We have now been in Uganda for a week and I wanted to report on what we have been doing during this week. As we have stated in the past, we will be spending the remainder of 2014 making relationships, learning culture, and gaining an understanding of what the needs are so that we can meet actual needs instead of the needs that we feel need to be met. This process is very important to complete before we start actual ministry work for our programs to be successful. Without this baseline the chances for success in ministry will be greatly diminished.
Here are some of the things we have done during the past week we have been here:
Getting our house setup
- Getting moved in
- Getting house plumbing issues resolved
- Getting the security fence shored up
- Purchasing angle iron
- Finding twine in the market to quiet noisy fans with loose cages
- Finding hooks to hang mosquito nets (a challenge in the market)
- Getting contractor to get quotes to build guardhouse
- Getting the household electronics setup (router, Magic Jack to be able to call back to the US, computer, etc)
Getting used to time difference (we are 8 hours ahead of Texas)
Getting USD changed to Ugandan Shillings
Checking out Acacia Community Church
Getting misc setup:
- Cell phone
- PO Box
- Van Insurance
Getting our van repaired (cv joint and service)
Exploring the central market and grocery stores (trying to determine what we can get here and what we can’t)
Getting fresh milk delivered to our home (most milk here is shelf stable milk that isn’t good to drink)
Getting kids used to a new way of life
- No TV
- No junk food, few sodas and juices
- Bible studies each morning
- School work to catch them up and prepare them for August
- Meeting new friends
- Washing dishes (our new dishwashing machine!)
Taking the kids to a swimming pool near our home
Reading African Friends and Money Matters book to gain an understanding of how money works here
Learning basic conversation skills in Lugandan
Meeting with a family to determine options for schooling for Olivia
Sending the girls off to school today since Fridays are basically the extracurricular days and they are allowing them to attend during the next three Fridays that they have left
Navigating the pharmacy to acquire drugs to combat Olivia’s cough, Morgan’s cold, and my digestive “issues”
Here are some observations that I’ve noticed thus far:
Money flies out of your hands here. Because of the exchange rate of 2500 shillings to $1 you end up with stacks of notes and they always seem to fly out of our hands because something is always requiring money here.
Everything here is a process! Things that are completed without much effort in the states can end up taking several days to accomplish. As an example, getting a PO box in the US would be as simple as showing up at the Post Office and paying money for a box and getting a key. Here, you need a passport photo in order to get a box rented. I think it is because identification is not common here and they use the photo to authenticate you and I’m told passport photos are used for quite a few things. I found a place to get passport photos taken, but they don’t have the equipment to get them printed. They have to take the camera to another place to get them printed and this takes some time as well. In addition to passport photos, you also need to have someone that already has a box to make a referral for you. Nothing is cut and dry!
The Ugandan people are a very friendly people. We have greatly enjoyed getting to know some of them.
There is a very close-knit expat community here in Jinja. When we arrived, there was a pot of beef stew on the stove, banana bread muffins on the counter, pumpkin bread on the table and a welcome poster signed by all the kids and teachers at the school the girls will be going to. We went to watch the World Cup USA vs Germany game last night and the place was full of expats cheering for the USA!
Please continue to pray for us as we continue this transition process.