Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kindergarten, July 23

We biked to the school to arrive at 10:30. Doug and I walked to Eunice's class and stood inside the classroom. The kids were out playing in the schoolyard, but upon seeing us, came early into the room. I thought I was shaking about 100 hands.

Turns out I was!

When they finally came in, there were 100 students in the desks.

Half were barefoot.

Two had backpacks. Some had plastic sacks, but most carried their notebook in their hands. Their books had been rained on repeatedly throughout the rainy season and the papers were falling out of the binding.

The school yard is U-shaped with buildings. They are covered with tin roofs (I can't imagine the noise level when it rains), and the ceiling is like a barn. Rafters, open to the next classroom, in front and behind. It's not even a floored ceiling, just a criss-cross pattern of 2 x 4's.

So when the kindergarten class in front of us was reciting their numbers slowly (and when I say reciting, I mean screaming) from 1 to 100, we heard every word. And when our class sang to us (think "screaming" here), even the classes across the U-shape could hear us.

And, like all nationals ,the teacher does not raise her voice. Doug and I were in the back row and could barely hear. The students in the back were a little out of sorts, as well. This is the first time I have seen national students misbehave in class, but they were just allowed to "be" while she taught the front rows.

The blackboard had two huge holes in it that students would fish chalk out of when they came to the board. If they came to the board without being asked, the teacher picked up a switch and swatted at them.

Next thing I know, one of her spare switches has been picked up, and it was passed where? To the back to students who were not paying attention by us.

There were pictures drawn all over the room on poster board with the Lugbara words underneath for the children to learn. This is the first child's classroom I've ever been in with a picture of a knife and a razor on the wall. It's the context we are in.

We reviewed some Lugbara words and said them while looking at pictures of them. Then their homework for the next 30+ minutes was to copy the words and pictures into their notebooks. One of the kids next to me was still on the second picture after 25 mintues. He felt like he had
to draw them just like the teacher, and he was going SLOW. I don't blame him. A bicycle and a bus are hard to draw.

I know worksheets are highly favored in schools in America, but it sure beats having the kids write their own version of a worksheet. One boy who didn't have a notebook, just sat and stared at me until he decided to sharpen his pencil…with the razor blade I mentioned in an earlier post. He was pulling the blade toward his chest, totally unsupervised. My agitation level with the noise, lack of attention, switch passing, and razor blade usage was rising. I'm sure it has to
do with the fact that I used to be a teacher.

THEN…the class behind us starting singing, and so our class was singing along with them while they did their work.

The students that didn't have notebooks where just asked, "Where is your book?" When a mumbled answer came, nothing was ever said. I guess the teacher figures they are paying school fees to learn, so if they don't want to participate, it is of no concern to her.

These notebooks are like small composition notebooks without hard covers, and they are stapled together. I saw one notebook cut in half horizontally. I'm guessing she could only get the top half because a sibling needed the bottom half.

Basically, toward the end of 30-40 minutes of writing in their notebooks, I went to the teacher and asked if we could leave so I could cook lunch for my kids.

We were excused, and we told her we would see her the following Wednesday.

I think I'm going to ask permission to sit in the front of the room.

That shouldn't bother her. All the kids were turned around backwards in their desks to stare at us the whole time (except for the time she called me to the board to answer a question), so if we are in the front, at least they will be facing forward.

Back to school, July 19-20

Doug and I attended another kindergarten class at another school. It was quite a process getting there.

Sunday at church, in the Lugbara service, I loosely understood that the headmistress of an elementary school near my house was in the service. She stood and waved when introduced as one of the wardens of the church, and I took notice.

After the service, I made a bee-line for her and introduced myself and told her I would like to come to her school and attend a class to help improve my Lugbara.

She said, "You can come Monday at 2:00."

I said, "Tomorrow?"

She said, "Oh, is it Monday tomorrow? OK. Yes. Tomorrow."

So Doug and I biked to her school on Monday, and I asked Alice, my house worker, to stay with the kids.

On the way, Rev. Alice, (a different one) a woman minister at one of the Anglican churches, stopped us. I had talked to her at the July 4th party about observing at this school, and I had not heard from her again.

She was informing me that her cell did not have batteries at the moment but that she had been playing phone tag with the kindergarten teacher at this certain primary school she had suggested we attend.

Anyway, she told me that the teacher's name was Eunice, and she was a P1 teacher.

When we went in for our meeting with the headmistress, we got a history of the school, exchanged pleasantries, and finally got around to the fact that a lady named Eunice said we could come the next day at 2:00 to visit.

