29 December 2008


...that's how I like things. A hospital shift for instance, or maybe a long car trip, or in today's context a MAF flight from Bundi to Kampala. Mission Aviation Fellowship flies to an airstrip built by Paul Leary many years ago about 15 min. from where we live along the Bundibugyo Road. Today the Caravan (10 seater plane) dropped off the Masso's and their visitors, and picked up Ashley, Nathan and I. Today is Nathan's birthday and with presented with the option of flying we left it up to him to decide for or against. He decided for, and even got to play co-pilot. As we were taking off, he looked a bit like a boy of about 2 less decades of age, almost giddy with excitement and smiling from ear to ear. Needless to say, I think he enjoyed himself. When we landed, and he climbed out of the cockpit the first words out of his mouth were telltale: "That was AWESOME!" It was the first time I'd flown to/from Bundibugyo since I flew in almost exactly 11 months ago. The flight was indeed uneventful and we are safely in Kampala.

We'll celebrate Nathan's birthday in style tonight here in Kampala (there was a Bundi celebration on Saturday) and then most likely again in Nairobi (hopefully with Sushi).

Wednesday we head to Nairobi for a week of vacation. Yep, you heard right, VACATION!!!!!! Wuh-hoooooo!!!!!! I'm looking forward to it. We'll be hangin' with fellow WHMers and eating and drinking and making merry.

Oh, one more thought. This whole flying thing so revolutionizes the Bundi-to-Kampala experience that when we got here and turned our computers on and read headlines like "Ugandan Rebels Massacre civilians in a church" and "Somalian President quits after 4 years in leadership" it makes me feel like I've just resurfaced from a hole in the ground...sheesh...what a wake up...

26 December 2008

Boxing Day

is today. And, it's my favorite new holiday...originally I typed "my new favorite holiday" but I think this way is probably more accurate. And it's surely not NEW but it's new to me...it's 26 Dec. and it's traditionally an English holiday (since Uganda was colonized by the British we get to share in the tradition too) in which the Christmas BOX was opened and the contents shared with the poor. I just looked it up...also St. Stephen's Day (the first Christmas martyr)...anyways, I'm very much a fan, because you know what it means practically? A national holiday the day after christmas (ie. people not coming to the door, and the hustle and bustle of the holiday is over, so it's just a great day to do NOTHING!!!!) Ashley and I have been doing just that. We had christmas cookies for breakfast (shh, don't tell my mom) and then dilly dallied a bit here and there and then watched a movie, now an internet break, and then another movie and then a dinner break maybe, and then hopefully another movie...It's so great, you should really look into adopting it. There just aren't days like this EVER around here, so we're enjoying every minute.

And yesterday, it was a great day, too. Fun, worship, reflection, great food, lots of laughs, soccer, a cool breeze and christmas dinner out in the yard, and time with my Bundibugyo family. Thank you God for all of your good gifts.

Webaleh Bilo Bikuru na webaleh kwiko

(Thurs. 25 Dec.)

I’ve told you that the Babwisi say thank you for everything, it’s kind of an emphatic exclamation…a way to point out the value of something, a way to point out the remarkable nature of something…so when we say Merry Christmas, the Babwisi say “thank you for the most important day, thank you for reaching!” so as to say, thank you for successfully reaching the most important day.

Christmas Day is the feast day of all feast days here in Bundibugyo. The Babwisi don’t exchange gifts or decorate their homes at all, but they get dressed up and they eat a feast to celebrate. We’ve been celebrating somewhat accordingly ☺ Sunday evening we celebrated Norwegian style as a team with a white dinner (food is white, decorations are white, etc) and advent devotions, then last night (Christmas Eve) we went caroling as a team (yes, we were as much of a spectacle as you’re imagining) followed by a candlelit reading of the Christmas story at the Myhre’s cow pasture, next to the manger…with DMC and Sirloin (the cows) and Pelusi (the goat) looking and listening quite intently as well. The singles came home and enjoyed an eclectic meal of Vietnamese spring rolls and pigs in a blanket (Belgian sausage pieces wrapped in Ashley’s made-from-scratch-of-course-croissants). We gathered again this morning (note to all: I was up and out of bed shortly after 7am!) as a singles family with Kym and Lydia and had a great breakfast and gift b’sharem (as my dad calls them). Then there was church.

