Now on my 21st day in Uganda, I’m preparing to return home at the end of this week. One of my friends here texted me last night to ask, how do I feel about leaving? Honestly I’m not paying so much attention to how I will feel, but my guess is it will be a mixture. I’ll be looking forward to home and family and thinking of myriad tasks I’ll have to catch up on quickly; but the friends I have made here will be much on my mind. Thank God for modern technology, which shrinks the world and lets us stay close to those who are far. I’m very sure I will be thinking about how and when to make another trip over.
Things I have seen, in roughly chronological order:
- Lake Victoria, the second largest lake in the world, after Lake Superior. Saw it on the first day, and took a day at the beach earlier this week. Here’s a creature i saw strolling sedately down the beach:
- Traffic in Kampala, a sprawling city of many hills, where exactly seven intersections have traffic lights (I counted sixteen lights, however, at one of those intersections where eight ways meet). Discussion of this in detail could take up many pages.
- Travel in said traffic, by private car, taxi (not like ours), boda boda (described by some as “motorcycle taxi”), bus, and walking.
- The road to Jinja, which winds up and down steep hills, through towns and past villages, a forest, and fields of tea, sugar cane, pumpkin, maize (corn), potatoes, bananas and more
- Produce in abundance including all the above plus cassava, jackfruit, tomatoes, yams, beans, pineapple, watermelon, and more than I can list
- A bridge across the river Nile. Here I almost got in trouble for having my camera out, as it was quickly explained to me that photos of it are not allowed.
- The town of Jinja. Here there are no traffic lights and the street lamps are solar powered.
- Multitudes of schools, churches, shops, roadside markets. Description of these will call for their own space.
- An inexpensive hotel where only the hot water worked (sometimes) in the shower. Bathing became an exercise in creativity.
- Next day: the Source of the Nile. A story or two in itself.
- Third day, and nearly every day until I returned to Kampala: travel by taxi to a village school. More stories here. Hosted there by a marvelous family whose hospitality was extraordinary. More to tell here too.
- There they served me local food in abundance. I provided the funds for such ingredients as had to be bought at the local market and learned that for less than the price of one restaurant meal, I could feed 14 young schoolchildren, all the staff and their family members.
- On Sunday, up the hill from that school (which is already quite a climb from the main road) is a church where I was invited to preach on two consecutive Sundays. Working with an interpreter, I was well received.
- Took one day out to travel 34 km by boda boda for a visit to Itando Falls, where I drank from the water of the Nile (local lore claims it will bring long life…why not?) and then crossed the river (no kidding) In a leaky rowboat. Pictures and video to follow.
- After returning to Kampala, I have visited the national museum, the home of my other host to meet his family, the beach at lake Victoria, and St. Andrews church, a congregation of the Church of Uganda (episcopal) where I attended the 7 am service and was invited to bring a greeting. This is the English language service and it was choir day, so I heard three choirs and participated in congregational singing, which included songs in four languages: English, Luganda, Swahili, and Spanish. Later on Sunday I ate in a private home of one of the church leaders and attended an afternoon fellowship meeting at another home.
- Earlier in the week I also visited another school in a different village
- Took a drive to the top of a hill and visited the Baha’i Temple in Kampala, one of seven in the world. Again I have pictures, though none from inside the building as they are not allowed.
- Today I will see Namugogo martyrs, a shrine for the first Christians in Uganda.
My driver and hosts are here. More later.