Uganda Update #7

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Greetings from Mbale—

A huge thunder and lightening storm has moved out after dominating this evening, leaving behind a coolness in the air that is welcomed after a very hot but lovely day.  We've had a modified Sabbath today, and it's been good to recuperate a bit after the fullness of the retreat.

We have had several uncommon-to-us, but common-to-Ugandan experiences today.  In the early morning, we were gifted with a bunch of homegrown, very sweet bananas and a live chicken from one of Derek and Julie's colleagues (and friend).  We were happy to peel the bananas, but not so keen on "unpeeling" the chicken, which would provide our evening meal.  Fortunately, we were not called to do that, and Derek's willingness to do it was thwarted by a late departure from the hospital.  Hence, we returned home to a non-living, fully dressed chicken (or undressed???)—the deed had been done by their guard/groundskeeper.  Some time later we sat down to a delicious chicken dinner a la Derek and were amazingly able to drive away images of the very lively chicken delivered only hours before.  This is Uganda.

John, the groundskeeper/security guard for Derek and Julie, holds the gift of the chicken,
delivered to their compound this morning.

Nine hours later: John has altered the state of the chicken, which now will be our dinner.

And a delicious dinner it was.  The circle of life?

Paul, Julie, and I relaxed at home this morning, doing quiet times and catching up on life a bit.  We also walked to the Mt. Elgon Hotel pool and thoroughly enjoyed relaxing there for a bit before heading in to the hospital for the afternoon.  It was like a homecoming, greeting the many hospital staff we spent so much time with last August/September.  Our hearts are deep for these dear people and we loved reconnecting with them. 

A couple of refreshing hours were spent at the Mt. Elgon Hotel pool and gardens.  So relaxing!

One of the pastoral couples who had attended the retreat asked to meet with us for some counseling, so that was also part of the afternoon.  They admitted to having a very difficult time in their marriage, but both seemed ready to take responsibility for where they were and begin to work towards reconciliation.  It was a very precious time with them, and besides praying with them that they would have a vision of hope for their marriage, we suggested that they connect with an older ministry couple here as a mentoring couple.   Pray for this couple!

I was thrilled to sit with some of the mamas and learn to make the paper bead necklaces which have become a popular gift-item for many who come to Africa.  At CURE, the mamas are taught how to make them as a possible cottage industry—a way for them to make money when they return to their villages.  I've been curious about how they're made ever since receiving my first string of beads four years ago, so it was quite a treat to be taught this trade today.  I don't know how many I'll make, but I do know I'll be saving magazines and other brightly colored glossy paper to bring with us on our next trip!

Sister Miriam, Spiritual Care Director for CURE, visits with the babies
who patiently wait while their mamas make beads.

Simon Peter, on CURE’s spiritual team, teaches the mamas how to make
the beads out of paper that otherwise would be trash.

Christine was very excited about learning this trade and made notes
to take with her back to Ft. Portal so she could continue at home.

The finished product, ready to sell to help defray some of the operating costs of the hospital.

Home through “traffic," for a wonderful walk during the setting sun, that delicious chicken dinner, and a sweet time of fellowship with missionary friends of Derek's and Julie's.

This was the "traffic" that slowed us down on the way home.  This is Africa.

We have a full day tomorrow, starting with teaching at the CURE all-staff chapel at 8 am, so we're headed to bed.  We've been SO encouraged to receive several emails and posts from participants in the pastors retreat, relating how God is changing marriages.  God is SO good.

Sending much love and appreciation from Mbale—
Virginia (and Paul)