Saturday, July 11, 2009


I have found much love in Africa. Love has many shapes, sizes, forms, and personifications. I have known this, but am finding the experience of this truth to be infinitely more meaningful than the knowledge alone.
I have seen love in the shining eyes of the nursery students whose recitation of the alphabet I praised.
I have heard love in the voices raised in a language I do not know, in praise of a God I do.
I have felt love in the gentle impact of a little body colliding with my kneecaps in a child’s fierce hug.
I have tasted love in the countless hardboiled eggs, pieces of bread, cups of tea, and bottles of Coke offered by kind hosts.
I have smelled love in the dirt roads after the rain while walking hand-in-hand with a friend.
Yes, I have found so much love. If only I can learn to give half as much as I have received. Oh, to pour out my heart the way I have seen hearts poured out time and again. I have found much love in Africa.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bits of Life and Such

Mere hours after I somewhat proudly blogged that missing things is mind over matter for me, I found myself nearing the point of tears over the lack of fabric softener here, all the time realizing how incredibly silly that is. I'm doing just fine though, really. Homesickness comes and goes, and when it comes, I pray that God uses my weakness to show me His strength. He has been more than gracious.
This weekend I went to another give away ceremony. I went to this one with my friend Viola, who is from central Uganda, and she brought a traditional outfit for me to wear. I should point out that I was way more excited about this than any "grown up" should be. My eight-year-old-dress-up-loving dream. It is called a gomesi, and has seriously pointy sleeves, and wraps and pleats and tucks around you in an impossibly intricate manner. Despite my gallant attempts an camoflauge, I was still quite obviously the only mzungu (white person) at the give away. :)
I'm loving being back at daily life in Kabale. Blessed routine. Actualy, though, this is my last true week of it. I am trying to cherish the little bits of normalcy that will, I'm sure, seem strange once I am back at home. I think I am equal parts anxious to see my friends/family and extremely sad at the prospect of leaving the ones I have here. Whether I feel more bitter or sweet about goin home changes from day to day. (Today it is bitter.)
Anyway, I realize this is not much of an update, but I just thought I'd utilize whatever internet time I had. I'll go back to Trinity soon for my Bible study- which I am having a great time with. It is a very awesome group of people that I am getting to know through fellowship over the Word. Right now, I'm at the Edirisa where, at this very moment, a baby mouse is sitting inches away from my foot. I should probably move my bag. Cute as he is, I do NOT want any stowaway rodents coming back to California with me.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The past few days vacation were wonderful, but if feels great to be home in Kabale now. I keep confusing people with my references to “home,” but it’s easier than saying “Joab and Connie’s” every time. Besides, if I say that, it doesn’t seem as personal. Anyways, it was nice to come home to “my” family and sleep in “my” bed.
That all being said, the last few days have been epic! Between Saturday morning’s safari and the evening’s boat tour (elephant, hippos, crocodiles, etc.) it was a great day. The Queen Elizabeth resort is beautiful. Also, they have the top rated restaurant in all of Uganda. The passion fruit mousse is to die for. The next day, we drove to Kampala. Looking at a map, it doesn’t seem that far. If you forget to take into consideration the extremely poor roads, that is. Seven hours later, we arrived. Kampala is madness. People, cars, busses, bicycles everywhere. As far as I can tell, there is no apparent method to the madness, either. It is just all one giant mass of humanity and automobiles. It was nice to get to our hotel and relax a bit. That evening we watched the Confederation Cup final at the hotel- USA vs. Brazil. It was fun to watch a soccer game in a place where people actually care about the sport. Wish you were there, Luke!
And then came Monday. Quite possibly the single most terrifying day of my life. Before I go into detail about what all happened, let me just say: I whitewater rafted on the Nile River, AND THEN I BUNGEE JUMPED OVER IT!!! Clearly, I’m not excited or anything. Ok so, I have that out of the way. We were on the river by around 9:30, and rafted until 5:00, stopping for lunch on an island in the middle of the river. There were ten rapids in total, the highest being class five (six is the highest). The total distance was 32 k. I had done this on my last trip in 2007, and this time we actually had the same guide, Geoffrey. The guy is awesome. He talks like a California surfer. Whenever he talked about the possibility of being thrown from the raft, or it tipping over, he would say, “Relax, enjoy the Nile.” He also made it a point to make the group sport be “throw Susanna overboard.” Being a rafting veteran of sorts, I would like to say that the second time is easier. This is not so. It only makes it easier to anticipate the terror of your raft capsizing in the churning, building-sized waves, and to imagine being trapped underneath said raft as it is thrown helplessly amidst the raging waters of the Nile. But that only happened twice. Seriously though, it was great. I loved every minute of it. Please, please, ask me to show you the video footage of it when I get home, and I will gladly oblige.
Sometime that morning, I agreed to bungee jump with some of the others after we were through rafting (this was, of course, before I had the chance to see where the actual jump would take place). After conquering the Nile, I found myself climbing the 145 foot platform from where I would jump. I was super excited and only marginally nervous. I did fine as I was being tied in (with what sounded suspiciously like Velcro). I even had the guys working up there disbelieving that it was my first jump because I was so calm. Everything was great, until I wrapped my toes around the edge of the platform and looked out. The only words I could manage were, “I can’t do this.” Let me tell you, it is the most unnatural thing in the world to consider hurling yourself over a river from such a great height. Eventually I did it, though, and I loved every terrifying second. So, between both of the day’s activities, I think it is safe to say that the adrenaline junkie in me is placated for a while. Or maybe just awakening…?
On the way back, we shared a shuttle bus with a group from England on a mission trip. They found out I had family in the South, so the whole evening I was addressed as “Virginia” and spoken to only in southern accents. Lovely, no?
On Tuesday, we had a relaxed day, went souvenir hunting, and finally to the airport. It was strange to see the team off, as I have never stayed behind after one of these airport farewells. It also means that my trip is drawing to a close. Already, I've had people (here and in the USA) asking me "Aren't you going crazy?" or "Aren't you bored to death?" The truth is, I only miss things as much as I tell myself I do. If I dwell on the fact that the only meat I've eaten in a week is goat or the last time I had a real shower was six weeks ago, then of course I will start to become disontent. For me, it is all a matter of mindset.
These past few days in Kabale have been nice, and pretty routine. There really are a lot of things for me to do before I leave, though, so i don't think I have to worry about being bored. Time and again, I am struck by the openess of people here. I've heard some amazing stories from very dear friends. Not because they are looking for handouts, but because they want to share what God has done in their lives. It is a humbling thing to witness so much faith in the midst of tremendous heartbreak. I am both anxious to be home (my official home in California, not Kabale) and extremely sad to leave. I am praying that much can be done in these last few weeks, that I do not grow weary of serving, and that my relationships here can continue to deepen.