Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Happy Anniversary!

Today Israel and I reach the big 3-0! We have hit our one month together mark and we are truly happy.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Maybe I'll stay...

(only kidding, employers and mom and dad)
Shalom! How are the bones? (That's a common greeting here.) My bones, and the rest of me, our good, actually. (Bli ayin hara poo poo poo.)
Did I ever tell you about the time that Molly and I were stuffed into an overcrowded matatu filled with people and bananas and it was time for our stop and the only way out was through the back window? And that I'm not as bendy as the Africans and so it took a whole crowd of passersby to pull me out from the other side? Good times.
Did I ever tell you about the time that my father got knocked to the ground by a motorcycle? That he was crossing the street and looked both ways, but in the American order? That was funny. (Right, daddy? Even you laughed.)
Did I tell you about the time that a group of men offered to buy me for the price of the cow? But that happens all the time.
But those are all things of the past (except for the offering of the cow-dowry).
This time around, I am a visitor. Not a tourist, mind you--I ride the bodaboda bicycles even like an African woman now, side saddle and all. I even eat the skin of the mango that the kids throw down from the trees. And I'm not even buying souvenirs this time.
I have spent my last week and a half visiting friends all over the region. Since many of you know the people here, I'm going to do a bit of name-dropping, so skip this if they are just names to you:
I have spent about 1/2 my time at Hadassah with my children and a little bit of time on top of the hill reviewing the Passover Hagadah with the older youth. On my way down the hill, I have visited M'zee (old man) Nehemiah, who has a vanilla and coffee plantation (though I'll bet the Ugandans have never though to make a french vanilla cappachino). Further down the hill is Majuma who insisted I come in for tea and boiled eggs. I spent a night in Nasenyi visiting Jacobo and Norah and saw the team of oxen, Mike and Rene, hard at work. I also visited Israel Kilya's family in Nasenyi, but he was in Kampala. I've spent a few nights at the Putti yishuv where I intend on returning for shabbat. I went to Samson's and Dinah's house near town for a quick coke and saw their new baby. I've also visited Naume's new shop a few times. Oh, and of course dinner at Yael's, but unfortunately Yael had to be in town at the hospital with Sarah (not me), so it was cassava with Susan and the other kids. I've been to Namatala twice to visit Buete and Leah, and also Rachel Modundo, Nathan, and Maxwell. And last night Rachel M. and I journeyed to a small village ("This is REALLY a village," says Rachel.) near Namutumba where Mama, Papa, Grandma, and Grandpa Abraham live. I had never met them before and both parties were excited to meet the other--it was a big Abraham-fest (kinda like the Faust-a-thon, but not).
No one understands that I like my tea without sugar. And when I tell them that I like my tea like I like my men--big, black, and strong--they don't get that either. Hmm.
Last shabbat was spent praying and playing. This shabbat will be the same, but I have lots of studying and teaching planned also.
Some high school kids decided they wanted to go to Namutumba to help Pesach clean, so the 2 Israeli volunteers from the top of the hill and I are hiring Samson and his new van to take them there.
From there I will go to Kampala and then Entebbe and Monday morning I depart.
Yesterday evening I prayed in a grove of banana trees, their big leaves shielding me from the drizzling rain. Today I walked across a marshy rice paddy and through fields of millet and sorgum. I ate fresh roasted peanuts and drank tea while my hosts and I discussed the magic of airplanes and tractors. Those things ARE magic, I told them, but so are these things here in Africa--their own means of survival are slim but they are happy. And they have never heard of homelessness. Everyone has a roof and everyone has a family.
And during this visit here, all have made it clear that I am family too. Awww.
Wow. I'm truly in love.
Chag Kasher V'Sameach! Next year in Jerusalem!
P.S. To continue reading about my journeys, check out


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Back in Africa!

