Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ebbs and Flows

I have been called out…

I went down to Mpigi to see the Peace Portal team a week ago and I was told that more than one person back home asked them to get on my case about the significant lack of blog posts.

Guilty…and the more time that goes by, the harder it is to be motivated to document my life; but I do recognize the importance of staying connected with the people that love and support me so, again, I am sorry.

The update:

I am still in the same 2 bedroom apartment (the “temporary” place that I moved into 9 months ago) that I share with Emily, Erika and Em’s foster daughter. There have been some major frustrations and I have experienced a wide range of emotions along the way, for sure, but I have loved aspects of it as well. For instance, Erika and I share a room and it’s kind of like a perpetual sleepover. She’s back in the States right now and I miss her dearly… In the midst of it, I feel I am getting closer and closer to really understanding the meaning of grace in the context of my interpersonal relationships and that, I suppose, is a gift. The new apartment is not out of the picture yet, it’s just…arg. That’s really all I can say about that…

We got a cat, her name is Molly.

There was a rally tournament in Jinja one weekend a while back. I am a fan of rally cars so I went to check it out…there were some safety precautions in place but we were still close enough to risk getting sprayed with sand and stones…it was fantastic.

The Agriculture Fair came again this summer. I didn’t hold a snake and go on sketchy spinning metal swings this year because it was too insanely crowded and we didn’t stay long, but I did witness the ring of death… Click here… 

My dear friend, Cheryl Butler, came to see me and spent a week and a half fully immersed in my world. It was lovely. Whatever she tells you about what she saw and experienced in regards to me and my crazy friends, don’t believe her, none of it is true…we are all well behaved, mild mannered “missionaries” who only say the kindest of things and spend our evenings playing Bibliopoly and drinking Shirley Temples. 

Cheryl and I went to Mpigi to see the Peace Portal team. If you read about my trip to Mpigi last year, you’ll be happy to know that traveling to and from was much more straight forward this time around and didn’t involve multiple pickpocket attempts and being tailed down a dark alleyway…ok, the latter may or may not have just been my imagination but it was a creepy alleyway and I did feel like a chicken on a spit in a den of hungry lions. The team came up to Jinja the day before heading home and we all had the chance to have a nice dinner and go on a wee float down The Nile together. They also took the time to visit Ekisa and it was a joy to show them around. I cannot stress enough how incredibly nice it is when I get to share this home with friends and family and this year I’ve had many an opportunity.   

The mental health update:

I have talked before about the nature of living here being one of extremes…things are either really great or really hard; death, corruption and cultural complexities all play a role in the latter. I have always been an “ebbs and flows” kind of gal and living in Uganda has been no exception. Sometimes I feel like I’m coping well and other times I do a poor job of it. Bitterness and cynicism are huge traps that everyone here struggles to stay clear of and it is extremely hard to not get ensnared. Last month was one of those months where patience and joy were far from flowing and my enthusiasm for being here was ebbing away; to be honest, it was the first time I had ever really thought about throwing in the towel. I daydreamed about moving back, getting a “normal” job and not having to worry about getting cheated or hurt or knowing when or when not to help someone and never witnessing the death of another child. My pride would have never allowed that, of course, but that doesn’t stop me from wallowing in a deep chasm of self pity. If it wasn’t for my faith and my family here (my friends, young and old), I don’t think I could manage. I am very fortunate to have people around me that know me and understand me and understand the struggles that we all go through and for that I am eternally grateful.

The good news is that God always steps in when I’m at the end of my rope and I feel like this time, He gave me an extra dose of grace…like a shot of holy espresso. Patience renewed, joy restored, I have been reminded why I am here. I have to choose though, everyday, to keep an attitude of joy and of love. My faithful Savior stepped in with a leg up, but I know what is required of me, I just don’t always own up to it. I sometimes think that when I “grow up”, I will be steadier, more grounded, but I think it may be time to admit that I will always struggle, I will always be drawn to that place where I am the centre of my own tragic universe. I am not unique and, I suppose, there is comfort in that.

So, in conclusion, I am alive and I am well and I have much to look forward to: a month from now, I will be on a plane heading out on an adventure with 4 of my most dear friends. My next post will likely be all about it…

A couple pictures of beautiful Uganda for your viewing pleasure...