Monday, July 27, 2009

Hey gang

I'm going to have to postpone my blog updates till after this week. We're just too busy trying to gather some last minute information and present all of our recommendations. Things are interesting. I'm getting to buy a lot of stuff to bring home finally. It's fun.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hey, I know it's been a while... I have picked up a cold over the past few days, and I haven't been feeling very good.

June 22
Today has been an extremely productive day. The meetings at the foundation got canceled once again without our notification. Everyone is in a scramble to get ready for this Winner's Society election, but it allowed us to conduct some interviews. I interviewed my first HIV positive person, who actually told me that they were HIV positive. It was a great interview and very informative. I also got to talk casually to some of the mentors. They really like talking to us. Everyone is so eager to give their opinion.

We have been preparing for our meeting with people in the Ministry of Health, and I took the time to ask them what are the biggest problems. It was really cool when a lot of their ideas matched mine. They're big one is poverty and so is mine.

We also went to have coffee with one of our friends, Willy. His father was in town visiting from Rwanda. We talked with him briefly. I enjoy meeting people's families and watching our friends interact with their families. It always gives you a new perspective.

The last thing we did today is meet with another young man who has become our friend. We feel bad for him because he has lost his parents and he has no way to pay for his school fees. Often times he doesn't have a place to sleep or anything to eat. We usually give him something to eat. He never asks for anything. I suppose that's why we help him. Usually people assume that because we have money and they don't, we should be helping them. Dustin and I have been trying to think of ways that we can give him a little work, so that he can make a little money, but we're having a hard time coming up with things. We don't want to just give him money, but we don't want him to drop out of school either. Because he can't afford to go to school right now he sends in his assignments to be graded with his friends. I don't think I had that sort of dedication.

June 21

Today we went to a school to observe. My cold is still bothering me so I've loaded up on cold medicine so that I can push through. I just don't have time to be sick right now. I feel like I do toward the end of the semester. I start getting sick and tired. But the observation was so much fun! We were supposed to have gone to this school two weeks ago, and we were told that it was very disappointing to the children when we didn't show up. So we had to make sure that we went before we left. The smallest children were so happy to see us. They laughed at my accent when I talked. I was able to ask them a few questions, and they were very knowledgeable. Some times they gave answers that were much more sophisticated than I thought.

The mentor was very good while he was teaching. It is fun to watch people speaking in public here. They are very charismatic. I feel like it helps my own public speaking to watch and then imitate.

June 20

Luckily we have stayed at home all day because this cold is really bothering me. My nose is like a faucet. We are trying desperately to get the proposal finished so that we can be done with it.

June 19

We had a great day with Joan. Today is the day that we went with her to see her children in the village. They live on a farm with their grandparents and go to school out there. The first thing we did was visit the school where they go. They had some boarding children there, and we caused a great commotion when we arrived. Some of the littlest children got scared from all the excitement and started crying. I felt like the big stuffed mascot at a sports even that is trying to hug the kid and they start crying.

From there we went to the grandparents farm. It was really fun. They had everything they needed right there. Both of the children were fairly good at English, especially the older one Louis, who is only six. It was a surprise to the children that we were coming, and I'm not sure they knew what to think at first. They were a little overwhelmed. Once they loosened up a bit they wanted to show us around. Louis led me around by the hand every where. They took us to see their cow. They each had their own pig. They took us through the banana garden and picked guavas for us.

We had lunch with the family. They were very kind to us. We had the typical traditional meal. Stewed hen, rice, potatoes, matoke (green bananas) pineapple, avocados, and peas. It was all very good. The pineapple especially was the best. I think it was the best I've ever had in my life. I'm ruined from now on on pineapple. We had brought a cake for dessert. It was actually really good, although it didn't look that good at first. It was like a spiced cake with rasins.