"Oh, really? That's great!"

The next day, we biked out again. The kindergarten children leave at 1:00 and don't return, so we just met with the teacher in the resource room, and she gave us some books.

She said we were welcome every day of the week, but we told her we would pick about two days a week at first.

Our first day would be Friday, July 23rd.



We have two avocado trees in our yard. I had never seen an avocado

tree before moving here. They are big, nice shade trees.

One of the trees really produces well. So well, in fact, that one day
it's branch was so heavy with fruit, it snapped off the trunk.

The kids were out playing in the mud and they ran to the door, scared.
They didn't know what had caused the snapping, but they were just
sure someone was either in the tree or someone had shot at it and
caused it to fall off.

This is two of the SIX buckets of avocados we gathered off the limb. We
gave large quantities for two days each to both watchman, Alice, and
our neighbors across the fence. It was nice to be able to bless them.
Early in the morning, I would box up several so they could strap the
box to their bike before they went home from night duty.

I'm hoping from now on they will fall from the tree one or two at a
time again. Guacamole is good, but there is a limit on the number of
avocados I want to eat a week.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Anniversary and ANOTHER dead chicken

As some of you know from facebook or my newsletter that my dogs escaped out the front gate a few weeks ago and promptly killed a chicken across the road.

We settled affairs with the neighbors and enjoyed chicken pizza that night.

Well, Doug and I celebrated our 14th anniversary this last Tuesday, and we had nice relaxing plans.

Our team member offered to keep all the kids for the night, so we could stay out late if we wanted or sleep in, if we wanted.

I went to drop them off at 4pm, and I stayed to visit a while.

Doug had been called to town by a man who said he wanted to give Doug a gift for being such a good friend.

When Doug got back, I still had not returned, but he called to inform me he was bringing home a large rooster.

What I didn’t know is that Doug had to go back to town, so he left the rooster on the porch so the dogs couldn’t get him, chained up the door, and he went off for another errand (he was trying to get me high-speed internet for my anniversary present).

When I walked home about 25 minutes later, I could see feathers through the papyrus mats that sort of hide our yard from the road.

I started yelling at the dogs, and Lee quickly ran away, knowing he was in trouble, but not Matata.

I got in the yard, popped both dogs, and carried the limp body to the porch.

The dogs had worked at the gate and wiggled the chain lose, somehow.

I was so mad.

I put the bird in a bucket and texted Doug, “Bird is dead.”

When Doug got home, we walked to a nearby restaurant to eat, leaving the dead bird in the bucket on a better-chained up porch, and waited for our night watchman to arrive.

After dinner, which surprising only took 30 minutes to cook and cost us only $7.00 total, we walked back home, and asked the night watchman if the meat was salvageable.

He thought parts of it were, so I went to work boiling lots of water so he could get the feathers off.

As he worked on the bird, Doug and I got cleaned up and ready to vegetate on the couch watching movies.

When the bird was ready, I put it on the stove to boil, and went back to the movie.

Later I heard gurgling, and I asked Doug if he thought it was raining outside.


Then I smelled something and wondered if Patrick was burning trash.

Then Doug said, “Chicken.”

I ran to the kitchen and all but a few droplets of water had boiled out of the pot, hence the gurgling.

Instead of being upset at myself, which I should have been, it just made me madder at the dogs. It is such a crazy habit that proud people always look for people/things to blame except themselves.

I took the smoking chicken out, put it in a covered bowl to hide the smell, and stuck it in the fridge.

I put water in the pan to boil away the blackened mess, promised Doug I would set my timer on my watch, and we finally went back to watching the movie.


I looked at my watch. Yes, I had set the timer for 20 minutes, but I never hit “START!”

I am such an idiot!

The pot was dry again.

This time, I filled the pot with water, turned the fire off, and resigned myself to the fact I was going to leave the pot for Alice to clean in the morning. Happy Anniversary to me!

On pizza night, we shared our barbecue chicken pizza with the watchman that had actually done all the work to clean it. He said it was good.

And by the way, two days later, 5 men in blue did in fact come and hook up some high-speed internet in our house. We can skype from our own home! Thanks for the anniversary presents, Doug.

The internet and the chicken.

Days and Months

I can’t remember if I’ve told you or not, but I will again, just in case.

Telling time and dates here are very simplified.

I don’t know what the official name of it is, but they tell time like they do in the Bible.
7am is the first hour, 8am is the second hour, etc.

So learning to tell time, has been a little hard for me.

