Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Uganda Project Trip Part IV (of IV)

My old friends, left to right, Jade, Matt and Beau. Great guys
and being with them made me wish we still lived there.
Monday March 4th:

Packing up and leaving the ministry for Kampala, I was reminded how stressful it is to once again be in charge of meeting the team’s every need, in a place where meeting needs and making people feel comfortable are near impossibilities. Also, making sure I have enough money, exchanged to the right currency, keeping track of receipts, finding places to buy not only drinking water but enough water for teeth brushing as well, and planning a schedule to keep people fed is a full-time job and then some. I look at the volunteers sometimes and think how nice it would be to just be along for the ride. Ha! Actually, I very much like leading trips, and especially in Uganda it really isn’t too hard to sort things out since I am so familiar with the place, places to eat, shop, exchange money, etc.

A few random pict's that didn't make the cut until now:

Testing water from the nearby water source.
Looking at the water test under a blacklight 24 hours later reveals
whether or not there is a chance of e-coli being present if it turns
fluorescent. If it's just yellow, it means that other more common
bacteria are present. It's rare for these water tests in Africa to
not at least be 'yellow'.
You have to get creative to make things work on a project trip.
I think every school kid around the globe has, at one point
in their career, played the all-important parachute game.
I'd shower twice if I was guaranteed these would come true
(I've tried it though, and it clearly doesn't work).
Today was our closing time, so we had our typical meeting of sharing in the afternoon followed by a team dinner at a nice restaurant in the evening (Cassia Lodge, overlooking the lake).

At dinner atop a hill overlooking Kampala, at Cassia Lodge.
For the next few days, most of the team will be on safari (I’ve hired my old friend Farouq, who we’ve known from the beginning of our time in Uganda and who is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He has proven himself to me many times and I completely trust him to send my teams away for a few days, something I otherwise wouldn’t think of doing). While they’re away, I’ll have a few days to connect with friends, spend time meeting with our EA staff, and doing some business with the EA office as well. I’m really looking forward to it.

Tuesday March 5th thru Thursday March 7th:

'Scary Hill' road, near our old neighbourhood. It felt like I
was back home, strangely enough.
It has been so fun to be in Kampala. It still very much feels like home even though it’s been nearly 3 years since we moved away. So many people still remember us around town it is so fun to see their faces when they see me walking up. I was once again reminded of how much I love Ugandan people – some of the warmest and most friendly people in the world I’m convinced.

On top of visiting with some of our old dear friends, I visited some of our favorite restaurants, was shown a new one that actually serves a good hamburger (I really thought it was impossible in Uganda!), drove around town on a boda (if you’ve read this blog for long enough, you’ll know that means a motorcycle taxi - of which there are thousands upon thousands in Uganda), met with friends, played basketball at Tuesday night basketball that I helped start with a handful of guys years ago, joined morning prayer all 3 days at the EA office, connected with most (but sadly not all) of the EA staff, and overall really just felt like I had a great chance to visit the people and place we once called home.
Morning prayer at EMI-EA under the newly rebuilt gazebo.
People especially remember our boys, and asked when they were coming back to visit. So yes, a great visit – I still love Uganda and as I told many people there, as much as anywhere else in this world, it feels like home. That’s a weird phenomenon, but a reality of the lifestyle we now live. It’s good, hard, and bizarre all in one – thankfully, we rest in the knowledge that this is what God has called us to do, so it really doesn’t matter how we feel about what or where our life journey is anymore. That might be the biggest lesson we’ve learned thus far in our over 5 years with EMI, and as unsettling as it might sound, it’s actually giving us the most peace and contentment we’ve ever felt.

The basketball court at the boys' old school, Heritage Int'l
school. When I was there, we started Tuesday night bball for
a bunch of us missionary guys. We raised money and I brought
back the backboard and rims from the States after one of our
furloughs home. They've since resurfaced it, and the building
beyond is a new extension for the school. A lot of changes at
that school since we were there.

Our good friends Matt & Angela - we miss hanging out every
Saturday.