The walls to the gate and gatehouse are finished! I know Christian is relieved to be done! He’s had to closely supervise the whole project, but the guys have had so many compliments on their work. People have passed by and told them that they didn’t believe they could do such a good job. You can tell they have a sense of pride, learning a new skill, but hopefully they see that taking time and care to do a job correctly is worth it. Christian is going to take them to work on finishing the inside and outside of two buildings of a school some friends from Canada have, and he wants them to know that he is taking them because of the good job they did. Our prayer is this opens doors for them to get better jobs, to better their lives. And it has been a great opportunity for Christian to witness to them and live by example before them.
The only problem I have with it, I was told they were going to put glass on the top of the walls, to discourage anyone climbing over them, but when I saw the big jagged pieces, it kind of made me sad. This is common, how they do it here, but I don’t like it! I want everyone to feel welcome here, so I guess to combat the big gates and walls with glass on top, we just have to do even more walking through the village and making friends! I just want people to know that the fence is there more for keeping any animals we raise in, and animals we don’t want in to stay out!
There is a flowering plant by the house, it starts out a pretty purple, then lightens to lavender until finally it is pure white – all in about 3 days. I’ve never seen anything like it, it’s scientific name is Brunfelsia grandiflora, also called the Kiss Me Quick because they fade quicker than a kiss. Also, some call it the Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Plant.
They are hard at work getting the gate house and walls around the gate up. The gate went up yesterday, while I was out of town at a conference, and was told upon arriving home that I had to have the password! It looked nice closed up. After the bricks are all laid, then a layer of concrete will be plastered over the walls and gate house. I know Christian will be so glad when it is all done!
Goat anyone?! I guess they leave the tail so you know what it is?!
Yesterday we had the cataract screening in the village center. I think we attracted more kids than actual applicants! We ended up with 24 people to be screened – only 2 had cataracts. 2 had immature cataracts, so they will be monitored every 3 months. But we did find 4 people that were eligible for a surgery that is done in our town for free, they just don’t have enough money for transportation to town. We are going to take care of the cataract patients first, and then hope to get the others to their surgeries if they will go through with it. The Dr. said many times they are too scared to go through with it. There were 3-4 that needed glasses, and a few that just need medication. I know there were a few that were quite disappointed that they weren’t going to get their eyesight fixed.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Now, I am not one to see the devil on every doorknob as one friend says, but I do believe that when we are drawing closer to God, and when the plans of God are unfolding, the devil doesn’t like it and he has his ways of trying to knock you off track. I know him, and I know the signs that he and his schemes are at work.
We would appreciate prayers today and this week. There are many things going on this week, directions that we believe God has us going in, but just as many things have started coming against us – sickness, truck problems, worker problems, our little hedgehog dying. Even though it is frustrating, it is also exciting because we believe God is working and forces are trying to derail us. So please pray for our health, and for wisdom in dealing with workers. Finding a part for the truck is very difficult as there are no auto zones or Toyota Dealers around! We will probably have to go to Kampala the first of the week to find one, and that will put work on getting the gate up behind. We were going to go today, but we have been connected with a program out of Kampala that does cataract surgeries for free and today we are having a screening for people in our village to be checked and if they have cataracts, we will supply transportation to get to Kampala and have the surgeries. It may not seem like a big decision, but it was, to wait on the truck and put off a day of work so that we can be there for the screening.
I know you are out there praying for us, and it means so much. These problems and trials are temporary, but sometimes in the middle of the battles we tend to forget that and forget He Who is leading the charge!
