A Fun Fall Break!

Hello all πŸ™‚

I was fortunate enough to go home to Iowa over fall break, which started last Friday and ended on Wednesday morning.

My first activity at home was going to my sister Priscilla’s high school football game on Friday night. She had told me earlier that there is a superstar player on the team. I was reluctant to trust her, but after he scored SIX touchdowns and helped the team to win 77-0, I had to believe it.

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Priscilla and I at the Ugandan party

On Saturday night, I went with Priscilla, my brother Elijah, and my parents to a celebration for Uganda’s 51st independence day which was on October 9. My parents grew up in Uganda and lived there until 1991, so Ugandan culture is a big part of our lives. We spent the night in Ankeny, a suburb of Des Moines, talking and dancing with about 40 other Ugandans. Even though my family has lived in Iowa for only two years, I already feel like I have found a family in our Ugandan community.

On Sunday, I was blessed to participate in a volunteer activity with my church. Each year since 2009, we have set aside one day to bag 100,000 meals as a congregation for people in Zimbabwe, a country hit hard by poverty and AIDS. In Zimbabwe, there are 1,000,000 AIDS orphans under the age of 18, and 68% of the general population earns $1 a day. Using 1 John 3:18 as a guide, my church decided to show our love to the people there by feeding them.

Dear children, let us not love with our words or speech but with actions and in truth- 1 John 3:18

The meals we packaged contained rice with vitamins and spices. We poured the ingredients into little plastic bags and had to make sure that each bag weighed the same amount. After filling and weighing 36 bags, they went into a large cardboard box. Over the course of an hour, the group I was in filled six large boxes. Since each plastic bag held six meals, and a large box held 36 bags, my group made over 1,200 meals! All 100,000 meals will be shipped to an orphanage for children and adults who have lost parents to AIDS and/or have AIDS next month, along with clothes and books.

Break is always a great time to catch up with family and friends. I’m so glad I got to do that, and help out some people in Zimbabwe!

Rachael

My Summer + Orientation 2013!

Hello Everyone!

Even though I already made my first post of the year, I wanted to talk a little bit about my summer!

From early May to mid July, not much happened. I was at home in Iowa, where I watched sheep play behind my house and way too many shows on Netflix. But seriously, that’s about all I did.

In mid July, I started work in a corn field. If you didn’t already know, the state of Iowa was pretty much made for farming. With the exception of the occasional hill, Iowa is very flat and has fertile soil. Size wise, it ranks 26th out of the 50 states, but only has a population of about three million people. So, if you add it all up, great land + few people = lots of farms and fields!

The farms in Iowa are used for several things. Any corn, pork, chicken, eggs, beef, or dairy you get from a grocery store (or McDonalds!) may have come from a farm in Iowa. Along with growing our nation’s food, a lot of the fields, including the one I worked in, are owned by companies that test crops.

The company I worked for tests genetically modified corn. I was involved with the growing process, which mostly means that I helped to cross-pollinate, or sib, the corn. This involved putting bags on the corn tassels, collecting the pollen, and dumping it on the growing shoots of corn. I did this work for about a month, until it was time for me to return to Hope for…

Orientation!!!!!!!

If I seem a little excited about orientation, it’s because it was one of the best experiences I’ve had at Hope so far, and definitely one of the best experiences in my life overall. My position on the orientation staff was an assistant director (AD). There were 23 of us, and our main goals were to:

1. Help Kian and Claire, the orientation directors, with any finishing touches.

2. Train the Orientation Assistants (OAs) to lead their group of new students.

3. Learn and perform an awesome dance for the new students!

Along with these responsibilities, I also had some work to do for the siblings program with two other ADs, Jess and Hannah. Over the summer, we solidified the plans for the younger siblings and older siblings programs, and on the Saturday of orientation weekend, were completely in charge of the programs.

I only knew a few of the other ADs before starting Orientation, but by the end, I felt like I had 22 new best friends. We couldn’t help but bond with each other; after all, we were together from 8:30 AM-11:00 PM every day for a week and a half! We stuffed the new student welcome bags and family registration packets, made folders for the OAs, and familiarized ourselves with all things Orientation.

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We worked hard, but we also played hard! We took a trip to Skyzone, a local trampoline gym, went to the beach, learned a fun dance (shout out to Audrey and Hannah for choreographing!), went a little crazy with Snapchat, memorized lines together for the skits Orange and Blue 4 You and H.O.P.E., and became a little family in the process. I would do it all over again with this group in a heartbeat if I ever got chance.

If you ever get the opportunity to be a part of the orientation program, I would highly encourage you to take it! It’s awesome and I know you’ll have a blast!

That’s all from me! Tweet me or comment below if you have any thoughts!

Rachael

PS – If you remember this little post at the end of the year, you might recall that I said that I was planning to go to Lollapalooza. Long story short, I sold my ticket a week before the show and didn’t end up going. Sad, I know.