When the door to our plane was opened a different world greeted us…warmly…in every way. The people are kind and helpful and the weather is warm and damp. In the darkness we could not make out much of our surroundings and the drive to our hotel was short so the Africa we saw that first night was one of white pillow like tents (mosquito nets) hovering over our beds and bidding us come and sleep…which we did not do. Our beautiful daughter, being very confused as to when she should be tired, only cried and cried, that is until she threw up. Then Noah followed with an equal amount of vomiting and…well you get the point. The night passed slowly and painfully but about the time the light began to filter into our windows something else came in as well. Africa. It started with the loud chanting of Muslim prayers and the sounds of a people beginning to come alive. I emerged after some time to try to arrange a driver to the capitol, Kampala which is about 1 hour from our little haven of vomiting and African sounds (by the way I was under the impression that you get sick in Africa not the UK, where our 20 hour over-night layover had been and apparently where our children picked up this 12-hour bug). I had only one problem, no phone. Since Uganda has no land lines I set out across the street to find a place to get money and buy a phone. An ATM was simple enough to find. The guard outside the ATM station (complete with AK47) pointed me to a small shop across the street. It looked like a trailer with no wheels missing most of one side, and painted red.
“I need to buy a phone.”
“Yes,” removing one of four phones from her inventory she set it on the counter.
“Do I need to buy minutes?”
“No, I will pay with cash”
Perplexed look and a smile of bewilderment from the other man at the counter.
“um…I think I need to buy minutes”
Silence. All three of us burst out laughing at the strangeness of what was going on and the gentlemen (he may or may not have been working there) took over.
“Um…I need to buy credit.”
The gentlemen at the counter answered for me “20,000”
I have no idea what that means. “Yes.”
The man still laughing took the phone and the card I had just purchased and loaded it for me.
With that I smiled and laughed with them for a moment and left…phone in hand.
After a few calls on my new phone I was in a car on the way to Kampala with a stranger named Mike. Jen and Alexa stayed in our haven of… with the kids to care for them while I went outside and began learning what it was they were only hearing. Motorcycles and cars jammed onto a too narrow road weaving in and out of people carrying everything from 12’ long poles to bananas to pieces of plywood. There was also the “taxi’s,” bikes with padded seats over the back tire carrying one or two people all weaving in and out in a dangerous dance which was sure to kill someone. Yet somehow it seemed perfectly safe, gentlemen talked nonchalantly on their cell phones while their drivers careened passed cars at high speeds with only inches to spare. “Are those bikes like taxi’s” I asked Mike. “Yes but that is too dangerous.” Breathing a sigh of relief that what I was seeing as insane actually may have been insane we arrived at the lawyer’s office. Our brief meeting was warm and encouraging. She is trying very hard to get us a court date on Feb 3! She had already informed the judge that we were in country and is hoping that it will be persuasive in his assignment of the date. After exchanging some paper work for beef jerky, and Chocolate we brought them as gifts. We said goodbyes through chocolate filled smiles, I bid the two young boys being dressed for their court dates a smile and a hug and re-entered the sea of humanity that was outside. I expected…I don’t know something else…but my expectation was not a crowded city bustling with commerce and a more “rural” area crowded with people coming and going buying and selling. To be sure it was nothing like America. Poverty was obvious but it was strangely mixed, shanty dwellings selling DVD’s and broken trailers selling Cell phones. I could not help but have a deep respect for the people and their businesses. Craftsmen were making beautiful furniture and placing it out by the road for purchase. Workers were moving and perhaps even mining slate alongside the road for building. The long poles I spoke of are used for scaffold and support for building purposes. They are working, building, farming, they are building a country and they clearly love it. My driver was proud to tell me about his country…proud to be Ugandan.
I arrived back in our room, where Jen and Alexa had been since I left, to find the children sleeping. It was the end, we think, of their terrible bout with…the UK. Evening came and Alexa and I ate a wonderful meal in our hotel and brought the leftovers up to everyone else. As they ate another African sound filtered into our haven of rest. Hymns. Beautiful Hymns being boisterously sung by a congregation of God’s people meeting in the restraunt section of our hotel. They sang, worshiped and listened to the preaching of God’s word. What joy…after a long and loud day of filtering sounds we heard lifted voices of worship and praise.
So we were cared for by God. The Children seem to be well. We are all rested from a half day of sleep and now as I sit writing, to my left is sleeping Meala, to my right is sleeping Noah, and I can hear the peaceful silence of Alexa and Jen resting. God has cared for the needs we refused to acknowledge and gave us an extra day of rest. Tomorrow we travel to Mbrara to see Niko and Abi. So we are in Africa, in a haven of rest. Sleeping peacefully.
Please Pray for our Health especially that of Noah and Maela.
Please pray that God would give the Judge a favorable attitude toward us and grant us the court date on the 3rd of Feb.
Thanks for your prayers.