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
We have had a very good day today, made new friends and got a new pet! (I know, just what we need). We told our neighbor about finding the hedgehog the other night, and then hunting for more the next night, and he said he had a whole family living in the house they were building. I said “Hey, I will make you cookies if you bring me a baby” So, low and behold, at 7:30 am this morning, he is at our door with this tiny Napupu! She is so cute, and already very comfortable with us. We fed her two crickets and a HUGE moth and she gobbled them up! Everything I’ve read says don’t expect them to eat for the first few days, or uncurl and she has already done both. So we will see if we can keep her alive and happy, Christian is going to have to construct some kind of cage, we’ve told Raelee she can’t sleep with it! lol
We went to visit a couple from Canada that have a school, they live outside of town and have been out of the country raising money for the past six months.. We have heard so much about them, I was a little intimidated! But they are so great, I can already tell we will be great friends. We got to see their guy who is over the school again, he has visited us a couple of times and given us much needed encouragement, comfort and advice. Bakali drove us, and apparently had fun with my camera while he was bored in the truck waiting on us! He also got to visit with his sons for a minute. They both board here, so they haven’t been together for a couple months. I asked why they wouldn’t smile, and Bakali said it was because they knew he would be leaving them. Then he and Raelee had fun with soccer balls on their heads! All in all we had a really good day!
Bakali and his sons.
An update on the kids that lost their mother. They are getting more and more comfortable with me, all but the baby, and I pray that they will let us tend to their feet. The girl, who is just 12, missed school today because she didn’t have the 1,000 shillings for exams. (That isn’t even .50 USD). I gave her food, bananas, papayas and the money for exams. A lady came by the other day with a woven mat for sale and I bought it for about $3 and gave it to the girl for their floor. I had an interpreter today, so I asked if their father had been around at all, and she said he has come late at night, after they are in bed, and leaves early in the morning. He doesn’t even ask if they have food or if they are okay. It breaks my heart, and makes me mad all at the same time. I have decided that I will go to their home everyday to make sure he is not eating or taking the food we give them. I have no problem feeding them and helping to take care of them, but will have to figure out another solution if he is involved. Please pray for these children, I told her I am so happy that she is going to school, that she is doing a great thing by getting an education while taking care of her brothers.
Every time we take a walk outside our property, we get a following! Most of the time, if it is boys, they follow, but don’t talk to us. And if we turn and look at them they will either run the other way, or dive into bushes. Pretty funny! Sooner or later I pray, they get used to us and get a little closer. Some of the babies will cry if we talk to them, as we are the only white people they have ever seen. It’s not a good feeling when small children are terrified of you just because of your skin color, but I have hope. The 4 kids that we have been feeding and checking on started out crying every time they saw me, now they smile and touch me. It just takes time and consistency to gain their trust and try to form a relationship. Our biggest prayer is to learn the language quickly, but I am sad to say I am not doing so well in that department! Raelee helps me when someone greets me, she is picking it up quickly, so is Christian. So, pray for me, I have the hope I will get there…eventually!
Eating Sugar Cane
I barely snapped this before he dove into the grass, my third try at getting his pic!
I was talking to my husband last night as he stepped to the front door. Next thing I know he had disappeared! Finally he came back with this little ball in his hands. He had spotted the hedgehog on the front porch and it took off so he ran after it! It was so cute. They have pygmy hedgehogs here, and this one was most likely a full grown adult. He had all his quills out, so he felt like we were holding a little cactus, but his little face was so cute, and he would start to unroll and then just close up to a little ball. We tried to feed it a carrot, but it just wanted away from us. No, we did not keep it, but if we find a baby one we just might. We read about them after it left, and they say they can make pretty good pets! It sure was cute!
It’s not even 9 am here and we have been at the day since 6 am! Christian is putting in the forms and getting ready to put the gate up and they are starting on the guard-house. The bulls are plowing to plant corn, Raelee, oh I’m sorry, “Lightning” the superhero, is making plans on how to kill the Crack Eye Monster and his wife because they are eating all the hot plants at the dome house. Apparently the Crack Eye Monster makes a beeping noise, which is actually a bird that does get pretty annoying, but I don’t tell her that because I know that for at least a couple of hours she will be planning, setting traps, and digging for this monster and out of my hair and not suckering unsuspecting people at the well. Some days, she sits at the well with a water can and when someone comes, she asks for help in filling her bucket. When they are done she helps them, people here get so happy to be able to help the cute, curly hair mazungu. They leave, she dumps her bucket out and waits for the next person to do it all over again. I went to stop her one day, but I saw her interacting and the joy on people’s faces, that I let her be. I just believe there is a fine line between being a controlling ego-maniac who manipulates to get their way and a leader who directs people for good. I want her to use her powers for good and not self satisfaction!
