Monday, April 19, 2010

New things for me

There are a few things to get used to here.

Everyone in the country “takes tea” every day, no matter what the temperature. I know they do the same thing in England, which is where this tradition came from, but it’s not 90-100 degrees every day in England. On the hottest day of the year and any other, they will be boiling water for tea around lunch. And, they don’t sweat when drinking it like I do. In fact, I never see them sweat, and I am a perpetual faucet. Oh well.

I miss music in the house. I think we are going to look for an ipod speaker that runs on 220V when we go to Kampala. That will make cooking in the hot kitchen a lot nicer.

One of my friends put this on her blog, and I had never put it into words before, although I had noticed it. Everyone picks their nose, and they don’t mind who sees them. It is not done discreetly like we “may or may not” do it in the States. It happens in important meetings, in greetings, or in just walking down the street. Everyone picks their nose. Maybe I'll join in...

Geckos and spiders are a welcome sight. They are all over the house, and we don’t bother killing them in hopes they will help us control the mosquito population.

I ride in a car only one day a week, and that is where the only air conditioning is in my whole city – in vehicles.

I have not had ice in a drink since I left the States in January. When I made my first trip to Germany in college, I remember really missing ice in my drinks. I mourned ice my whole trip, but now I live without it every day, and God is really sustaining me. I rarely think about it. He is good.

I have not see iceberg lettuce since I left the States. Boy, I miss a good salad. I ordered a salad the other night when Doug and I went out on a date and it came with cubes of tomato, cucumbers, and red onions. The end. No lettuce.

Of course, you can’t buy shredded cheese here. I bought blocks of mozzarella cheese in Kampala when I arrived in country and have kept it frozen in my freezer to use (the cheddar does not taste the same and there are no chips to make nachos anyway). Two weeks ago, mozzarella cheese was found here in an Arua grocery store! Also a man came to my gate last week with a warm wax ball of mozzarella that he made in his “laboratory.” I bought it, and it was okay. I’m all out of cheese now, because we’ve had to clean out our fridge. We are unplugging it tomorrow while we are gone away.

We really miss chips and nachos. I have been shown that you can cut and cook chapatis (tortilla-type things) in the oven, and they become pretty decent chapati chips.

Sometimes we miss Dr. Pepper, but we’ve found another drink we like (Krest Bitter Lemon), and it has become a fast favorite.

People asking for handouts is not new, but it’s frequency is. We knew it would happen, but you can never be ready. I walked out of the grocery store yesterday, and a girl said, “You give me 100 shillings.” They don’t really have a word for “please” or a soft way of putting things. Since I had just seen her shopping in the store, I gave her nothing. Last week, Doug bought a bus ticket for a man to get back to Sudan. This morning, I gave money to a man to help pay for his brother-in-law’s funeral (he says he will pay me back next month). Yesterday, I contributed to a wedding fund, and Doug was asked for money while riding his bike to Bible study. You get the point. All of the above was just the last week and a half. We have to say, “No,” a lot, but sometimes we say, “Yes,” depending on how the Spirit leads.

So anyway, those are new things for me. When I think of more, I'll let you know.


Michael said...

Our across-the-street neighbor grew up the Middle East and has tried repeatedly to convince me that I'm supposed to drink hot drinks when it's hot and cold drinks when it's cold. He says it helps regulate my body temperature. I probably shouldn't say what I really feel about that, but let's just say I'm not convinced yet. :-)

Nancy said...

No ice! Is your freezer not able to make ice? Or do I need to send you a plastic ice cube tray?
I notice the nose picking thing as well... kinda unnerved me at first.
Becky is in town right now. I am looking forward to a 4 day slumber party next week with Carol Hand, Brenda Ross and Melanie Lott this week at my house.
Praying for your safe travel... and I know how dicey that can be over there!