Thursday, December 31, 2009

Back in the USA

Well I am back in the USA. I arrived in Jackson, MS about a week before Christmas after a few excruciatingly long flights. It has been great to see family, friends, and Jocelyn. I am still getting use to the US of A. It is a big change from Uganda. It is good to be back but I do miss Uganda and hopefully will go back in the future.

I had a nice Christmas. I spent sometime in Jackson, MS, with my family in Georgia, and with Jocelyn's family in Oxford.

The first thing I noticed when exploring London on my long layover, was how many white people there were and I how I sort of fit in.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived in Dallas' airport was the American accent. I have not heard the American accent in quite sometime since Uganda speaks a British English.

So anyway I will update the blog some more in the weeks ahead. I have a ton of video and pictures that I could not post in Uganda do to the internet speed.

So here are a few pics and a video from my last days in Uganda:

Most of the staff of eMi EA at our Christmas party. From left to right: Me, Semei, Kyle, Janet, Travis, Stella, Peter, Emmanuel, Wilson, Jaclyn, Janet. Front: Jill, Kahunda, Patrick

Getting a stool sample to check for worms and bacteria. Worm and bilharzia free!

In Downtown Kampala overlooking taxi park.

More video and pictures to come.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Beginning of the Goodbyes

So Tuesday night began the interns leaving Uganda and the day we all shaved off our beards into mustaches. We said goodbye to the Jinja interns and to our director as the Crawfords go on furlough.

The eMi EA interns.

Kampala boys with our mustaches

We also said goodbye to Stephen on Thursday cause he left for the village to see his new baby girl! It was sad to see Stephen go.

A nice typical Ugandan picture of no smiling.

Kampala interns with Stephen.

Stake out!!!

This past Monday a few of us went out to Masaka to do a building stake out for the buildings we designed for the site. We left early in the morning and spent all day there before heading back. Needless to say it was a long day.

Helping to clear an area with a panga (machete) to put down a building stake.

The African Bush

Overlooking the site after a long day of staking.

Sunday, November 29, 2009



Our team has finished our project, published, and bound it.

Monday we go to Masaka to stake out places for the ministry to grade.

The cover and stack of printed copies.

Me with the bound copy

Oh and congrats to the Bulldogs! Egg Bowl Champions!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving with an Engagement - Ugandan Style

Hey all!

Hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving!

We did celebrate the US holiday here in Uganda. The staff and families got together at our director's house. We had turkey, stuffing, apple and pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce to name a few things.

It was a nice time and to top it all off, our office administrator, Semei, announced that he and his girlfriend are now engaged! Here are a few pics from it all:

The group that celebrated Thanksgiving

Brad carving the turkey.

Semei announcing his engagement to Winnie.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cultural Lesson for the Day

I hope you are well. A little update for you:

My team has what we consider 90% of our project report complete. It is getting reviewed by other staff and the rest of our team. After we get back the comments and suggestions, we will then make some changes and then it is publishing time!

In the meantime, I got a quick cultural lesson today from Stephen, our head of security here at eMi EA, on how to de-wing and de-leg grasshoppers. You would then take the grasshoppers and fry them up and eat them. Anyway they taste like a really greasy potato chip. Most people love them and they are a particular favorite of Stephen's.

Taking off the wings!

Wingless grasshoppers waiting to be fried!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Eating Grasshoppers and My Last Month

Well I have been here a while and have a month left to go of being here in Uganda. Crazy to think that I have been here as long as I have been. Time has just flown by. Living here in Uganda is quite an adventure and everyday seems to bring something new.

I love worshiping with Ugandans. I feel like the best thing about being here is worshiping Jesus with a different nation of people. Its amazing! I love it.

I have developed a satisfaction in the killing of mosquitoes.

Riding on the back of a boda is definitely exhilarating.

Simple tasks can be quite challenging like walking half a kilometer across a pipe to go to the grocery store or washing clothes.

Trying to fix the office's binding machine.

I don't think I will ever get the red dirt of Uganda off my some clothes and shoes and I am okay with that.

The people here are extremely nice. I love waving to kids and I am pretty sure they like the fact that I wave back.

I don't think I could ever be a celebrity. Because I am a muzungu here, I get a lot of stares, I mean a lot! I guess growing up in the US, you are exposed to a lot of different skin colors. But here everyone is pretty much black. So I stick out like a sore thumb.