I have just finished mopping for the first time today, probably the first of a few times if the rains come today. The past couple days it has rained in the night, so the floors haven’t been quite as bad. That red mud is very hard to get off the floors.
I went shopping yesterday with a friend. I wanted to get a couple of dresses, and we were looking for leggings. Shopping is an interesting experience. We went to a dress shop, and it went okay although she wanted to sell me two dresses for 15. each, when I know she sells them to Ugandans for 3. each. Some of the dresses were not used, but I can promise you they have sat in a warehouse somewhere for probably the past 20+ years and in the states I shopped at Goodwill, or good sales and I wouldn’t pay 15. for them! I eventually talked her down to about 9. each, so I was happy and she was happy. I have also been wanting a pair of sneakers, so maybe I can keep my feet clean once in a while, so as we were walking I saw some Converse All Star high tops. They were actually my size, a 4 in boys. Let me just say here – people buy whatever is available. It doesn’t matter if it is flourescent pink and you are a guy, or if you wear a size 6 and all they have is a 4, you will wear flip flops with half your foot hanging off them. Our wash lady came yesterday with her little boy and he had an a pink tee with glittering hearts and a white and yellow skirt. So, ok, back to my shoe story. I bought the purple high tops even though I was wanting black, purple is my favorite color and the right size was available. But I had said I was looking for black ones so the guy with the booth next to that one came at me with some black high tops – size 9! I said, no, too big. He said no, just perfect! No. He came back with 11’s. Jeesh, I said no, too big! He said they would work and he needed the money. So sorry, but I had to leave him with his big shoes!
Christian has had quite the job keeping these fellows working, and doing the job correctly. There is the language barrier, the understanding barrier and the ignorance barrier. And I don’t mean that in a mean way. I mean it in the literal meaning of people who have not been privileged with an education, or exposure to anything but village life. They have their own ways of doing things and just assume the mazungu is stupid. A few finally learned when they did a job their way when Christian left them with instructions – it fell apart and they did come back and do it right without pay. I think they probably think Christian is a rough boss, but understand he is fair, and they get paid a lot of money for the jobs that they do so he expects hard work. They get paid by the day/project so if it was up to some of them, they would rather stretch it out for twice as long. Understandable, but our organization isn’t made of money, so we have budgets. They don’t get that if we go over budget every project, we may not have money to work anyone. This conversation that follows kind of sums up some of the things we come up against – in everything – and makes it very hard to get a handle on what is needed for projects.
“Hey Bakali, we have the two bulls that we are thinking of selling. But what if I sell one, and buy a milk cow. She will need to have a calf once in a while to keep milking, so we will keep the one bull for her.”
“That would be very good sir. You would need the bull to have a calf.”
THE VERY NEXT DAY
Christian is looking at the bulls, they are sick with “sleeping sickness” and have weepy eyes. “Hey Bakali, those bulls look like they have been castrated”
“You know (and he makes a snipping motion with his hands) castrated”
“Oh yes sir they have been castrated”
“They can’t make babies”
“Oh no sir (he is laughing) they can’t make babies”
“Bakali, you told me that would be good to keep one of the bulls for our cow so that she could have calves, but if they are castrated they cannot do that”
Bakali is rolling laughing like Christian is an idiot “No sir, that wouldn’t work”
See? We go through that kind of thing daily! And it is funny sometimes, but not when dealing with budgeting a project and we only get half the story. It is all a learning experience and we pray daily for opportunities to witness, to teach, and have patience! We love it here, and we love the people so much and pray for better understanding of what goes on in their heads!