Church is the central event of the day here. Everyone dresses in their new Christmas clothe-ez and the service was about 2.5 hours. I had put thought and some action into getting a Christmas dress or outfit made, but never got around to the actual deed of taking it to get made, so I wore a dress I brought in a new-ish way and tried to be as festive as possible…solid colors just aren’t festive here, so boring. Oh well, just made everyone else look that much better! The bazungu made our evidently traditional appearance in song with a team rendition of Joy to the World, accompanied by Scott and Nathan on guitars, and with a Wee Sing for Christmas book in front of us to get the verses right. Scott prefaced the song with an explanation of why we sing that joy came to the world in Jesus’ coming, why it is such good news that we should might be joyful about. It was good for me to hear. Other people performed songs including the choir and a children’s choir, some of the team got pulled into what seemed to me to be a pastors/elders/wives song and dance routine (luckily they could tell I would detract from the performance so I got to sit and watch☺ The choir was decked out in brand-new-today choir robes, my used-to-be-a-scooter-friend Katsusiime Jovia was present, decked out in her spiffy new Christmas dress and hair done in braids just as a cute as ever, Alikanjiira (the ironing guy) had shaved in honor of the day, there was toilet paper strung up around the room with balloons and empty candy wrappers as decorations in a very festive manner. Now, remember back to when I said Christmas Day is the feast day of all feast days around here, well, I was sitting in the back row of benches and kind of zoning off every once in a while (very very very easy to do when you only understand one word in every 5 sentences or so of what’s going on), so I’m honestly not sure what the text for the sermon was, but Charles Musinguzi preached and the part I paid most attention to was the very end, he was really goin’ by that time and I think had most people’s attention as he said something like “So today we’re going to eat rice and beef and chicken and many other things, it’s going to be a big feast, and we will be satisfied for a few hours, maybe 3, but the feast that will happen when Jesus comes back will last FOREVER! We will be satisfied in Him FOREVER!” Clapping spread through the room! Amen!

Now we’re in a slight lull before team dinner/gifts/fun& games for the rest of the day. We each drew a name. I hope my person likes their gift, it’s hard to feel like everything hinges on your one gift, but it’s okay, it’ll be fine. I really love giving people gifts…a love language of mine I guess. My parents (well, my mom to be specific) sent me a great package for Christmas which actually arrived before Christmas which is miraculous…great movies, great treats, practical things I needed…THANKS MOM! (and Dad ☺)

Merry Christmas, all!

24 December 2008


I've written about HOME before, about the lack of definition I feel/experience in regards to the word. Jennifer was talking the other night about the place of HOME in the Christmas story and in our lives here, about the tension and how it's not an easy tension but one that we are called to, and she's right. I'm not sure where my HOME is at this point in time, maybe I have many, or maybe I have none here on this earth. But it's what I've been called to and some of the same tension was shared by Mary and Joseph who were called to leave their home with a weighty calling and were not always looked upon very well for it, and suffered because of it. But they were faithful.

I painted the three canvases in the top photo probably a year and a half ago or so maybe? (A little pause for a Christmas shout out to my dear fried Leslie who encouraged me to try my hand at painting one night at her house!) And they try to demonstrate some of the tension I'm called to and yet some of the calm I feel in spite of the tension, and I have them hanging here on my wall to remind me of all of that.

The second photo is my physical home here in Bundibugyo, decorated for Christmas. The LED lights are a different touch than I'm used to, but they work! I'm so thankful for the ability to celebrate here and for all of you. May you all have a Blessed Christmas and remember your true Home.

My future husband

Isn't he a cutie? :) His grandmother carried him over to Nutrition clinic yesterday and I greeted her as she walked over - she smiled and said something emphatic in Lubwisi that I didn't understand but Pat started laughing. "What did she say?" I asked, "She said this is your future husband!" I laughed as well. Often when I smile and coo at kids/babies on the ward their mom's say something like that, they ask the kid something while pointing at me. His name is Bitighale Luwererlo (or something like that, we both share seconds names that start with "L" that not many people can correctly pronounce :) So, just thought I'd share the news :) PS - I think his green and white sweater suit (in the stifling heat nonetheless) is very sharp!

