Saturday, August 31, 2013

Robbers & Reunions

Looking back, I am having a hard time believing it’s been 2 whole months since my last post. Where on earth does the time go? Even stranger, there are only 3 months left before I come home for Christmas. I guess this is a good a time as any to share that I have a flight booked in January to return to Uganda for another year and even though I came to that decision months ago, I feel so settled here that I can’t believe I was even considering the alternative.

So, how to summarize the last 2 months without writing a novel…I’ll just stick with the really good parts.

A few weeks ago, a team from my church came to spend a couple weeks in Mpigi. Especially given I had friends on the team, I was extremely excited to see them. They had planned a day to come up to Jinja to see me and see Ekisa so I went down the day before to spend some time with them and accompanied them back the following day. Nigel (one of the team leaders) put me in charge of the day so as we rolled into town, I directed the driver to a small run down fishing village. I had everyone stay in the vans and went down to the shore where I knew I would find a row of leaky wooden boats and negotiated a one hour boat ride with a random Ugandan man. I went back and told the team to come on and follow me down and though there was definitely more than one person who asked me with raised eyebrows, “are you sure?”, we had a great time seeing the source of Nile, monkeys, a plethora of birds and even monitor lizards.  

From there, we had lunch at a great restaurant called 2 Friends and then headed to Ekisa to spend a couple hours with the kids. The kids were still napping when we got there which gave me a chance to sit down with everyone, tell them all about Ekisa and how I ended up here and answer any question they had. I can hardly even put into words how much it meant to me to have them make a deliberate trip to see this place and what we’re all about and I will be forever grateful to the team and to my church for their love and support.

The following week, the team had plans to head down to Kibaale to visit another missionary family from my church, Jeff and Shannon Dyck. As it had been my intention since they came back to Uganda to go and see them, this was the perfect opportunity to do so and to spend more time with everyone. Seeing them made me regret not making a trip to Kibaale a priority as I could never have imagined the blessing of spending time with people who understand and know home as well as Uganda…it’s a rare thing in my life and there are so many things I would like to talk to them about and I look forward to doing so. I believe wholeheartedly that they are a resource that will significantly increase my chances of navigating life in a missionary community with my sanity intact. In fact, however long we’re all here I truly intend to make the trip down at least once every couple months; Shannon, if you’re reading this, I hope that’s ok. J

I learned a valuable lesson on that second trip as I took public transport all the way to Mpigi and the whole way back which includes a taxi transfer in Kampala. To help you understand the choices I made, you have to understand how much I hate getting ripped off by boda drivers. In Jinja that doesn’t happen (when I do happen to take a boda) because I know the distance between places and what it should cost. When a taxi drops everyone off on the corner of a random side street in downtown Kampala and I need to get to the taxi park, I have no idea how far it is and what the fair price is….so I asked directions and I walked. On the way to Mpigi, this took nearly 20 minutes and involved walking between two buildings where I got the distinct impression that I was somewhere I shouldn’t be and I’m pretty sure a guy was tailing me looking for a chance to reach into my bag. I got through unscathed and found the taxi to Mpigi on the other side as I had been directed.

You would think that that experience would have convinced me that I am much better off getting on a boda the next time and just sucking it up if I end up paying too much; well, unfortunately for me, my stubbornness exceeded my common sense and I did the same thing on my way back to Jinja…another 20 minute walk through the bowels of crazy busy downtown Kampala. I held my purse close and didn’t put anything of value in the outside pockets of my backpack and I was wise to do so as at one point a sly hand attached to an audacious young man attempted to push open a zipper on my purse before veering off into the crowd and once I had settled into a coach bus in the taxi park, I discovered every one of the zippers on my backpack had been opened to some degree. The crazy thing is I fully expected this but still chose not to take a boda. I am happy to report, though, that I feel quite convinced to never do that again.      

I have so much more to share but as I’ve already gone on too long, I will save that for another post. 

The team having dinner together...

My dear friends, Chase and Breanna.

Nigel - "Look! A monkey" ...maybe...

This is near the official "Source of the Nile". This used to be more of an island but the water has risen since the dam.

Geoff, lovin' life.

Jeff gave us a great tour of their school and clinic.

We all got to introduce ourselves to the students...

Sage advice...

Jeff also gave us a bit of a tour of Kibaale and we got to visit a couple of the families in their program.

A view of Kibaale from the back of the pickup.