I was very sad actually to leave. It was so nice to get out of the city for a while. Plus it made me realize that there is so much more to learn. People live so differently outside the city. They are almost entirely self sufficient. The land is so fruitful where we were. It's a shame to know that in other parts of the country people go hungry. They have so much food sometimes, they often throw it away, or feed their pigs with it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

In denile at the Nile!

June 17th

To follow up on my last post...We had a meeting at the foundation with all of the mentors. I saw the woman that we had helped before and she sat down to talked to us. We actually got ssshed by Rev. They are trying to get ready for their big Winner's Society elections. They have this club that meets in every school called the Winner's society. Once a year they hold general elections for all the schools and they elect a president. I think it will be interesting and fun. I'm looking forward to talking to some of them. Hopefully they won't be too shy.

Andrew and I made our final plans to go to the Nile. Dusting decided not to go, to save it for another time, so Andrew said he would go with me.

June 18th
Nile Day! I woke up super early to work on the proposal before I left. I couldn't stand not doing any work for a day, but I restricted myself to 45 minutes. After that I packed all my things. I felt like I was getting ready for a safari. I packed all sorts of things like I was going into the bush for several nights. I guess it doesn't hurt to be prepared.

Of course we got a late start, there was a mix up on where we were supposed to meet. But we got on our way. We hit a traffic jam before we even got all the way out of the city. We took the public transportation, and they were driving down all of these dirt roads to try to bypass the traffic. I was worried that I was going to be carsick. That's actually one of my big fears while I'm here, that i'm going to get sick and throw up on all the people in the taxis.

Anyway we finally got going once we got out of the city. We passed many farms on the way to Jinja. Mostly tea and sugar cane. Jinja is the name of the town built around the mouth of the Nile. We passed through one of the national forests called Mabira forest. I fantasized that we would see a group of gorillas while we were driving through, but it didn't happen.

Finally we started getting close to the city and traffic started to slow down again. About a kilometer from the Nile traffic came to a complete halt. At least by this time some of the people had gotten off the taxi so we weren't crammed in there. We decided that we would catch a boda the rest of the way since they never seem to be bounded by traffic like everyone else. They just wriggle they're way on through the traffic. They even get up on the sidewalk if necessary.

Once we caught a boda we began to make progress again. We crossed over the Nile to get to the west bank and it was beautiful. It was everything I hoped it would be: cool breeze, clear fast-moving water, lined with all kinds of bright green foliage. Wide enough to swallow your focus.

I was trying not to embarrass Andrew with my excitement. We continued on down the road and traveled along the Nile to get a set of falls that were further down. They turned out to be much further down than I realized, and along the way the boda got a flat tire. I guess he had been hopping too many curves. Luckly he was able to handle the vehicle safely and get stopped, but by this time we were out in the middle of the country agian (it doesn't take long). We had to wait for another boda to come by and pick us up.

We finally reached our destination,Bujagali Falls. It was beautiful (I took pictures of all these things, but I don't think that I will be able to upload them until I get back). The big thing that I wanted to do was to put my feet in the Nile, so we looked for a place to get close to the water.

Andrew is like a nanny goat. He is always worried about me falling or stepping into traffic or slipping or anything. He's always nagging me to be careful. The whole time he was like "be careful stepping down... make sure you go slowly... be careful the algae is slippery ... the rocks are slippery...keep and eye on your things you might loose them, ect." I don't mind it, I actually think it's rather funny. And nothing happens until he makes a comment on it. If anything I'm more careful than he is. He almost fell himself into the river because he was stepping on rocks covered in algae.

Anyway, we worked our way down to the very edge of the water. I asked him if crocodile's hang out here, but he said that the water was moving too fast for them. It makes sense I guess. I took my shoes off and sat on a rock and let the water run over my feet. It felt so good. I expected it to feel cold, but it was quite warm. I was tempted to go for a swim, but I didn't bring a swimsuit. We stayed around long enough to get our fill of the view, take pictures, and take pictures for other people. There were a few other people seeing the sights but not that many. The people that lived close by were washing their clothes in the river. There were also pipes running from the river up to people's homes. I guess they have gravity pumps to get fresh water, although I'm not sure how clean it is to drink. You probably still have to boil it.