Christmas Cheer

This was taken yesterday, Tues. 23 Dec. You might remember Maate (see posts from April 7 and May 25 for story and pictures to jog your memory), well yesterday he came to pick up his last month of TB meds and nutritional support (ie. 20 500ml cups of dry beans). Look at this kid!!!! He looks great, probably walked all the way from home to get to the health center and manages all by himself to pick up his meds and food and so forth. He says he's going back to school next year (starts Jan/Feb 2009). I love this kid. To see what God has done in his body is pretty darn amazing. I am so privileged to be able to stand by and watch Him work (and stick my hand in whenever needed)! Blessed be His Name!

21 December 2008

Me 'n Santa

...we're tight. So on Friday, during the 2nd busiest week of his year, I got a "PERSONALIZED letter from Santa"! I was cleaning out my Spam folder in my email (which I do a few times/week so that I don't miss any emails that might be mistakenly going in there instead of into my inbox - sometimes we get hard up for communication from the outside world around here...we even resort to checking the spam folder ;) and there it was, Sender: Santa Claus, Subject: Personalized letter from Santa...I didn't open it, was sure if he's up on his virus protection up there at the North Pole and I can't have anything slowing down my already slow computer experience here in Bundibugyo, so I'm not sure what he had to say, but I'm sure it was good. Maybe he needed some emergency health care advice for Mrs. Claus, or maybe he was wondering how the Bundibugyo Road has been lately because he's got a big shipment coming this week and didn't want to run the chance of Rudolf and Prancer and the others getting stuck in any ditches...or maybe the reindeers' allergies have been bad and he wasn't sure if it being dry season here was going to be a problem for them...
Santa, home skillet, if you're reading, Cetirizine is the way to go. They'll wake up sneezing and blowing their nose but within a half hour or so they'll be good to go all the way to DRC for sure! And the road, it's fair these days, they graded some of the switchbacks just in time for you to come through without too much trouble. Oh, and we can't forget the Mrs....I hear the health care resources over there in Kijabe, Kenya are as good as they get around here, and I'm sure they'd be willing to fit her in seeing as it's gonna be a crazy week for you guys and all, or you could just have her come by Nyahuka here with the deer, I'm sure Scott would be willing to see her...their place is on the right when you see all of the Mission signposts on the left hand side of the road...just hang out there in the kitubi with everybody else and Scott will get the word just as soon as you arrive, I'm sure. Oh and thanks for the email and sorry I didn't get to open it, I'm sure you understand, your connection up there can't be all that great either. Looking forward to seeing you whenever you arrive. Remember, there's no chimney's around here, you might have to use the water tank/pvc pipes as an alternative entry route - a swimsuit might be helpful in that case, just a suggestion, not sure if you've even got one of those. Season's Greetings - Heidi

19 December 2008

ooh geez

I haven't quite put it together, but today has been a doozy. Jennifer asked me to do a Christmas devotional at the Health Center CME meeting this morning...I'm not very good at these things. I used part of Luke 2 from the Message, and then part of Revelations 7, and tried to encourage the staff that at one point in history, seeing was believing, and God has promised that day will come again...He's sending his Son again, even when on a daily basis it doesn't appear to be the case. I tried to open with some discussion but the question took a nose dive as everyone stared at me or at their feet...'okay, so that's not gonna work' I thought to myself, so I just read the two scriptures and tried to explain the few thoughts above...maybe it was 5 minutes...and of course today was the biggest turnout ever because everyone was expecting a christmas present...sorry! The meeting went on to expose the fact that the health center has not had water for a week, there are no gloves to be had in all of Uganda, there are no ARV's for AIDS patients, the guys that try to keep the place clean haven't been paid in 6 months, staff continue to sell hospital meds and supplies in their own drug shops in town...all in all, this is more than the usual frustrations I think, but really, not much new, but for some reason today it has hit me with particular force. Then there are the two 18 year olds on the ward trying to take care of starving motherless siblings/nephews, one of which is HIV positive, neither of which have much of anything to their names...

