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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Once again, uploading a picture here in Uganda is about as easy as locating a copy of "Chicago XVI" featuring such glorious couples-only-skating-at-the-roller-rink hits: Hard to Say I'm Sorry and Love Me Tomorrow...

Allow me to be Debbie Downer for one paragraph:
Today we met eleven of the World Vision children that our church supports. We met their families, and provided them with soap, flour, candy, salt, cookies, clothes, soccer balls, and sugar. They were very grateful, but you always vacillate between wondering if you're really helping them help themselves or just making them more dependent on you. Then again, if they're starving, do you really care about how they view you? Still you can't help but think about this when you can definitely see that the fathers feel a bit emasculated when others (especially white girls) provide for his family. Not smart enough to come up with a better solution, so I just smile and hand out soap.

Onto the non-serious insights...

Things that you take for granted in America:
  • Toilet seats.
    Yeah, there's just a hole, foot level no less, and you better hope you have good aim, guys and girls. This is tough, as we do not do practice drills of this kind in America.

  • Perforated toilet paper.
    The T.P. here is like a roll of elastic newspaper. You pull and hope for the best.

  • Flushing, just because you feel like it.
    Here you are not supposed to flush anything yellow; just let it mellow. And as we talked about the "Don't" List of Honeymoon places, Paul said, "Nothing says romance like a bowlful of your spouse's urine 6 feet away from you."

  • Any type of music other than "Joe's" Better Days Album.
    If you are not familiar with this 2001 phenomenon, how do I describe it? Since "sex music" is not a real genre, I would categorize it as "vague R&B". Nothing like a little mood music blaring at your table during lunch.

  • Even steps.
    By that, I mean that when you climb stairs, you know what to expect from the next step. Not so here. You are walking down the steps at the hotel: small step, small step, whoa - big drop and hyperextension of the knee, and then another small step. And there's no pattern. It's like a stairmaster for the elite; no amateurs allowed. Keep your eye on the step or it's all over for you. It's all about the attitude though, and everyone here is like optimism on crack. In fact, today, as Paul accidentally stubbed his sandaled foot into an unpredictable slab of concrete step, he took a breath and said, "Pain is just weakness leaving the body." To which Brooke replied, "That's right. It's just a down payment for glory."

  • Rain that is just rain.
    Last night there was lightning in the sky. Therefore, we had to duct tape the half-inch of air space in our hotel room balcony door. Apparently, white ants come out when it rains --- huge white six legged critters with wings. The natives will sweep up all the dead ones after it rains, pluck the wings off, and fry them. They are a delicacy. I prefer M&Ms when I really want to splurge on a rainy day.

  • Traffic rules in general.
    There's something to be said for a stop sign. Here it serves as a fire hydrant for a goat. Speaking of goats, it's very disconcerting to hear a dying goat as the most common ringtone on the local cell phones.

  • Shower curtains.
    Well, you can clean your toilet while you shower; that's one plus.

Ridiculous moment of the day:
Downstairs in the hotel lobby, we were watching some crazy Nigerian soap opera about two 8 year old boys and the hyjinx they cause a mentally retarded lady neighbor (and I am not exaggerating when I explain the plot). Finally Jeami asked them to change the channel to CNN. It took them 20 minutes to send the message and get the channel changing started (Ugandan time has no word for "immediately"). But Paul immediately came downstairs and said, "Hey, I was just getting into that soap opera!" Apparently every T.V. in the entire hotel is hooked to the lobby T.V. Whatever channel the lobby T.V. plays, the T.V. will play in your room!


  1. it sounds like you are having an amazing time. you are being the hands and feet of Jesus. thank you for loving on the families, even when it is uncomfortable.

  2. Every day, I think: "I should be in Uganda." Every day I thank God that I'm not. Why? The emotions that I feel just READING about the children, the sick, the dying are more than I can bear. is sooooo obvious I was supposed to be here. The day after you all left, I got THE CALL from UCLA to come in for testing. Then, just a few days ago, we had to spend the day at the E.R. with Kevin at UCLA. Definitely been needed here. So my friend, kiss the land of Uganda for me, although I wish I could be in two places at one time, it is very clear that I am where I ought to be.

  3. We brought your prayers with us, Carrie!