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Thursday, September 13, 2012

New dog

Kilo is a perfect gentleman. Doesn't cause trouble, is quiet and well mannered, helps out where he can. A few days after Tiger died I went to Uganda's one and only pet shelter to talk with the manager there about my need for a guard type dog. Shiraf would be really noisy if he were the only dog here, not to mention spoiled.

After looking at puppies, disabled dogs, barking dogs, nursing dogs and wondering a bit what I was doing, we went to a quieter part of the compound. We talked about the one dog that I liked at first sight. He let me know she was so friendly as to almost invite the thieves in. He then pointed out a dog he thought would be a good dog for guarding. I wasn't too impressed. He then showed me a very alert, strong looking dog, about 3 years old. He was colored like a Springer Spaniel, but with short course hair all over.

After checking with the driver, who agreed we could try to take him in the car, without a cage, we loaded up for the 45 ride home. Kilo laid quietly on the seat with one of his feet on my legs as we sat together on the back seat. When we came home, he went fairly easily on a leash into the compound, where Siraf began to bark furiously over the intrusion.

We are 2 1/2 weeks along now and they get on very well. They take turns keeping the quard company at the house next door and sleeping on my front step. Everyone seems to like this new guy very much.

So glad the shelter is there and knows its animal well.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Some times I marvel at how well all things work together. Yesterday was one of those days. No snafus with the copy machines at HIS, finished with all the work by 11 and on my way home. Got in a good nap and enjoyed house group very much.

Today, spent over 5 hours just sorting data sheets, sending out notices to ministry team leaders giving contact names, etc for newcomers who want to help out. Felt like I was slogging through mud up to my knees.

Did take time out to watch the dogs play keep away with a ball. They plaed very nicely and took turns too.

There are days when the body goes more stiffly or slowly than I'd like. And many days when it seems I can't hold a single thought more than 2 seconds. I guess it is called the aging process. I want to act, move, multi-task as I did when I was 40. It is hard to admit those days are long gone. Doing one thing at a time and doing it well is enough. Better yet, not having to "do" anything and able to delegate, request others to assist or just forget the task all together. Now there is a great idea...

I wouldn't go back to any other age, even if I could. I do like who I am now. But find myself wondering more this year, what I will be like when I am 70. Don't know. With any luck I might even forget the question. lol

Friday, June 8, 2012

Cooking local style

One of the common, favorite foods for Ugandans here is Matooke, a banana that is soft when cooked and served with sauces of various kinds. Heritage School organized an appreciation lunch for support staff this week. Each of us was asked to bring some food for them.

I decided to make matooke. How hard could it be?? It is a lot like mashed potatoes.

So, one bunch of matooke

broken/cut off into a pile and ready to peel

Peeling the green skin and the underlayer takes more skill and time than I'd imagined.

Finally, after 2+ hours, all the fingers are peeled. See all the dark on my hands and knife? Just the sap from the matooke. It does scrub off.

Thanks to Ali, there were banana leaves to wrap the matooke in for cooking; banana leaf stems and fibers to line the bottom of the pan to prevent burning and banana fibers to tie it all together so it can be lifted from the pot when done.

Pan filled with stems.....check banana fibers laid cross wise.....check

banana leaves laid in....whoops, needed to wash them first as they were dusty

load in the banana fingers.......oh no see all the dark lines on the fingers?? I didn't peel correctly, have to redo almost every one

Finally have a full pan, leaves pushed around the pot, fibers tied, pot on top to hold the steam and whole thing on the stove.

On to the second one! Oh my, I'm running out of time, the food is to be at school at 1 and I haven't booked the car yet to carry me and the hot stuff down.

That done, worked up the second pot. At 12:15 called it done and tied that one off. At 12:30 took the first pot from the stove. Went to lift out the matooke and all the leaves holding it came apart!!

Matooke in the pot,on the counter, what a mess. Salvaged by grabbing my largest glass bowl and putting all the matooke into it, pressing it with banana leaves on top.

The car arrived. I turned off the stove, pressed the leaves in the pot. All seemed done. Drained the pot, pressed some more. With the help of potholders, loaded into the car, down to scholl and into a warming oven to be held for the lunch at 1:30.