We caught a boda into the town of Jinja. It was so different from Kampala, I couldn't believe it. Apparently the majority of the town was built in the 1940s so it has a very interesting architecture to it. It doesn't seem to have been devastated by the different wars. All of the roads are in really good condition, traffic is minimal. It is just a quiet small town. Perhaps this why it appealed to me so much. At the same time you could still get pizza and cheeseburgers. It clearly had a Western influence. I suspect that it may be a vacation spot for some people, and I can understand why, it was absolutely gorgeous. We stopped in a cafe to get lunch. By this time it was 4:00, and I was getting hungry since I hadn't had any lunch or very much breakfast.

Then we went to the mouth of the Nile. When we got there I was really upset because it was 10 K shillings for non Ugandans, but only 1 K for Ugandans, but then I realized that it was only five dollars to me and then I relaxed. I'm starting to think only in shillings now.

The mouth of the Nile was equally as beautiful with the same picturesque landscape. People offered to take us on a boat ride, but just to see it was enough. They had an old abandoned bridge that you could walk on out over the river. We took lots and lots of pictures. This time we saw some people swimming in the river. It looked like so much fun to me. We hung around for a while. I didn't want to leave at all. It was so nice. I don't think Andrew wanted to leave either, he was enjoying himself as well. He told me that he hadn't been there since he was very young.

I was very sad when we got on the bus to leave. The good news is that we were able to take a bus back instead of a taxi. They're much more comfortable. The traffic was still bad coming back, but I was able to doze most of the way. We met up with Dustin for a while, and then went home. I was very tired by the end of the day. However, I went to sleep so content.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Our proposal

June 15

We presented our proposal today before the IRB. It was an extremely long affair, although Dr. Bagenda told us that it was actually quiet short. We were the last ones on the agenda which was at 1:00, and we arrived at 9:00. We have to sit through several proposals, some of which were not even research. I'm not sure why they were presenting in the first place

When it finally came time for us to present, they had a lot of changes for us to make. It was pretty disheartening. Dustin and I took the rest of the day off. I just laid on the couch and watched movies.

June 16
Today I'm over it. It was upsetting to be criticized so heavily, but after a night of rest I feel much better. It's hard to keep in mind that this is a learning experience and our first time doing something like this. Part of the problem is a problem of understanding the type of research that we do. Dustin and I talked through it and came up with a plan of action.

We also had a meeting at the foundation that got cancelled without being notified. This is actually the second week in a row. I actually didn't mind because we went to our favorite pizza place. It's really refreshing to have a place that tastes familiar.

We went home after the cancelled meeting and spent the evening around the house.

June 17
Today has been a day full of writing. One exciting thing is that we met someone who works with the ministry of health. He wants us to meet his colleagues in the Ministry. I think it will be fun.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Another week gone by

This day wasn't interesting at all, we just wrote all day

Grace came today, and another person named Janette has also been coming. Grace is pregnant and is due in September, so she is starting to get tired during the day and has gotten someone to help her. I don't like her as much. I was really irritated the other day when she opened and drank an entire box of juice by herself. I didn't even get any.

Today we had a meeting at the foundation. They had moved it to this day in place of the usual Wednesday meeting. It wasn't very interesting either, although it is nice that things are starting to reach a state of consistency. After Dustin and I stopped for a beer and to talk. We actually spent a lot of time talking about the things that we have learned since we have been here, and how this experience has changed our direction. There are a lot of things, but they all seem to be good. I'm very happy with my decision to come here, even though we have only achieved about half of what we set out to do.

We invited some people over for Sunday to cook a meal for them. They all seemed pretty excited about it. We haven't yet picked out a menu, but we want to cook somethings that are very American.

I still haven't made it to the Nile. I'm getting antsy to do it, but it keep having trouble finding a way to get there.

