2014 Suzanne Judge. Powered by Blogger.

Day 324 - Soooo close!!

>> Thursday, July 29, 2010

So I've been working on the detailed trip outline for our Uganda trip for the past couple of hours, and it's getting me soooo excited about our trip! It feels really real now, now that's it's only a little more than 2 weeks away! I found out today that a good friend of ours has volunteered to take care of Franklin and our house while we're gone, which is awesome as I always feel really guilty when we put him in a kennel for an extended period of time (plus it's crazy expensive!) She stayed with him last year when we went, and Franklin loves her (I seriously think he was a little depressed when we came back and she went home!)

I'm really excited that Chris and I get to lead the trip this year. It's a huge honour to have GIVE International trust us with this one, and although I was pretty nervous about it, after meeting with Ryan (the director of GIVE) this past weekend, I'm feeling a lot more confident that we're up for it and ready for the challenge!

I'm also super excited as we've just confirmed with GIVE that we get to lead another trip next year! We'll actually be leaving again for Uganda only about 6 months after we come back from this trip, as it'll be over March Break next year. That trip won't be a church or group specific trip - we're opening it up to several churches and groups, and it'll be for people aged 16-20. I think that trip'll be very cool as it'll be interesting to see how people who don't know each other interact under the amazing circumstances they'll encounter in Uganda. I am in a bit of a quandry as by that point next year I'll be out of vacation time at work, and technically I'm not entitled to the next fiscal year's vacation time until April 1st of 2011. Please pray for me that either my work will let me take a week of unpaid time off, or that they'll let me use some of my next year's vacation early!!

A BIG thank-you goes out to everyone who has donated money so far. After our Run for Uganda last Saturday we've been able to get our total donations up to about $40,000.00!! It means we still have almost $22,000.00 to go, but I know it's possible for us to get there. If you would like to donate, but haven't already, please see my previous post from a few weeks ago that lists a few different ways you can donate.

T-minus 17 days!!!!


Day 320 - Run for Uganda Update!

>> Sunday, July 25, 2010

I did it! I finished the Run for Uganda on Saturday and am still alive!! ;)

I have to admit, I was pretty nervous beforehand - my "how hard can it be?" mentality pretty much dissipated as the minutes counted down to the start time. Mainly because it was so stinkin' hot Saturday morning - I think it was something like 39 degrees with the humidity? Definitely fitting I guess as we were running for Uganda! I had no grand plans of being fast or anything, I just wanted to keep going and be able to say I didn't stop at all (and by the looks of some of the people running the 10k and the 5k, I'd have had no chance anyway of coming in anywhere close to the front of the pack)!

I put my MP3 player on as Chris counted the seconds down to zero and started the run with a lot of enthusiasm and energy, although sadly I must admit that at the 1k point I was already thinking "oh right, maybe I should have practiced beforehand!" I ran for a little bit more, but then had to stop and walk for a bit. I pretty much kept myself to a run for a song or two / walk for a song or two pattern. When I walked though, I was definitely "power-walking" and not taking a leisurely stroll or anything. I got a little deflated (okay, a lot) when I reached the 2.5k mark (where there was a little tent set-up with water and stuff). I couldn't believe I had only reached 2.5 kilometres! It definitely felt like I had gone a lot further than that, but then I told myself that I at least had passed the halfway point, so now I just had to get to the finish line!

One huge motivating factor for me was seeing the 10k people on their last 5k stretch of the run. Basicially for those running the 10k, you simply turned around at the 5k mark and ran back. They started their race a half hour before ours, so we started passing them as were getting into the meat of our 5k run. Wow - it was so fun and inspiring seeing them trek along and still running strong. Seeing our Uganda team members especially who were doing the 10k was awesome - I cheered for all the 10kers as they passed me, but I have to admit I saved most of my cheering for our team members. Seeing Ashley, Renee, Eddie and Gord go by and seeing how committed they were to finishing the 10k definitely kept me going!!

