April's Blog
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February 2, 2013, 8:42 AM

02 February 2013 - My Second to the Last Day Here :-(


02 February 2013

I haven’t felt much like writing for the last few days.  I don’t know if it’s just because I’m feeling kind of conflicted about leaving here Monday, or just lethargy from the humidity, or maybe there’s no reason.  I was out in my courtyard this morning after hanging some laundry on the line.  I just stood there, enjoying the “foreign” feeling that always moves me.  I never really want to see tourist attractions in most countries I’ve visited.  I just want to “feel” the place.  I like walking around on the streets, among the people, just seeing what it’s like to BE there.  I’ve never seen any of the animal parks here in Uganda, or the gorillas, or Murchison Falls.  Yes, it would be nice, but it costs a lot of money to get into the parks (especially if you are white) and it costs a lot of money to drive anywhere.  I prefer walking into town with someone who lives here and going to the market.  Yesterday I went shopping with Addah.  Rick always takes the one who does most of the work cooking etc. for us when we are here and buys them a new dress before we leave.  This time it was Addah who always seemed to be in the kitchen.  Over the years it always seems to be one of the girls who is sort of assigned to the visitors.  Not necessarily the oldest – the first time it seemed like Ruthie did most of the work and she was 16 at the time.  After that for a couple of years until she got married, it was Emily.  The last few years since Emily got married, it’s been Addah.  I went to the Home with Emily in the morning to play with the kids.  We had quite a morning dancing, singing, coloring, and I watched them do crafts for awhile.  Then I needed to go to the ATM to get some money for the shopping trip with Addah and also to pay school fees for the two kids we sponsor for school.  (Thank God for the new ATMs!!!)   I still remember the first time we came here and the ordeal we went through when we ran out of money.  But that’s in my book, and it’s from another time.  So, after walking the couple of miles to the orphanage, up and down hills, on a road with holes filled with bricks which make the entire road like walking on rough cobblestones, we then walked another couple of miles into town, also up and down hills.  We thought Addah was downtown at the bank where she is training on Fridays and we were going to meet here downtown.  But, she turned out to have gone home to make lunch for everyone.  So we walked a couple more miles (up and down hills) home for lunch.  After lunch, Addah and I walked back downtown to shop for a dress for her.  First we stopped in the weird new marketplace for some tomatoes and onions.  While Addah was selecting tomatoes, a woman lounging behind a mound of peppers at the next table casually asked me, “Hey mzoong (white person) – want to take my baby?”  I just looked at her and the expression on my face must have gotten across because she looked down and turned around and didn’t talk to me anymore.  After we left Addah told me there have been numerous attempts by people who have homes and jobs to lie their kids into the orphanage.  Addah works at the Home sometimes doing various things.  She was supervising the workers the other day in the absence of Isaac who was in Kampala purchasing fire extinguishers.  She fills in as house mother when the regular one gets some time off, does some accounting for the school etc.  She seems to know a lot about the various kids and their parents from the school.  We stopped at the dress store she wanted to look at.  All the shops are open to the street (and all the merchandise is covered in dust).  While she looked at clothes, two little kids started darting up, touching me, and running away laughing.  I played with them for a few minutes until their mother came and yelled at them and dragged them away.  Addah found something she liked but wanted to see if any other places had anything she liked better so we hit every shop in town, walking a couple more miles.  She also casually mentioned she had to stop by the bank and “sign out for the day.”  I couldn’t help asking why she was still “signed in” since she had left before lunch.  She laughingly told me she was “in the field.”  While in the bank, several people I haven’t seen for several years came up to say hello and re-introduce themselves. It was nice seeing them.  We then stopped at another bank for Addah to deposit the money I had given her for Divine’s school fees.  There was a guard with an assault rifle outside who insisted we leave all our bags outside.  Mine has my passport, money, camera etc. in it.  I said no, I’d rather wait outside than leave all my important things with her.  She thought for a minute and then said if she could search my bag I could take it in.  She searched the main compartment but not the side zipper compartment.  She insisted I leave my mini-flashlight outside with her.  OK – I guess a little flashlight could be seen as dangerous……..   Inside, the bank was packed since it was the first of the month and also the last week day before the school term starts.  I found a small empty space on the end of a bench and sat down to wait for Addah.  