I slept in today, which was pretty awesome. I spent some time writing and had one brief interview. I went to the same place where I saw the vice president, but I didn't see him this time.

Since it was Saturday, we went out with our friend Joan for a little while and by ourselves for a little while. Dustin got pick-pocketed, but he is crafty enough to place a small wallet that just contains business cards in his back pocket, while he keeps all of his money and credit cards in the front. I thought it was pretty clever. At the bar I got in a long debate with some guy about how to get a white woman. He couldn't understand that white women expect to be treated as equals with men, and that men are expected to be able to take care of and feed themselves. I'm pretty sure that if most Ugandan men married white women they would starve to death.

Today we had our friends Joan and Willy over for dinner. We told them we would make an American meal for them. We finally settled on a menu of guacamole and pita chips for an appetizer, then a cucumber and tomato salad, for the meal, country fried steak and gravy, broccoli and cheese sauce, and baked potatoes, for dessert was banana bread. It all turned out really well, and they ate everything up. We waited to cook everything so that they could watch us cook. Of course, they were particularly impressed with Dustin's ability to cook. Willy was sure that Dustin was amazing. I told Willy that everything we were doing was really easy, and that he could definitely do it on his own if he choose.

It was fun to watch then look at all the food, and not know exactly how to eat everything. Willy really liked the gravy, and put it on his broccoli along with the cheese sauce. I actually enjoyed the incident because I was able to interpret his actions. Ugandans really like sauces of any kind on their food. they really hate anything that is dry, so everything is cooked to be extremely moist or they load it down with some kind of sauce. At first Grace gave us a hard time because we didn't eat enough sauce, but I think she finally figured that we just don't eat our food that way.

We were able to sit down and show them pictures of our families, they were intrigued by the pictures of different holidays like Christmas and Halloween. I think they enjoyed being able to see where we come from.

They stayed for a long time, till 11:00 and afterwards we had to stay up and work on our research proposal. We found out on Friday that our presentation was supposed to be on Tuesday. So we were scrableing a bit. But the presentation itself is not going to be the hard part, we also alloted a certain amount of time where we are asked questions.

We had an early meeting at the foundation this morning. We spent the afternoon working on our proposal. I've noticed that i've been very tired lately. Mentally I'm starting to get tired I think. We are always constantly thinking about our research, and it seems like almost everything is of interest to our research.

We had a short meeting with Dr. Bagenda. He had been in the states for a couple of weeks and this was our first time seeing him in a while. He has turned out to be a very good mentor and supervisor. He has a certain ease about him that makes him very easy to work with and talk to. We discussed our presentation with him, and then settled down for bed. We had another early morning.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

To Catch Up

Like I said, we didn't have the internet for a couple days, and yesterday was really busy, so today is the first chance I've gotten to sit down and really write about everything that has been happening.

July 4
We had a blast! The American embassy put on a party for the Americans in the country complete with a cookout and a fireworks display. The held it at this country club type place that was actually very nice. I was really excited to have some potato salad and some baked beens. We didn't see anyone that we knew, but Dustin went and spoke to someone that had gone to UT since that is where he did his undergraduate degree. They also had performers there doing some traditional dances, which I of course loved much better than anything else.

Here in East Africa they make these really cool drums with goat hides stretched over a wooden frame. I think that I'm going to get a small one for my self.

The cookout concluded around eight thirty so we met up with our friends for a while afterward, but we made sure not to stay out as late as we have been. This way we would be able to do work the next day.

July 5
I spent almost the entire day writing. The best part was that I conducted an interview with one of the people that I have met along the way. He was great and gave me a lot of information. For what ever reason, Ugandans are eager to talk and give their opinions, so I sat there and listened for over two hours. We were at another country club sitting at the restaurant, and the waitress had to bring me a candle so that I could continue writing. That is how long I sat there.