Anyway those are a few of my thoughts. We are about 2 weeks away from publishing our project and all the drawings. Please pray everything would go smoothly with printing and such.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Taming the White Nile

Well I had an exciting weekend of white water rafting on the White Nile as they call it. They say it is probably the best rafting in the world and in a couple of years will probably be extinct due to Uganda building another dam on the river to generate power. So I was enthralled to be able to go before I could not.

Rafting included going through 12 major rapids with names like Rib Cage, Bujugali Falls, 50/50, Silverback, Chop Suey, and The Bad Place just to name a few. Our raft went through five class 5 rapids which was pretty intense and the only raft out of 8 that went through Chop Suey. Needless to say our guide challenged us and we flipped out quite a bit. I flipped out on two rapids both class 5. The first was due to one of my fellow interns who body checked me out on Bujugali Falls and the other time when the entire raft got flipped going through Chop Suey. It was a blast and was completely worn out from the 30 km trip.

Banged up knuckles from a day of rafting on the Nile.

Bujugali Falls which is a class 5 rapid. I got body-checked out of the raft by Peter.

We stayed at a camp site that was really close to Bujugali Falls and so we got to walk down to it the next day and see it from outside the water.

Monday, November 2, 2009

No Shave November

Well............... Sunday began No Shave November for all the guy eMi interns around the world. I guess we wanted to feel closer to one another. I don't know. Anyway the last night of our orientation in Colorado Springs we came up with a written pact stating we all would not shave above our jawline for the entire month of November. So anyway we all signed it and now it has begun. I wish all who have embarked on this endeavor good luck and happy facial hair growing! We in East Africa have decided to document our progress with pictures on a wall in the office of each intern's face every week.


Monday, October 26, 2009

'Let's Give Them a Bigger Hand Clap'

So this past weekend I had the unique opportunity to go to a grand opening celebration of a ministry that eMi EA had done a project with a few years ago. As an intern it was pretty cool to be able to go and see a finished product. The project I am currently working on will take a few years to complete and hopefully I will get to see it but maybe not. So anyway it was just a great experience to see a finished project.

The project is Amigos International Kira Farm Training Center located about an hour outside of Kampala. They take orphans in from all over Uganda and train them in practical applications such as agriculture, poultry raising, fishing farming, etc. Tribes are a big part of Uganda and there is a lot of tribal tensions, so Amigos' goal is to bring together orphans who are from different tribes in order to slowly create a unified Uganda and to breach a lot of those tribal differences. So that is small background on the ministry.

So we were invited and we went and were treated as celebrities at the celebration. We saw dancing, singing, toured the compound, ate, and took pictures with those who wanted our picture. It was a lot of fun, and we even got to sort of meet Joss Stone (which I will do a later post on). So here are some pics from it:

Women singing a song of greeting in traditional Ugandan dress.

The event tents. The entire village of Kira was there as well as some organizations and businesses such as World Vision, British Airways, etc.

This is one of the students of the training center and wanted to take a picture with us interns, I mean celebrities.

One of the fish ponds as the sunlight fades.....A reminder of how beautiful Africa can be.

The title is a quote by the quite humorous MC of the event.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tree House, Tree Fort, Structure to Play On, Whatever....

Two weekends ago the interns in Kampala went to go visit our interns in Jinja. Which is about 2 hours east of Kampala. Jinja is located right where the Nile River begins at Lake Victoria. There are 4 guys interning with eMi living there. So anyway we decided to go and visit. It was a nice change from the chaos that can be and is Kampala. We left Friday October 9th (Ugnada's Independence Day) in the afternoon and got there Friday evening where we hung out with them for the evening. Saturday we went to what one of the Jinja interns (Danny) says is the best place to get coffee in Uganda for breakfast. Across the street is a bakery where an old British lady makes cinnamon rolls that are heavenly. Naturally we had to get some.

After getting full on coffee and cinnamon rolls, we went to an orphanage that houses kids who have AIDS. The orphanage is really close to where the Jinja guys live and they are in the process of building a tree house/fort for them. So we jumped in and helped. They had previously gotten the posts in and pretty much framed. So we decked about 2/3s of the fort and put the remainder framing up. The kids all wanted to help and they did. It was a lot of fun and we really enjoyed our time there. Here are some pics from the day:

The tree fort at the beginning of the day.

