Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Kampala Adventures

Monday morning Larissa, Kim, and I got up early so that we would have the whole day to handle our paperwork and errands. As we were walking out of the MAF guesthouse, there were large dark ominous clouds headed our way. As soon as we got on the bus, it started to pour rain. The bus was leaking rain down my back and as our stop approached there was no end to the rain in sight. Monday was our day to be productive and handle all of our paperwork, so we just tried to keep our documents dry and continued to make our way around Kampala. After a while the rain stopped, but the streets were still flooded. There is a great picture of Larissa wading through the streets while trying not to loose her flip flops above. We continued on our way through the city walking and taking public transportation, and a few hours after the rain stopped it was completely dry. You would not even have known that it rained.

We got all of our paperwork done in a reasonably short amount of time! The people we spoke with were incredibly helpful and nice to us even though we were unclear on many of the details required to get work permits and bank accounts. The next time we come to Kampala, we should be able to pick up all of our documentation after it has been processed.

The next day after running a few errands in Kampala, I decided to meet up with Kyle (also an engineer) to go visit the Kampala office of emi (engineering ministries international). I was already in Kampala, but no where near emi and Kyle was still at the guesthouse, so we decided to meet at the taxi park in Kampala. It is a massive area were buses that leave the center of Kampala and go to all the outlying areas park and haggle over passengers. There is a picture of a small section of the park above. There are vendors in the entire surrounding area as well. Well thank goodness for cell phones, because Kyle and I were on opposite sides of the taxi park. We finally met up, found the bus we needed to be on, and started on our way to emi.

At emi I met up with Suellen. She is a missionary with emi who was sent from the church my family in Sao Paulo, Brazil attends. It was great to meet her and to hear about the work they are doing in east Africa. We also got to speak Portuguese together. Kyle had also been in contact with emi and was interested to learn about different models of engineering missions in Africa.

That night, we were treated to a great Ugandan meal by our friends at the MAF guesthouse. We had a great time eating, laughing, trying to pronounce difficult words in several languages, and just enjoying each others company. After dinner, the Massos arrived. Yesterday we got back to errands and rearranging all our luggage. Then we had dinner together as a complete team and a local Ethiopian restaurant. We are leaving on MAF flight this morning, but our things will not arrive for about a week.

We got a lot of things done in a small amount of time in Kampala. Praise God for the time we had to rest and bond as a team while Kim and I got over jetlag. We had a few minor setbacks, but God worked in all the details of our stay in Kampala!

Now back to loading up the truck!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Jetlag, Boda-boda, and Gilmore Girls

(view from MAF porch)

It has been a few days since I arrived in Kampala. The jetlag hasn't been quite as bad as I thought it would be, but I did wake up from 1am-2:30am my first night here even though I was completely exhausted. Even now there are random times during the day when I am hit by exhaustion and times that I wake up in the middle of the night feeling like it should be morning.

Uganda is lush, green, and beautiful. It reminds me a lot of Brazil. We are staying at the MAF guesthouse which is quite a way from the city, so I have had the opportunity to take public transportation to Kampala a few times. We take a bus part of the way (which is more like a 15 passenger van that they manage to fit even as many as 20 people inside), and then we take a boda-boda the rest of the way. It is basically a motorbike that seats the driver and a passenger behind him. I am not a fan of motorcycles in the US, so I wasn't too excited about taking the boda-boda. In addition since women are usually wearing skirts, you ride sidesaddle. Once the driver explained to me where I needed to put my feet, we were off! We all made it safely, and it turned out to be a pretty pleasant ride.

After Kim and I arrived here in Kampala, Larissa, Ian, and Kyle joined us at the MAF guesthouse. It has been great to get to know them, learn their sense of humor, and hear about their experiences thus far in Sudan. These few days have been pretty relaxing as Kim and I get over jetlag and the others spend some time on the internet and phone since the connection in Kampala is much better than it is in Sudan. I have also been really glad to be able to email and chat with friends online and talk to my parents on the phone here in Kampala.

Tonight I had a little bit of extra unexpected joy when I got to watch an episode of Gilmore Girls with some wonderful ladies! Many of you know that I have seen every episode and own all the DVD's. I was sad to have to leave them in the US. Well I found out that the team has all the DVD's! It was a great unexpected surprise.

Tomorrow we will go back into the city to handle some necessary paperwork. Please pray for all of these details. In Kampala so far I changed money, got a cell phone to use in Uganda and Sudan, and checked out the local mall to see what I could get here in terms of supplies. Everything has gone smoothly. This morning we headed back to Kampala for church, which was wonderful time of worship and a beautiful reminder that it is all about Jesus.

Those are just some of the details of the last few days. I am really excited to be heading to Sudan later this week!

Friday, April 24, 2009

From Uganda

Kim and I both made it to the MAF guest house in Uganda with most of our luggage, and Kim's last piece has been located and should make it here on Monday. We were both eager to to shower and change after two full days of traveling. There is a beautiful breeze through the house, and now that I am clean and wearing cooler clothes, I am tempted to go to sleep. Hopefully I will be able to stay awake until tonight seeing as it is only noon here.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I am on my way to Sudan! Praise God! I am just over 100% pledged support. Thank you for all your prayers!

I have been traveling a lot over the last month, and I have learned to just go with the flow of unexpected delays and take advantage of the time to pause and reflect. I journaled on a rainy day while sitting in my car waiting for the mechanic at a rest stop in NC a few weeks ago, and today I am here still in Richmond writing on my blog while I wait for the train that I was rescheduled to take to Philadelphia.

After one last stop in Philadelphia, I will be on my to Sudan later this week! I will be meeting Kim in London, and we will travel the rest of the way to Uganda together. From Uganda we will meet the rest of team and head to Sudan a few days later.

Once I got permission to buy a ticket to Sudan, things started to move quickly. I spent two great weeks at home with my parents in Florida. I came through Richmond for a few days to say goodbye to a few friends and to be commissioned at church. I also had the opportunity to attend Sudan Christian Fellowship last night and worship with them knowing that in a little over a week I will be worshiping in their home country.

Now I have all my bags mostly packed, with the exception of a few last minute details. I am very excited to be heading to Sudan this week. There are moments though, when the sadness of leaving my family and friends overwhelms me and I shed a few tears, especially my departure date approaches. Moments like when my pastor was speaking the benediction using the same words he always uses and I remembered that I would not be hearing those words spoken in the same way for a long time are sad. When I call home to ask a quick question about packing or get some advice and remember that communication, although possible, will be much more difficult, I also get sad.

Time has come now to head back to the train station. Please pray for me and Kim as we continue to travel over the next week.