“you are welcome here.”

Things are going well, and the internet is peforming better than I anticipated, so expect loads of updates (and photographs). Hooray!

This morning I went to church with the children. Speechless. I have not seen another white person in this area of town.  There are some Korean and Israeli volunteers I’ve met, but they work with UPA…which is a 40-minute walk away.  Regardless, I was nervous about church this morning.  I expected to be the only muzungu and get a lot of stares (which I was and which I did).  However, the moment I walked in one of the greeters came up to me.  She shook my hand, looked at me and said, “You are welcome here.”  Thank you Jesus!  It was a very charismatic service held in a shed of a barn.  Something about being away from the Westernization of church (aka the coffee shops, bookstores, fancy gym facilities) was really nice. Not that I mind all the amentities of the churches I’ve attended, but the people at this church (including the ridiculously large children’s section which stayed in the main service) were there simply to worship God and fellowship with one another.  I don’t know how the churches here work exactly, we got there after the service started and before the service was over…and we spent well over two hours there.  I guess people just come and go as they please?  I gave the children each 100 shillings to put in the offering (less than 10 cents a kid) and they loved it.  I gave some of the other children in our section some shillings as well, and in turn they loved me.  One girl (not from Another Hope) started to cry when the bench spots beside me filled up and she couldn’t sit with me.  A lady in the row behind me explained the situation to me, so the little girl came over to me and I picked her up and sat her on my lap.  Another girl (again, not from Another Hope) just sat beside me and grabbed my hand. 

I walked to the main street by the orphanage by myself for the first time yesterday.  I just wanted to get a bottle of water and 10,000 shillings of credit for the international cell phone Ruth is letting me use.  I called my mom, and (unknowingly to her) almost burst out in tears at hearing her sweet American voice.  All English, all the time.  I don’t mean that to be ignorant to any of the cultures I’ve met, because it really is interesting and a great learning experience.  But I long just to understand what people are saying. I called my dad next for a few minutes and caught him up on everything to this point, seeing as he is NOT reading my blog. Good job, Pops. Oh, and those two short calls used practically all of the credit I had bought, but it was worth it.

Right now Veronica Mars is on the television station they have here. PRAISE JESUS!  A show I understand.  A few of the older children (specifically Helen, Halima, Natasha, Peter, Matovu) here are really patient with me, as they translate simple things for me time and time again.

They’ve fed me matake (spelling?) for the past three meals. I don’t know why, I never finish it all.  I don’t like it. It’s got the consistency of mashed potatoes, but it’s cooked green bananas.  I’d be much happier eating rice and beans with the children.  Hopefully tomorrow the UPA volunteers will go out to lunch and I will go with them again.  I got a meal for under $2 last time.  It wasn’t fancy; rice, beans, a sweet potato, and a Coke.  The sweet potatoes are different here.  I like them, a lot.

I can hear you thinking to yourself, “Enough with the talk, get on with the pictures.”  Fine, be that way. 

I caught Frida sleeping, which isn’t hard to do with any of the little ones.

Being artsy-fartsy with my new camera.  Drying laundry the old-fashioned way.

Lilian practicing a fish face.

Aneesha getting the “Shannon” face down. 

Oh the luxury of a flushing toilet! Never again will I sit on one and forget to thank Jesus.  This is the pit latrine. If only you could smell the amazingness.

I love you and I miss you, but now Four Kings are on and they speak English!

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6 responses to ““you are welcome here.”

  1. As Grandma Honey said, “God is tricky” I’ll fill you in later.

  2. your entries continue to leave me speechless! i’m enjoying experiencing this with you through your blog. absolutely amazing. and those kids? they know whats up. its the worst when you dont get to sit by THE colleen watson. haha, ❤

  3. I love to hear from you thru your blog. Keep smiling God is working thru you in more ways then you know.
    Lilly says that she likes girl named Lillian 🙂 she wants tell that you know a Lillian in America LOL
    Lilly says she loves and misses you. She also says that she is very proud of you. (she is sitting next to me as I just read your blog to her)
    Love you bunches, Sherrie and Lilly

  4. Hey Colleen – Sherrie passed along your blog and I am very glad she did. What you are doing is an amazing thing and I am looking forward to following along via your blog. Will be keeping you in my prayers as well. Aunt Nancy

  5. Colleen!! I love your updates! (I cannot lie…I cry everytime.) Even though I can’t talk to you…I still feel connected through your blog and emails. I know I told you this already but I’m super proud of you!!! super proud! Especially after seeing that pit latrine. Wow…um…you are brave my friend. Not sure I could handle that. Church there…I bet it was really cool. I’ve only heard stories from friends that have been there and I’ve seen videos…and I just love how they worship. I can only think of one word…amazing. I would hate to not get to sit by the Colleen too. 😉 Well sister…I have some work to do, so I must go. I miss you and love you tons!!! oxox

  6. Colleen – wow, this is such an amazing experience for you… and I am so proud of you for truly embracing it! You are so amazing… truly an inspiration. I am not the least bit surprised that all of the kids adore you and just want to be in your presence. God bless!!

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