Posts Tagged "Africa"

Uganda Last Day

I dreaded this day to come.  I have really enjoyed waking up each morning to see these women and learn more about them.  I left the house earlier to be able to be with them longer.  I’ve loved walking up to the workshop each morning and making the greeting call! Over the last few days I noticed I had become more of a physical touch person as I’ve connected with these women.  I’m sure part of it is their culture but I don’t want to think that. I am choosing to think that physical touch comes natural to them therefore it made it natural to me. I realized as I’ve analyzed my experience that once again I went into this experience with love and confidence and not fear. It was that love and open heart that allowed me to be raw and real and present with these women and touch and soothe their minds. I wanted this day to last longer but we had to polish up the library to get it presentable to the community and so I had to step away from what I was feeling and put it on hold. I then came back and videoed two of the women and asked what gift I had given them.  Monica and Sherfia both expressed the gift of awareness to love themselves and to be more confident. I was able to bring a few kitchen gadgets to help ease their preparation in the kitchen. I gathered tongs, vegetable peeler, and paring knives.  I presented it to them on this last day and you’d think they won a car or something.  Repeatedly they said over and over again, “thank you Sarah”  They were so appreciative just as they were with the skirts we gave them the first day.  I had to explain step by step how to use these tools because they had never seen one. We also got Luta to share his talent of dancing with us.  We had learned throughout the week the Ugandan traditional dance move.  Which was basically shaking our hips a lot.  We wore the traditional attire and had straw and fur that excentuated our hip area to help us look like we were doing it right.  It was so fun to see the women’s reaction when they saw all of us “muzungu’s” come out and perform for them. As we made preparations for the library grand opening the Musana women wanted to sing a song so they all gathered in the back area and started practicing.  I came around the corner and saw this beautiful scene of all the women circled around each other looking and singing to each other.  The sisterhood that they share is quite impeccable. They lean on each other in the good times as well as the bad.  When Florenece was sick in the hospital they each took turns taking her meals.  Because hospitals here you have to take care of your own needs.  Or when Rosettes husband died she went right to her sisters at work for strength and support. They are a Relief Society already. Building each other up and bearing one another’s burdens.  So as they sang together I just broke down in tears and Ruth couldn’t join them so I sat next to her and held her and just cried like a baby. These women believe that I will go back home and never think of them again.  But little do they know that I have plans to remember their stories and I’m going to share them and hang their picture up next to my...

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Uganda Day Seven

Started off the morning with a mirror exercise that I do each morning called, “Love Yourself From The Inside Out“(click to download) so I shared it with the women!  So powerful! I gave each of them a handheld mirror and you think they had won the lottery!  They shouted with such excitement and energy it was incredible! I began to share with them that this will help them realize and think about themselves and what they are good at. We give and give to others but we fail to take care of ourself first so that we have the energy to give to others. Some women said after it was over that they never knew that they were to love themselves first!!!!  Wait what??  It was a new concept and they were so appreciative of this very simple exercise It was great to hear what they are good at.  Some said being compassionate, eating, loving others and then they spoke gratitude. Gratitude for their health, a job, their families. Then toped it off with a goal that they want to accomplish that day.  Some said make 70 bumbo beads, be a hard worker, smile at someone new, etc. This experience once again solidified why I chose to do this for myself each morning too.  To take the time each day to express love to myself.  To practice sharing with myself what I am good at and what I am grateful for.  It has built my confidence in myself and I know it can be with anyone who tries it. The remainder of the day was prepping the library with indexing the books, putting down flooring, and polishing up the artwork on the wall.  We are getting...