One of the orphans who borrowed Kyle's sunglasses. I think they look better on her.

Jocelyn holding one of the babies. I believe her name is Gloria.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Dung Beetle

The safari I went on at the end of September was pretty cool. We saw a ton of wildlife like Giraffes, crocodiles, hippos, elephants, and even lions! But the coolest thing I thought that we saw was the dung beetle.
We are riding in the safari van and all of a sudden our guide (Dennis) tells the driver to stop. We are all looking around not seeing anything except grass and some trees. Well Dennis tears out of the van and runs over and points out this little bug pushing this ball up the road. Turns out its a dung beetle pushing a piece of dung up the road. Fascinating! Anyway I got some of the interesting facts about Dung Beetles that Dennis told us on video. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Just Walking to the Grocery Store in Uganda.....

So just a typical walk to the grocery store.... There is a grocery store called Super Supermarket that is a fairly short walk if you take a short cut across this pipe that runs across a marsh. Not the safest way to go, but it is quicker! Got to have good balance too!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Project Trip

Our project trip lasted a week.  We left Kampala on a Wednesday and got back on a Wednesday.  The first day we got there we toured the site and had a programming meeting with the ministry where they explain what their vision is for the property and the buildings.  We listen, take notes, ask questions, and get a general idea about what we will be doing for the week.  Every night we had a devotion time at the hotel that the ministry put us up in.  The week consisted of 3 guys surveying - the two other interns and our surveyor, the civil engineers doing soil, water, and whatever else tests and coming up with plans for how water, waste water, power, and all the civil stuff will work.  The architects including me worked on site and building design.  So Thursday we designed pretty much all day on site in a partially finished guest house.  Friday we visited PAOS's Kibale Community Center in Kibale which was a lot of fun.  Check out the video of our greeting by the primary school there on an earlier post.  Saturday was some more designing.  Sunday we went to church where we greeted the congregation and one of our team members got to preach.  Monday we realized that due to grading of the site that some of our buildings would not work!  Panic!  Presentation to the ministry is Tuesday at lunch!  Crisis was adverted by changing the dormitory design.  We did work until like 2 in the morning getting ready for the presentation.  Felt like I was back in school.  Tuesday we presented to the ministry and it went pretty well and then we headed to Lake Nabugabu for our closing time.  Lake Nabugabu is right beside Lake Victoria and is separated by a 10 km piece of land.  So we had our closing time there and then Wednesday headed back to Kampala where for the next two months I will continue to work on the Timothy Centre.  Here are some pics from the week:

 Introducing myself to the church we went to on Sunday in Masaka.  Read Daniel 6:25-27.

The team trying to figure out how to make the site plan work with all of the buildings on it the day before the presentation!

 Doing the presentation on the computer after the power went out.

The team at the equator on our way back to Kampala.  I did not feel good that day.

But anyway enjoy.  I will post some more of Lake Nabugabu later.

God Bless 

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Programming Meeting and Designing a World of Hope

Designing a World of Hope.... Sounds pretty amazing and it really is, but there is so much more to it than just those words. Like a programming meeting pictured here:

The team pulled out a table and some chairs and we sat down and had a programming meeting! It was pretty nice to be able to look over the site as we listened to the vision that PAOS has for The Timothy Centre. They are currently building 3 guest houses that will initially be staff housing. They also have a work shop which is behind the camera.

Here are the architects talking about building design. Casey is the guy in the green who is an architect in Sacramento, I am in the middle, Kimberly is an architecture student from New Zealand, and then Ray whose head is turned is the director of PAOS. We are in one of the guest houses that is being built on the site.

A panorama of a piece of the site. It was really beautiful with a ton of birds and a great view of the surrounds.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kibale Greeting

The project team I was on this past week worked with an organization called Pacific Academy Outreach Society (PAOS) who has a school mainly for AIDS orphans in Kibale, Uganda. It is called the Kibale Community Center and they have a school for primary and secondary students. The project we worked and what I am currently working on and what I will work on for pretty much the rest of the time I am here, is a girl's college and teacher training center outside of Masaka. So to get a better understanding of what Kibale is like, we got to visit it and we recieved a very warm welcome from the primary school as you can tell in the video. Enjoy!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Getting a Haircut in Uganda

Well a few weeks ago I needed a haircut and lucky me one of the girls who lives in the eMi house has her professional hair cutting license. Pretty nice, huh! She did a pretty good job too.

