One of my favorite things about being a lecturer is supervising our students in their block placement churches, or senior internships. It’s so fun to see them out of the confines of the school and to see how they’re engaging in ministry. Of course, sometimes this comes with hardship, but that makes for great teachable moments and opportunities for exhortation.
Today I went to a university chapel to supervise Barnabas, one of the MDiv students. I know the chaplain there, so we all spent a good amount of time catching up and talking about Barnabas’s time there. At the end, Barnabas asked to take a photo, which I thought was sweet.
Imagine my surprise when I received a copy of another of the photos from one of his classmates! It turns out that the class has been uploading photos with their supervisors to their group chat in WhatsApp. I guess I’m honored to have joined the gallery!
I’ve been hearing that the rain in Mukono, and in Uganda generally, has been too much. The rainy seasons often bring mudslides, so news of those was not new.
But friends. In my first week here, it rained every day, often several times a day. The ground is beyond saturated. There is one corner I need to navigate to leave the Honors College, and it is absolutely a swamp. It rarely sees the sun, so who knows when it will dry.
The BBC explained that this is because of the Indian Ocean Diople, similar to El Niño. This article is from 2 December, and the graphic notes that Uganda had 9 deaths due to the rain then; a newspaper headline two days ago said the death toll was up to 25.
Farmers are seeing their crops obliterated. This hurts the farmers and their families because they will have nothing to harvest and nothing to sell. This, of course, will also inflate food prices for the foreseeable future, so the impact will be long-lasting and will affect the entire population.
The last few days, we have actually had sun most of the time, thanks be to God. But the rain continues to wreak havoc. Today’s paper posted an article that a roads worker was killed by a flash-flood on Entebbe Road. The death toll from flooding and mudslides continues to rise. A student in Tanzania texted me Wednesday that his family narrowly survived when their roof collapsed from the rain there.
Road construction is happening everywhere, even on campus. However, the rain has obviously had an impact; traffic is all but impossible with torn-up roads being further deteriorated by rain. We use this space behind the Bishop Tucker building to gather for discipleship and before and after chapel services. Well, we used to. I’m sure we will again, though it won’t be at the beginning of the January semester.
Please do pray that the rain go away. I’ve asked God to send it to South Africa or Australia… surely He can send it to a place that needs it terribly.
After seven months in the US, I was more than a little concerned about how my reentry to Uganda would be. I’d become pretty Americanized; I even learned that I could run errands at night (something I wouldn’t dream of doing in Uganda)!
Thankfully, my reentry has been incredibly smooth. Even while we were leaving the airport, everything felt very normal, even if I was sufficiently exhausted from little sleep on the airplane that I slept most of the way home over roads that have been ravaged by construction and rain.
I switched to driving on the left easily, though I am still confusing the turn signal and windshield wipers sometimes. I very much miss Waze. Google Maps knows many shortcuts, for which I’m grateful, but I cannot tell you how much I miss real-time reporting of traffic jams. That would have kept me from sitting on Jinja Road for over an hour on Thursday, in one spot, just because. One newspaper has even started a hashtag: #KlaTrafficFrustrations and it is so appropriate. We have always talked about the jam, but now it is beyond epic: I will visit a student in a couple days, and I would normally allow 25-30 minutes to get to his church. He told me to allow 90.
It’s a bit hard to adjust back to a cash-based society. Yes, many merchants accept debit cards, but there are still instances of debit card numbers being stolen, so I try to not make this a habit. It’s also much easier to budget when one is operating from cash.
Most of all, though, it is so good to see people, especially supervising my students. I love seeing them in the field and hearing about their ministries. At one parish, I happened to meet two of our graduates who have been posted there, and it was a delightful reunion.
Thank you for your prayers as I traveled back to Uganda, and please continue to pray for us as we wrap up the holidays and prepare for the students to return in January.
I recently saw this posted on Facebook; it’s a fabulous aerial tour of UCU, showing how beautiful the campus is. As I watched the first time, I was struck at not only how gorgeous the environment is, but of the memories it evoked, both from being a student, and a member of staff.
I have a confession to make: when I’m in Uganda, and I see a post from the US about power being out and people are weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth, I think, “Wow. Y’all can’t deal.” Because power going out in Uganda is a given, and while we have an incredible generator on campus (#mostspoiledmissionary), power goes out. And you deal.
So, here I am, in the US, in Virginia for my sabbatical, and an incredibly strong thunderstorm rolls the through. The power immediately goes out. I think, “It’ll be back in a minute.” Except that it wasn’t.
Y’all, I couldn’t deal. No wifi meant I couldn’t send the email I’d drafted. I was using the data on my phone, but to be honest, my 3G in Uganda is better than my LTE here. There was no A/C; thankfully, it wasn’t hot. I couldn’t cook dinner because my gas range needs the electricity to start. The microwave wasn’t an option, obviously. I couldn’t even go out for food because my car was in the detached garage, and I don’t know whether the motor has a battery back-up. For some reason, not being able to use the elevator didn’t bother me, though I wasn’t looking forward to climbing the steps when I returned.
Praise God, after about three and a half hours, power returned. Hallelujah, and thank you Jesus (and the power bank for my phone that now needs to be recharged).
This little episode really showed me a lot about the state of my heart, and has given me a lot to repent of. So Americans, I am so sorry that I have judged you. Please forgive me. Perhaps now I will have much more charity and grace.