we have left kampala. because of a late start on thursday morning & the uncomfortableness of driving for 8 hours while pregnant, we decided to split the trip to bundibugyo into 2 parts. so after stuffing my duffel one more time, sitting on it to get the zippers to touch, & hauling it to the truck, we packed everything & drove off.
I had another mini culture shock when we left the city, a world of noisy streets, dust flying around cars & buda budas (the taxi motorcycles), & buildings around every corner into the blanket of rolling green hills, tall grass, & blue sky. yes, I’m still in africa.
there are different cultural checks that will remind you that fact daily. one of these, which for some reason tickles me, are the random cows tied up in the middle of no where. we will be driving down a road, not having seen a body for several miles, & there will be a scrawny black & white, eating grass by the side of the road.
another is whenever we pull into a small town. men & women swarm the car windows holding up fruits, vegetables, phone cards, & random trinkets to sell to the muzungus. picture a curly haired goldfish with my wide eyes & gaping mouth, opening & closing at these new sights.
the third cultural wake up call, was the baboons. we were finally going a decent speed down the road, when we came upon living road blocks. ugly butt baboons (only their mothers could love that “heeny,” as Finch would call it). we slowed down so I could see these new creatures. right as lesley was telling me don’t ever roll down the window with baboons or monkeys, a bold not-so-little guy leaped onto the rear view mirror. point proven.
we stayed the night in fort portal at a place that seemed to leap from the pages of a book. our “inn” was in a little corner, tucked away from the small traffic & public eye. the owner is from belgium & opened the place over 10 years ago. the rooms had back porches that opened up into a rich green “yard.” the rooms were nice for africa, & they provided each room with their own container of purified water (that was nice!). I am a romantist, so I was in a dream world exploring the cabin like rooms, opening my door with an old fashioned key, playing with Finch in the “courtyard,” & sipping tea in the main room, admiring the display of local art, beads to pursues to figurines to bowls. dinner was served family style. this was the most interesting part. belgium, england, montreal, & alabama were represented at this table. the canadian pair was unique. I couldn’t decide if they were gypsies, a strange couple, father/daughter, or just traveling buddies. once again, I felt like a character in a book. staring at each person as they told their story, wondering how they really got to this small corner in africa & where they would be going next.
the english couple present were missionaries in another town in uganda. they had a 3 year old girl who Finch immediately fell in love with her flirtatious attitude & hard to get glances. I learned my first nanny lesson: find the kid a friend & your job gets easier!
we left friday morning to finish the 2nd half of the trip to nyahuka, bundibugyo. I will spare you all the details of bumps, pot holes, & mountainous curvy roads. however, as we drove through each town, I came to realize something. it is easy to enjoy africa from the inside of a car, looking out at the world. from inside the car, I was in africa, but I was safe from the smells, the dirt, the diseases, the pain, the poverty, the uncomfortablness. in the car, I was safe. I think it is the same way back home. we get a romantic idea of sharing the gospel, of loving our neighbors, of helping those in need. we get excited about projects downtown or in another country. but we look at these things from a safe perspective. from behind the glass, a life of ministry seems exciting & adventurous. but when we roll down the window & smell the sweaty bodies & sewage, & when we open the door & get dirty the first step we take, we realize this may not be what we signed up for. (I have more thoughts on this, but they are still being developed. tune in for more later.)
once we arrived in bundi, alisha, my roommate, rushed me off to my new house & room. you can stop worrying about my living conditions. I have running water, a nice bed, a lavender colored room to myself, & a large supply of coffee. I will survive.
ann, the intern coordinator then took me on a tour of the mission to see the other mission houses & meet my neighbors. by the time I arrived back to my room, my head was swimming with african names & lubwisi.
but no rest today. I unpacked quickly before we walked up the road to the steven’s house for the weekly team meeting & pizza night. as each team member shared how their work was going, I began to realize that all the things they needed provided or completed were impossible tasks, especially out in the bush. but God quickly reminded me that is exactly what missions work is. doing the impossible because God is all possible. this team cannot do this on their own resources, strength, or power. God has to intervene, or nothing will succeed.
overall, it has been a long day. but a good one. God has answered my prayers about providing a friend. alisha & I have already bonded over dirty dishes & cinnamon roll making (from the left over pizza dough. I am being thoroughly spoiled these first few days in africa). I am ready to get into a schedule. but I’m thankful for finally unpacking! tomorrow I learn more about these next few months then get to experience my first nyahuka market day.
pray for the jet lag to wear off & for a complete night of sleep. also pray for peace of mind & of course, humility. for the team, pray for physical rest & the gospel to be spread to the community.
also, below is a mailing address for the mission. it takes about 2-5 weeks for a letter to arrive & even longer for packages. my room is quite bare right now so anything to make if feel a little homey is much appreciated!
Varina hart, world harvest mission, p.o. box 1142, Bundibugyo, Uganda, East Africa.