I finally, after much huffing and puffing, saw the 5K mark approaching. People cheered as I passed the finish line and I clocked in at about 43 minutes (which, yes is a long time to do 5k, but hey - not bad for the first time). I grabbed some water and sat down for a minute or two, and heard Jeff tell someone else that it might be awhile before the shuttle came to to take everyone back to the church (where it all began). I was still kind of amped up, so in a split second decision I decided to get back up and do the other 5k back to the church! I just didn't feel like I was quite "done" yet, so I grabbed a bottle of water and headed back! I ran for a bit, and walked for a bit, but it pretty much took me the same amount of time to go back as it did for the first 5k. Finally crossing the finish line felt awesome - even though every inch of me was covered in sweat and I felt like I couldn't move another muscle, it was definitely worth it!

There's definitely something about running that is a lot of fun, and I can see how runners get addicted to races and marathons - being able to say you actually did it is pretty cool! I think once I give my muscles another day or two to recover, I may just finally take up running! (maybe - I make no promises). The route along the Don Valley Trail was absolutely gorgeous btw. I simply can't believe that in all my time living here, I hadn't experienced it yet! It follows the Don River, and it really is amazing. Very shady in most parts, lots of bridges, and you definitely forget you're in the city! Now that I know what it's like, if I do start running regularly, I think I'll be traversing it's trails more often!

So all in all, a great event, a great run, and a great day (even though I had to get showered and changed right after the run and go to work for a full shift!) Note to self - make sure you get the whole day off next time!


Day 318 - Run for Uganda!

>> Friday, July 23, 2010

2 posts in 1 day? Woo hoo!!

So our "Run for Uganda" is tomorrow. I'm slightly nervous as I've signed up for the 5k run, and well - it's been about 8 years since I've run for any extended period of time.

Ummm, yeah, so it'll be interesting.

But really though, how hard can it be to run? I think I'm in relatively good shape considering I don't actually follow an exercise regime, (although does aquacise count? I have been "working out" and "running" in the pool a lot). If I can run in water, running on dry land would be easier right?


Hmmmm, so okay - as long as I don't have a heart attack I guess we could call it a success!!

I have heard that if you're running for a cause it makes it easier to stay motivated while you're in the thick of it.

So . . . I've decided that I'm going to be running for someone in particular. Actually two people. They're both kids I met in Uganda last year. One I met in a village by the sugarcane fields and the other I met at a school. They both touched my heart a lot and I haven't forgotten the time I spent with each one.

So I'm going to run for them, and if I get tired and want to stop, hopefully the images of their faces in my mind will keep me strong and lead me to the finish line!

Please keep our run tomorrow in your thoughts and prayers - we're hoping for good weather (no rain, but not too hot or humid either!) and that we raise a lot of money for our trip.

Here's to the Run for Uganda!!


Day 318 - Music, Africa, Possibilities, Realities . . .

Sometimes I wish I could just turn my brain off for a second. Seriously, sometimes I just want to tell my internal dialogue to "shut it" and let me get some rest. Even in my sleep it just keeps going at warp speed and 6 nights out of 7 I end up having crazy, crazy dreams that leave my waking up a) still tired and b) going "Whaaaat was that??!!"

Especially now, when I feel like all the different possibilities for my life, all the paths I could have taken, have finally converged on one point, and as much as I'm ready and willing to take that giant leap of faith forward, the reality of the situation makes things more complicated and turns everything into a waiting game. (And if you know me personally at all, you know that waiting and "patience" in general is not my forte).

There is also the unknown of how to merge my two biggest passions into one and make them symbiotic of each other. I have so much passion and such a love of Africa and the humanitarian work happening on that continent and some African countries in particular, and I know I'm being led there for a reason. I also have this crazy love/hate relationship with music and songwriting though, and have for the past few months been getting some awesome comments, messages and emails from people who are so incredibly supportive of my singing and my songwriting, and have been really strongly encouraging me to continue and come out with new stuff. But, how to merge these two things and do both, I'm not sure. I tend to have a "singular-focus" kind of personality - if I just focus on one thing I tend to accomplish the goals I've set out for myself. If I try to do too many different kinds of things, it all kind of falls apart. Now that it's clear I have these two passions, figuring out how to do both tends to occupy a lot of my brain power during the day. I know many would say to just "do it" - do both, see what happens, and if it's meant to be it will be. Which would be awesome, if my brain would just chillax for a minute. I need to stop worrying about it and just be.

