Friday, August 28, 2009

Hello Everyone!

I made it safe and sound to Uganda, though my butt is still sore from so much sitting! My longest flight was about 8 hours, which wasn’t too bad because I was so tired I slept for over half of it.

So far life in Uganda is very different from the US, but also very similar. The toilets are outside and you must squat over a hole in the concrete. But that really isn’t as bad as you would thing. And bathing from a bucket is quite nice! You just soap up and rinse off and you are done! Though it feels a little awkward to do this outside without a roof over my head. There are walls all around me, don’t worry.

I live with a wonderful Ugandan family, which has become my family, as well as a roommate from my program. My Ugandan dad’s name is Henry, and he is a pastor of a church just up the road from us. His wife is Irene and she goes to school in Kampala where she is studying to be a nurse. They have three kids which are now my Ugandan siblings; Elijah, Rebecca, and Enoch (pronounced Eh-nook). They have helped Holly (my roommate) and myself feel very at home. And the food is fantastic, though repetitive. My favorite food thus far is Matoke, which is kind of like mashed potatoes, except it is bananas steamed in banana leaves. There is not much flavor, but when you put soup broth on it, it is wonderful!

Tomorrow we are all leaving to go to Rwanda for 10 days. Please pray for me during this time as I am concerned about the suffering I am going to see. While I do not shy away from suffering, I get overwhelmed when it is so much all around me. And we have a 15 hour van ride tomorrow and I get motion sick just thinking about it! So please pray!

Love to all!


Monday, August 24, 2009

The beginnings of my Journey

I am sitting in D.C. and wishing I could shower. I have been traveling for almost a day, and I have another one to go. But so far it has gone smoothly. Well, except one little incident with security today. While I was repacking and trying to get my bag within the weight requirements I moved a lot of things. Today a security man brought to my attention, while searching my bag, that my backpacking knife was in it. I was shocked, and nearly said a bad word! I thought I was done for. Luckily, I think he could see the shock on my face, and that my stuffed Moose was tucked under my arm, and he offered to let me go back through and check my bag, or he could just confiscate the knife. I was relieved, but didn't feel the knife was worth it. So I surrendered my backpacking knife to TSA and sent thankful prayers to God that I wasn't detained or arrested.
I also nearly didn't get a ticket for my flight to Amsterdam because I forgot that my real name in RainbowMcCracken. But this too was resolved and I am sitting, eagerly awaiting the departure of my 9-hour flight to Amsterdam with my group of new-found friends. Everyone is very kind, funny, and eager to get to know one another. So that's all from the U.S.! In just a couple hours I will be flying over the Atlantic and still wondering what the Hell I got myself into :)

Thanks for the prayers and encouragement!!! More to come ASAP.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Coffee and Doughnuts anyone?

Greetings Friends and Family!

The time has come for me to depart on my four-month adventure to the beautiful country of Uganda. Many thanks for the support I have received in preparation for this trip. And that’s not just financial; many of you have generously given your time, prayers, homes, and love during the past several months of preparing and traveling.

I have had a busy summer. I worked at Young Life’s Washington Family Ranch (previously known as Wildhorse Canyon) for three weeks in July. While there I was working hard doing laundry for nearly 1,000 people and also prayerfully working out how to finish paying for this trip. After a few weeks of researching my options my trip was paid for in full with the help of loans and scholarships. Praise the Lord for his faithfulness throughout that process. After camp I spent a few weeks in Southern California soaking up sun and salt water and enjoying spending time with good family friends.

Now I am in the finale stages of preparation for my semester abroad and I want to make sure you know the latest info on what I will be doing, where I will be living, and how you can communicate with me

I will be in Uganda (or in transit) August 23rd until December 17th. I will be taking a full load of classes at Uganda Christian University (, which is located near the capital of Uganda (Kampala) in a town called Mukono. I will be near the headwaters of the Nile River, which flow out of Lake Victoria, the largest freshwater lake in the world. I will be living with a Ugandan family in Mukono that my program directors will match me up with once I arrive in Uganda. I will be traveling and attending school with 44 other students from the U.S. and Canada, but there are over 2500 Ugandans and other Africans attending UCU. I will have Internet access, but it will be limited and slow. So the ways you can contact me include e-mail (but I may be slow to respond), Facebook (again, I may be slow to respond), and the U.S. Postal service (aka snail mail). Actual letters are my favorite, and you can send a first-class letter to Uganda for a mere 2 stamps! You can also send medium or small padded envelopes if you want to send more than a letter. My address there is:

Joy McCracken, Uganda Studies Programme

Uganda Christian University

P.O. Box 4

Mukono, UGANDA

But please do not send money, or something worth a lot of money, via mail. If you wish to send a monetary gift (which is always helpful) you can send that to my mom and she will make sure I get it. Her address is:

Joy McCracken

C/O Mary McCracken

231 Tibbling rd

Selah, WA 98942

I don’t recommend sending boxed of any size to me in Uganda as packages are expensive and I may have to travel into Kampala in order to pick it up. Packages also take quite a while to reach Uganda, so I may never get it.

I will also be keeping a blog during my travels where I will post updates, pictures, and prayer requests. You can also find my address on my blog or my Facebook profile. My blog address is I will try and post at least once a week.

Finally I want to wish you all a blessed and renewing Autumn season and thank you again for the unique and very special roles each of you play in my life. I look forward to telling y’all about my adventures through the next four months and hearing about yours as well.

With much love,