Lord, please come quickly and give us the grace to live faithfully until You do!

few more kampala laughs...

The photo below is for your own interpretation :)

Okay, so Uganda is SOOOOOO excited about Obama's being elected President. Even though neighboring Kenya is actually his father's homeland, Uganda is part of East Africa, which means that there have been headlines in the newspapers here that say "Uganda tops Obama's priority list" WHAT?!?! highly doubtful. But around these parts, that's how politics works, if somebody you "know" gets into power of any kind, you expect that person to give you some kickbacks, and if you find yourself with power of any kind, you'll be expected to do the same...Oh and this is a duka that has named itself "Obama's Classic Garments"...evidently he dresses smartly and Ugandans have taken notice and plan to emulate his fashion.

16 December 2008

Home for the Holidays

...arrived back home in Bundibugyo this evening, safe and sound. Just thought I'd post a few written snapshots of the trip home:

- 1st gas station attempt on leaving Kampala was in vain...gas station had no gas. who woulda thunk it.
- Petrol Feast = name of a gas station sighted on the way out of Kampala!
- Heidi groaning/heavy sighing throughout the FIRST hour of the trip as she dodges pot holes all over the place and tries to pass slow trucks without hitting oncoming traffic...the first hour outside of Kampala has the worst road of the whole trip. Bad paved roads are WAY worse than bad unpaved roads.
- almost hitting one cow who decided to meander across the road right in front of our vehicle traveling at about 100 km/hr...yikes...screeching halt and close call.
- newly downloaded christmas tunes on the ipod from Kampala to Fort
- people selling mangoes all along the Bundibugyo road...each one of them with one in their hand/mouth with juice running down their cheeks (we of course bought a big bag full)
- a solitary red tail monkey in a tree at dusk as we rounded one of the switchbacks on the mountain
- a couple clans of baboons hanging out along the side of the road as we slow down to chat with them a bit
- Nathan surprised to find Run DMC, "Angel" by Shaggy, and "Ice Ice Baby" on my ipod when he got control of the tunes selection from Fort to home (and us promptly rockin' along with each as he found them :)

More to follow soon I hope.

11 December 2008

a gift from God

Namirembe Cathedral (Church of Uganda – Anglican), 7pm this past Sunday night 7 December, Candlelight Lessons and Carols. Absolutely wonderful. Such a treat. Majestic rough hewn African Cathedral with great acoustics, pews, organ, choir stalls, men and boys choir complete with black robes and the boys wearing stiff ruffled collars, OT and NT scripture readings telling the story of the birth of the Christ child, and carols for the packed house audience to sing along with. It was sooooooo nice. There were of course the reminders that you were in fact in Africa…the birds flying around the sanctuary, the people around you talking throughout the entire service, the fluorescent tube lights plastered to the wall randomly throughout the sanctuary, the fact that only the choir had candles and they were only lit during the processional carol, the tacky Christmas tree only half lit with lights that were colored and blinking. But TIA, what do you expect? It just adds character. On a more serious note, a very serious note, I was again reminded that TIA when the Vicar’s prayers to open the service included prayers “that those who bear responsibility for the well being of the nations may be inspired by the message of Christmas to work together in the cause of justice, freedom and peace…for the sick, the anxious, the lonely, the fearful and the bereaved; for the poor and helpless, the hungry and the oppressed…” and to close the service included prayers for the places in this country where there has not been peace for a very long time, and likewise for Zimbabwe, and for comfort for the family of the child whose life was allegedly sacrificed in ceremonial witchcraft (buried alive in the cement foundation of a building) in the last couple of weeks here in Kampala in pursuit of prosperity and success for the building owner…These are realities here. These are the realities that people here are very aware of, talking about and praying about, in a time of year when most of the world wishes to forget about these kinds of things.

It wasn’t just the ambiance and atmosphere that was gifted to me that evening, but also a new perspective on a few old carols I’ve sung all my life…for instance, “born that man no more may die” (Hark! The herald angels sing)…wow, that’s right. That’s what this is about! God sent his Son, born to a young teenager, in a manger in Bethlehem, so that through This Life we might ALL have life…that death would be conquered. With all of the death in my life here, this is gospel. Thanks be to God.

