Thursday, September 29, 2011

From Africa to America

 A friend of mine mentioned that I should keep track of some of the differences in life and how the twins are adjusting.  I hate to admit I've done a bad job of keeping track of some of these things but wanted to start somewhere. So, I'll  piggy back on the whole bathroom thing...or our modern convenience called indoor plumbing.
Oh where to start...bathrooms are so exciting (for kids)!

Well, I guess I'll start with what we know. We were honored with the opportunity to visit their grandmother's house. Her home has an amazing view of the countryside, everyone we met was incredibly hospitable and helped prepare an amazing meal for all of us. There was no plumbing in the house or electricity.
 They did the cooking behind the house and before we ate, we washed our hands with a basin. This was very common for us to place our hands above the tin tub (basin) and for water to be poured over our hands. Guess where the water came from...

  Water was collected from the local stream into these big yellow containers and carried back to the house/village for cooking, drinking and washing and used very sparingly.

During our first court appearance while we were in the waiting room, we got to spend several hours with the grandmother, watching the interaction with her and the kids was fantastic, we very much learned so much more about them and their culture and where they've been since birth. At one point, the grandmother (Jjijjia) started putting a strand of beads around Amiya's waist. Amiya very willingly stepped into the beads. Apparently she had gained a little weight around her belly so they didn't fit anymore. We asked our driver and friend Stephen what the beads represented. She told him she put them around their waist and when they had to go to the bathroom, they would take the beads off. Genius! knowing that could have saved us a LOT of pull-ups!

The children were placed in the care of a social worker 2 months before we arrived in Uganda so we didn't experience their transition to having running water, electricity and a bathroom inside the home but these kids LOVE some running water! But every once in a while we get to observe them squatting at a puddle on the ground, scoop up the water in their hands and start "washing" their hands, face and legs. More often, we see it in the bathtub with just a little water left (as it's draining) they'll scoop it up and wash again and "clean" the tub. It's becoming more seldom and playing with the  Nemo bath toy is becoming more common.

 When we were leaving the grandmother's village, we were stopped by the children in the picture below who were calling the kids by name, friends. These beautiful children were happy and very inquisitive of these strange white people in their village. As we left, I wondered how many of them would ever see clean running water inside their home in their lifetime. We have such abundance in our American culture. Everything is so easy for us, I often feel it is difficult for us to truly rely on Christ for all of our needs when things are so easily accessible to us but that's another post for another day.
It took us a while to adjust to everything automatic (especially in the bathroom). You forget on a plane that the incredibly loud sound of the toilet flushing could be so frightening until you have a toddler literally climb up your leg and into your arms. Or, while sitting on the toilet, the automatic flush sends a child flying off the seat (mid-stream) although I've heard that is frightening for most small children!

It took maybe a month before they wouldn't freak out over the hand dryer in bathrooms and we're a little better at not flying off the seat when the automatic flush sensor is extra sensitive. Paper towel dispensers on the other hand could be the best thing. Neither child will accept a towel that I give them. They each want to wave their hand and rip the towel off the roll. We love waving our hands  before getting a towel so much that we will even to it to the not automatic towel things and at home before we are handed a real towel!

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