david a dill

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Funny Ugandan Signs

So it is my 2 week anniversary being here in Uganda!!! Pause for celebration........................... So during these 2 weeks I have come to notice signage here in Uganda. It can be quite funny, and while we are in a indirect culture, signs can be very direct. So I decided I would keep up with the ones I see and share a few with you from time to time. So here are a few I have seen so far:

Princess Diana High School


Sophie's Classic Video Library

God's Flowers Nursery School

Give and Take Restaurant

Best FRIENDS Pub - with 'best' being really really small and 'FRIENDS' looks like the t.v. show Friends

I Feel Like Chicken Tonight

Salon Obama

Obama Salon

Obama's Kabalagala

International Gospel Healing Church Centre

Yes, these are actual signs in Uganda for real businesses. I hope you got a good laugh. I will be on the look out for more.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tree of Life

Sign pointing the way to the eMi office cause you couldn't find it without 'em!

Kyle surveying with brad looking on.

Peter looking good holding the rod.

Cherish Uganda

Tree of life! The tree is huge. You might be able to see Peter at the base of it. Interesting story about this tree that the staff of Cherish told us. The tree's sap is used for incense a lot of the time. So this particular tree was used by a witch doctor and people said weird and strange things would happen at night like seeing things and hearing strange noises. Creepy stuff to say the least. So anyway the staff of Cherish had communion around the tree one evening and the next day the tree was dead! So the locals said that the tree was posessed by an evil spirit that went into the lake after communion! Hmm, anyway you can take what you will from that.


david a dill

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cherish Uganda

Hey all!!!!

Well I have been in Uganda for little more than a week! Which sounds crazy cause it feels like I have been here for so much longer. It has really been a blur so far especially the first few days that I was here. Jet lag was pretty bad and we had orientation for the first five days that I was here. So things were definitely hazy. But I am doing well starting to get adjusted to life in Uganda.
The month of September is pretty crazy here at eMi. All of our main project trips are about to begin. One team actually leaves tomorrow for Kenya and my team leaves in about a week and a half for Masaka, Uganda which is about 2 hours south of Kampala.
So this week started work with eMi and I jumped right into things. Monday was office orientation and getting to know how the office operates and also talking about our different project trips. Tuesday I went with two other interns and the directer of eMi EA to Entebbe to a place called Cherish Uganda. Cherish was founded 3 years ago by a church in London and is a place for orphans that are HIV positive. They have an orphanage, school, and farm all on 21 acres near Lake Victoria. It is very pretty. Anyway they are in the process of developing the land and so they wanted us to come out and survey it. So we the interns got a quick crash course on how to survey with a total station and then got to it. So we surveyed for 3 days cause that is how much time we had for this week, but the land is huge and had a ton of trees and bush which made the surveying slow going. So we got about a third of it done and plan on going back in late October or November. But we got the crucial part done for them which is good. I wish I could show you what the property looked like cause it was pretty crazy. It has like at least 20 property corners if you can imagine that! So me and the 2 other interns, Kyle and Peter, got to experience taking public transportation by oursleves. So yesterday we left Kansanga at 7:30 walked a few kilometers (no miles or feet here) and picked up a matatu (taxi) and took it into Kampala where we got on another matatu and took it to Entebbe where we got off and then took a boda (motorcycle - which you ride on the back of a guy driving a motorcycle) to Cherish. So it was definitely an adventure! Also met a really neat guy named Fin who works for Cherish and he told me how about how he and his family got to Uganda. It amazes me to see how God works around the world and to see him not only work through Americans which can be an easy bias and also through Ugandans which I sort of expected but also through people like Fin who is British which took me off guard in a good way. God is good and it is awesome to see His international church body!
Anyway, today I am back in the office helping the other team get ready.

I will post some pictures of us surveying soon.

Prayer Requests:
Safe travel for the teams this month
The work that the teams do would be fruitful
Adjusting to Ugandan life
Allowing God to move through me
Patience - especially with the internet cause it is slow!

Thank you for all the prayers and support! Love you all

Monday, August 31, 2009

Few Pics from London and Kampala

Waiting on the tube.

We found Uganda's embassy in London!

Fish and chips

Big Ben

Uganda from the air

Entebbe airport

Part of our walk to the office from our apartment. All of which is up hill!

I will post some more of our apartment and office in the days to come.

david a dill