Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Boats, Storms & Stuff

The question, “Which season is it? Rainy or dry?” has been met with many different answers since I got back. Generally speaking, we’re all just a little confused. In the last month, we've had a week of hot but tolerable weather, a week of hot, nearly intolerable weather, a week that could be compared to the beautiful, breezy, cool spring days we get back home and finally, what we experienced for a good few days in a row last week: torrential rains, high winds, thunder, lightning and power outages. Don’t get me wrong, I love the storms, I just feel bad for the Ugandans whose livelihood depends on crops and whose crops depend on a somewhat predictable weather cycle. And then there’s the fact that we've been studying Revelation in Bible Study and the kinds of storms we've been getting paired with meteors flying into the earth’s atmosphere has us all joking that the “End Is Near!”

Friday’s storm was particularly enjoyable since the water in Jinja had been shut off for two days and Kate and I thought we’d take advantage of the fact that it was falling from heaven. We’re fortunate in the fact that we have a huge water tank on our roof, as most people do, but given that there are only two of us, we didn't ever run out. A lot of the people we know, on the other hand, weren't so lucky. I think Erika made 2 or 3 trips to the Nile in one day to fill up jerry cans for Ekisa.

Kate and I ran outside with jugs and basins and positioned ourselves near a gutter by the front door that flows with a certain exuberance during a heavy rain, doing our best to funnel the water; well, I did my best to funnel the water, Kate took pictures. By the time it slowed to a steady shower, we were plenty wet but incredibly satisfied with our ingenuity. 

Thursday morning, we piled all the volunteers, all the kids and a handful of mommas into our two cars and headed to a nearby fishing village to set off on a boat tour. It was a bit chaotic loading everyone in, passing kids off like sacks of sugar, trying to get everyone safely seated, but our strong Ugandan guides were a huge help and nobody went for an unintentional dip in Lake Victoria. In fact, besides a minor, short-lived water fight between the two boats, nobody got wet at all. It was a gorgeous morning, warm and breezy and on top of being able to enjoy how much fun our kids were having, we got to see the official “Source of the Nile”, multiple types of really pretty birds and even a few monkeys crawling through the trees along the shore. I was hoping for a crocodile, but apparently they don’t hang out in that particular area.    

I’d love to say that I've been enjoying cruising the streets of Jinja on my skookum (ya, it’s a word…look it up) new scooter but, alas, buying things like that in Uganda has its risks and it’s not exactly, well…running. I have a game plan on how to deal with this little issue (it’s not as simple as calling a mechanic and trusting that a) it will get fixed properly and b) you won’t be somehow deceived in the process) and in the meantime, I’m doing my best not to get frustrated about it.    

It took a bit to get rolling, but I’m full speed ahead now catching up and moving forward with admin stuff at Ekisa. It’s good to be busy again, to feel like I’m using my time productively. I remain grateful for the fact that I joined Ekisa as a young organization as there are always things to improve upon, ways to grow, and opportunities to be creative and resourceful along the way. So much to do… :-) 

Collecting water...the kitchen sink is the only place in the house where we don't get water from the tank so we also used the opportunity to wash our dishes.

Courtney, Luke & Sara, getting ready to head out.

Just a man fishing on the shore.

Me and my Tasha.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Round Two

I never would have thought my first few weeks would have been such a whirlwind. Let`s see…I`ve already been to Kampala three times, bought a German Shepard puppy and almost killed said puppy due to a whole day and night of incessant yelping, I`ve made a midnight trip to Al-Shafa hospital with my roommate Kate and our night guard after he called Kate to say he was having bad chest pain (He`s fine, fyi) and I even bought a scooter in Kampala. I`ve also started work at Ekisa, settled into my new home (pictures to come once the finishing touches are done on my room), started growing herbs, planted some things in the garden, stocked the pantry, spent way too much money dining in town with old and new friends…I could go on.

It hasn’t been what I expected coming back; harder in some ways, easier in others. It was a lot harder to say goodbye this time around but I suppose that makes sense given the more indefinite length of my time here. At this point, though, it feels like I never left and I suppose that's a huge blessing. My house feels like a home now, friendships have picked up exactly where they left off and this town is exactly how I left it. I am happy; utterly and completely. Don’t get me wrong, we are not without our issues and struggles here but, at this point, joy trumps.

I realize this is short and sweet, but I figured I needed to post something before I hit March. Sometime in the next week, I’ll get some pictures up of the house and my scooter…I promise. J