Monday, August 31, 2015

The House - Week 25

Week 25 - April 13, 2015

My first visit to the house this week was on tax day (April 15th) and we were hit with a decent snowstorm.

We don't have a driveway in yet, so it becomes quite the muddy mess when it rains or snows.

Inside the house work was still progressing.  The stair treads have been added.

Waterproofing added to the master shower walls.

Tile in the upstairs bathroom.

Upstairs doors have been installed, trim around the doors has started.

Garage door openers are in.

Tile in the master shower continues.

Upstairs bathroom tiling continues.

They've started on the stair railing, which it turns out is fairly complicated.  First step is installing the newel posts.

Tile in the basement bathroom.

Next week: Tiling is finished, finish work continues and painting the exterior begins.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Uganda - Kampala to Jinja

We slept the first night at the Mission President's home in Kampala.  Both Alison and I slept really well and neither or us really suffered from any jet lag.  The Mission President and his wife were hosting some sort of training or meeting for the mission leaders (elders and sisters) and as part of this they were feeding the missionaries.  

They needed a few more things from the store, so I went with my dad and we hit a bank as well as a few grocery stores.  Even in Kampala where they have some great western-style stores it is hard to find everything that you need at a single grocer.

The pictures really don't do the madness that is called driving in this place.  It's a total free for all and in addition to the crazy vehicular traffic you've got small motorcycles, called boda bodas that are used as cheap taxis and transport for anything that you can figure out how to get on them.

Every store that we went to in Kampala had high security.  The parking lots were individually secured and they would check the vehicles for weapons and the undercarriage for bombs.  After parking you would have to go through a metal detector and/or be wanded by security as well.

Once we had the necessary supplies, we packed our bags back into the truck and made it out from the mission home just as the elders and sisters were arriving for their meeting.  We were driving from Kampala, which is the capitol city and largest city (estimated population of 1.3 million) to Jinja, which is around the 14th largest city (estimated population of around 93,000) in Uganda.

Our first stop was at the senior couples mission apartment building in Kampala (where my parents spent the first nine months of their mission).  Aside from the dirt that seems to permeate everywhere, everything in Uganda was beautiful.

The senior couples drive the white Toyota trucks that are parked here.  I bet you can't guess who's truck has the drum and feather logo on the back.  Elder Squire is in the back talking to one of the security guards that he befriended.  Little did we know at the time that he was asking him to baptize him as he had just committed to baptism.

Another picture of Alison at the senior apartments.  The tree to the right is a large avocado tree.

This is one the of branches.  I can't remember exactly where this church house is located, but I think it was in Lugazi, which is a city about halfway between Kampala and Jinja.

I felt quite affluent when using Ugandan Shillings.  As a side note, the 88,000 UGX shown here are currently worth around $24.

After dropping our bags off at my parents duplex we made our way over to Ozzies, which is a small restaurant owned by a lady from Australia (I think).  Alison had a fresh pineapple smoothie along with her lunch, one of the perks of living in the tropics.

The only request that I made when we purchased our flights to Uganda was that I wanted one of Ozzies' famous $6 steaks.  It was solidly ok.

After Ozzies (and while Elder Squire went to pay their power bill, as their power was off) we crossed the street to some small shops where Alison started painting a background with her mentor Hope.

She (actually my mom) had to keep reminding Hope to let Alison paint.  He was always eager to help.

Here are a few of his canvasses.  I love the African sunsets.

All of the sights, sounds, colors, etc. were just amazing and very nearly overwhelming.  I found myself pulling my camera out and just talking pictures of the back of Alison's head while walking, trying to capture the uniqueness of the place.

After Alison finished the background of her painting we walked down to the new town market.  It's a large 3-story concrete building where everybody sets up show in little 8'x8' areas to sell clothes, fruits and vegetables and probably anything else.  When we got close to the market, there were big crowds on the streets, that made us a bit nervous.  It turns out that they had just had a riot in the market and there had been a lot of tear gas and fighting.  Some of the vendors staged a coup to overthrow the people in charge of the market.  Before we knew what had happened we walked into the marked a bit (some of the vendors had started returning) and we heard a bunch of yelling, chanting and marching coming our way, so we snuck ourselves out.

