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January 15th, 2016
matatu 1

Me in the matatu, headed to Kampala. The boy next to me was taking selfies earlier, which gave me the confidence to take some.

matatu 2

This is what it looked like.

Busy intersection near my hotel.

Busy intersection near my hotel.

Same busy intersection, slightly different angle. This was on a Sunday afternoon. Imagine it on a busy Saturday afternoon, like when I arrived!

Same busy intersection, slightly different angle. This was on a Sunday afternoon. Imagine it on a busy Saturday afternoon, like when I arrived!

Last weekend I went to the capital of Uganda, Kampala. I went by myself, taking a 14 passenger minibus (called a matatu) on a 4 hour ride with my backpacking bag.

I made reservations with a hotel called the Pacific Hotel, which was in downtown Kampala. It was 18$ per night! My travel book acted like this would be a good place but I couldn’t really find any reviews online. I had a list of other hotels so I figured if this was bad I could go to another.

The ride up wasn’t bad. There was a chicken in the matatu, but she was quiet. 4 hours isn’t too bad when you don’t look at the time. I made conscious decisions during the ride to avoid looking at the time because I thought it would make me more “3 more hours. 2 more hours. 1 more hour. Etc.” My seat cushion did seem to sink down quite a bit by the time we got there. read more

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Ok New Year’s Celebration, Fabulous Life

December 31st, 2015


Me and my village English class.

The end of the year! When I think back to what I was doing last New Year’s, I knew I wanted to get to Africa some how but I definitely never thought that I would be here one year later! Yay!

I haven’t been blogging as much as I did when I was in Liberia because I’ve been busy doing real work! I have been teaching English classes to adults and working on the website for Sprout Care Foundation.


Me writing some stuff. I never thought I’d teach outside under a tree! What a joy!

Sprout Care Foundation, the organization that I’m currently volunteering for, is a community development organization that works to help their district of Uganda by doing many things. Some of the things are sponsoring children’s fees in local schools, helping poor families with various types of assistance, doing community education and awareness of stuff like HIV, waste management, nutrition and also adult education classes like English and Career Development. read more

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Ugandan Christmas

December 27th, 2015


Me and Lucy at the Christmas dinner.

So Christmas was a couple days ago. Very different than in the states. We went to church at 9 am on Christmas Day and the service ended at 12:30 pm. By the time we got home it was 1 pm and the women started cooking. Christmas dinner, aka lunch, was served around 2:30 pm. It was a very large spread of all sorts of Ugandan food. Lucy and I gave some gifts to the family members at the house. Normally they don’t do gifts for Christmas.

Christmas Lunch with the family!

Around 3:30 I went to a party with Prossy, a math teacher that lives with the family I’m staying with. Lucy wanted to come but she unfortunately had a migraine. The party was thrown by three daughters, for their mother, to say “thanks for still being alive”. The woman was 60, though I would have guessed that she was much older. She was a very sweet woman and she LOVES muzungos (white people) and she hugged me over and over again.

Me and the woman who’s party it was. Constancia. And a little boy who I think is her grand kid.


Then they gave me this huge meal. About 2 hours after I just had my big Christmas lunch. Matoke is the cooked, unsweet smashed banana. The yams are whitish, with purple bits. In the banana leaves are chicken and beef which were steamed. So good!!!

I had a great time at the party. There was a boy who seemed to be in his early twenties who spoke English very well, and infact spoke 4 languages total. He apparently was visiting from Rwanda. There was also lots of VERY cute little kids that liked to take pictures with me. One little girl I thought looked so much like a black version my brother’s daughter Hattie. Another little girl, Brenda, was great at English. The kids around here do learn English in school and actually most of their classes are in English. Still, I think some of them might have better teachers than others and some of course are shy to talk, let alone talk in a language that isn’t their main one. Brenda called me “Gloria”, which actually a lot of people in the states think I say when I say my name, but I didn’t want to correct

These kids were great. Brenda, the girl 2nd from the right has GREAT English. The little girl in the yellow dress, I also found insanely cute.

her. I want to be Gloria for her! And I do like Gloria better than “Rory” or “Maury” which are some other names that people call me. Laurie is apparently hard to say around here. Since Brenda was the star of the kids (that’s how the kids seemed to see her, idolizing her for her excellent English), all the kids called me Gloria. I’m very ok with being Gloria.

