Monday, June 29, 2015

Hope Family

Hope Family has been a huge part of my and Catriona's lives here.  For the past three years, we have gone there at least once nearly every week, and we worked there full time for a month last August.  The six kids there now are very close to my heart and I am going to have a hard time saying good-bye.  Please pray for Catriona and I as we say good-bye and for the kids that they will continue to grow strong and healthy and that they will come to know their Father God who will always be with them and caring for them. Here are some pictures from the last couple of weeks.

Friday, June 12, 2015


At the beginning of May, we enjoyed a trip to Kobwin with our good friend Christine.  We took a walk and climbed some big rocks behind the centre to see the landscape.  The view is amazing and it is fascinating to see the differences between there and the area around Kasana.  In the afternoon, we were able to go to see some rock art with all of the Kobwin kids.  We squeezed into two vehicles and bumped down the road.  It was cool to see some Ugandan history and all the kids loved going somewhere in a car! That night Pastor David and Auntie Christine hosted us for a great Iteso meal.  On Sunday, we went to church and loved the joyful worship.  We left shortly after church and then spent a night in Jinja.  It was wonderful getting to spend some more time with our Kobwin friends.

David Family Camp

A couple of weeks ago, David Family got to go to Musana Camps.  We had an amazing time filled with lots of fun.  We drove down there on Monday and reached the camp just in time for lunch.  After lunch, we all got settled into our tents and then went down to the beach.  Some people went swimming, others played volleyball, and others just relaxed.  That night, we had a campfire where we sang songs, shared what we were thankful for, and ate mandazis (doughnuts), pineapple, and brown sugar, wrapped in aluminum foil and put in the fire.  Mmm...

The next morning, we had a couple of sessions and also played some games.  That afternoon we hiked to the waterfall and enjoyed getting soaked.  When we got back to the campsite, we had a huge water fight.  And the Musana Camps staff know how to water fight.  This meant that there was a tank of water on a tipper, pressurized by a generator, and sprayed threw a hose.  As we would say here, "It was serious." That night, after getting cleaned up, we had a Mystery dinner. Everyone was given a menu with strange names of foods on it.  Then they filled in a sheet to make 3 courses of food.  This resulted in strange combinations of food.  The worst combination was definitely fish soup and cake. It was really disgusting. was lots of fun.  After dinner, we had games night.  We had a lot of good laughs.

On Wednesday, we had some more sessions and some people went down to the beach again.  In the evening, we chatted and tried to walk the Slack line before dinner.  Dinner was delicious with pork, rice, and curried peas. We had another campfire that night and sang some more songs, and even roasted marshmallows!

The next morning, we packed up and got ready to go.  We ended up leaving after break.  On the drive back, we stopped for "chicken-in-your-face", sodas, and chapattis.  We got home around 4:30.  It was a wonderful time away and everyone enjoyed it very much.  I loved spending time with everyone and it was extra special to see Brian and Kakulu, two of our Treasures enjoying their time so much.  The photos are all from our friend Keziah.

Monday, May 25, 2015


On New Hope's logo, there are arrows shooting out from the country of Uganda.  Since last writing, we have had the privilege to see some New Hope kids (some who are now adults) spreading God's truth to other places in Uganda.  Two boys from Kasana started a band called "Kingdom Arrows" to reflect this and early in April they had a concert in Kiwoko, the town closest to us.  It was a wonderful time with great music.  The guys talked about how everyone has a "sphere of influence." They were influencing the media through their music which was glorifying God.  

We were also able to visit the New Hope kids who are attending the Kiwoko Hospital Nursing School.  Some of them actually graduated this month.  We know one of the girls well, because she lived in David Family during her Investment Year training.  She was a part of Daniel Family in Kobwin before that.  We enjoyed a picnic with the students--fried chicken and salad made by Auntie Constance.  It was a great time of fellowship with those young people.