Oh, Uganda!
I took a cab (8 hour bank search instead of just the 4 hour ride--uch.) and as we drove into the African sunrise, I smiled and laughed. The rainy season has just begun and the land was brimming with extraordinary greenness and rich browns. The large maribu storks peered down on me from the tops of the trees; they are magnificently ugly. The women wear their finest clothing as they walk down the dirt road with bundles carried on their heads. The sides of the road were filled with miles and miles of sugar cane, casava, coffee, and corn (c,c,c,c). The windows were down and I became immediately coated with African dust. I was dirty and I was happy.
Time ticked away slowly, as it naturally does here in Africa, as I awaited my cliff. We approached Mbale and: Wanali. Majestic and awesome. She stood in silence, the drop from her peak as straight as the line in my back. The clouds above her, her crown.
By the time I took my second trip back to Mbale (another 4 hours, but this time in a crowded matatu, taxi-van meant for 14, but stuffed with 20), sunrise turned to sunset and then quickly into dark. When there is no moon and no electricity, it becomes obvious that the stars, in all their beauty and utility (light) were created for us. The wide, open sky does not make me feel small, like it used to, but makes me feel great.
I got back to Hadassah School and it was late, but the children were waiting up for me. I got off my boda-boda (motorcycle) and they came rushing towards me. We had tea and shared a cake that I brought from home. We said Shma, sang Hamalach Hagoel (which I taught them, which they still say every night), sang the Mosquito song (pronounced mo-skwee-to--but then again, shouldn't it be that way since there's a Q?). Since Purim just passed, they kept getting Mosquito mixed up with Haman (same tune, so cute). And then, as though not a day had passed, when we were done singing, they all yelled out, "Kiss! Kiss!" (the boys and girls separately), and I went around and gave each of them a kiss on the cheek, or leg, or arm, or whatever I could reach before they pretended to be squeamish and shy away.
And today Abraham and I began rekindling our friendship (I slipped him a lollipop). His older sister, Esther, says that he talks about me often.
So, what am I doing here, you ask? Well, I decided last Thursday that I really just wanted to see all my friends in Uganda and realign myself back with the basics. To do a bit of good (I brought matza) and to get a bit of perspective. So I'm hanging out here on the equator, right in the middle of this crazy world, in this very beautiful place, for 2 weeks of vacation.
Mommy made me get a mobile (m,m,m,m) and here's my number: 011-256-78-222-3172. It spells nothing. I'm 7 or 8 hours ahead. I won't be angry if you wake me up. (On the contrary.)
Off to the market I go to buy vegetables for dinner at Yael's.
Love, Sarah
P.S. If you'd like to donate to the Send Sarah to Africa and Still Enable Her to Eat and Pay Rent When She Gets Back Fund (the SSTAASEHTEAPRWSGBF), please send your check or cash to: Sarah Gold 6400 Patterson Ave. Richmond, VA 23226. I am officially about to run out of money.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

ooooooh M'zungu?'s shopping time!

I keep dreaming of Africa.

I was sitting with a group of friends and little Abraham was sitting on my lap. Mid-conversation, he tugged at my sleeve to get my attention. I leaned down and he whispered in my ear,
"Saalah (rolled "r"s sound like "l"s), where are your wings?"
"My wings?"
"Do you have invisible wings? Aren't you an angel?"

It's funny -- they always thought WE were the angels.

Meanwhile, I requested an order of 50 hand-woven kippot and have just received a sizeable package from the Ugandan Putti community. They are $12 each and come in all colors and sizes. $10 each if you buy 6 or more. For a little sales inspiration, see my entry "M'zungu give me my 500 shillings!" You'll see just how far your $12 can go. What was it -- like 200 avocados per kippa? Something like that.

E-mail me your orders at, please. Thanks!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Death be not Proud

Sometimes we just need to pull the plug --

I spent yesterday mourning the death of my faithful computer, Daisy. We had spent 4 long years together and I knew her death was coming near. And at 8:33 a.m. yesterday, when I found my ipod uncharged and my computer screen blank, I accepted that the time had finally come. I pushed the power button a few times, just to be sure, but to no avail.

A full day I spent not checking my email! (That sounds jumbled but somehow, I like the ring of it.) I went outside having no idea how hot or cold I would be! (I was cold.) A day of phone calls to spread the word about the deceased and to discuss the prospects of Replacement (GASP! So soon?!).

At about 10:36 p.m. I decided to wrap her up and lay her to rest in a more comfortable spot than the dining room table (dining corner, not really a "room" in the traditional sense of the word). I went to unplug her when -- LO AND BEHOLD! -- she was not even plugged in!

Repeating the words, "I am such an idiot. I am such an idiot.", over and over again, I plugged that life giving cord back into the wall and... WALAH! She came back from the dead! I type on her now. We are closer than ever.

There is a moral to this tale (besides the obvious one of Sarah is dumb). Sometimes in life, we may feel like pulling the plug on something--a task, a friendship, whatever. But usually, the better option is to examine the plug. Maybe instead of pulling the plug, we should try pay more attention to it and just give it a gentle shove back into its warm home in the wall.

Happy New Year!
Love, Sarah

P.S. My cranberry walnut bread ended up hardening into a dense brick. It all ended up in the garbage. Well, I'll bet I can......whistle and snap better than you can! So there! We all have our strengths and weaknesses. (I don't mean to be so didactic...maybe after a brush with death, that's just what happens....)


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