On our way out the person I was interviewing waved to a man in a suit. Once we had passed the suited man he told me that was the vice president. I said "The vice president of what?". "of Uganda." I was totally blown away by the fact that I had practically brushed by what would be a huge political figure in America. I was also really embarassed because I only had on a t-shirt. I wish I had worn something a little nicer. All of his body guards were in the parking lot. I guess that politicians are a little more accessible here.

July 6
Today the day was spent trying to figure out how to send a package home. Dustin wanted to send some coffee and a few other things back to his wife. It turned out to be really expensive because the only place we could find was a fedex express. I had also set up another interview for the day. The person also turned out to be really great, and it ended up being another two hour interview. This same young man has also offered to take us to different areas of town where the rates of HIV are very high, so that we can talk to people and see for ourselves what it is like. (This is the point where our internet stopped working, and we couldn't figure out how to fix it).

July 7

Both Dustin and I have been sick from eating something. It effected me much worse, and I couldn't hardly leave the house at all. Dustin did go to try to get the internet fixed, but it didn't work. At this point I was really hoping that it would get fixed soon because Dustin was starting to loose his cool over it and he doesn't feel good on top of it. The problem is that we have paid for this service, and it is frustrating when it doesn't work. I'm so uncomfortable that it is difficult for me to even sit and write. I wouldn't be so frustrated by being sick if I could at least catch up on my writing.

July 8

Today was an exceptionally busy day, so it was a good thing that I was feeling much better, although I'm not totally right again. I met up with Joan to go to pick up my dresses that I had made. We had to travel to an area south of Kampala, sort of in between Kampala and Entebee. We went to her sister's house, who had made the dresses for me. It was soooo interesting.

The sister had a small store adjacent to her house, the equivalent of a convenience store. In the store she also had her sewing machine. The sewing machine she had looked like an antique to me. It was a singer that you had to continually press the pedal back and forth for it to run.

She had her toddler son there with her. He was very interested in me. He kept speaking to me in Luganda because he didn't understand that I couldn't understand, but it actually was helpful in picking up a few words since toddlers use such simple words and repeat them over and over again. I taught him to make sweet eyes at me, which was very cute, and he wanted to come into the dressing room with me while I tried on the clothes. He also gave me a piece of his candy, which I was pretty impressed with for a two year old.

Before I tried on any clothes Joan and her sister made a quick meal. The used little charcoal stoves and just placed their pots directly over the coals. I wish I could have taken a picture of it. We had an interesting array of things, African tea, which consists of tea and milk, instead of tea and water, scrambled eggs, avocados, and spaghetti pasta with tomatoes in it. It was actually all very good, but I felt like I was having breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack all at once.

Afterwards I was able to try on the dresses. I'm very excited about the long dress. It needed some alterations and she was able to do them right then and there. Then when she was finished I was able to try them on again to make sure that they fit correctly. The long dress turned out much better than I expected, and I'm really excited to be able to wear it. I like it because the pattern of the dress looks very much like an African print, but the cut of the dress is more American or European, so it's not so over powering. And the color of it suits me very well. It's a very deep red, almost purple color.

Everyone was fussing over how good it looked, and it made me a little embarrassed. I had to insist that it be let out a little because they like to wear their dresses very tight. I told them that I had to be able to move.

We had to rush back into town so that Joan could make it to work on time and I could make it to the meeting at the Foundation. She helped me find a taxi bus and the taxi park, which is a nightmare of a place. They squeeze as many taxi's as they can into this acre sized plot of land. There are sign posts stating where the taxis in that vicinity are going, but you have to know what general area they park in. So you get on a taxi and you have to wait and wait for the taxi to fill. It's hot and the air is stagnant especially at mid day like I was doing. People walk around with their little trinkets for sale trying to make a few shillings, and they always target me because I'm white and they thing that I have a lot of money to spare. Especially when I am by myself they like to hassle me, thinking that I'm going to give in. Men yell at me and tell me that they want to marry me.