Some of the ladies from the party, eating in the back yard. That’s a banana farm behind them!

We just ate before we got to the party but there was also a very large meal served at the party. It was so cool looking! Rice, matoke (cooked, mashed, unsweet bananas), yams (which are different than American ones, they are less sweet and more starchy), an irish potato with spices, chicken (they said, I wonder if it really was) and beef steamed in banana leaves. How cool! I ate some of everything. Then I had a Coke and 2 orange Fantas. The first sodas were for the novelty of it, the third was because it was just gifted to me so I drank it. read more

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Nze Rory and My First Days in Uganda

December 24th, 2015

Christmas Eve! Actually it only hit me just now that most of my family, about 20 people probably, including kids, are at my mom’s house celebrating the holiday. Although I miss them and the celebration, I’m pretty darn happy here! Tomorrow we will celebrate Christmas, starting with going to church at 8:30 am. I don’t know what all the festivities will hold, but Lucy, the other Dutch volunteer have combined our gifts to present to the family and others living at the house.

The house I'm staying in in Kalisizo, Uganda.

The house I’m staying in in Kalisizo, Uganda.

At the house there are Godfrey (also called Geofrey), the director of Sprout Care Foundation, his wife Gorreth (pronounced Gorety), their three sons (the twins are 6 and the other is about to turn 3), Gorreth’s nieces Winnie and Doreen, a teacher from the school Prossy, myself and Lucy the volunteer from the Netherlands. Apparently there is also another girl, Tracy is a student at the school but is currently staying with her aunt for the holiday. Another volunteer Luke will be returning January 10th. I had no idea so many people would live here and I misjudged the boys’ ages so Lucy helped by offering to pool her gifts with mine. read more

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Liberia Pictures

December 23rd, 2015

Here’s a bunch of pictures I’d like to share but they don’t necessarily go with any of the writing I did.


One of the gas stations. Lots of businesses are named interesting names like that here. This gas, is just in glass jars and they dump it into your vehicle. We have been using more standard gas stations with regular pumps like in the US.


One of the coolest non-urban companies I saw. Didn’t go it but looks cool to me.


Common looking roadside businesses. Ots Ots is restaurant/bar. Lots of them around here like that.


I love these palm huts. These are used for chicken coops, storage of whatever or just hanging out in the shade.


In Clements Village near Fendell. The woman just collected these palm nuts. The red meat is taken off and beaten into palm oil or palm butter, both are used a lot here for cooking. The kernel inside the red part can also be used for another type of oil but I don’t know a lot about that.


Panorama of Clements Village near our LLTW site.


Art from Kendeja Resort.


The new LLTW minister, me and some local kids within the foundation of the school.


LLTW kids from Clements Village.


LLTW kids at the site.


Clements Village people hiking back to the village from the river after baptisms. The guy in the front, Will, is carrying an old blind man. Both got baptized that day.


Kids from the local school (Fendell Elementary School) at Clements Village.


Man near our house with a pet sloth? Is that a sloth?


Us and a bunch of locals at the LLTW site.


Very awesome guy, Will, from the village who helped LLTW a lot, including building our bamboo church.


Kids Sunday School class. This little girl Tita loved me.


Our bamboo church.


This is the way they cook in Liberia, outside with charcoal. This was some of my dinner!


Kebbeh cooking.


Some very cute kids in Clements Village.


Liberian Gothic. Liberian couple at their pineapple farm. We met them during our hike in the bush. I love this picture.


Hiking through the bush to Clements Village.


This was in Red Light, a VERY busy place in Monrovia, named because it was the first place in Liberia to have a red stop light. This is a HUGE market. I had to hold Kebbeh’s hand when we navigated through there. I didn’t get any pics of the market because I was too overwhelmed but we found Patience getting some fake eyelashes!


African girls. Saliha, me and Kebbeh.


Liberian money. They also use American. And not that they “accept” it, but that they really use it. There are no coins used, so often you would receive your change of less than 1 USD, in Liberian money. 88 Liberian dollars = 1 US dollar when I was there.


Me and Patience, Helena and William’s daughter, at an African wedding anniversary party.


Me at Francis’s place in my lapa. Lapa is the bright cotton cloth that is very popular in West Africa. I thought I was going to be able to find more in Uganda, but so far I haven’t see much! 🙁

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Goodbye Liberia! Hello Uganda!