The next Sunday we went to Kiruli for church.  It is a village about 30 minutes away from Kasana where Pastor Paul Kusubiira and his family live.  Pastor Paul was one of the very first Kasana kids and in addition to pastoring a church in Kiruli, he heads up New Hope's Pastoral Training Institute.  The week we were there, however, one of the guys from Kingdom Arrows was preaching.  It was his first sermon and he did an amazing job.  After the service, we ate lunch with the Kusubiiras, the rest of the Kasana people, and some people from Kiruli.  I was especially blessed to see one of the little boys who used to be in Hope Family.  I hadn't seen him since he left last year, and it was wonderful to see how well he is doing.  

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Number 100!

This is my 100th blog post in almost 5 years! Looking back on all that has happened, I am amazed at where God has brought me and my family.  (If you would like to have another look at one of the posts, click on the link.) My first post was about the experiences of my first two days in Uganda.  Now things that seemed strange to me then, seem normal now.  The next year, we returned again to New Hope and I enjoyed going to school with my friends. In early 2012, we made the decision to move to Uganda for two years! We were very excited when we arrived. We had some excitement for Thanksgiving when Mama Janet came to Kasana. We kept very busy during those first few months! Catriona and I had our first taste of a Ugandan delicacy.   That December, we enjoyed making some new Christmas traditions!  The next year I started helping in Treasures Class which has become a weekly occurrence that I always look forward to.  Our family had a quick trip back to North America, filled with visiting family and friends. We arrived safely home and jumped back into life at Kasana. We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving in October!  I killed my first snake! We enjoyed good times with Treasures Class and Hope Family. I had a wonderful 14th birthday and trip to Kobwin. We had a piano recital and I spent a month helping out in P.1! I also worked at Hope Family for a month. In August, we moved to our new house! In September, we went back to Canada for a month. Soon after we got back, I traveled to Kabale, a beautiful town/city in south-western Uganda, for a burial. We celebrated Christmas again and welcomed in the New Year with some good friends. The rest of the holidays were filled with fun activities. In March, we went on a busy trip to Kobwin, Musana, and Jinja.  In that time, I also celebrated my birthday!  And then sadly, a few weeks ago, we said good-bye to sweet Carolina

These have been a snapshot of the experiences of the past five years.  Actually in four days, it will be the five-year anniversary of us arriving in Uganda for the first time.  When I first stepped off the airplane on May 12, 2010, I never guessed that I would be writing this post today.  This blog has shared some stories of my life here.  Many stories have been untold, but I hope by reading "Christina in Uganda" you have understood a little of what it is like to live as an MK in another country.  The past five years have been a mixture of joy, sadness, love, peace, and discouragement, but I wouldn't trade these years for anything.  I am so blessed to have lived in Uganda for three years and be a part of the New Hope Uganda community. Webale nnyo Mukama!

Monday, April 27, 2015


The past couple of weeks have been filled with different emotions. If you have been reading Catriona's blog, you'll know that two weeks ago, precious Carol went to be with Jesus.  It's been really hard for me and for many others here at Kasana.  Sometimes it still doesn't feel completely real.  I'll be talking about the Treasures and I'll begin to say Hassan and Carol but then remember that Carol isn't there anymore.  I have cried many tears.  I miss Carol so so much but at the same time I am so happy that she is in heaven.  When she was here, she was often in so much pain.  She couldn't walk or talk or eat.  Now she is talking, running, singing, dancing, and as Brian and Wilson say, playing the guitar and the drum.  I have so many memories of Carol.  I remember visiting her at Hope Family when we were visiting in 2011. I'd sit beside her and sing songs or give her tickles.  I remember rubbing her tummy and singing to her at Special Needs.  I remember her huge smile when Auntie Christine would say her name.  I remember her tears when she wanted to be cuddled and then her smiles when someone picked her up.  I remember the morning songs at Treasures Class signing our names.  Carol, A. Christine, Catriona, and I had the same letter so we had different places where we put our "Cs".  I remember greeting her at Hassan's House. I am glad that I can look back on these times and that I am able to personally testify that Carol's life had a purpose.  When she first came to Kasana, no one thought she would survive.  Her five years of life were a miracle and God had a plan for every single day.  Carol had a huge impact on my life and the lives of so many others.  I know that God will use her life to bless others in the years to come.  I praise God that I know that Carol is in heaven with him, jumping, dancing, and singing, praising her Father God.  She is in no more pain.  She will never cry again.  She doesn't have to take any more medicine or get any more shots.  She is safe and she is alive!