That night we went to The Keep for dinner.  It is another restaurant in Jinja that the Mzungus (or white folk) frequent.  While we were there, there were a few other groups of Caucasians, a race that is not terribly common in this area of Africa.

The bats on the ceiling of the restaurant were a nice touch.

Elder and Sister Squire

We had a mix of food here, including smoothies and shoestring potatoes, that were really good (it's hard to go wrong with fried potatoes).  

We slept in the spare room in the duplex with our mosquito nets over us (although we did not see a single mosquito the entire trip). 

Tomorrow we take a boat ride on the Nile, go to some waterfalls on the Nile and eat our dinner with monkeys.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The House - Week 24

Week 24 - April 6, 2015

I finally made it up to the house this week and the contractor had finally put a lock on our doors.  I didn't know the code, so I took a few pictures of the exterior.

From the SW.

From our neighbors upstairs window.

The front.

Once I got the code for the lockbox we were able to get in to admire the new tile.  Above is in the master bathroom.

Upstairs bathroom.

Pantry, powder room and mud room.

Shower pan.

Tile in the basement kitchen.

The following day doors started appearing.

Also, MDF along the edges of the stairs.

Lyla striking a pose in her bedroom.

In the basement all of the doors had already been hung.

Strike a pose.

Next week: more tile and finish work.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Uganda - Getting There

Alison and I have not really done much international travel (something I'd like to change). My parents have been serving a mission in Africa and we found a great deal on flights and convinced some sainted family members back home to help watch the girls and we were off.

I think that our total travel time was around 27 hours.  Above are our flights both to and from Uganda, both directions we had layovers in Los Angeles and Amsterdam.

Here we are roarin' and ready to go.  By the end we didn't look so spry...

This was our airplane from LA to Amsterdam.  We had the unfortunate luck of being stuck in the middle of 5 seats, so it was not the most comfortable flight, but we lived through it.

The food on KLM was not terrible, but we were both more than sick of it after 4 meals in the air.

Alison enjoying some Dutch pastry in the Amsterdam airport.

Sunrise, sunset? who knows.

Airplane pizza.

Overall, the journey was fairly uneventful, just time-consuming and squishy.  When we arrived in Entebbe, Uganda it was around 10 PM and was humid and HOT!  Entebbe sits right on the edge of Lake Victoria and is about 30 minutes south of Kampala.  We waiting in line to go through an ebola health screening, then paid $100 each for a travel visa to enter the country.  We grabbed our luggage (which was full of American necessities and gifts for my parents) and then found my parents at the exit to the terminal.

This is the first picture that I took of Uganda, it is the parking lot at the airport after we just arrived.  The truck on the right is my parent's vehicle while here.

Tomorrow: We spent the morning in Kampala, then made our way to Jinja, at the headwaters of the Nile.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The House - Week 23

Yes, we've now been living in the house for about 6 weeks, but I still wanted to continue documenting the building process.

Week 23 - March 30, 2015

We were only able to visit the house once during this week because Alison and I were in Africa for most of the week (some other blog posts that I need to get to work on, eh?).

This week the mudding and taping was completed in preparation for finish work to get started.

Ada and Kate joined me and were excited to see the progress as well.

The interior doors and other finish wood had been delivered and was being stored in the garage.

The toy room.

Ada looking over the edge from the homework nook.

Two excited girls in the master closet.

The front entry.

On the deck.  You can see that our neighbor's house to the south is progressing speedily.

The basement.

The theater room.

The back of the house.  Honestly, the house doesn't look huge from most other vantages, but from the back it look humongous...

One last view from the front.

Next week: Tile and hanging of the interior doors.