7am is “Sawa alu si,” is literally, “time first.”
8am is “Sawa iri si,” literally, “time second.”

So not only am I learning my numbers, now I’m transcribing them in my head to tell time. For a math person, you would think this would be fun, but doing it in another language is an added stress. And then they add whether it is “sun time” or “darkness” after the time.

The days of the week and months are fun. I thought they would be hard to learn, but then I found out what they were.

Monday – o’du alu si, literally “day first.”
Tuesday – o’du iri si, literally, “day second.”

And the months are the same way.

Simplified language for a simplified people.

Although, I was recently watching the miniseries “John Adams,” and wondering how in 1775, people could have such beautiful homes with furniture and running water, etc, and here it is in 2010, and things in Africa have not progressed the same way.

As I write this, it is the second hour of sun time on the 6th day of the 7th month, year 2010.

Kindergarten students and razor blades

Every student, age 5 and up, carries a razor blade to school with him.

That is their pencil sharpener.

When we visited the school, I saw students in the class sharpening their pencils with the blades, and when we walked outside, I saw an abandoned one in the dirt.

How great! Razor blades everywhere! How comforting!

My daughters are playing with dolls, and these guys have razor blades.

Kylie was playing with dolls one day on the front porch. She and Kylie were taking their dolls on a “safari” trip. There was a candle out there with them, but it wasn’t lit.

I was a little concerned about the glass container for the candle being out there, so I asked what it was for.

Very confidently, Kylie said, “They have to take this with them in case the power goes out.”


She’s adapting to her environment so well.

THAT I can handle! She can continue playing with an unlit candle in a glass container, but I will seriously start to worry if I see her handling a razor blade.

Here’s hoping Caleb doesn’t find one on the ground and wonder what the shiny object is.

Piki ride #128, July 15

I really don’t know how many piki rides I have taken, but it seemed like a good title. And believe me, they look nothing like this.

On the way back from language the other day, I told my driver, Jack, I needed to go to town to the market. I asked him if he could drop me by the house, let me drop off my books, get a market bag, and then take me into town.

He said, “Yeah.”

I then said, “It looks a little like it might rain. Maybe I will wait until tomorrow.”

This same “weather forecaster” that predicted so wrongly the other day said, “You decide. But it will not rain until 6 or 7 tonight.”

He said it VERY confidently, and for some reason, I believed him.

I got my bag, and off we went. I needed to buy a LOT of tomatoes to make salsa because my garden has stopped producing for the moment.

I purchased some other things like bell peppers, onions, carrots, and garlic, and then, while I was buying 65 tomatoes for $2.50 (good price, huh?), the rain started.

I just smiled to myself and walked out of the market. Why, oh, why did I trust Jack again?

I stopped by a duka (a very small tin shed that sells a variety of items) to get bread and then I went to the chapatti stand (there are men who cook chapattis all day long, and they sell for cheap and are SO good) and got 15 chapattis from Lawrence (pretty sad, I know his name, right?).

Lawrence suggested I cross the street and wait under the awning of a better structure until the rain quit. I wasn’t afraid of getting wet, but as I looked around, I saw that the piki stop had been abandoned for the rain, and I couldn’t get a ride home anyway.

God had placed me right across the street from Moley’s store. I had met her July 4th at that “going away party” that we sat at for 6 hours. Remember? She is one of the “phone numbers” I had gotten, and I have visited her twice in town already.

She was delighted to see me, and went out of her way to make a seat for me. We talked while a lady next to me sifted through white ants (the termites with wings that they like to eat). It had rained the day before, and the nationals get so excited because the termites come out. She had just bought a kilo for herself and was picking out things that “didn’t belong.”

They have a different idea of what doesn’t belong. It’s funny, but I would have been picking out the white ants!

Let me cut out some of this story, and get to the point.

The rain stopped, and I walked back across the street to the piki stop, and a man approached me and asked me if I wanted a ride. I told him in Lugbara that I needed to go home, and I told him where I lived.

He was so pleased that I spoke Lugbara, that he laughed and laughed with joy. He became quite a talker after that. He was so proud of the fact that he has been a piki driver for 10 years!

After 2 minutes, it was raining again. He asked if I needed to stop, but I told him the rain didn’t bother me. Again, he said, “This is my job. Rain is my job. I can drive anytime. I’ve been doing this for 10 years.”

We were almost home when he said, “Next time you come to the market, you find me there. I will take you home and teach you more Lugbara while we ride.”

Then, three-fourths of a mile before my home, I heard a click in his engine. It went silent.