10 December 2008

Laughs from the day

Amina (Ugandan friend sitting in the passenger seat as we drive down Entebbe road): "'Do not drive on shoulders', what does that mean?" :)

Street salesmen - people here just walk up and down the road selling things...men usually...these things range from bug zappers that look like tennis rackets, to inflatable swimming pools, to baby shoes, to airtime for your cell phone, to newspapers...but then today there was the guy walking across Entebbe road loaded up with bras. Yep, a wandering brassiere salesman. I mean I bet he had about 50 bras hanging from his two arms. That's an alternative I never thought of to the madness of holiday shopping at the local mall :)

Better late than never...

This is an attempt from last week to describe the craziness that is my life...but my computer just recovered it after I thought I lost it...so, enjoy.

(Wed. 3 Dec.)

The last week has been busy. I didn’t expect life in rural Africa to be busy. Alas, it is.
One of the paybacks of a busy week is build up of blogging material…so, that’s what this post is, life’s payback to me for not taking time out to process what’s going on. Sorry that you have to pay the price for it…

(that reminds me of something…Musical: Fiddler on the Roof…Song: “Tradition” Nochem the beggar of Anatevka calling for alms, “Alms for the poor, Alms for the poor” and one of the townsmen gives him only one Kopek, a smaller than usual contribution, and the beggar is disgusted…
“One Kopek? Last week you gave me two Kopeks!”
“I had a bad week.”
“So!?! If you had a bad week, why should I suffer?!” )

Anyways. Sorry. Tangent. The week…

Betty: Last Wednesday, we gathered as a team with the staff of Christ School to celebrate the end of the school year and to say goodbye to Betty, one of the Deputy Headmasters (do you call a Deputy Headmaster who is a woman a “headmistress”?). OK, true confession. I am hardly ever at Christ School. I know hardly any of the staff by name, let alone students. I use the excuse that the only times I’m ever there are in the dark and so I can never really see what people look like well enough to remember their names…which is true, but also a lame excuse. But Betty, I knew her name. Even from the infrequency with which I visited Christ School, I still knew there was something admirable about this woman. She exudes grace, she exudes confidence…graceful confidence…I think that’s what it is. A wonderful example for the girls of Bundibugyo who attend Christ School…a wonderful example of a woman in leadership. I thank God for the time he gave Betty at CSB and she will be dearly missed.

Thanksgiving: Obviously was Thursday. It was fine. The highlight was by far the bougainvillea after dark. Jennifer had arranged the furniture from the front room (which had been taken over by seating the crowd of 26 or so for the dinner feast) in the space under the bougainvillea, and Karen brought out candles after dark and set them on the ground in various places around…as Annelise said, it was very “Pottery Barn” looking… “with furniture in places it shouldn’t usually be”…the kids were inside watching Charlie Brown’s Christmas I think…it was so nice to sit outside in the cool and quiet of the sunless night, it was chaos free (for a while at least during the kids’ video), Annelise and I chatted for a bit about important things which we don’t usually get the chance to do ever really…it was a blip in time I’d like to put in a bottle and open whenever I please…then a bit later, I was still in my same seat on the couch in the candlelight even though people had come and gone around me, and a game of “Basket full of nouns” materialized between Myhre’s and singles to round out the night. It was a riot.

Repentance: It’s a big deal around here…because people never do it. No one ever admits guilt. But Sunday was different. A man stood up in church, and in the beginning I thought he was another guy enjoying the limelight and calling it a testimony (how optimistic am I, eh?!), but as he went on and on I realized that this was for real, and not just for real but this was in fact earth shaking! This man, a headmaster at a local primary school, was quoting scripture about repentance and forgiveness and loving your wife and not crushing the spirit of your children and telling us the story of God’s convicting his heart of his sin. He told the whole church about his unfaithfulness to his wife on two occasions, about their separation and quarreling and the pain inflicted on their children throughout it all, and then he called his wife to the front of the church and knelt and asked her forgiveness…I was in tears…This is a big deal. To kneel and confess sin and in a physical demonstration of respect for your wife to ask for her forgiveness, this is revolutionary! People, let alone men, don’t do this kind of thing here. Men were in tears, women were cheering, and an elder threw his arms around this man and jumped up and down while hugging him. As my parents always say, you never know what God is doing behind the scenes! This is such an encouragement to us here...so encouraging to see God at work in peoples lives.