Please continue to pray for Carol's dad, the Special Needs staff and children and others at Kasana as we continue to miss Carol.  Please also pray for the Treasures in Jars of Clay Program (click on the link to learn more) as they continue in their work.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Our Trip (Part 5)

On Saturday, we headed to the Kingfisher Resort for the day. We spent a lot of time in the pool (had to make up for over six months without swimming) and in the process got ridiculously sun-burnt.  Kasana and I had lots of fun making fools out of ourselves with our "water ballet" routine.  Meanwhile, most of our siblings pretended they didn't know us... We also did some pretty nifty jumping photos.  The adults and Tiegan went on a boat ride, Kynan and John disappeared somewhere to play football, and the teenagers swam and talked about all sorts of happenings at the Kingfisher.  For dinner, we went to Two Friends.  Jensen, Catriona, Kasana, and I shared a small pizza and some Indian food. Mmm... At this point, half an hour before dinner, I am salivating thinking of all the delicious food we ate on our trip.  Going to Two Friends was an adventure because we spent most of the meal trying to figure out who was the very important person who warranted a more serious security check at the gate and all the soldiers around carrying AK-47s. By the way, the AK-47s are normal, the soldiers are not.  Usually it is just a couple of security guards. We never did figure it out though.  But that and the huge group of people (25 people) that got there before our huge group of people, caused our meal to come quite late. Meanwhile, we watched rugby and football on the television. But when the food came at 9:20, we enjoyed it all the more.  

The next day, we packed up to leave.  The Mortons went to a brand-new church in Jinja which has been started by a man who used to work at New Hope.  We were blessed to be able to attend the first service.  It was an open structure with a tarp as a roof.  To tie the tarps to the roof, Uncle Godfrey and a couple other men clambered up the ten-foot logs and tied them down.  A pretty impressive acrobatic act.  We enjoyed worshiping there as well as getting to see Uncle Godfrey and Auntie Florence's family.  Then we began the journey back to Kasana and reached there in the late afternoon.  This March will be very memorable to me.  It was lots of fun!

Our Trip (My 15th Birthday!)

On Friday morning I woke up and Catriona and Kasana informed me that I would be receiving a gift every hour.  For breakfast, I had a banana muffin which was a little over done because I had forgotten to tell my mum they were in the oven the day before when I left the house.  But they were still very good!  I was also given a little inspirational speech by Uncle James about how my life was like a tea bag package.  The outside was like the first fifteen years of my life with all the writing on it but the inside was blank because nothing had happened yet.  It was very profound and I was impressed that he came up with that on the spot. 

Now I should try and explain the plan for my day so that you can understand when I explain how it didn't turn out as planned.  My dad had to finish doing some work at the camp so Catriona, Kasana, and I were going to go with my parents in the 5-seat, air conditioned car at around lunch time.  Meanwhile, the rest of the Andersons, John, Uncle James, and the auditors were going to go in the 14-seater, not so comfortable, non-air conditioned car.  They would leave the camp around 9:00, go to Lugazi, drop off the auditors and Uncle James, and drive to Jinja.

Unfortunately, Auntie Tiff got sick so after a lot of deliberation up until five minutes before the 14-seater left, we decided that the girls would go in the first group and Auntie Tiff would stay with my parents.  On the drive to Jinja, I received more little gifts and we talked about all sorts of things.  And Kasana and I, and sometimes Catriona, played "car games." You may know the alphabet game where you look for all the letters in the alphabet.  We play it a lot on trips here.  But on the way out of the camp there really aren't a lot of signs so instead we looked for things that started with each letter of the alphabet.  For example, anthill, bird, cow, dog all the way up to zipper.  We also had a debate about whether the last letter of the alphabet is "zed" or "zee."  We took a vote and since we actually had seven Canadians and Ugandans and only six Americans, and the two youngest Americans said it was "zed", a decision was reached.  And of course we came to the conclusion that it was "zed", didn't we Kasana?  