This is not really a big deal. This happens all the time. Really.

EVERY time you are on a piki, and you are going down a hill, the driver cuts off his motor and coasts to save fuel. When the hill levels out, they fire up the engine again.

But this time, the driver muttered something.

I finally heard it.

“No fuel.”


“The fuel is finished.”

I wanted to scream, “Are you kidding me? You’ve been driving for TEN years, and you can’t remember when it’s time to put fuel in your motorcycle?”

He tried to start it again, and then he just laughed.

I said I would walk from there, and he started walking a different direction with his bike quite a ways to fuel station.

My market bag was heavy! If that guy EVER thinks I’m going to ask him for a ride just to practice language again, he is sorely mistaken.

There ends the saga of Piki ride #128 (or some number like that)!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Nile River pictures

That's me in the pink helmet. Going.



Face first, again.

Why is my mouth always open?

This is all the beautiful landscape I missed without my glasses.

Pictures. Better late than never

Friday, July 9, 2010

Little Bits of Home

Wow! We are officially good on candy. I can already see the teeth rotting out of Karis' head if she tackles all those Now and Laters. The M&Ms were a nice addition. Karis says they are all for her, but she is going to have to share. This was such a fun box to open. It was from a bunch of different people at our home church in Yoakum. They really outdid themselves.

A cool gift for Kylie was a letter from each member of her second grade class from the public school in Yoakum where she attended last fall before we went to Virginia. One of the students goes to the church, and put the letters in the care package. That was pretty cool.

This was the first package that brought tears to my eyes, and I don't know why, but maybe because the time difference from home is getting greater. Who knows? It could be just because I'm a female.

Thanks FBC Yoakum!

Nana sent some drink mixes for everyone and swimsuits for the girls. Grandmothers are so awesome!

Thanks, Nana

Dr. Rachel sent this my way, and as wonderful as it is, I smiled knowing a physician had sent soap and hand sanitizer! How perfect!

The great part about it was it was all from Bath and Body Works. I told her that not counting one or two foreigners, I was the only person in Arua with fancy stuff like that! She picked out the best smells of soap and sanitizer, and a hand sanitizer holder for each member of the family. Everyone picked out a color and attached it to their backpacks, so none of us will ever be without. Another nice touch was scented oils to be heated over candles. With the smells that waft through my windows on any given day, this was a nice bonus.

Thanks, Rachel

I'm a little embarrassed to say that two packages came yesterday (the 17th), and since the kids were at a friend's house holding newborn puppies, I opened them myself. Doug and I unpacked them, so excited, and never once thought about taking pictures.

Stacy and Carol, I'm so sorry, but please know the fun stuff was really appreciated.

Stacy, that new drink mix powder you sent (Berry Limeade Blast by Hawaiian Punch) tastes almost like a Sonic drink. We LOVE it.

Carol, the sticky notes, white board markers, cakes and cookie mixes and zip locks were a great idea, but I really liked the fact that you packed it with Yoakum newspapers. It is so much fun for me to read pieces of home. Thanks.

It’s a dog’s world

Here is a sad fact I realized today.

There are dogs in Arua who know more Lugbara than I do.

Some know multiple languages.

For example, my dogs Matata and Lee came from a Uganda seminary campus in Jinja, where they speak Luganda. I’m sure they learned English from their owners, but all the seminary students they were around probably spoke Luganda. Now, they spend all day outside with my guards, who speak Lugbara, so they are well on their way to understanding it better than I.

I know dogs can understand people. My mom and dad had two dogs when they were first married that understood exactly what they were telling them when given a command.

So basically, I was a little down today thinking about how my dogs (and all the other dogs in Arua) know more Lugbara than I, so I turned on my radio and drown myself in Lugbara for the rest of the afternoon, while I made pizza, to see if I could catch up to where they are.

Zamva muke, Matata. (Good girl, Matata.)

Quirky things

Whenever I would ask someone in America, “Do you think it is going to rain?” The answer was always, “I don’t know. Maybe. You never know.”

I mean, really. How often can the weatherman even get it right?

Well, here in Africa, it’s a different story. The nationals are VERY sure of themselves when predicting the weather. No doubts. Whatsoever.

Today, riding the motorcycle back from the kindergarten class Doug and I attended, I asked the driver if he thought it would rain today.

“Today? No. It won’t rain.”

“Oh, really, because I was wanting to wash clothes.”

“You can wash. It won’t rain.”

Thirty minutes later, there was a serious downpour that lasted a good 45 minutes.

Which led to this:

and this...