I have actually come up with a good response for that comment. Here men have to pay a bride price for the the woman they are going to marry, so they have to give many items to the woman's family before he can marry her, and he has to pay for the entire wedding. So I tell them that they don't have enough money for me, and it makes them laugh because I'm playing into what is their culture.

Anyhow, so I took a taxi bus from the taxi park to the foundation. I was worried because I knew I was going to be late. Here it isn't a big deal to be late, but that's one of the things that I can't let go of. I can't stand to be late. However, I lucked out because the meeting had been canceled. Everyone but Dustin and I knew about it, but the trip wasn't wasted because our favorite restaurant is down the street from the foundation. It is an Italian place run by and actual Italian. It's really good, I can't remember if I have written about it yet. It's the only place we can go where things taste familiar, so we have gotten into the habit of going there when we go to the foundation.

From there we met up with one of our new friends, William. This is the one that we interviewed on Monday. He took us to his home, because he lives in one of the slums in Kampala that is well know for prostitution. He introduced us to his grand-aunt. He wanted us to talk to her because she has been living in that same area for a long time. She has adopted about eight of her grandchildren because many of her children and their husbands have died from AIDS. William and a few of the other relatives help her to keep up with the children. That's just part of his story, but I don't have time to type it all out. He's a really good person, I'll just leave it at that.

He wanted us to come so that we could see for ourselves what the area is like when the girls come out at night to look for customers. We didn't feel entirely safe, but since we were with someone who lived there and knew all of the residents, we figured that was about as good as it was going to get. He also knew one of the "agents" in the area, which isn't exactly like a pimp, but similar. We interview him and one of his girls.

All I can say is that it was really rough on both Dustin and I to interview these people, emotionally speaking. The woman started crying in the middle of the interview, and it was difficult for me to hold back the tears. You could tell that she hated what she was doing. Even William was struck by the experience. The best that we could do in good conscience was give her some money for her time. We probably gave her as much money as she would make in a week. It was impossible not to intervene at this point.

After that we decided to go home before things really got going. Things don't really pick up till 11:00 or so, and we decided it was in our best interest to leave before then, in particular for my safety. Other women are not really welcome. William went with us into town and helped us find a taxi (again from the taxi park). We made it home safely, but we were so overwhelmed by the events of the day, that we couldn't do any more work for the night. We just relaxed and read, then went to sleep.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hey Gang!

Our internet has been down for a couple of days, so I haven't been able to post. I had a great 4 of July. I have to spend some time tonight writing about it because I'm on my way out the door to pick up the dresses I had made. Keep your fingers crossed that they came out ok! P.S. If you haven't already notice, we posted some new pictures. Just click on the same link as before.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fourth of July week

July 2
Today we went to see a school for the first time. It was exceptionally interesting to see the children and watch the mentor teach the children. They were excited to have us there. Everyone is very nice, and one of the supervisors accompanied us. It was actually outside the city, making it so beautifly. I'm glad that people went this us because we would have gotten lost for sure.

We have learned a lot from being the school. I wish that we had more time to collect information. The kids were very smart despite the fact that their room was so sparce. By the time we were done we were very hungry. So we took some time to get sushi. It was delicious. I was so glad to have something that I really liked. After that we got invited to some kind of presentation, but I'm still not sure what it is that we were attending.

We came back to the kitten, he is just so cute. I had to give him another bath. He has too many fleas to be in the house. I fell asleep very early because I was so tired. We have gotten good at taking the boda boda's around the town. During the day they are pretty scary weaving in and out of traffic, but at night it is so nice to be able to have someone take you straight home. The taxis are always cramped and uncomforatble. Dustin and Andrew in particular have trouble because they have long legs.

July 3

Today we had another meeting at the foundation. This time we met with all of the mentors. They seemed very interested to meet us. I helped one woman call the U.S. from her phone. She was trying to help her friend change the name on a plane ticket. It was our good deed for the day.