Advent: Emmanuel = God with us. So, we gathered as a team on Sunday night to celebrate the first Sunday in Advent together…singing/reading/sermon. My dad emailed the booklet he put together for Grace & Peace’s Advent celebration and so we’re trying to follow that as a team (albeit pretty loosely since we’re only together 2 of 4 Sundays I think). So, the first Sunday’s text was from Revelations 1. And can I just say, Praise God for sermons!?! Scott found a Tim Keller sermon on the text online (not an advent sermon but it’s close enough) and so we listened together to that. It was really helpful. I read about the golden lampstands and the golden sash and hair as white as wool and snow and feet like bronze and seven stars and a sword coming from his mouth and geez louise, I can’t make heads or tails of it…it all seems so fanciful, but I feel like surely somewhere in it there’s some really significant meaning, I just have no idea what it is! But then there’s where the sermon comes in…and voila! The “one like the son of man” is standing among the lampstands which represent the churches…he is among them and his feet are like bronze, “refined in a furnace”…He was AMONG us, He walked through the fire that is this life leaving his feet bronzed, He has been through every trial and tribulation, every struggle and challenge, He knows every sorrow and sadness…and then “He laid his right hand on [John], saying ‘fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” Holy smokes! Not only did He walk through it all, but He has the last word! This was so powerful for me. To think that He knows what I see/hear/feel, what everyone around me sees/hears/feels, and I’m not to be afraid, He will have the last word, He’s got the keys!

Death and Life: Mondays…they’re becoming the bain of the existence of both Jennifer and I…packed ward…I mean PACKED! 3 of the last 4 Mondays have been like this…44 patients in a ward with beds for 25…mattresses and cooking stoves and pots and packets of UNICEF milk and cockroaches and snotty nosed toddlers and crying babies and weary mothers EVERYWHERE! Jennifer stood up on a chair to do her usual announcements to start the morning off (to try to enforce some semblance of order…”try” being the key word) and I think the height of the chair gave her voice the projection it needed to be a bit more effective than usual. Anyways, when I arrived this last Monday I read the report book and found that one of the premie’s we’d been trying to get to the 2kg mark had died over the weekend. He wasn’t looking so hot on Friday despite IV antibiotics and such, so I wasn’t shocked (he weighed less than 1.5 kg and lives in rural Africa – a miracle he’d survived til that point) but I was sad. When you go in every other day to pick up this tiny little person and coo “Ohliyoh” (good morning) in your best high pitched baby cooing voice, after preparing a little warmish nest on the cold metal scale hoping that maybe they’d creeped up 100 grams or something…from 1.3 to 1.4 kg…you get kinda attached to these little people…Mourn death. But then there’s always Tuesdays. Thank God for Tuesdays (even if it’s just for the sake of not being Monday anymore!). I was sitting in my usual chair, perched at my green plastic table, on the first Tuesday of the month we usually have a crowd of motherless kids and outpatient follow-ups and such. And I looked up to see who was responding to a name I had just called out to receive food, and look who was there…my little friend Swizen…Swizen who God brought back from the brink of death…the 5 year old who instead looks and walks and acts like he’s 2 ½ years old…but he’s now an 11kg 5 year old, not the 4kg skeleton he presented as on admission to the ward some months ago (probably about 9 months ago)…”eh! Look who it is!” I exclaimed as he waddled his way over to my table…he never ceases to amaze me…the glory of God that I see in this child’s body is amazing! Celebrate life.

That’s enough for now, don’t you think? Signing off.

PS - the hair?! I know, it's bad. That's why I tried getting it cut the other day, but the guy in the bushes didn't quite pull it off like he did the last time...it's bad, really bad...like a mushroom cap or the little dutch boy or something...and how is it that a bad haircut can put one into the lowest of states so quickly?...a downward spiral of self judgement and
loneliness has ensued and it's no good...just like the haircut...no good. But my identity is not in my haircuts, right? Of course right.

