Uganda report

So to date, I have been mainly blogging about us and getting set up here in Uganda. I apologize that it seems a little ego-centric that everything I have written has been about us, our feelings, and how we’re doing. Of course we realize we didn’t come here to just transplant our life over here and continue on like it was just a move across the state, but really, all we’ve had capacity for so far has been to try to figure out how we can make our life manageable and sustainable for our family here. Once settled, we figure we’ll then be equipped to begin our ministry here, which essentially will be: first, my job, and second, building relationships with the people around us. But it’s a hard balance to find, to build a comfortable home life while living amongst and even relating to people who are the poorest of the poor.
So within reason, we have purchased things that have made our family life manageable, with enough creature comforts to allow us to stay long term. Could we have done without and given the money to the poor? Yes, but realistically, we would soon crash and be returning home in 2 months without accomplishing any of our big picture goals. I know that many different missionaries have different ideas on this issue – I suppose we land somewhere in the middle. The big-picture goal of mission groups like eMi and many others is not to ‘fix’ Africa in the short-term. Rather, it is to build infrastructure into a system that has little or none, and by doing so, the next generation of Africans will be better off than this one, and so on and so on. This approach has somewhat been the ‘new’ focus of many mission groups working to make Africa a vibrant, free continent with expanding economies and opportunites for the next generations.
So the first aspect of our ministry - my job here with eMi - will begin shortly, but I have already been ‘lurking’ around the office here and there. Today I intended to work a part day, but it turned into an 11 hour day – can you tell there is no shortage of work waiting for me! :) I am very anxious to get going, but I also don’t want to rush into it lest Alisha be left to fend for herself. Actually, eMi’s policy is very forgiving in this area, as they weren’t looking for me to begin work until March 1, and then the first two months they only ask me to work 50%. But I am excited to get going – it’s the reason we came here, so this week I will be going through some office orientation stuff and starting to get lined out for what projects I’ll be doing to start out. I do know that my first two project trips will be inside Uganda, the first one at the end of May and the second one in September. The one in May I will shadow another staff member (Janet Strike) who will lead it, then the one in September I will lead while Janet shadows me. There is also a chance that I could be heading into Rwanda in April to help survey the damage from the earthquake they had a few weeks ago that killed 40 people - but that is very preliminary. I am excited that they are putting me right into action.
The second aspect of our ministry here – the idea of building relationships with the Ugandan people – has already begun. Life is extremely social here, so even if we haven’t met many people, nearly everyone who lives and works around where we live knows ‘of us’ and probably a whole lot more. Chad was telling me that most everyone around by now probably knows who we are, where we came from, that I’ll be working for eMi, and that the boys are going to Heritage Int’l School. It really is amazing how in tune the African people are with their neighbors’ lives! It makes them sound nosey, but really they are just very communal, so everything that is happening around them is discussed by all. So in essence, you could say that we are the ‘talk of the town’ (or village as it were!). Yes! I’ve always wanted to be famous! Ha!
But we have made a lot of new friendships – with the boda-boda drivers, who are more than excited to see us walking towards their ‘staging area’ in hopes that we’ll hire them to take us to town; with the little shop keepers who run tiny stores all around the dirt roads surrounding our house; with our security guards (there are 7 who rotate) and our house help Stella; even with the policeman Hakim who pulled me over yesterday to check my driver’s permit but it turned out, mostly just to talk! We are very fortunate that English is spoken here, however, it is very difficult to communicate sometimes due to accents and different words meaning different things. For instance, ‘pants’ here mean undergarments – you say ‘trousers’ instead, or if you offer someone a drink and they say “it’s ok”, that means yes they want it. I am constantly getting burned on that one, as people in town will approach me selling something and I’ll say, “Oh that’s ok”, and then they’ll stand there waiting for me to pay! Sometimes I’ll just buy it so I don’t look like a fool, or rather, MORE of a fool.
But the neighborhood around our house is kind of a dichotomy, with the larger, nice homes on the paved avenues branching off the main road, which is not paved and is lined with small shacks and mud huts that serve as homes and stores for the people who live there. I really enjoy going to these stores to buy little things we need like eggs or ndizi’s (small little sweet bananas) – by the way, we have been eating roughly 6 dozen eggs a week here - poor chickens! It is fun to talk to the people. It’s very important when you’re talking to the people here to first greet them and make a little small talk – Ugandans, and Africans in general I think, really like to chit chat. If I am all business and just walk in and say, “I’d like some eggs please” (as I am prone to do), they would think me to be very rude. It’s almost funny how you essentially have the same conversation with people over and over again each day, but yet you feel like you’re getting to know them better! Hopefully as I do I’ll be able to think of new conversation starters!
Oh, I almost forgot, we saw a family of 6 monkeys about 30 yards from our house the other day on our walk to school. That’s something you don’t expect to see here in the city. The locals don’t like the monkeys though, as they are quite the accomplished little garden thieves. Just imagine deer, except with opposable thumbs!