Whew!! Fixing matooke isn't as easy as it looks. I'll be much more appreciative of those who fix it for me. Next time, I'll just make katogo (matooke stew), thank you very much.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Backstage crew

Behind the scenes are many support people.

There is a Director, who envisions, teaches, encourages, corrects, re-visions and leads everyone to become more than they thought was possible. Here is Trudy, relaxing at the after-production party. She looks 10 years younger than she did just 24 hours earlier!

And every Director benefits from a competent, experienced Assistant Director. Angie filled that role to a T, and also joined in some of the fun on stage as well.

Then every play needs a producer, someone to track the myrid of details, recruit volunteers for orchestra, back stage work, see to programs, posters, ticketing, T-shirts and keep every one getting along when stress begins. You saw Arfaan before, as Mr. Brownlow.

When actors aren't on stage they hang out back stage waiting for their cues.

Here are two who moved all those props back and forth every performance and kept track of it all!! Kirti and Shuba (Oliver's auntie and mum)

Make up is a big part of looking the part. Men with beards and mutton chops, ladies with "wrinkles" and dirty faced kids. All in an afternoons/evenings work for Chiara, Flora and Saira

There are stage hands who have to move the back drops and scenery pieces. Leila and Nadine did this every performance, with help from friends.

In a quiet corner sits the costume mistress, ready to stitch up anything that has come undone or needs tucking. Here Maggie is mending coveralls for one of the Theatre's stage hands.

And here she is giving a shoulder and neck massage to one of the many crew who found a short respite in her chair.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Oliver! Choruses

This musical has tunes with multiple part harmonies and needs lots of voices to be its best.

The adult chorus members sometimes are there just for their singing, but they are in costume too:
Loes has great voice and was in several scenes

Charles the knife seller (his son Graham also helps him with this)

This young lady who sells strawberries.

Isabelle and Laura (aka Widow Corney) who sell milk

More Chorus members waiting to go on.

Dee, who was a rehearsal keyboard leader got dressed as a bag lady and joined in the chorus fun at the last performance of "Ommpapa".

The kids chorus does double duty plus. All kids are in the workhouse scene.

Some 10 go into Fagin's gang for the rest of the show.

Others become part of the kid chorus, singing and acting in all the scenes with songs. They are bundles of directed energy which lift the show wonderfully.

Oliver characters

Star of the show, 12 year old Suraj has a great voice and presence. He will be in a lot more productions I think. He is seen here with Mr. Brownlow and with Fagin.

Villian of the piece, Bill Sykes, played by Benedikt. At 6'2", he could be intimidating just by walking up close, never mind the sneer, the growl and the menace he portrayed.

Nancy, Bill's girlfriend, is played by Laura, who teaches during the days and loves to act and sing. She makes characters come alive.

What a great mentor for pickpocketing The Artful Dodger provided to Oliver. Here is Alice looking like a young Bill Sykes.

Other characters, Noah Claypool, Mr.Sowerberry and Simon, a member of the chorus.

Noah alone

Mrs. Sowerberry and Graham, a member of the chorus

Nancy's friend, Bet, has a lovely voice and great stage presence. I think she is only 17.

While the book, Oliver Twist , doesn't have any funny parts to it, in the musical, Fagin becomes a lovable, comic character. Played by Mike, the pathos of a single, uneducated Londoner, become truly sympathetic, even if he is corrupting young children.

Dr. Grimwig is relaxing while waiting to go on stage. Perfect, the actor, is also in the chorus and is the one to shoot Bill in the end.

My best Muzungu friend here, Melody Williams, plays Mrs. Bedwin, housekeeper to Mr. Brownlow and friend to Oliver.  She is sporting one of the nicer bonnets I made.

Mr. Bumble wears one of the first costumes I designed and the first hat I made. His outfit was truly fun to do. He gets to swagger around, waving his stick and selling small boys from the workhouse.

Mr. Bumble weds Widow Corney and they don't get to live happily ever after.

And just to add some realism to the show we had our very own Bulls Eye, Bill's dog.