LOL - I just had a realization that I guess this isn't a good indication of what I'll be like when I have kids. Everything else will just fall by the wayside 'cause I'll be all about my kids. Geez - how do mothers do it? How do they have babies and still work and still lead balanced lives? I'm freakin' out 'cause I can't figure out how to merge two career paths into one, yet my friends are balancing motherhood, jobs, husbands, friends, and hobbies. Haha, see brain? You need to chill 'cause you ain't see nothin' yet - just wait 'till a baby comes along!

Oh boy . . .


Day 314 - I need your money! (Well, Uganda does)

>> Monday, July 19, 2010

I need your money.

Well, to be more accurate - Uganda does.

Our Uganda 2010 Team leaves in less than a month now and we still have quite a way to go in terms of fundraising. I'll be honest and say it's been a lot more challenging this year getting donations than it was for last year's trip. I think there are two main reasons for this:

The first is that last year we were taking high school students, so a lot of the money coming in was from parents, relatives, school friends and the parents of school friends. This year it's all adults, and I think people are a little more hesitant to donate to adults than to a younger group. Plus, last year if one of the kids fell short on their fundraising, we could pretty much count on the parents paying the remaining of the balance owing.

The second reason I think is that people are just being a little more careful with their money now due to the economy. Even though they would like to donate, they don't feel like they can afford to. Of course this is completely understandable, and there's not much we can do when people are financially strapped and don't feel they have the means to donate.

We do have high hopes though as we gear up to this weekend and our last "big" fundraiser which is this Saturday July 24th. It's the "Run for Uganda" - a 10k run or 5k run/walk along the Don Valley Trail. We're aiming to bring in another $10,000.00 on this event, but even if we do we'll still have about $20,000.00 to raise in the span of about three weeks.

I don't know how many people read this blog, or if you're in the position where you can donate money for our trip, but I thought I'd put it out there anyway and ask. If you're reading this and you can afford something, even if it's just $5.00 - that $5.00 would be more appreciated than you could ever imagine. If I may, I'd just like to outline exactly where the money would be going and how it benefits Uganda.

It costs an average of about $4400.00 for each team member to go to Uganda for two weeks. That covers everything from both individual travel fees (ie. roundtrip airfare to London, Kenya, then Entebbe, travel and medical insurance, accomodations, transportation, Visa fees, etc.), to the costs of running GIVE International and being able to go over in the first place (ie. payment for the local GIVE guides, paint and construction supplies for building projects, the costs of buying the family kit elements, etc.) I think this is important for people to know as your donations are not paying our way to a vacation or an exciting adventure on the other side of the world. Every penny that isn't going towards the actual travel expenses goes directly to benefitting either the local economy in Jinja, the people in the villages in and surrounding Jinja, and the many, many babies, school children and orphans we come into contact with each day on our trip. The benefit of each of these GIVE trips for the people of Jinja and the people of Uganda is overwhelming. I saw it first hand when I went last year, and I hear it in the many stories from other GIVE volunteers who have travelled to Uganda in the past few years.

We simply can't afford not to go. The need is too strong, and the timing too immediate. The work GIVE and other humanitarian organizations are doing in Uganda and other African countries is truly inspiring and amazing, but there is still so much to be done, and it will be a continuous need that cannot be ignored.

If you do decide to donate towards this trip, please know that your money is a blessing greater than a "thank-you" would ever suffice. Your money can literally save lives. The mosquito nets we give out as part of our family kits for example, has helped in the drop in malaria infection rates amongst both children and adults. The water jugs, pots and pans we distribute help families in their daily safe meal and water preparation. The portable health clinics we're doing this year will address and teach the vital importance of proper wound care. The books, clothes and toys we hand out to children put a smile on their faces that could light up a room, and the teacher education and playground construction we're doing this year I know will help draw in more kids to school, education, and perhaps a future where they too will have the skills and knowledge to pass on to the next generation and benefit their country.

