I can’t believe it…am I dreaming? Someone pinch me. After 8 months of prayer and preparation and after 30 hours of travel by plane and an 8 hour drive from Kampala, I arrived in Gulu last night…my home for at least the next three years. Thanks to everyone who was praying for me as I traveled. The journey was hassle free. All flights left on time and all my luggage arrived with me. I am physically exhausted but full of energy in my spirit. I’ll take the next few days to rest and get acclimated to my new surroundings. I awoke this morning to the sounds of many roosters outside my window. No alarm clock needed here! For the first week I am staying at Bishop Johnson’s guest house. Next weekend I will move into my permanent residence down the road at Dr. Katie’s compound. She is on a medical mission trip this week to South Sudanese refugees.
The Rev. Sandra Earixson (Principal of the theological college) and the Rev. Collins Olara (Dir of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of N. Uganda) picked me up at the airport in Entebbe. We drove an hour to the capital city of Kampala and spent two nights there. Sandra took me shopping for some supplies. We went to a store called Game, which is basically the African version of Walmart. You can find anything you need there. Of course, if it is imported it is very expensive. But one trip to Game can pretty much knock out anything on your shopping list. I got a fan, a rack to dry clothes on and a printer for my laptop, which I will need for my work. I also bought a very inexpensive cell phone and got a Ugandan number so I can communicate with others here in Uganda. I still have my US cell phone and plan on keeping it so that I am, at all times, easily connected to friends and family back home. I have roaming unlimited text messages and roaming G3 data while here in Uganda on my US phone. Phone calls are 20 cents/minute. All that for only $50/month. This is well worth it. Of course, my connection has been spotty at best so far.
Our drive from Kampala yesterday was long. For half the journey the roads were pretty good but the second half of the drive was pretty tough. The roads are very bad and makes for a bumpy ride and at times heart-stopping ride. I was sure the vehicle would turn over a couple of times or we would side-swipe an oncoming 18 wheeler…but all was ok. We stopped at a vegetable market along the way and bought tons of fresh produce. I mentioned to Sandra that this was a lot of food for us for the next week. “This food is not just for us.” she said. Apparently, when you go shopping for produce, you buy more than you need and share it with others around you…your neighbors, your friends and family. I just smiled. So much to learn about African culture. When we got to Gulu, Sandra began sorting bags of food to share with others.
Right now, as I write this, the electricity is out. I’m working on my lap top with a charged battery. The electricity was out last night when we arrived due to a fallen electric pole somewhere. When the rains come in Gulu, it softens the ground and poles topple. The electric came back on around 6pm and I was able to have a hot shower and fall asleep with a fan blowing cool air over me as I slept but when I woke this morning the electricity was off again. Thank God the stove in the guest house is gas. Sandra heated water so that I could have coffee. It’s the little things, people! I know this is just the beginning of adjusting to life in a developing country. I had no hot water in my hotel in Kampala so last night’s hot shower was the first since leaving the US three days ago. Lord, it feels like it was at least a week ago! LOL!
Today Sandra is taking me to buy a router and get me set up with internet. Thank God for the internet, email, facebook, etc. I can feel connected to home at the touch of a keyboard, as long as the electricity is working. This coming week I will shadow Sandra, watch and observe, meet the students and other staff of the Diocese. The Bishop popped in to greet me last night after we arrived and made me feel very welcome. I am excited to see how the Lord will use me here to help build and grow this theological college. I know He will build and grow me at the same time!
The electricity came back on so I’m going to take a nap under the fan.
Always be thankful…for your heavenly Father has blessed you tremendously!
Peace in Christ!