[Wabale Nyo Jesu means "Thank You Very Much Jesus" in Luganda, the tribal language in the area where we lived in Uganda.]
When we got home Monday our monthly statement from the mission was waiting. What a blessing to read of the special gifts folks sent in last month! All are greatly appreciated, but one really touched my heart. It was from an MK from Uganda we met at a church we visited a few months ago. She's waiting to get into Moody Bible Institute and I know she's missing her family back in Africa. She's working to save money for school and yet she gave generously to help us get to Argentina. How humbling to see how God provides, and WHO he uses!
And now it's time for the next e-mail from Uganda:
What a week! Always so much going on. The Annual Day of Thanksgiving at Kasana was Wednesday, Ivan went to Kampala twice, I made my first trip to Kampala, Tina's been caught in the rain twice...
Yes, I've taught my children to come in out of the rain, but it helps if someone is home and the door is unlocked! Yesterday Ivan and I took a couple to Kiwoko Hospital and were waiting for them. Tina went to the library that’s on the secondary side and got caught in the downpour. But we were thankful for the rain! We're in the dry season now and don't get rain too often. What we got yesterday helped add to the cisterns on which we all depend.
Last Saturday I went into Kampala with two other missionaries, Nancy and "jajja" Joan. Nancy is single and has been here 3 1/2 years, teaching in the secondary school and helping with one of the family groups. Joan is a widow from Idaho and arrived in January. She helps in the office and is jajja (old grandmother) to a different family group.
We hired Setuba to take us. Setuba is an industrious fellow since he has many mouths to feed: two wives and twelve children (nine of his own, three extended family he took in after their parents died). Setuba is quite the mechanic, too, and is sometimes hired to fix mission vehicles. Setuba has an old, rather derelict van (but still functioning, no doubt due to his mechanical skills) that can seat up to 8 people -- or, in our case, the four of us plus lots of goods purchased in the city. Setuba not only shuttles us from store to store, but remains with the van so no one can steal what we've already bought. Thieves are a real problem there. You can't leave a vehicle unattended.
My adventure of the day came when I went into a cafe to get something to drink and saw they had milkshakes on the menu. I'd been warned that the Ugandan idea of a milkshake is what we would call chocolate milk. So I asked how they made it, and the woman said they used "real" milk (as opposed to milk powder), chocolate syrup and ice cream. "Wonderful!" I said, "I'll take one." I received a chocolate milk with a scoop of ice cream! Oh, well.
The final stop of the day was at Your Choice Meats. Not only do they have the best quality and price of meats, but there's also a little restaurant tucked away behind the busy street that is a favorite place for lunch. They serve American burgers, but we ordered from the Indian side of the menu. There are a lot of Indians and Asians in the country, filtering back after having been booted out during the reign of Idi Amin.
I returned home to find Ivan had been buying some meat as well. He got two kilos of fresh pork from a young man who had butchered a pig that morning. Fresh yes, quality -- questionable. It was hard to tell with all the dirt, pebbles and hairy fat covering it. They just butcher on the ground, maybe on top of some banana leaves (which are also dirty) and they have no idea of the anatomy of the pig, they just whack at it with a big knife called a ponga that looks like a machete. So the butcher has no idea what part of the pig he's selling you - and we sure couldn't tell from the looks of it, either.
One of the missionary wives came and showed us how to cut away the hairy fat and to clean it as best we could. Ivan took over the job -- I just wasn't up to it. :-( Then we rinsed it a few times and baked it with lots of garlic and some carrots. The carrots were really good! Neither of us could eat the pork, although it was probably just in our minds. The next day I chopped it all up, taking off as much of the fat as I could (it was riddled with fat) and made barbeque pork sandwiches. It may be a while before we buy fresh pork.
Wednesday was the Day of Thanksgiving here at Kasana, when we took time to thank God for His provision and blessings over the years. In the morning everyone met at the church for posho (cooked cornmeal -- sort of a porridge). Then they showed the Kasana video, filmed in '93 with more added in '99. Some of the kids are still here and had a good laugh at themselves. Then began the praise and worship time - several hours worth! Afterwards they planted royal palm trees along the entrance road, as a memorial. They are tiny now, but in years to come they will grow and serve as a reminder of God's faithfulness. By this time everyone was hungry and ready to dig into a traditional Ugandan meal of rice, peanut sauce and meat. This gave everyone the strength to participate in games pitting the staff against the students. All in all, it was a very good day.
There are odd little things we're still getting used to...Like having someone suddenly talking right outside the bedroom window late at night. It turns out people think this house is a good location for making calls on their cell phones because they think they get better reception here. But it can be disconcerting!
Or being surrounded by street kids in the city, all trying to sell you something. Those with clothes to sell eye you critically and ask what size you might be -- and chances are they'll have just the size you need. Or at least they'll try to convince you they do. Sometimes you can get a good deal -- like Bugle Boy pants for 4000 Ugandan shillings (about $2.50) but you have to be careful about pulling out money to pay, or you're likely to get robbed. You get used to having just a small amount in your pocket and keeping the rest hidden.
Tina enjoys going to the village market held every other Thursday in Kabubu (about a 10 minute walk) where you can get everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to clothing to plastic pails -- or even a fresh pig head...sort of like a flea market. She's getting the hang of bargaining, too, although she wishes she'd gone even lower on her bid for a tie-dyed purple sheet. They were asking 6000 Ushillings and she offered 4000 and the lady immediately agreed.
So far we've avoided contact with the wild animals, and we hope to keep it that way! Sally, who lives on secondary side, was unpleasantly surprised to find a rat sharing her space last week. She chased it around her house with a broom before stunning it enough to throw it outside. Her usually ferocious watch dogs were absolutely useless in that situation, she said. Our main visitors, besides the inevitable insects, are lizards, which we don't mind so much.
A group from Hillsdale College will be arriving today, with a suitcase for us. Ivan looks forward to having some of his tools, while Tina and I know the ten pounds of chocolate chips and my cookbook are much more important :-) Of equal value to all of us will be the additional supply of malaria medication.