Sunday, September 29, 2013

Thank You Bananas

A market trip to Kiwoko on Saturday is always an adventure and yesterday was no exception.  Christina and I squeezed into a car with some other folks and headed down the road which is considerably narrower these days since it has piles of dirt waiting for the graders to come along.  When we reached town we dashed off to quickly buy our fruit and vegetables aware that there were large dark clouds overhead.  Christina went in one direction to point out to some friends where to buy bananas and I went in another direction to get tomatoes. It was then that the wind picked up and the first drops began to fall.
When rains comes all the vendors scurry to cover their wares and everyone else runs for cover. People hide under tables and on the porches of shops.  I squeezed onto the porch of someone's house as the rain fell in torrents.

A few minutes later I felt a tap on my shoulder and heard someone say "She wants you to enter."  An elderly lady stood behind the curtain that is her door beckoning me.  I ducked inside a small room already filled with others who have fled the storm.  They made space for me on a bed where a small boy was sleeping, oblivious to the storm raging outdoors.  The old lady touched my arm and laughed and then pointed to a faded piece of paper taped to the wall.  The paper revealed that my hostess has a certificate as a birth assistant from Kiwoko hospital.  I smile and congratulated her in my feeble Luganda.  This brought more laughter and then everyone settled down for a good chat as the storm continued.  The roof soon began to leak and battered old tins were quickly put in place and everyone shifted position.  The old lady occasionally peeked out the door and I could see a river of mud cascading down the road.

The afternoon wore on and the old lady continued to hold court clearly enjoying her company. Eventually the drumming on the roof eased to a 'pitter-patter' and I saw people begin to emerge from their hiding places.  I thanked my hostess who gave me a hug  and I slipped through the curtain to the muddy street.

Before too long it was business as usual as vendors uncovered their wares and the bargaining began again.  I spotted Christina who had found shelter in the home of a brother of one of the students at our secondary school.   We finished our market shop but before heading home I quickly dashed back to give the old lady a bunch of bananas as a thank you.  My last glimpse of her brought a smile to my face.   She had a story to tell and so do I.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

1942

Life without power has become the norm for us over the last couple of weeks.  Blog posts are definitely a luxury item which we’ve had to do without.  It’s amazing how excited we get when the lights come on.  (Well except at 3:00 in the morning when all the lights you forgot to switch off come on). 
 We’ve been reading “The Moffats,” one of my favourite series of children’s books, by the glow of a kerosene lantern.  We got a chuckle the other night when one of the chapters described how to light a lantern.  “Hey we do that,” said John.  We also close the shutters on our windows, and use charcoal for cooking lunch, and buy vegetables from a boy on a bike, so the Moffats seem very much like us even though the books were written in 1942! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

3 in 1

David and I attended another wedding this past Friday.  This time it was for a man who had been our compound worker when we first came to Uganda in 2010.  Weddings here are often complicated and costly affairs.  The man must first pay a dowry for his wife and then find money for the wedding itself. 
We arrived in Luwero, where the wedding was to take place, a little before the scheduled time of 12:30.  The first person to greet us was Medi in ball cap and work clothes which was our first indication that things would be a little delayed.  The church the wedding was to be in was having revival tent meetings that week and one was in full swing when we arrived.  We were escorted to the front of the tent with several small children following us. They kept trying to stroke our skin to see if the 'white' would rub off.  We were greeted warmly by the speaker and I was afraid for a moment that David would be called upon to address the crowd.  Thankfully we were shown our seats and we proceeded to listen for the next two hours to the proceedings which were of course all in Luganda.  Finally around 2:00 there was a break for lunch and we were assured by several people that the church would soon be ready for the wedding.

Around 3:00 we finally settled onto our wooden bench in the sweltering heat.  We were so tightly packed in that I could barely breathe.  A procession began with lots of hoots and howls from the assembled throng.  Medi appeared at the front 'smartly' dressed in a navy blue suit and all seemed to be going to plan as his bride made her way down the aisle.  Strangely there seemed to be another couple at the front but we assumed they were attendants.  Then to our utter surprise the place erupted in screams again and another bride made her way down the aisle.  As she reached the front it dawned on us that there were actually three couples getting married.  The ceremony continued with one man after the other saying vows and then it was the women's turn.

Following the ceremony we squeezed to the front to greet Medi and his bride who were delighted we had come.  Medi and Joyce smiled broadly through the whole affair and didn't seem to mind in the least that they were sharing their day.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Homecoming-Celebrating 25 Years

 
Last weekend was a time of celebration and reflection as New Hope remembered twenty five years of service to children in Uganda.  Many of the children who grew up here came back to be reunited with each other and the staff who had worked with them. 

Jay and Vicki Dangers 
Jonnes Bakimi
 

 
 
 
 



 There were games:

tug-of-war

basketball,

and of course football!

                              There was food:  the lines went on and on but it was well worth the wait.




 We had time in our family groups to share a meal and a welcome home cake. One of the biggest thrills in our family group was to meet a young lady who reportedly had died but turned up alive and well and now working as a doctor.  





 
We also planted fruit trees in our family groups to symbolise our hope for the future.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 






There were moments of joy as we watched people embracing one another and deep thankfulness to God as we saw men who had grown up here testify to how God is using them in the work today.

 
 

 
There were also moments of sadness as we heard words of pain and bitterness from those whose lives are still broken.  It was a reminder that while we can meet physical and emotional needs there is ultimately a deep spiritual need that must be met in each one of us by God Himself.  The weekend is over; the work continues.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Catriona and Christina Make Public Profession of Faith

Catriona and Christina with Pastor Brad Jones
(stated supply for Woodgreen Presbyterian Church)
We recently enjoyed a day we had been waiting for with eager anticipation for years.  We are celebrating God’s gracious working in our family life and to Him we are thankful!  On June 30 Catriona and Christina were interviewed by the Session and on August 18, 2013 they made their public profession of faith at our home church in Calgary – Woodgreen Presbyterian Church.

We are thankful for all the Godly influences that Catriona and Christina have had in their lives – relatives who were an example and encouraged them in the faith, pastors and elders who have shepherded them, teachers who taught them who God is and what he has done and so many, many others who were salt and life to them.  God used these people in Toronto, Calgary and Uganda and so many places in between.  But most of all we praise our Triune God who has been working in them what no-one else could do.  We have seen his loving kindness, mercy and grace grow in them over the years.


We hope you will praise God with us!

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"But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children's children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments."  Psalm 103:17-18