After that I went around trying to find some kitty litter. It is actually pretty difficult to find. I guess most people keep their cats outside. Dustin went to get a hair cut, so I have had the house to myself this afternoon. It's been rather pleasant. I found someone to take the kitten. The girl next door said she would take him. It is something that I was worried about.

Tomorrow we are going to somewhere around the embassy. they are having some kind of event. should be fun.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Birthday day

June 30

So my birthday went very well. It was nice to take the day off to do whatever it is that I wanted to do. I slept in, and instead of taking the morning to write I read the paper and dozed on the couch. I went to my massage in the morning. It was fabulous and relaxing. I could have laid there for three hours while she rubbed me down. She even did my stomach, and I could choose the type of oil, which was eucalyptus. After that it felt like I floated down to the hair salon.

One of the women in the compound told me about a place where a white man could cut my hair. I needed one so bad, I thought I would take the risk. It turned out to be a much better idea that trying to cut my own hair. He did a great job and it felt so good to have my hair washed. The salon was in this really nice hotel/country club. It is sort of weird to be in a place like that. It seems so serene and removed, but then you have to step back out into the city again.

I think my favorite part of the day was to loose track of the time. When I came back I ate some lunch, and distracted Dustin while he was trying to work. Grace was there and sang happy birthday to me.

We had planned to go out to get sushi, so I hopped in the shower to get cleaned up and to wash some of the oil off me, but when I came out, people had already started to arrive! I wasn't sure what had happened because we had banked on them all being late. This was the first time I anyone had ever arrived early,and people were notorious for being late. So we had to scrap that idea and come up with a new plan of action.

I also didn't realize that as the birthday person, I was supposed to provide food and beverages to everyone at the party, so Dustin and I started scrambling to come up with at least some snacks. We actually pulled it off very nicely, but we were lucky because Grace had been to the market for us earlier in the week, so we had a lot of food on hand. Dustin was fabulous in playing host and cooked banana bread for me as a cake. Everyone was so impressed that Dustin could cook at all, especially the banana bread, which takes a little bit of measuring and mixing. It all turned out great, and we had enough food to feed everyone.

We sat down to watch a movie, Seven Pounds, but I didn't really like it. Too slow for me, but fine. People hung around for a little while, but most of them left after the movie because they all had things to do in the morning.

Dustin walked Joan to the road where she could get on a taxi, and on the way back he found a kitten in the ditch. He came in and said "Ginger don't be angry" and then walked in with the kitten. (I thought something had really happened, and of course I was not angry about it). It was so pitiful that we decided to clean it up and find a home for it.

It has turned out to be the sweetest little kitten. It's really too small to be away from it's mom, so he thinks that I'm his mom. He insists on always being in my lap and sleeping. Even now while I'm laying on the couch and typing he is trying to make a nest in my hair so that he can sleep. I suppose my hair is a bit of a nest anyway. I'm not sure what we are going to do to find a home for it. It's not like you can just take it down to the animal shelter to be adopted, and we can't put it back outside, something will come and snatch it up.

So that night we spent cleaning up the kitten after every had left. He was pretty filthy from having been in the ditch. After a washing he turned out to be orange and white tabby, with little green eyes. I wish I could ship him home to mom cause I know she would find a home for it.

July 1

I can't believe we have been here for an entire month now. I turns out the kitten, although a little small, is actually pretty healthy. He has perked up a great deal since we have given him a few meals of milk.

Today I went to have a dress made. Joan said her sister could make formal dress, so I thought I would give it a shot. I need a formal dress for Katie's Debutante ball. I picked out the fabric and everything. I picked out a maroon and green pattern, so it should turn out very interesting. I will certainly look different from everyone else.

Then we went to the foundation for a meeting. I was actually impressed with how well the meeting went. We were also supposed to have an interview, but we got tired of waiting around and tired in general, so we went home.

Tomorrow we are supposed to go to a school for the first time to see the children. I hope it goes well. I hope we can at least find it. We still have trouble finding places because we don't know the city well enough.