The slim girl next to me got up a few minutes later to do something, leaving a space about 12 inches wide open, which was immediately filled by a very large woman who just pushed her way into the space and practically knocked me off the end of the bench.  No “excuse me,” or “can I sit here.”  That’s just the way it is here and one of the things I find it hardest to deal with.  After retrieving Addah’s bag and my flashlight outside, we started walking back to the first store since she hadn’t found anything she liked anywhere else.  On the way we met the professor who had been the head of Emily’s wedding committee a couple of years ago.  He had a white woman with him who I talked to for a few minutes.  She is a Peace Corps volunteer who is working at Kisizi Hospital for a year.  She is from Missouri.  We traded email information.  I had asked her where she was from because she was speaking in that odd, singsong way we all fall prey to when we’ve been here for awhile.  I always tease Rick about the way he starts talking when we are here, but I’m sure I do it to.  You try to make yourself understood as well as possible.  Yesterday the kids at the Home were making fun of the way I say Rukiga words.  It was cute.  Today, they were mimicking the way I dance (I had been showing them-  how we dance in the U.S., including showing them how to line-dance).  They thought it was hysterical.  But I bet they start doing it all the time.  Finally, dress purchased, we walked the couple of miles home.  I was slightly foot-sore by the time we got back. We probably walked about 6 miles or more altogether. Now, one of those things that will forever mystify me about life here happened.  Everyone knew that Isaac was on his way home from Kampala with 5 fire extinguishers and a large bag of baskets and would need to be picked up at the bus stop in one of the vehicles since he couldn't possibly carry all that stuff home.  I don't drive here (although this trip has convinced me I'd better start doing so) and David is the only one in the family besides Isaac who does.  So, David and Constance decide right after lunch to take off for Ntungamo, a two hour drive away, to get some bananas from their plantation.  They would not be back even close to the time they needed to be to pick up Isaac.  Could they have gone ANY other day?  Yes!  But NO - it had to be today.  So Isaac got back and had to call a friend to come to the bus stop to guard all the stuff while he ran home about 3 miles, picked up the car, and went back for the stuff.  And no one thought this was just a little - OFF? I guess not. Life just went on as usual, nothing said.  Oh boy, the power just went out while I’m writing this.  And it will be getting dark in about 2 hours.  I hope it doesn’t stay off long.  After I got home yesterday and was hoping to lay down with my feet up for awhile, Samson came visiting.  He just got here from Kampala and is at a loss for what he is going to do with his life and wanted to tell me, in detail, everything that has happened to him since last August.  Today we went to Twinomujuni early.  I had bought some balloons at the Royal Market yesterday, enough to give some out to neighborhood kids too.  We also bought some lollipops but these weren’t the kind they usually have.  These have wrappers that appear to be childproof.  They are infernally hard to unwrap!  But, the kids didn’t have a lot of trouble getting them unwrapped.  We had a good time with the kids, walked into town from there to get some stuff, and home.  I’ve been packing this afternoon, trying to get the new baskets into the suitcases.  Fortunately, I leave a lot of clothing here now so didn’t have to bring much.  All the clothing I need to take home fit into one little plastic bag I could stuff in between the baskets.  Tomorrow, church, and then over to the orphanage for farewell to the kids.  It’s a bittersweet time.  I really love it here, and I really love it at home in California.  I guess I need to learn to just be 100% happy wherever I am and be thankful to God for the blessing of being able to do the things I do, especially at my (advanced) age! Although, I just finished reading a book today by a guy who, with his young wife in 1970, along with their less than one year old daughter, took off for Malaysia to evangelize and has spent most of the last 35 years living in much more trying situations than I've ever experience, and (they are 3 years older than Rick and I) two years ago felt led to go evangelize in Burma, which is hostile to any outsiders.  They started preaching in refugee camps on the Thai side of the Burma border and, since the book ended in 2010, I'm not sure what has happened since.  But I guess I have nothing to complain about just because I have flea bites and the power keeps going out.  We've done next to NOTHING compared to what that couple has done.  Thank God for people like them!


02-03-2013 at 1:20 PM
Judy Saxelby
You must be reading God's Speaks by Wayne Crooke. Sadly, he passed away very suddenly a year ago. But his vision is alive and others are carrying on the work to Burma.
02-03-2013 at 7:18 AM
Karen Salstrom
I am sure you will be missed there, April. See you soon when you return.
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