We got to Jinja around 12:30 and ate some snacks for lunch, relaxed on the swings, and talked.  I also received more gifts.  My parents arrived a few hours later and Uncle Tal went with Auntie Tiff to the clinic.  We also called in our orders to the restaurant we were going to.  By the way, trying to order in food for 17 people can be complicated, but Catriona handled it very well.  She was also asked if the food should be ready on African Time or American Time to which Catriona promptly said "American Time."  

It paid off, and the food was ready when we got to the Keep.  The girls split three meals.  We had a meatball sub, a chicken sandwich, and a Caesar salad.  Then the people at the Keep came and sang happy birthday and gave me a giant piece of chocolate cake which fed all 17 of us!  I also received my 14th gift which was from my parents there--a necklace and a book.  

We went to pick up Auntie Tiff from the clinic and headed back to where we were staying.  My parents came to the girls' banda to watch my birthday slide show.  Thank you to everyone who sent a message. I really appreciated it!  Then my parents left and we watched a movie.  After that, we went to bed.  And that was my 15th birthday!  I had lots of fun and was so glad that I was able to spend it with my friends and family.

And besides encountering some imposing knights, it was also very peaceful! :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Our Trip (Part 3)

We left Kobwin on Thursday and began to travel down to Musana Camps.  We once again enjoyed gonja and chicken-on-a-stick.  After travelling to Lugazi, we turned off the tarmac and headed over the dirt roads.  The roads were pretty bad this time.  There were lots of ruts and potholes, but thankfully we made it to the camp guesthouse safely a little before 1:00.  

Some of us went down to the beach which is on Lake Victoria.  The view and breeze is lovely down there and we played games on the beach.  Then we began the hike up the hill.  When we reached the top, we played a few games of Bananagrams. 

After that, Catriona, Kasana, and I went down to the main campsite to play carpet ball.  If you don't know what that is it is basically a long, narrow table with a bucket at each end.  Each player stands at one of the ends and arranges their balls on the carpet.  Then you roll a ball down the table trying to hit the other person's balls into the bucket.  Whoever knocks all the other persons balls in first wins! We had lots of fun, even though I'm not very good at it.  

Then we went back up to the guesthouse to relax and help with dinner preparations.  We had some delicious fresh fish from the lake with rice and guacamole.  After dinner, we watched a movie and went to bed.

The next day was my birthday! Post coming soon!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Our Trip (Part 2)

Kobwin, as always, was lots of fun.  A majority of our time was spent cooking and cleaning up after meals with eighteen people! Some of the meals were cooked at Auntie Constance's house where many of us stayed but Kasana, Catriona, and I had the privilege to cook with Auntie Christine, one of the family group mothers.  She is one of the most joyful and hospitable people I know.  I don't know too many people who would be genuinely excited to invite eighteen people for dinner when you already have twenty children you are responsible for!  We enjoyed cooking ebo, rice, atapa, and pork with her.  We also extremely enjoyed eating it! Ebo is a mixture of cooked leaves and g-nut sauce and atapa is one or a combination of millet, cassava, and sorghum flour boiled until it is firm but sticky.  It's sort of hard to describe but it's good!
Me and Auntie Christine


Kasana, Catriona and I also had fun doing our school work up on the big rocks (got to love homeschooling!) We also decorated one of Auntie Constance's walls with a Bible verse.  In the evenings, we played games and went up to the rocks.  Wow! The stars were very clear and beautiful!

One of the rocks. We even saw some monkeys on our last day there!