The weather forecasting around here goes something like this:

"It will not rain if the wind is blowing, because the wind blows the clouds away, so it can’t rain."

"Don’t cut down too many trees. They bring the rain, so if they are gone, it will not rain."

Another quirky thing is cell phone usage, especially when and national is calling a mundu (foreigner).

If the nationals want to talk to you, they will “flash” you, which means call and hang up (believe me, I was a little concerned about that term when I first heard it), and then you are expected to return the call so you can pay for it.


Back to school, July 9

Doug and I went to a Kindergarten math class today to help us with our Lugbara learning. School is year-round here, so they are back in class after a break in May.

When we entered, the whole class stood and greeted us in unison. After we greeted them in return, class started, but instead of starting math, they sang four songs for us.

Three chairs had been set up for Doug, my language helper and me. All the desks were like picnic tables with detached benches. They had been pushed together lengthwise and width wise to give our three chairs room. There were about 20 students who were absent from either illness or the fact they haven’t paid their school fees and they haven’t been allowed to return yet.

If there were 20 students missing, I’m sure you are wondering who was left…

Well, I counted…just for you.

There were 80 students present!

When a student was called to the board to work a problem, he would stand on his bench, walk across the table, down the bench on the other side, and then to the front of the room. No one thought anything about it.

The pencils they were using were broken scraps. I didn’t see one over 2 inches long. My language helper pointed out one boy who was bragging about his pencils to a neighbor. She told me it was a really big deal to have more than one pencil, and he had five laid out on the table. All of them were about one and a half inches high with a jagged edge of wood where the eraser should have been.

The teacher called me to the board to work a problem, and I did it while telling the class what I was doing in Lugbara language. They said I did it right, but they could have just been being nice.

The rules on the board were things like, “No hitting, no shouting, no abusing, no laughing, and always stand when the teacher or a visitor enters the class.” I didn’t hear any extra talking in class, and there was no misbehaving.

Did I mention there were 80 students in the class?

A Different Looking July 4th (part II)

“The party” was starting at high noon, but we didn’t think we needed to be there right away.
Lemech, the man whose wedding I attended my second day in Arua (see Wedding on January 22), and the owner of the Lugbara grocery store in town, had a “going away” party of-sorts for our two journey guys, Evan and Trevor.
At 1:30, Doug received a call from Lemech asking where we were. We told him we were leaving in a few minutes. The truth was I needed a load of clothes to get finished washing (by the way, have I told you that the front-loading washer we brought in the crate is fantabulous! It only takes a TINY bit of water, which is great when you have no water pressure, and it only takes about 5 minutes to fill up with all the water needed to run it). Plus, it was looking cloudy, so I knew I would have to hang up the clothes in the house instead of outside, and they needed to get dry because Caleb needed his sheets that night.
Anyway, we did leave very soon and headed out to his house. He said we would know it by the big white tent outside that he had rented.
When I saw all the trouble he went to, I know a lot more people were supposed to come, but I think the weather kept many away. He had rented a DJ and had asked about 6 women friends to come help cook and prepare the meal.
The DJ supplied us music by Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Eddie Arnold, Conway Twitty, Kenny Rogers, and such. I’ll bet you didn’t have that kind of concert for your 4th of July. And it probably doesn’t surprise you to know that I knew the words to most of the songs that day.
When we arrived, we were each given a bottled soda of our choice and a loaf cake wrapped in saran wrap. I didn’t realize until later why. It was 1:45 when we arrived (some people had already been there for an hour and 45 minutes), and it was 4:00 before “lunch” was served.
There were only 15 people who attended, including my three children, and believe it or not, the Sarah I met at church that morning, who helped me get a Bible, was one of the guests. In fact, later, when we each got up to give greetings and say speeches, she mentioned that it was a great day because the Lord has brought me into her life twice, and she was so glad we were friends now.
Lunch came out a pot at a time; eleven of them, plus two fruit trays and one vegetable tray. I don’t think we put a dent in the food at all. There was enya, greens, rice, potatoes, goat, an unidentified meat, chicken, sauce, cabbage, chapattis, and something else I’m forgetting. The women kept bringing them in from the smoke house, through the rain. It was pouring by this point.
My family had all put on their rain jackets to try and get warm, and I started living 40/40 all over again. I took 5 trips to the “latrine”, in the rain, with kids during the time we were there (remember the sodas? Yep. Straight through them). I was even attacked on one trip.
There was a huge Tom Turkey strutting around trying to get the attention of one of the females.

