Mzungu Memoirs

Archive for June, 2012

Farewell Uganda

Mzungu Memoirs Disclaimer…if you are considering an extended visit to Uganda, be advised.  Uganda can change you, leaving an indelible mark on your heart.

This picture of Lake Victoria was taken from the top of one of the hills of Kampala.

Uganda, we will miss your smiles and laughter.  We will miss greeting you on the street.  We will miss your children.  We will miss your heart-filled worship with chairs bobbing overhead.  We will miss your pineapples.  We will miss your example of faith.  We will miss your mangos.  We will miss your remembrance of Christian martyrs.  We will miss your avocados.  We will miss your resilience.  We will miss your chapattis.  We will miss your resourcefulness and perseverance.  We will miss your bananas.  We will miss your reckless love for God.

Uganda, you are the “Pearl of Africa.”

Our final two weeks in Uganda were filled with goodbyes, tears, hugs and going-away events.  Our church prayed over us (twice), we were invited for dinner at a Ugandan woman’s home, and we had a going away party with eMi and some of our closest non-eMi friends.  Edward Olara, a worship leader, musician and man who exudes Jesus, blessed us by singing a few songs at our party.  I met Edward on a project trip to Lira (Northern Uganda) and we immediately became friends.  You can read more about Edward and his amazing story on his website at

We thank all of our prayer, financial and emotional supporters who have believed and had faith that God would work through us in spite of us.  We would not have been able to serve without all of you.  We are thankful for all of the prayers, the comments on our blog, the Facebook notes, the occasional letter (felt like Christmas when we received one), the package from Austin & Beth, the Texas Tech stickers from Lyndell & Sarah, the clothes and other gifts from Yahweh Sisterhood, the amazing package from the Boulder Valley Church.  We saw God’s hand when we wondered how we would pay for Caleb’s school fees, yet a special contribution came in.  Some people here call it a miracle that none of us was ever injured on the boda (we have not shared all of our experiences!)  We saw God work in so many powerful ways.

During our time in Uganda, we have learned more about God, the church, people and ourselves.  We are honored that God called us to come serve in Uganda and give Him all the glory.  We pray our service has helped to advance His Kingdom.

At this point, we do not know where God is leading us next.  I am spending a week in Zambia to explore the possibility of long term service with another ministry.  We would appreciate prayers for clarity and guidance.

I will then meet Heather and Caleb in Italy to visit Heather’s best friend, her husband and their three-year old daughter.  We will then spend several weeks touring Europe (spending some retirement money early) to rest, see some amazing architecture and natural wonders and enjoy time as a family.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

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You Know You’ve Lived in Africa When…

1.  You feel spending three hours to pay two utility bills is a productive afternoon.

2.  Dodging potholes, pedestrians, cows, goats, motorcycles, and three cars coming toward you on a two lane street seems normal.

3.  You consider restaurant food in less than two hours to be “fast food”.

4.  You cannot greet a total stranger without saying “Hello, how are you?”

5.  The sound of out-of-tune Christmas music on the move means an ice cream vendor is nearby.

6.  Directions often include speed humps and boda stages.

7.  Haggling in markets is a joy.

8.  You have seen more passengers on a boda than most cars will hold.

9.  You think paying the equivalent of a quarter for an enormous avocado is too much but $6 for a small chicken is a deal.

10.  Trees are known by the fruit they bear.

11.  You have stood a mile from an urban downtown on a sunny day and could not see any buildings.

12.  You wonder if that fever is malaria.

13.  The number of lanes available on a street depends on the width of the sidewalks.

14.  You have gone to bed on a flat mattress and awoken in a mattress bowl.

15.  70 degrees F feels a bit chilly.

16.  Four to six water leaks in your neighborhood at any given time seems normal.

17.  Weddings can last for days.

18.  You can have fresh fish delivered and filleted at your door, but it takes a week to find suitable hardware to fix that door.

19.  It is summer year-round.

20.  You feel like you know what the fish at the doctor’s office feel like, i.e. ”the fishbowl effect”.

21.  You feel unusually blessed having power two nights in a row.

22.  You have received a mobile phone text at least a day after it was sent.

23.  You wonder if you live in a testing ground for automotive horns.

24.  You have seen locals don parkas, wool caps and gloves when it dips below 70 degrees F.

25.  Ants, flies and other insects in the house don’t seem so bad if you have not had cockroaches or bats lately.

26.  You have ever spent 30 minutes of indirect communication to be asked the real question.

27.  You think many dirt roads are smoother than the paved ones.

28.  You have ever seen a pothole on a speed hump.

29.  You know to call the water company when you awake to a new water feature in your yard.

30.  The boys next door that come to play are fascinated with your indoor plumbing.

31.  Daily plant growth is measurable.

32.  You consider Christmas the hottest time of the year.

33.  You have seen at least five directions of traffic on a two lane road.

34.  Celebrations often involve the slaughter of a cow, goat, lamb or chicken.

35.  There are at least six varieties of bananas.

36.  You have ever witnessed a boda play “Frogger” to cross six lanes of a major intersection.

37.  You have ever spent a week trying to get an e-mail to go through.

38.  You think a two-hour church service is pretty short.

39.  You have seen/heard traveling radio stations on lorry trucks.

40.  You see tremendous hope for Africa and pray for God’s Kingdom to continue growing.

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