Sometimes is easy for me to forget that I am not home. I live in a house and get to play cards with the boys, and there is bread and tea for breakfast and yummy beans and a tortilla-like food (chipati) for lunch. There are ten boys living here right now, a toddler who is the son of our cook, three Ugandan staff members, my sweet new friend Rachel from the states, and a daytime and nighttime guard. We have two guard dogs, two free-range chickens and a very talkative rooster, two cats and three kittens who are only a few days old.
At other times waves of novelty wash over me, and I am fully aware that I am “not in Kansas anymore.” There are tiny creatures in the water that I have to remember not to drink unless it is purified, and there is a light, breezy net that I get to sleep under each night to protect myself from mosquitoes. I have to catch myself before rolling up my pant legs too far (below knee length is proper), and when meeting people they tend to hold your hand for a bit longer than I am used to, and not because they are being too friendly- it is just part of the culture. And it is common to see guns in public, and large ones at that.
On the two-hour car ride over to the house we passed through Kampala, and my eyes watered and head hurt from the smoke of constantly burning trash, and a little boy excitedly pointed at us shouting “Mzungu! Mzungu! (“foreigner”) as we took a back road detour down an unpaved makeshift street. I had to take a few naps yesterday, but once I unpacked and had some sleep, I could start to breathe again and get used to my new home. And I am loving it.
This morning I woke up to an incredible sunrise and got to start the day reading in the Psalms: “from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Ps. 61:2). I love how alive God’s word is, and how in each new day and new experience He makes different parts of His word stand out. The other day on the plane, it was: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens You are there! If I make my bed in the depths You are there! If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me; Your right hand will hold me fast” (Ps. 139:7-10). In this house, prayer and reading God’s Word are built into life and I will get to experience the first all-house Bible study tonight, which happens almost every day of the week.
This morning I rode my first boda (a moped) to downtown Jinja a few hours later so my friend Rachel could borrow a traditional Ugandan dress (gomesi) for an introduction (a very formal wedding-like ceremony). I enjoyed the ride and the bright colors everywhere, and meeting a new family in town. There is so much to learn, and I am delighted to have some time to get to build relationships with people and learn about life here in Jinja.
Here are a few pictures from my last few days:
|My tube stop in London|