Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Uganda 2010 day 13

Sunday morning at 8:15am my driver arrived at the hotel in Jinja to pick me up. We will be travelling across Southern Uganda together about 9 hours total. Me, a man that no one knows, a third world country, and a van that the driver must turn the key an average of 20 times, resulting in a click and nothing else before it actually starts. Yep…I’m afraid I may have just moved up the prayer request list a couple of notches.
Scott Harrell told me this morning they wanted to pray with us before we left and that he was going to talk to this driver the way a father would to a man coming to date his daughter the first time.
Fred arrived and I felt instantly at ease. Everyone gathered around us to pray and we were sent off.
Poor Fred…an American woman with a lot of words, a curiosity that won’t stop and 9 hours in the same car. I noticed after about 45 minutes, he asked if I wanted to hear Ugandan Christian music. I think that was code for, "how bout we listen and stop talking." and when I say "we" I think he might have been thinking about me.

That lasted for about an hour, until I figured out where the volume button was and how to turn it down so he could hear me ask another question he has probably answered a thousand times. When his IPOD came out, I took the hint. Well, until I realized I could shout at him and he would take one of the ear pieces out. We stopped for lunch and shared some stories about our lives and how we came to know Christ.

In the van was one thing, facing forward…face to face over a table with this very gentle man…just made me miss mine. The last 3 hours turned into 4 when I asked if we could maybe stop to pass out some dresses and shirts when we saw a child alone on the road or a house within sight where children were. “Oh yes, whatever you want, you just tell me to stop and I’ll stop.” AWESOME! I’m just going to post the pictures he took because, honestly there were few words spoken because of language and the pictures really do tell it better than I could.

They were way back at their house when we pulled up

and I was prepared to walk to them, but by the time we put a hair tie and plastic bag where the gas cap was before the last 100 potholes, they had walked up to the road to us.

I LOVE this one,

because that baby girl was having just a couple of thoughts about me don’t you think? I was able to give the mom a skirt and t shirt from what I brought and by the time we got back in the van, she had both items on over her own clothes.

At the next stop, we found 3 women and two young girls. Oh my word what fun it was. AD you are blessing some darlin’s in Uganda!

We arrived in Mbarara about 5pm. I cracked up at myself when we pulled up to the Holiday Inn. I thought the whole time that it was so funny to travel so far away, only to stay at an American Hotel, but I figured, the Compassion team just wanted to make us feel comfortable and safe. Duh…Holiday means vacation and Inn just means hotel…
Here is the reality of where we are. But you know me, the greater adventure, the better.
And honestly after the bricks from Saturday...even without a toilet seat, I'm good!

We checked in and for the first time in a very long while, I feel like I just want to stay safely in my room. Its not a threatening place at all, I just want to be ready for tomorrow. Fred asked if I was up to going to the store for the things I wanted to bring to Ruth’s family tomorrow. Well, YES I was. The grocery store was about the size of a very small 7-11. He has done this so many times with other visitors, that I told him to get whatever he thought was a good idea. He chose sugar, flour, clothes rice, washing bars, body washing bars, shampoo, lotion, tea, toothpaste boxes for each member of the family with the toothbrushes inside. I chose cookies, candy, had the young lady at the counter select a perfume and whispered in her ear that I wanted to take Ruth those “panties”. She slipped around the counter and bagged them separately. We added gum and juice and anything else Fred even stopped to gaze at. He would look and I would say “yes, they need that”.

Oh my word I am getting so excited. I have no idea what to expect. Fred has told me that the children don’t go to the project site during the week because they go to school. So as long as I get to stretch my arms and heart around this 16 year old girl…I will be in heaven. There are 250 children helped by this particular project site and Fred pointed out about 3 of them along just the one route we took today. I told him that American women cry with emotion and joy. Well lets get real, I told him just about everything I know, while he was trapped in the van for 9 hours driving across a country that probably used to seem much smaller than today. Anyway, he said most American women cry and the children understand. Nevertheless, please pray that I can hold myself together because seriously, I could cry a river just thinking about locking eyes.
And…my video camera that just stopped working yesterday?…started right up today when I changed the tape out! I asked Fred if he knew how to video tape and take pictures and he said “Of course, this is part of what I do for you! You visit and I take the pictures!” It’s all too much for this heart of mine and I am not even there yet.
The internet is down, so I realize that by the time I get this up and going, I may be in the air coming home. But until I have downloaded the emotions of today…I can’t possibly have room for tomorrow without bursting.
Can I just say thanks to my girlfriends who sent along the Starbucks instant coffee? Tonight for the first time, tucked into my hotel room, I ordered a pot of hot water and am livin’ large for a few moments. I haven’t seen one American chain like Starbucks or McDonalds, which is kind of refreshing. But that coffee gave me just a little bit of home. I miss you so much and I keep picturing us all here together. I believe you would really love Fred and he would run for the hills with even the thought of a whole van full of us. But that is not a fact limited to Ugandan men…our "appeal" is global that way!

I think today was take your goat to work day.

Seriously…Vons and Ralphs could learn a few things about their produce presentation.

Until tomorrow…

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