07 December 2008

Too many birds on my wires...

Again, blog build up...what to do...this is becoming a trend...

How about methodically plugging through, seems to work for me in other parts of life, let's give it a whirl...

- long week. realized at the begining of the week that I had somewhere to be/something to do every night for 7 days in a row...all wonderful things to be doing/places to be going, but WAY TOO MUCH for this introvert. I don't ever realize the toll that these things have on me until it's over or until I'm in over my head...
- speaking of being in over my head...got a great line from my mom this week...she and my dad often sit on their back porch in the mornings/evenings whenever the weather allows. And in st. louis most every block has an alley, so their back porch over looks the alley, which is a pretty cool alley if you ask me, but it also overlooks the telephone wires strung up and down the alley. These wires are the favorite perching location for most of the birds of the neighborhood (maybe they can smell mom's coffee all the way from the wires since it's so strong! :) Anyways, mom and dad often comment on the birds and sometimes there's no room left, the whole wire is full of birds, and evidently my mom has used this as a metaphor for life and now uses the very witty line "I've got too many birds on my wires" when she has too much going on at any given moment...I'm gonna start using it...doesn't really carry over in a cultural context in which there are no telephone wires or alleys or back porches...oh well. The photo at the top of the post is what I look like when I've got too many birds on my wires (it was taken on tuesday I think)...just FYI
- on wednesday we had a small group of Ugandan friends over to Sarah and Ashley's for dinner and a movie with discussion. We had chicken curry and then watched Shooting Dogs (Beyond the Gates is the US release title) which is about the Rwandan genocide. We had a brief discussion afterwards that was really interesting to me...one of them was laughing after the movie finished and the rest of us were quiet. "What in the world are you laughing about?!" I asked him, "you are all so quiet and it's just a movie" he said. He went on to explain that he doesn't think that we should allow a movie to dictate our feelings...we talked about that a bit, and then talked about the movie itself and some of the things we learned, questions that were raised, etc. It was a good evening.
- It's advent now...and I'm having a REALLY hard time getting my head and heart in synch with the calendar. All of the usual cues of weather and temperature changes just don't happen here, so we've got to resort to alternative means...music...lots of Christmas music...which leads me to the next point.
- I'm in Kampala now. We (Sarah and our friend Amina and I - along with our Fort Portal teammate Laura May for the FP-KLA leg) drove on saturday and we listened to my ipod the whole way, put my holiday list on shuffle and presto - 8 hours later we reached and the playlist was over. again, praise God for safe travel.
-sunday we went to church with Laura May and then to lunch. Upon pulling out of the parking lot after lunch I heard a sound and felt a bumping that seemed remarkably like a flat tire, Sarah jumped out to check and sure enough. Very flat. I pulled over to the side of the parking lot and 3 guys worked together and an hour later our tire was changed...our jack was christened but doesn't seem to exactly function very well as a jack for a large vehicle...it required lots of rocks and planks of wood and such...I was just really glad that it was in the parking lot in Kampala and not on the road over the mountains or even on the road in Kampala. But, at least I know how to work the jack now (it's a hydraulic jack - never seen one like it before coming here - Scott Myhre had shown me in theory but not with an actual vehicle/tire - I'm a practice makes perfect kinda girl...). And the 3 guys who sweat their butts off in the parking lot wouldn't even take the bottles of cold water we offered them...craziness...this is dry season, it's blazing hot in the middle of the afternoon in the middle of a parking lot. I said, "but you guys have been so kind?!" and one said "but you didn't arrange for this" (pointing at the car), "you're right, I didn't, but God did...and he arranged for you too!" they laughed and still wouldn't take a water. They're as stubborn as I am! Now I'll add a trip to City Tyre to my Kampala to do list...keeps growing every day...

Okay, I think that's enough for now. More another time.

Goat ammendment...

For anyone who has taken action on the Give a goat gift, I just corrected the email address for Ginny Barnette (there was an extra "t" in it), Barnette has only two t's not three. Sorry for the goof up.