I was holding the door slightly open for Karis, when the tom came over and started to gobble loudly and act like he was going to eat my toes. I squealed a little and jumped away as he pecked. When I did, I jumped back, with the door in my hands, exposing Karis. She yelled, “Mom!”
At this point, one of the cooks came over with a stick and started chasing the turkey, who was a little reluctant to leave me, but she finally managed to chase it away. Karis wasn’t too scarred, and I decided bats in the choo aren’t so bad after all.
At 5:00, we began the process of introductions and speeches, and at 6:00, we were told the “program” was over.
It was a long day, but the kids were great, and we made some great new friends. When I got up to make my speech, I said, “My name is Kathryn, “ and Sarah, across the piat (the round, mud hut where the party was held) said, “No, you speak in Lugbara.” So I introduced myself in Lugbara, and they all laughed and enjoyed it. Three ladies came up to me afterward and asked for my phone number. I found out where each one works in town, and I am excited to go and visit them the next time I go.
I attended my first Lugbara church service and a party, not in honor of America (the nationals were not even aware of our holiday), but in honor of friends. I did not consume any hot dogs or hamburgers, I didn’t see any fireworks, I listened to outdated country music, and I ate Ugandan food in the cold, rainy weather. So even though it was a 4th like no other, it is one I will always remember.
Happy 4th (in honor of Doug’s grandfather who was one of the many who fought for our freedom in WWII).

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Different Looking July 4th (part I)

We got the news on the 3rd that Doug’s grandfather had died, so after a very late night for Doug, with not a lot of sleep, I asked if he would stay home with the kids so I could try out a Lugbara church service in town.
There is only one Bchurch close to town, and a different language than Lugbara is spoken there. I have gone to several other churches, but most are in English, one was in Swahili. So, I have resigned myself to the fact that I need to go to an Anglican church where they have a service spoken in Lubara.
I walked 30 minutes to church, and when I walked in, I started helping a lady named Sarah stack chairs. She wanted to know if I was attending the Lugbara service, and if I, in fact, knew that it was the Lugbara service. I assured her that I knew, and I told her in Lugbara that I was learning the language and I needed more practice.
After conversing a bit, I told her I had forgotten my Lugbara Bible and my Anglican Lugbara songbook (I purchased one in town last week). She immediately took me to the room where the pastors wait between services and asked if I could borrow a Lugbara Bible. One of the pastors handed me his with his name engraved on it. She asked the female pastor if there was a songbook I could borrow, but there wasn’t one at the moment.
Right before service started, a lady named Beatrice came over and handed me her songbook. Within 5 minutes I saw who Beatrice was…the praise and worship leader for the service (beautiful voice, by the way).
The numbers in Lugbara are looong, so every time someone would say what page to turn to, I completely missed it. I was looking around to see what everyone else was doing. One lady behind me started whispering the page numbers to me in English.
It was obvious I was out of place. I was the only one with light skin in a room of over 200 people. Nevertheless, I understood some of what was going on. When the lady behind me told me we were reading out of Genesis 22, I quickly turned there, but for verses and verses I couldn’t find where we were.
The lady next to me finally tried to help me figure out which verse we were on when she realized that I was in Efuza (Exodus) when I needed to be in E’doza (Genesis). Honest mistake, right?
After the scripture reading, Beatrice left the front and came and sat with me to help me! She let someone else lead the singing the rest of the day. I felt so humbled. Everyone went out of their way to make sure I understood or had someone to ask questions about words to. It was amazing!
After the service, I had several people come and speak with me. I thanked Beatrice immensely for her help, and then I went back to the pastor’s break room to return the Bible. I spoke with them in Lugbara as much as I could, and they said I was doing very well. I told them I would be back the next week, and they welcomed me graciously. I felt very loved. Usually, I feel like a movie star, of sorts, anyway (I’ll explain), but this was a different kind of attention. It was nice.
The other kind of attention is what I feel every other day. When I’m riding a piki, walking through town, shopping in the market, going to language, etc. Everywhere I go, people stare at me. People walking down the street, turn and walk backwards so they can see me. Men on bicycles crane their necks when I ride by on a piki. Little children ALWAYS yell, “Mundu! Mundu!” when they see me. And of course this isn’t just me, it’s anyone with light skin. I won’t know what to do when I go back to America and no one pays attention to me :)
I walked 30 minutes back home, reflecting on the morning and prayer walking, got lunch ready, and the family got ready for adventure #2 (coming). Also, the kids will attend the Lugbara service with me next week. That ought to make for another fun story.