Picturs: (from top down) Alisha and the boys sitting down for a meal in the kitchen; Graysen in front of the new motorcycle - from dawn to dusk he is constantly asking me to take him for a ride. So far I'm only competent to do so inside our compound!; Leaving to take the boys to school in the morning - the rain showers come and go many days; and finally, Brodie and Jonah with the long-awaited 'Holiday Train' (minus a couple of cars) Jonah has personally told 90% of you about! It took them 6 days to build it with grandpa's help, and it took Graysen 10 minutes to completely destroy it an hour after it was first put together! (As I posted previously, Grandpa burned the midnight oil that night to completely rebuild it by morning).


Traci Morrow said…
You talk about your monkey's...boy, I cant think about monkeys every time I think about you guys and seeing those monkeys! :) :) :) :) (I'm laughing as I write it - LOVE YOUR DAD, LISH!!)

Thanks for the update Brad, but you know what? Its been just the right amount of info about you. Because before WE could think about your ministry - we first wanted to know about you adjusting and what you were going through! What you gave us was what we were all wanting to know - and now that you are adjusting more and more....its nice to hear of the people you were sent to love. :)

And I hope we still get info on Lish and the boys and you, and adjusting and just life as it pertains to YOU as you serve! :)

Gosh, THATS the train, huh???? For all the talk, I somehow expected it to cover the whole property! HA! Little Jonah Jones....and Graysen looks really skinny!!!!! And so does Graysens MOMMY!!! Thats a little shocking to be honest. Maybe post a picture of Alisha standing up, because her little arms and face look so thin she could be Ethiopian! Are you eating Alisha? You need some fats in your diet, girl. Want me to send some coconut oil? Or flax seed? Just say the word!! It could also help with your digestive tracts. Just a suggestion. Looking out for you all!!

Okay, gotta go get the kids from school! Just wanted to comment on my favorite addiction -your blog! :)

Love and big fat hunkin hugs!!

Oh wait! - Today Linnie said "Does anyone know where my glasses are?" and Joey said "I dont know" and I said "I dont know either" and Joey looked at me with a smile and said "BIRD POOP!" hahahahaha (Graysens knock knock joke!) Love it!

hugs and love!
TRACI +7 xoxoxox
Tam said…
WOW! You're really there! I lurk - but feel so blown away that I don't know what to say!

We love you all!! I certainly can say that =)))
5Crawfords said…
Traci, You make me laugh. And kiss that little Bradley, and the rest of them.... "Bird Poop," that made my day. :) And yes, I'm eating, just a funky angle of the camera. Graysen is still chubby too. :) No Ethiopians here, but two very cute ones back home. :)
terri said…
I just love your blog you guys. This blog today might be made into a book later, im serious, your whole process is being documented like a live journal, this is so cool. every morning when i wake up, around 5:30-6:00am i pray for your night and sleep. and when I go to bed I pray for your day , i just get so jealous that you get to know what happens the next day before we do lololollove you all and love the photos, I hear mom and dad have made skype contact with you, awesome!!!!love, terri xo
Traci Morrow said…
Sister, you're so funny! I've thought of that same joke. :) (which I guess means that I'm so funny too lololol)

I just hope they write some day and say "DONT GET OUT OF BED. TODAY'S NO GOOD". heeee :)

They're like a crystal ball.....

Stevie said…
I gotta agree with Traci on this one guys! She is definately right in saying that while we are all very interested in your ministry; our first concern was all of you and making sure that you are safe and well. Thanks for easing our minds a little bit :) I'm sending a box to you all this week, I have no idea how long it will take to get there. I have some items already, but do you have any special requests?? Our German friend often requests junk food (like doritos and oreos) that he can't get there. So, if you have any favs let me know and I'll include them in the box. We miss you guys, and open gym just isn't the same with out you!!
Traci Morrow said…
Sent two packages packed to the gills today. :)

Start the countdown to when they arrive...........


PS Brad, did Scott write to you? He said your timing was perfect, as he'd just lined up an environmental engineer in Finland for his project. God's timing is impeccable! :D

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