Dwaine and Elsa.  Dwaine usually drives boda boda (motorcycle) as a way to make money; everyday, he leaves home and heads out taking people where they need to go on his motorcycle. With the ban on public transportation, they no longer have a source of income.  

They had been making bricks to bake and sell, sadly, after a big storm, they lost a lot of bricks.  Currently, they have no way to make money.  Any money they get at this point, goes to buying food for the two of them and their two daughters.

Unfortunately, this story is not unique.  From the first mention of the lockdowns, people started saying that more people are going to die of starvation in Uganda than from Coronavirus.

Yesterday, the President announced the lockdown will continue for another 21 days.  
Also, there are now 55 confirmed cases within Uganda.

I don’t want to end on such a dreary note.  Although that’s the reality here, there is still joy and laughter.  
Yesterday, I was working on my computer, the kids had been helping Sam outside, when all of a sudden, I heard an uproar of shouting and laughter.  When I went to check out the scene, this is what I saw…


most all of the kids playing ball

 

much love!

being locked-down

I know many of you reading this have already been experiencing some form of a lockdown or stay-at-home order.  
Over the last few weeks, the President has given orders to get Uganda to this point.

On March 18th, he announced that starting on Friday (March 20th), all schools would be closed for 32 days.  Not only would schools be closed, but also churches and large public gatherings.


a few of the kids doing the work I make for them

 

We woke up Sunday (the 22nd) to the first confirmed coronavirus case in Uganda. In the past couple of weeks, the number has steadily risen.  As of this morning, there are 44 confirmed cases in this country.

All borders to the country have been closed since the 22nd/23rd.  They have also stopped international passenger flights.  
Last week, all public transportation was stopped and shops that do not sell food or pharmaceuticals are not to open (like hardware stores, electrical shops, and clothes sellers).

This was already a huge hit to a lot of people in Uganda, not to mention the prices on most items being raised (although the president said that can’t happen).


trying not to waste any of our charcoal

 

Earlier this week, on Monday night, President Museveni announced the country would be starting a 14 day lockdown.  He gave a lot of information, but people were left confused and not sure exactly what was going to happen.  
Starting yesterday (April 1st), there are to be no private vehicles driving on the road, people are supposed to get permission before going to a health center, there is a curfew of 7pm, and basically, people should stay at home and not go out unless they have to.


a chart of the president’s directives

 

All this sounds well and good, not easy, but doable, until you realize that a great majority of this country live [as they say here] hand to mouth.  Meaning, a lot of people live day to day, working for their next meal.  This is a not a place where people have savings accounts and credit cards.

There are a great number of people out of work right now and they are not sure how to feed their family for the next two weeks or more.

 

This blog can’t end without a giant THANK YOU, to all of you who have helped us get food and necessary supplies to help us make it through the price-hikes and the lockdown.


after Sam got back on Tuesday – dry goods and produce

 

Sometimes I laugh when I look at how much toilet paper we have, knowing that we will totally go through it within a few months.  No, we’re not hoarding it, but how much toilet paper would you need in your house if there were 16+ people using it on a daily basis?!?


toilet paper and soap

 

Hope you’ve been able to make some good memories these past few weeks, despite the lockdowns and strange lifestyle.

 

much love!

living in Uganda, during a pandemic

I have started to type, deleted, then started to re-type this a few times now.  It’s hard to know what to say when there’s something so big going on, that it is impacting the whole world.

As of Sunday morning, the first confirmed case of Coronavirus was in Uganda.  


Sam going out to get some necessary food on Saturday

 

Last week, the president preemptively (there had been no confirmed cases here) declared the closing of schools, churches, and any public gatherings like concerts or assemblies, for the next month.

Here at our house, we have talked with the kids about hygiene and the spreading of germs.  We have limited their movements and are making hand washing mandatory for anyone who enters our compound.


the kids washing their hands, feet, and shoes and trimming their nails

 

Living in Uganda, there is an aspect to this pandemic I hadn’t been expecting.  Even though the first confirmed case didn’t happen until Sunday, the prices of basically everything have already increased.
On Monday, Sam went to get produce; what normally would have been about $15, was $20.  On Friday, 50kg of sugar was around $38, it was about $52 yesterday (Monday).  I’ve heard the price for gas is actually down in America, it’s starting to go up here. 

While trying to limit everyone’s goings out, it means we are needing to feed 15+ people, all day, every day.  The price increases make it that much harder, because we go through a lot of food, charcoal, soap, and toilet paper. 


lunch being served, earlier today

 

If you feel led to help, we would be so grateful.
There are two ways you can help us meet our needs:

PAYPAL
(This is the fastest way for funds to reach us)

or

Through our regular donation platform.
These donations are tax-deductible and can be given HERE.

 

much love!

the new kid

A lot of people are talking about the Coronavirus.
It was announced yesterday, even though there have not been any cases in Uganda yet, they are closing schools for a month.  They are also saying churches, public transportation, and public gatherings should be limited.

With a lot of attention being given to how germs are spread, what preventive measures can be taken, and the number of infected people, I thought I would break-in and share something cute:)

On Monday evening, one of our goats gave birth.  She had a baby girl.


happy mommy and daughter

 

We hope you are able to find moments of peace and calm, despite stores being out of toilet paper!

 

much love