Saturday, April 10, 2010

New Experiences

A few days have passed now, and there are too many new experiences to write about. I’m still trying to take my surroundings in and process them. Everything is new. The colors, the smells, the sounds, the smells, the language, the smells, and the culture are all foreign to me. I am adjusting though. Thank you all who have been sending me encouragement and support. You really don’t know how much it helps.

Good news. I FOUND A CHAMELEON! Small things like this really bring joy to my days. And I found Gary in our kitchen today. The Africans here laugh at us Mzungu’s for being fascinated by the things here that we are not used to in the states. Chameleons and geckos are few of many.

Even though everything is different, I have felt an incredible peace being here. The people here are extremely friendly and welcoming to us. I occasionally get awkward stares while I walk through the markets, but they are usually only interested in a new color walking by. Only once has there been a moment when I slightly uncomfortable. Jay, Alfred (Our Ugandan friend), and I were walking through the market at night. All was well. We were buying water. The power goes out frequently in Uganda. It is very normal so everyone carries on there days when that happens. While in the market place, the power went out. The sea of people in front of me turned into Alfred’s white shirt, and Jay and I’s glowing flesh. Talk about standing out… I felt again that people were staring as if we each had two heads.

My Panasonic bike has continued to prove ineffective. 220,000 shillings, and then another 2,000 later to get the handlebars fixed, I assumed all was well and I could ride joyously to and from our apartment. Not the case. About 100 yards into our few mile journey, the seat broke. Riding a few miles standing the entire time, on Uganda roads, is not the ideal way of spending an afternoon. A fun, relaxing bike ride home turned into a wet shirt and heavy breathing. Jay found it entertaining and snapped a picture as I pushed my bike up the final hill.

My intention of this blog is to keep people informed of what is happening in my Uganda journey that God is leading me on. I want to keep it light, humorous, heartfelt, and informative. I don’t want it to be something that is always extremely serious or saddening. With that said, I will not always post these posts, but my heart aches for these kids right now, and I want you who read this know where our focus is in ministry right now. I want you to know the reality.

We went to the Mercy Home again on Wednesday. The feelings were about the same as the first time. We went to see what kind of food they had, then went back to the market to buy what they needed. Our fear, that they had not had a full meal since Easter Sunday, proved to be reality. We fed them Wednesday, Friday, and then again this morning.

Right when I got there, Daniel, one of the older boys, who does “acrobats” of balancing the bottles, came to Jay and I and had made us two soccer balls out of banana tree fibers, which I am sure took hours. He said he wanted to show us how thankful he was. Another came and told me he was making a ceramic cross to give to me. I felt so many emotions all at once. Loved and undeserving being two of many. These children are so thankful, and all we have done is brought them a few meals.

This may not be true for those of you reading this, but for me, before being here, I had become numb to the need in this world. Every time I saw a child in need, it was just another commercial or just another organization trying to raise support for kids that I will never meet. My brain would almost tune it out because I didn’t want to face the reality that someone out there is literally starving. It hurt my unrealistic bubble of happiness and security inside the United States. Of course I always felt for them, like most do, and wanted their needs to be met… but never saw it as an actionable step. Someone else will… Right? Or what difference would a few dollars a month actually make? Would the money actually get to them even? The need is too great, what can I alone do to make any difference? So many questions ran through my mind, obviously not from God, which eventually would talk me out of doing anything, or considering taking a small step of faith.

I have only been to this orphanage three times now, and the situation has become different to me. My perspective has changed. These children are no longer just children that I see in pictures or on commercials. It is personal now. These children have names. Edrick, Julias, Jalya, Daniel, Michael, Fatuma, and Mercy are a few that have touched my heart. They all desire not only food to satisfy their hunger, but love to satisfy their heart. They love to be loved. Their eyes all tell stories and will melt the strongest person. You don’t have to spend much time with them to see this. I know I probably don’t have to ask this, but will those of you reading this continue to pray for these children, and for God to direct Jay and I in the correct path.

One of the most frustrating things here that I have not been used to in the United States is the internet. I could almost mail letters overseas faster than emails work. That is a slight exaggeration, but it is terribly slow. That is the reason I have only written on this blog twice since being here because it takes hours each time.

I watch Jay and David slaughter a chicken the other day. I’m not sure how I feel… It was fresh and tasted amazing.

I got sunburned today. Turns out the sun is closer to the earth near the equator. Weird I know.

Thursday night we went to a church in Kawempe. We were under the impression we were going to play along with the previously formed choir. I took my guitar, and Jay played their keyboard. Once we got there, they said they were giving us the rest of the time to “train” them in music! I had an unqualified confused stare on my face wandering what to do. Everything actually went really well though. We played a few praise songs with them and taught them the words. They tried to pay us on the way out for our time and travel. Of course we didn’t accept it, but the fact they were going to pay us floored me since I knew the church couldn’t have had much money. They were so appreciative.

God is really showing me how big he actually is. God is not an American. God is not confined to our normal culture. God is limitless. He is the creator. He is the God of all and all are his children. These kids on the streets of Uganda are his children, and it is amazing to see them praise him! Mukama Yabizwe! (Praise God in Luganda (I may have misspelled it))

1 comment:

  1. Allen, wow! I love your posts and how funny you are at the same time of telling us how incredible and real your journey is. You are right that we are numb over here to a lot of things and I just am in awe of what God is showing you right now and thankful that you can share it with us at the same time. Amazing!

    Sorry about your panasonic bike, that is hilarious that they make bikes!!!! Who knew?!

    Prayers to you and your communities!