April's Blog
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October 4, 2013, 3:39 PM

04 October Last Few Days

The drive home from Rwanda provided our two visitors a chance to work on their Serenity Prayer.  First of all, our drivers arrived several hours after we expected them because they were held up at the border by bus loads of Rwandan refugees who had escaped the genocide in the 1990s by fleeing into Uganda, but then they never returned to Rwanda when it was over.  Uganda is forcibly deporting them now.  Before you get angry at Uganda, remember they were the only African country to give asylum to these refugees back then, and now they are also the only African country giving refuge to Somalian, Sudanese and Congolese refugees.  They have not enough resources and jobs even for Ugandans, so something has to give.  Rwanda is safe now, so they are going back.

Africans seem to have perfected the art of driving as close as possible to bicyclists, motorcycles, goats, and pedestrians as they possibly can.  Usually, they don’t hit them though.  Our driver whose name I won’t mention seemed a bit distracted today and kept wandering around the road.  His cell phone rang frequently and he would always answer it and have a conversation while “weaving” around on the road.  Finally he seemed to get into the actual driving and things went well.  We arrived at the border of Rwanda/Uganda and began encountering the bureaucracy.  Fill out papers for the car to leave Rwanda.  Fill out papers for US to leave Rwanda.  Stand in line and be scrutinized, finally have your passport stamped to leave the country.  The girls had to use the bathroom.  There was one.  It was filled with about 4 or 5 men cleaning the 10 x 10 foot room.  They were taking forever, our visitors really needed to use it.  So I went and asked the guys to get out of the bathroom until my friends could use it.  Then came the fun of watching the expressions on our friends’ faces when they saw the holes in the ground that are toilets here.  They both, one at a time, instinctively looked back at me like, “Really???!!!”  But they are troopers, and used the facilities (after we paid the bathroom fee).  And on we went, through “no man’s land” to the Ugandan side.  There we were told where to park, our driver agreed amicably and then parked where he wanted to.  We filled out the papers for both the cars and us to enter Uganda, went into the Immigration Office to be finger printed and photographed with their new equipment.  This is where I had a sort of feeling of satisfaction when the guy said, “oh, you don’t have to do this, you are already in our system.”  Wow!  I’ve arrived!  New equipment really does make things easier.  Except for on the way down the Uganda side of the mountain where our driver was pulled over by a police person with a new radar scanner in her hand.  “Did you know you were going 54 in a 50 kph area?”  she asked.  Thank God she didn’t notice the lack of seat belt usage by some of the occupants of the car.  But, no ticket.  She saw the collar on the driver.  And I think, maybe, I just broke his anonymity. 

We stopped a little way down the road to pick up Constance at the residence they now occupy at their new parish in Kituna.  It’s in an absolutely beautiful valley I have photographed many times from a church further up the hill.  Rev. David is now the Archdeacon of that area and his center of operations is at this parish so they stay up there quite a bit.  We picked up Constance and proceeded to the house where we live when we are here.  Judy and Halina were so happy to get here and meet the rest of the family, and vice versa.  It was a happy time of meetings and then dinner.  The entire day had been used up just getting home. 

Yesterday we went to the Children’s Home and were immediately swarmed by all the school kids as we had to walk through the school area to get to the Home.  It was hard to keep Halina and Judy moving as they wanted to stop and greet each kid and there are over 100 of them.  Finally, we got into the common room and the kids put on a welcome show for us.  It was great as usual.  We also met our new resident, Owen.  His story will follow later.  We gave away all the new shoes that were so generously donated by people at home and the kids were really happy with them.  One little girl picked up her old shoes and threw them across the room!  There were more than enough shoes for all our kids, so we have a lot left over and will have to decide where to distribute them.  Then, a trip into town to get some things we needed, exchange money etc. 

Isaac and I dropped everyone else off at home and left to pick up little Sharon and take her to the dentist since her entire right cheek was swollen and the house mother said she had cried all night because of the pain.  Off to the dentist – who turned out to be “in Kampala.”  Sometimes I think that is a catch-all excuse for a variety of absences.  His assistant was there happily outside the office on the grass gossiping with all the other business people in the area.  So we left and went to the dental clinic at Rugarama, where everyone was “in a meeting.”  Then we went to a Doctor’s office that is supposed to also have a Dentist.  No dentist, but one would be there “soon.”  We bought pain killers for Sharon and took her home.  Isaac made an appointment for here for today.  On the way home we stopped at a local restaurant and bar and grill to get bones for the dogs.  There Isaac introduced me to a woman (who, embarrassingly, I can’t remember the name of) who owns the very profitable business.  I know another woman who owns the major gasoline station in town.  And another who is on the town council.  So, you see, women are making progress in Uganda.

Today the power went out at 06:30 and never came back until tonight about 19:00.  We got quite a bit done today though, but since it’s 23:30 now and we are going to try to make it to Lake Bunyoni tomorrow right after breakfast, I think I’ll save the report on today (frustrations of trying to do business in Uganda, and the trip to the Dentist with little Sharon) for tomorrow.   Shalom.



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