It’s the end of my second week in Uganda. It’s been interesting…
I moved into the guest house at Dr. Katie’s compound. I’m trying to make it feel like home. I’m sure that will take a bit of time. Katie has been most welcoming and is a wealth of knowledge about all things Ugandan. There are a couple of things to pick up when I am in Kampala again. I need a rug for the bedroom. The floors are concrete and get dirty easily, so having a clean place to put my bare feet before hopping into bed would be helpful. A lamp for my bedside table so the overhead bare light bulb is not blaring down at me will add atmosphere in the evenings. I’m slowly getting used to using the gas stove in the kitchen. I’m a little timid about lighting it…I don’t want to blow myself up. I’ve cooked a couple of meals. I’m so used to being able to microwave meals and cooking the old fashioned way takes times and energy. The cold showers are not all that bad. It helps if I’m hot to begin with…then the cool water feels good. Washing dishes requires boiling water first…and it takes about 15 minutes to get the large kettle to boil. Everything takes more time. But I have enjoyed sitting on the porch in the evenings, listening to all the birds and watching the sun set. It’s peaceful.
The real experience this week was washing my clothes by hand. I had about 10 days worth of dirty clothes that needed to be washed. Katie gave me some pointers because…well…I’ve never washed all my clothes by hand. I filled one bucket with boiling water and added a bit of cold water so I wouldn’t burn myself. I poured in the washing powder. I let the first batch of clothes soak for about 10 minutes and then began washing each piece by hand, rubbing the cloth together. I then dipped the piece of clothing in another bucket of cold water to rinse and wring it out. The rinsing took a long time because it was hard to get the soap out. I was doing all this in the shower room which was helpful because water was going everywhere. It was hot and sweaty. I tried to practice the presence of God…as Brother Lawrence did when he washed dishes in the monastery. This was helpful and my attitude remained pretty positive. Anyway, three hours later and with one blister on my left thumb from wringing water out of clothes and my first laundry day was done. I hung everything to dry on the clothes rack in my bedroom and turned two fans on the clothes to speed up the drying process. Lesson learned: never let your laundry pile up for 10 days and if possible wash a bit everyday. Say a little prayer of thanksgiving for your Maytag. Don’t take it for granted.
I had my “official” meeting with Bishop Johnson to formally discuss my role in the Diocese. My official title will be Assistant to the Bishop for International Relations. I will be teaching in the theological college of course, but a great deal of my time with be reporting to all of the Diocese’s partners around the world on the progress of various projects and being their contact here in Uganda. I will be a bridge, of sorts, to western countries. I will help to host various visiting groups to the Diocese and I will assist with developing new partner relationships. I’ve been given a desk in Rev. Willy’s office, next to the Bishop. Willy is the Bishop’s chaplain and the information officer for the Diocese. I’m honored that he was willing to share his space with me. I’m sure I will learn a lot from Rev. Willy.
Today I started on my first project…setting up the college’s bookkeeping on QuickBooks and helping to streamline accounting procedures to insure accuracy and accountability. This will also help the budgeting process in the years to come. This will take several weeks to complete. The Bishop is going to be in Germany for two weeks so it will work well for me to do this while he is gone.
Last Saturday night I attend a fundraising dinner for the college. There was a live auction in which a goat was auctioned, several framed portraits of Archbishop Janani Luwum, after whom the college is named and other small items. The evening started at 6pm but it was 10:30pm before dinner was actually served and 11:30pm before it ended. I’m told this is pretty typical for Ugandan culture. It was fun to watch. Everyone had a good time bidding in the auction, lots of laughter and joy. It raised about $3500 for the college.
I have been invited to join a women’s bible study each Friday evening for women in ministry. It meets at various homes. We are studying Acts. Tonight we met here at Dr. Katie’s compound. It was a good discussion, especially with three different cultures present in the group (America, Uganda and New Zealand). I look forward to getting to know these ladies in the months to come. I hope they will all become good friends.
Finally, this morning I began taking the oral chemo medication. I was reluctant to start it but knew I could not keep putting it off. It sort of made it an emotional day. I’m not sure why…I guess it just made me feel a really long way from home. But after my first day I have had no side affects. We will see what the coming days will bring. I ask your prayers for this…that the medication will do its job and that I will not be hampered from doing the ministry God has sent me to do. If I do begin to have negative side affects, I will stop the medication.
Please continue to pray for protection, provision and most of all for new friendships and favor as I step into this role in the Diocese. Thanking God for his faithfulness and the privilege of working with my brothers and sisters in Christ in Uganda!