December 23rd, 2015

As I write this I am in my new bed, under a mosquito net canopy, in my new Uganda bed. I have been in Uganda for about 8 hours. I left Liberia yesterday at 6 PM Liberia time and arrived in Uganda this morning at 9 AM Uganda time (3 hours later than Liberia and 8 hours later than the East Coast of the US and 9 hours later than Central US.

I slept for about 3 hours on the plane so I was very exhausted on the 3.5 hour drive from the airport to my new home in Kalisizo, Uganda.

So, Liberia. I met some WONDERFUL people. I have great memories and friendships that I will hold close to my heart. I wish I could write so much more than I have time for. read more

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Wifi Let Downs, Telenovela Pickups and Pumping Water

December 18th, 2015

Ok. I’m bored. I’m also annoyed. I’m experiencing wifi problems like I have never encountered and hope to not have to encounter much more after Liberia, but I very well might!

How we are using the internet here is with a small wireless hotspot that runs off of 4G towers. William Horace, the man of the house, when he got here in mid November, he says he paid 5$ USD for one month of service. When the three other guys were here, all of us were trying to share that service and basically it was extremely hit or miss and I was never able to get my computer hooked to the internet and therefore not able to post to my blog or share pictures that were not on my phone. My phone would only connect for about a few seconds at a time once every 24 or 48 hours. I adapted. It was ok. I’m glad I didn’t don’t have enough internet to scroll through newsfeeds for hours and waste time reading about stupid celebrity and reality tv trash. I’m very glad! read more

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Laundry Day

December 17th, 2015
My African daughter, Kebbeh Horace.

My African daughter, Kebbeh Horace.

Today’s weather is NICE. Very fine. So typically the generator is turned off about 8 am. And then my fan dies and I get so hot I have to get out of bed because it’s just miserable. But today, when the generator died, I was still under the sheet and I felt SO pleasantly happy and content and wanted to lay in bed and enjoy this unusually cool temp. I checked my thermometer and it said 78 F (26 C or so). So nice! Best temp since I’ve been here! Lovely.

I went to breakfast and made my daily “Cafe Lauricano”, 2 Nescafe packets and 1 Tablespoon Nido dry milk protein with hot water. I drink the hot drink regardless of the air temp because it is like my security blanket. My stable rock that I can turn to in this strange and unpredictable world. (A few times I couldn’t have Nescafe or Nido and I still got by, no tears or outbursts.) Breakfast was some fried cassava and fried plantains, paired with boiled cassava and plantains with a hot stew of peppers, tomatoes and spam. Kebbeh came in and was making some tea and said she needed tea because she was cold. I said I LOVED the temp! read more

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Goodbye White Men

December 13th, 2015

Today three of our American team members headed back the states. It’s now just Saliha, me and the Liberian couple. Honestly, it was a tearful goodbye (on my part) because I have worked so closely with these guys for the past two years and now I may never see them again. I sure hope to though.


The LLTW mission team. Ron Burnett, William Horace, Jonathon Burnett, Saliha Stewart, Bruce Bates, me (Laurie Scharp) and Helena Horace.


Team Born in America. Saliha, Bruce, me, Jon, Ron at the LLW site.

Since two bedrooms just opened up I asked to have my own and I got one! I had my pick. I’m not sure I chose wisely, but I would think that with either choice I might think that. I chose Ron and Jon’s room. They both said it was hot. Jon said he never once covered up with the sheet, Ron said only one night did he cover. For comparison, I covered up every night. So their room is the only corner room and therefore has a window on each wall. I liked this for the sake of light but also I was deducting that a breeze could blow through there. I assumed that they were getting hot because they’re both tall, broad guys and they were sleeping in the same bed (father and son). Also, their room has a closet! With a light! read more

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A Night on the Town in Monrovia

December 12th, 2015

Last night was pretty fun. The first place was a bar and restaurant that was very Liberian, called Vicky’s Fingers where we sat outside and had fried fish with cassava farina salad with various vegetables in it and drank Club Beer, the native Liberian beer. I was encouraged to eat some of the head of the fish. The “wingman” says he eats the entire head, skull and all and that it makes him smarter. He seemed smart, so I at least dug out the eye and ate it. I wouldn’t say it was delicious but it wasn’t terrible. read more

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