If you can donate (and again, no amount is ever "too small") there are a couple of ways in which you can do so:

1) You can mail a personal cheque (made payable to GIVE International) to:

Cheque memo line: BVG Uganda Project 2010
763 Zermatt Drive
Waterloo, Ontario
N2T 2W8


2) You can make a credit card donation online:

• Click on www.giveintl.org
• Click on DONATE NOW icon (bottom right side)
• Click on DONATE NOW icon (top right side)
• Enter Donation Amount $:
• Enter Fund/Designation: BVG Uganda Project 2010
• Enter my name in the Message/Instructions
• Fill in your contact info. for your charitable tax receipt

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I would ask that even if you can't make a donation at this time, that you please keep our team, the work we're going to do in Uganda, and the people we're going to meet in your thoughts and prayers. Although these trips are of course exciting, there's also a lot of hard work and struggle involved (physically, emotionally and spiritually). We need all the prayers and support we can get.


Suzanne Judge

GIVE INTERNATIONAL is a non-profit, relief and development organization committed to working alongside existing health, education, and development organizations in East Africa. This is accomplished through establishing, directing, and supervising our community-based health and education programs; through donating supplies, equipment, and materials to our programs where needed; and through providing trained volunteers to assist with our programs.
(Canadian Registered Charity #: 85914 1970 RR0001 ).


Day 310 - back to "real" life

>> Thursday, July 15, 2010

So I'm back from vacation.


Sigh . . . getting back to "real" life sometimes sucks. ;)

How in the world can 7 days on vacation go by so fast when 7 work days will drag on like there will never be an end to it? Oh time, you can be such an evil trickster!

The farm was great - weather was perfect and I was able to chill with the fam and also do some reading and thinking (on one of my favorite "thinking" spots - the hammock!!)

Now it's back to life, back to reality - and a bit of a crazy reality at that. We leave for our Uganda/Kenya trip in exactly one month today, and we still have a lot to do between now and then. I pretty much have Uganda on my brain 24-7 these days as our departure day will be here before we know it! It just feels a little hectic as between that, and my "real" job, and working on music stuff and trying to get into shape, and trying to just do some "summer" stuff, I feel like there's just too few hours in the day! I guess I can't complain though - my "problems" are all good problems to have and I know that I'm blessed to have them!

Anyway, I hope everyone's having a fantastic summer so far and that you're all enjoying the weather and hopefully getting in some lazy relaxin' days as well!


Day 302 - Done and Done

>> Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm officially on vacation!! I probably won't be blogging much for the next week, but will have a post-vacay blog when I get back.

Have a great week everyone!!


Day 301 - almost there

>> Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I feel like there's been a lot going on lately. When I think about it though, it doesn't really seem like there has been a lot going on other than the usual stuff. I think it's probably more a combination of the usual stuff, and then thinking and worrying about all the stuff that's coming up in the next couple of months and the next year. I have a tendancy to worry about things and if they're going to go according to plan, instead of just being confident in the fact that I've planned and done my best and then just let it go.

Thankfully though, I plan on letting my mind take a "break" soon, as I am officially on vacation as of tomorrow at 3pm! I have seven whole days off and I plan to make the most of them! I'm really, really excited to spend some time at the farm with (almost) the whole family, just hangin' out, maybe get caught up on some reading. I'm also planning on spending some time running - I've signed up to run the 5K portion of our 5 or 10K "Run for Uganda" marathon. While I don't think 5K will be too bad, it's been a looooonnnng time since I was a "runner" so I need all the training I can cram into the next rwo weeks! Hopefully I can also squeeze in some trips to the beach as I haven't had a beach trip yet this summer (although I know, I know, the summer's just begun).

I am so very thankful for this time off. I feel like I really need it - just time to recharge and restore my spirit. Nothing cures my frazzled spirit better than time with family, with mornings on the veranda and afternoons lying in the hammock staring up at the trees or running around the fields with a whole bunch of dogs! Add in being far away from the city, with the beach at my doorstep, and I'm bound for some serious relaxation! Now I just need to figure out what books I'm going to bring!

Here's to vacations and time spent with family!!


  © Blogger templates Sunset by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP