Monday, May 29, 2006

Uganda Uganda Uganda


This picture is from the Global Night Commute last month. It was raining, so Moses and I thought that sleeping under a picnic table would keep us dry, but that idea didn't work.
Some people slept in pots (as in the giant ones with potted trees) and the trees kept them relatively dry.
I eventually slept in a under an the overhang of a building; it kept me dry :).

The next big, world-wide event (that I know of) for the children in northern Uganda is the Gulu Walk, held in October. And I plan to be in the town of Gulu, northern Uganda when it happens! What could be better than that? Well, being there the day before and the day after, to pray with the kids before they sleep, and say 'good morning' as they set off back home. To help out with feeding programs that serve breakfast to the night commuters and and clean toilets of the centers they sleep at (yes, me clean toilets!).

If you have no idea what I am talking about- I am going to Uganda in October and I am especially excited because we had one of our planning meetings for the trip, so I have been talking about it alot today.

If you have no idea why all the fuss about Uganda: UgandaCan and Act for Stolen Children.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A candle-lit morning

8 am I was wide awake.
My weird dream invovling Julie Kerr was interupted by an actual thought- that I had definately had too much sleep. My alarm should have gone off already. I turned to look- but my alarm clock was reading blank.
Great, a power-outage.

And still, every room I walked into I flipped the lightswitch. I don't really have an excuse or reason. It just my first reaction, electricity or not.

But my watch read exactly 8 am, perfect timing, as I had to be somewhere in 15 minutes. We have a mission trip team in this weekend and I was supposed to help clean up breakfast and lunch.

The team is staying in the basement of a church, which means no windows, no natural light of any kind. There was an dark maze of chairs, sleeping bodies, couches and other objects I had to fight through to reach the kitchen. I felt like I was in one of those mazes on children's menus that you use a pencil to solve, only I had a flashlight and no pencil.
Candles dripping all over breakfast.
People eating in stairwells and sitting in the dark.
We make sure our missions teams have to rough it.

And then, suddenly, while sitting at the house I heard this awful screeching beep and then the lights came on!

My almost free Saturday I was going to spend outside in the sun and going for a jog at a park. However, it is dreary and waiting to rain again, so I will console myself with some hot tea and catch up on the sleep I lost last night driving around the city to hand out roses to women.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Of Corn Dogs and Hope


Corn dog day at the Winnipeg Vineyard church drop-in center is my favorite day to help out. Well, I love corn dogs and they are much easier to prepare than sandwhiches and soup- however much greasier.
There was some problem with the stove (something burning off the bottom)that made the whole kitchen smokey, allowing us to come up with interesting explainations for all who asked-- all the volunteers had been smoking, the kitchen was on fire, or we were using the smoke to cook the corn dogs.
One woman had to leave early and asked if she could take a corn dog before we officially started passing them out- we told her to sneak it out and not eat it until she had left the building.
She then asked for two.
I told her all we could give her was one.
In not-so-nice terms she suggested where I could stick the corn dog and walked away in a huff.
I saw the woman later today, she was carrying 2 bags of popcorn and very excited about that popcorn- she ran up to me all smiles and showed-off the large plastic bag holding enough popcorn for about 6 people (and she had another one, too).

I volunteer at two places on Thursdays, the second being a center for women where I call for bingo (among other things).
There was a story in a Winnipeg newspaper recently about 'sniffers', so lots of the girls were looking through the photos to see if they saw themselves.
A very pregnant woman leaned across the couch and loudly said, "Am I in there anywhere?"

I pray that the daughter she is to have in just a few weeks is protected.
The story was titled "High and Hopeless". But I disagree, there is always hope.
There has to be hope.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I will forever associate inch worms with sobriety parties


Melissa had her 100th day of sobriety party today.
We had soda explode all over the grass, and someone provided a tray of citrus-y cookies. Both items seemed to attract these strange tiny, green inch-worms which were dangling from the tree our table was under. Well attract them even more than usual. As if worms dangling from threads off of trees is somehow normal at all. So we had a great time of picking these worms out of others' hair, throwing a frisbee and playing cards.
And Melissa defaced someone else's property by signing her name and the date of this special occasion with permanent marker on the wooden picnic table. No one could scold her for it, after all it was a celebration- it is a celebration.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

caffienated philosphy

I just finished an interesting conversation. 12:30 am, eating a piece of toast and sitting on the kitchen floor.
I've had too much tea today. My decaffinated cup at 11pm didn't help dilute the two-thirds galllon of tea I drank throughout today (and thats not a joke). Mixed in with my nutritous dinner of cookies and some icecream, its no wonder that I can't seem to get sleepy.
My mind has been running a million miles an hour this evening, until just a little while ago, next to the toaster and tupperware cabinet.

I won't go into the details of the conversation (sorry if I teased you!). However, it made me think-- before I get critical, am I guilty of the same thing? I now see how drenched I was in the same attitude- and not even dry of it yet.
Just a week or so ago I was thinking about how I wanted to go back to school so badly, and thinking about how next fall looked. I prayed about if God would allow me to return to college then, a few months (4, to be exact) before my commitment is really up. It would be nice if God okay-ed my agenda, wouldn't it?
After lots of prayer and a few reminders of previous convictions about this notion, I landed where I should be: I firmly believe God has called me to this YWAM base, and that means I will stay here for the full commitment unless God says otherwise- no asking Him to put His stamp on what I want and no cutting it short.

If I really and truly believe this is God's will, then anything else is disobedience. College is not as important as obeying God. Nothing is more important than that. Friends don't matter as much. Family doesn't matter as much. Education doesnt matter as much. Money definately doesn't matter as much. Even happiness does not compare to being in God's will.
Without it, I will be lost and searching- searching for His will.
When you find it, stay in it.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Why this title?

Why did I stick with a title about feet?
Well, it took me a while to decide on this, I was originally going to do something with the meaning of my name, Ellen Maire. Ellen means light, which is pretty. However, I hope my parents did not know the meaning of Marie when they named me, it means bitter or bitter sea (as if being bitter isnt enough, but one also must swim in it). I looked for synonyms, hoping that an interesting one might surprise me, nope: sour, evil, cruel. Torturous was even mentioned!
I like the meaning of my nickname, Ree (short for Marie), though: in Thai it means oval-shaped, direct or straightforward, and in a Chinese dialect it means sunshine.

I did not want the title to be anything connected with Winnipeg or Canada, because as the real title suggests, I don't stay often stay planted anywhere for long. Winnipeg for the summer, Uganda for part of the fall, then Thailand for spring and summer. And (the Lord willing) back to college in Michigan soon after.

Nothing has made me want a college education so much as being away from it. It is more than missing my friends (although I do miss you all!). But there is something about sitting in a class room for hours and taking notes until my hand cramps, or staying up late studying or typing that paper that I really and truly miss. I even miss the horrible cafeteria food! And now, all of you who read this can hold me accountable if ever (and I am sure I will) I complain about boring lecutures or loads of homework in the years to come.