Kobwin is truly a beautiful place with beautiful people and it is always a joy to go there.  I'm looking forward to our next visit!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Our Trip (Part 1)

Two weeks ago, we started our journey to Kobwin, Musana, and Jinja.  My dad and Uncle Tal and Uncle James (accountant) and the auditors were going to work at Kobwin and Musana.  So our family and Uncle Tal's family decided to tag along.  We then planned to stay a few days in Jinja.  Our family was the advance party and the Andersons were going to leave Kasana after church on Sunday and pick up Uncle James and the auditors in Kampala.  Catriona stayed with them because her worship team was having a worship night on Saturday and leading worship on Sunday.  

Dad, Mum, John, and I left Kasana on Saturday morning to drive to Mbale.  We had to stop in Kampala to shop. We picked up some yogurt for lunch and then got back on the road.  Before you go into Jinja, you can stop to buy chicken on a stick.  You drive up and your car gets surrounded by people trying to sell you chicken, gonja (roasted banana), and drinks.  We bought some chicken and gonja and were on our way again.  By the way, it is delicious! 

We got to our hotel in Mbale around 6:30.  We were going to eat dinner outside but after a total of three minutes, my legs and feet were covered in mosquito bites so we chose the muggy indoors to the buggy outdoors.  It was a good decision because it meant that we could set up our Settlers of Catan game and play (in the light) until our food came.  Since our food didn't come until about 9:00 I was glad we came inside.  The food was delicious though--goat stew with matooke and rice. Mmm... After we finished our game, we went to bed.  The next morning, we went to an OPC church.  It was a different service from Kasana.  We sang from hymnals and it was much smaller, but it was great to get to see another church in Uganda. After eating lunch at the church, we got back in the car to drive to Kobwin! We were welcomed by Auntie Constance and many of the staff members and children.  

Part 2 is coming soon!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Life at Kasana Children's Centre

 After we "shifted" to our new house in August, we have enjoyed having lots of close neighbours.  Our next-door neighbours, the Mwanjes are a great family who we have lots of fun with.  A few weeks ago, we had a big Ugandan meal with them after our sponsor child gave us a chicken.  We also wanted to have a sort of good-bye party for two of the Mwanjes as they were going back to school.  

Over the Christmas holidays, we had 10 to 20 neighbourhood kids in our house almost every day, making Rainbow Loom bracelets and playing games.  John got a Frisbee for Christmas and we also enjoyed playing with that.

John, as usual, has made friends with all the children who live near us, and it isn't uncommon to find him playing football or tag with the boys.  And all the little kids love John. The Ugandans don't have school in December or January and our 3-year-old neighbours did not understand why their big siblings were out of school but John wasn't. This meant they would come to our big window, peek in, and say, "John, jangu!" (John, come). They were always very excited when John came to play with them at break-time or in the afternoon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Who Lives Upstairs?

We don't have a two-story house, but some think we do.  A few weeks ago we asked someone to come eradicate these unwelcome residents.  Yes, bats.  About 30 of them were killed and buried somewhere in the bush.  Unfortunately, a few weeks later we are again hearing bangs and crashes from "upstairs".  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Trees+Pangas+Chain Saws=Straight Boards

A few weeks ago, there was a bit of commotion outside the New Hope gates.  A tree had been cut down, but unfortunately it fell across the road causing a bit of a traffic jam.  It was soon cut into a few pieces so that the vehicles could get through.  We got some pictures of the process of transforming a tree into very straight boards.

You know you're a MK when...

you eat pudding...

from 1995...

and enjoy it!

(We were given this by a friend who grew up in Kenya. Her parents had given a bag of pudding and jellos but she had never used them so passed them onto us.  Whether she knew the date or not, I don't know!)

Happy New Year!!!

Wow! January is almost half over and I'm just writing my first blog post of 2015! I'm hoping to write a few more today or tomorrow.  Our family got together with some of our friends on New Year's Eve and banged pots and pans together at midnight.  We also drank some sparkling cider as a big treat. 

Kasana, me, and Catriona