Update about what’s happening with us, but first just a note to say it’s amazing to see how my experience has led up to this job here in Uganda. I will be working on developing policies and procedures and a handbook for volunteers and new missionaries who arrive on the field with Equip. I was told by Jeremy and Chris at our first Equip Uganda leadership meeting that my job had changed from 80% ministry / 20 % admin to 80% admin / 20% ministry.
Although a bit disappointing, this is entirely necessary for the stage of growth that Equip Uganda is in. I look forward to assisting our team in getting Equip Uganda started. We’re working on mission statement, vision statement, purpose statement and other admin things that will better develop the direction for the organization in years to come.
One of the biggest challenges we face is coordination with other NGO’s (non-government organizations). We hope to set up some coordinated efforts to make ministry in Jinja, and specifically Masese slum more efficient, with better communication.
Now on to our week this past week:
Tuesday, June 4th we move into the Sperlings home, about 5 miles or so east of Jinja. We spent most of the day settling, organizing and cleaning our stuff.
Wednesday, June 5th – 1st day of formal Luganda Language training. Wow! We purchased a Learning Luganda CD in late 2012 from Amazon and have been going through
it. The kids are doing great and the parents…not so bad. The CD has some mistakes, we’re finding out. The CD says “please” in Luganda is embwa. However, embwa means “dog.” So you can imagine why our restaurant server looked at us funny when we thought we said, “Please” and we really said, “dog.” Not good.
Also on Wednesday we had a couple items to take care of with the house – the most
important was to get a quote to install mosquito screens for the windows in the house, in order to cut down on malaria. Finally I begin driving in Uganda! This is insanity – driving on the opposite side of the road and the drivers seat, gear shift, rear view mirror, radio, signal lights, etc. etc. all opposite. The only thing that remains the same, thankfully is that the gas is on the right foot and clutch on the left foot. Oh, and backing the vehicle is opposite, too. Pedestrians have no rights and yet they will walk in the road. Vehicles stop in the road. Botas (small motorcycles) drive the wrong way on the road. Traffic drives in the evening with no lights on or their high beams on. Stop signs are disregarded by everybody. No such thing as lanes – if you can squeeze by, then do it no matter where you are on the road! Speed in reality is somewhat regulated by using potholes to slow traffic. They will use speed bumps, too. You really take your life in your hands. I haven’t prayed like this before when driving – seriously.
Thursday was men’s group and meeting with teammate Jeremy for our monthly Equip team meeting on Friday morning. More driving! We also shopped in town for basic necessities around the house – remember we’re somewhat starting over again.
Friday – Equip Uganda monthly meeting discussing past months activities, future plans, better coordination of activities, communication, financial reporting, mission, vision, purpose, etc. 2nd quote on the mosquito screens since the first quote was so high. Passport photos for new drivers permit. Repaired some minor things Friday evening around the house. Paid the water bill. Got groceries. All this stuff takes extra time due to things like language, not knowing the area, new money, new culture, etc. etc. A number of times I feel like I’m being cheated. I was charged $25,000 shillings (about $10) to repair a zipper on my suitcase from the trip here, when I found out I really should have paid only about $5,000 shillings. The guy charged me higher because they assume because I’m white I have money – in the US some people consider that racism. Here, discrimination is part of life.
Saturday – personal time. Michelle meets with a fellow missionary wife. Mark takes care of some personal business.
Sunday – FB a request from a supporting church to provide information about missionaries (that church has VBS this week). Attend our church in the morning. Lunch at our house with one of our Equip teammates. Bible study at another missionary home at 3 pm – meet new interns from the States; Michelle and girls attend a missionary appreciation dinner at 6 pm for females (moms and wives), while I write our blogs. It’s 12 midnight. I’ve got to get to bed!
Monday morning 8:30 am – ride with Luke and others to Kampala (3 hours away) to get my drivers permit and learn about immigration while there, since I will have to apply for a work permit in July.
This past week has more to do with settling into the house and culture than most anything else. Thanks for prayers! They mean more than you know!
Sounds like the driving is more adventure than anything else! Glad to hear things are getting accomplished – even if chaotic at times. It’s good to hear from you. Tell Michelle and the kids I said hello. Be safe!