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Uganda Day Six

Musana got some new tables for the workspaces so my job today was to clear out space for them and rearrange the new tables.  I will help the women to be more efficient in their work by having the tables against the walls and will also make it more personal for them. When we go make house visits we have been taking pictures of them outside their homes with their families and will print them off a picture to have at their workspace. Along with those workspaces we organized the supply room.  Talk about supplies.  They have so many beads!!  It was a disasterous mess.  I found a lot of really unique pieces and I’m excited to bring some jewelry home with me.  I just love organizing and each of the women came in and were in shock of how neat and clean it was.  Hopefully it says that way. I took a break and showed a few TRX moves and that was just hilarious.  They are so funny because they don’t take exercise seriously. After our workaday we got the privilege once again to go visit 3 of the artisans in their homes.  My partner was Janet and we went with Susan, Rosette, and Immaculate. Immaculate We started off with immaculate in her home and she has 4 children.  We walked in and her home was a big room with the curtain to divide.  Most of the homes are this way. She shared about how her mom taught her hard work and wants that for her children and then feared that she wouldn’t have food for her children.  Which that seemed to be the same theme throughout all the women. Once again we talked about the men and how they don’t take care of their families and just leave them to fend for themselves.  I just can’t fathom that.  But on the other end these women are just as shocked hearing about how men in America are more vigilant in their homes and families.  We shared our own personal experiences with our husbands too. Rosette We then came to Rosettes home.  A very humble home.  No couches.  We sat on mats.  Her 18yr old son was there and joined in on our conversation.  Our conversation started heavy.  Just 3 weeks prior her husband died. Her stepmother taught her hard work but through pain.  However she would teach her children to believe in God, be hard working and go to school because she didn’t.  She wants them to know that she is the mother and the father now and to respect others. Then she asked us advice on how to be a single mother now.  Janet was a single mother so she talked about support men and women. Then she talked about showing love to her children and to share stories about their father and stay close to God. I asked her 18yr old son to share to his mother how she has taught him.  His response was about her lifestyle and to believe in God. Hard working, provided us with an education and he has a belief that his father is looking down on them now. What makes Rosette happy is seeing her children happy and going to school, gospel music, and to see them succeed. Rosette asked us what happens in America after the husband died.  Because in her situation she was blamed for her husbands death and in their culture the husbands family takes all the wealth.  So she is left with nothing. Susan Susan is quite the leader of the pack.  She’s like the mother...

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Uganda Day Five

Our class today was on creating a meal plan.  So I asked each of them to draw out 3 sections for growth, protection and energy.  Then I asked them to put down on item in growth and energy and then 2 in protection. Most of these women have never done such a thing before.  I was able to provide them with another way to approach food.  Because they would typically add 2 items of energy foods on their plates because its cheaper.  But because of our lesson the previous day about the different fruits and vegetables and the benefits to each one if they eat it they have begun to see that paying a little bit more money for those foods would benefit them in the long term and not just short term. We got to go back to the Canon School and teach the children these same topics but of course catered to their needs. Leslie went on to teach the teachers of that school how to be better effective teachers.  She began with a simple yet powerful model of beginning by sharing about themselves to open up communication and not have full control of the classroom.  Allow them an opportunity to make contributions too to help in their learning environment. We all learn through stories and sharing. You can’t teach with words alone. You need to experience it. How does it increase my understanding of what it is?  She then passed out root beer barrels which is a candy.  She asked them, “What doest that taste like?  Describe it?  Are you helping your students understand how to taste root beer?” When you share a message its: 7% words 30% voice 55% body language I learned alot from that class not just those teachers.  I am in awe of the women I am here experiencing this trip with.  They all have so much to contribute and I feel so honored to work along side them. Our power went out tonight twice. It was quite the experience as well as the water stopped working. We’ve had quite the African experience....

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Uganda Day Four

First thing this morning was we got to experience shopping at the market.  We shopped for fruits and vegetables to share for our first nutrition class.  It was quite the site to see fresh fish being filleted on the concrete getting their guts pulled out. The previous night Leslie received a question from one of the artisans which lead to a way to make nutrition real to them.  She asked, “how do you take care of your skin?” And Leslie replied, “I eat my fruits and vegetables”. Then she had a big aha moment to improve our class.  We decided to share the benefits of the vegetables that they use. As I sat back and observed Leslie give the first class I realized just how simple these women live and the knowledge they don’t have in regards to nutrition.  We shared the food groups pie chart and for them which I think is brilliant they understand that fruits and vegetables are for protection, proteins are for growth, and carbs are for energy. As she shared I could just see their eyes and faces and they were just in awe of the simpleness of our message.  It was super basic but yet powerful because later that night one of the artisans came by to lock up the shop and she was carrying her market bag and I asked her what she bought and she said, “Sarah, I bought my greens to improve my immune system”. It worked!  Now the test will be to stick to it.  The final class I will teach them is about habits that will help them use more vegetables. I then taught the second class and shared what I teach and how I help women move better. I talked about using the TRX straps to build muscles to make you healthier and so you don’t have any pain. We ended the day prepping the library space for...

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