Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I'm a bit behind...no Internet service

We sat at the Internet Café last night after a long journey from Murchison Park and I wrote the most awesome note for the blog only to have it disappear. You would think I have learned by now to type on my own computer and transfer important items!!! Alas, I am reminded that things work very differently in Africa. As we say, “T.I.A.” that means “This is Africa.” The early morning game drive was all we hoped it would be. We saw so many giraffes, elephants, buffalo, all sorts of deer-line animals, and the “adorable” wart hogs. Actually, they are really cute in families. We checked out and started the long drive to Gulu. Again, on the trip out of the park, we saw another drive-full of animals. They are so cool up close. We sat on the top of the van and had a panoramic view of the savannah. We stopped at our usually place called, “Narumba Falls.” You can Google it and see what we saw. We have an acre on the falls; whether we ever do anything with it or not, we have a “piece of paradise.” I hope that we can build a small retreat home there as it is really a place to go and retreat!!! We finally arrived in my beloved Gulu and it was great to feel like I was back home. The streets were filled with people coming and going and it was Gulu at it’s finest. There is a new gas station coming in…prosperity is moving north. It is funny though, when we talk to the folks in Kampala about going to Gulu, they tell us it is a place they would never visit. They say it is not safe there. How little they know about this wonderful place!!!!! Barr and Deo walked over to our building and we very impressed with the size of the place. We are going to sit down today and start our “plan of attack” for the school. There is much to be done, but I thank God we are here and that we are ready to go to work. We walked into the generous hospitality of the friends we have made at Jo Jo’s Palace. They greeted us like we were family, and, in a sense, I think we are. We had dinner at the usual, Kakenyero down the street. By that time, we were tired and the kids looked at the menu and wondered what they were going to order. I think they are going to be glad to get home. Not me! I am eager to be here for three more weeks and get as much done as I can. There are many, many items to attend to, people to meet with, and things to get done. I don’t think I will ever have enough time to finish all the things I hope to. But, I will do my best. Remember….what we are doing matters. It matters to the continent, to the country, to the District of Gulu, and “it matters to this one.” Today has been the best day I think I have ever had in Gulu. I had a great sleep last night and woke up early to a beautiful sunrise. I just don’t think there can be a prettier sunrise than in Gulu!! Deo and I met early for tea/coffee and to discuss the plans for the day. Of course, the first stop was to visit the new School of Hope in Gulu. The building belongs to an NGO (non governmental organization) called, “Noah’s Ark). It was a former home for night commuters. I urge you to look up “night commuters-Uganda” on Google if you do not know what this means. You will be shocked at what these people have had to do to survive. There are no words to describe the feelings when we walked through the door of our school. It is very dirty; there are lots of cob webs and the floors and walls are covered with dust, but I see a room filled with sewing machines, chairs for Bible Study, and pictures of sunflowers everywhere! I will do everything possible to make it a happy place and one where men and women will enjoy coming to. We had an awesome meeting with the people who are in charge of the buildings and they are offering us more. It is just as I imagined it would be. We picked up the bamboo and it looks great. Deo and Sam will be running the program and they are the best workers I can imagine. We are going to build some wonderful frames…I just know it! The boys spent the better part of the day getting all the supplies for the bike frames while the girls stayed at the church and worked with the women on handmade tags. They are awesome. We are using bark cloth which is a material that comes from the bark of a tree. On my January trip, I had the experience of pulling off the bark and watching it dry into a very lovely brown color. It is very “African.” We wrote the word, “Gulu” on the cloth and the women have filled in the letters with different colors of yarns…we are using yellow, green, red, and royal blue. They are doing a border on each tag with black threads and then signing their names on the back. I think they will be quite striking…they are, in a sense, a work of art each. We were at the church until nearly 8:00 p.m. The women here are very hard workers…their work ethic is incredible. There were three women who had babies on their backs and yet they stood and embroidered their tags all day! I wish I had that type of determination. As we arrived for dinner at the Kakenyero, the lights went out in the city…very Guluish!? The hotel turned on it’s generator so we were able to eat by light. The lights are very dim, though, because the generators cannot “generate” a lot of light. But, this is one of the things I love about Gulu so much! This is why I love to say, “T.I.A.” This is Africa! I’ll put this post on a memory stick tonight before going to bed so I can run by an Internet Café early. I will hope that the electricity is on by morning; it is just as likely to be off as it is likely to be on. I suppose it is like that one Level 5 rapid we went over called, “50/50!” It is great to be back in Gulu and with friends. I love it here so much!

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