Sunday, November 23, 2008

...or I could tell you about the Hairy Lemon

Okay, I admit it.  I'm falling behind.  There's so much to talk about, but what with electricity outages, Internet down time, plain old being busy -- not to mention a touch of procrastination -- I'm just not getting the stories posted. Here are a few adventures I keep meaning to tell you about.  

1. A Ugandan wedding at which Phillip Shero officiated.  Do you know how long it takes the bride to walk down the aisle in a Ugandan wedding ceremony?

2. A team retreat at the Hairy Lemon, a resort on an island in the middle of the Nile River. By the way, in Africa, the term "resort" does not necessarily mean luxuries like electricity or running water.  It can, however, mean that monkeys come to your Sunday morning worship service, which is really neat.

3. A Sunday church village visit with Ian Shelburne and Herbert Wakamoli.  To be precise, a church service AND baby dedication AND fund-raising auction.  Guess who got to do the baby dedication prayer!  Also, guess who got carried away at the auction and bought a 20-kilo bag of g-nuts (otherwise known as peanuts).  And who discovered anew the joy of worshipping with fellow believers, no matter what language is being spoken.

4. The Messiah Theological Institute graduation ceremony.  Unfortunately, I missed part of this because I was responsible for some tasks that had to be accomplished during the ceremony.  But I did get there in time to see the MTI wall banner fall on Phillip Shero's head, which was pretty cool.  And I was privileged -- and humbled -- to hear the valedictory addresses given by men who had worked hard and sacrificed much to get their diplomas.

I'm open to suggestions.  Any preferences as to what I should talk about next, power and Internet allowing?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Are you sure this is how you do celebrations in Africa?


I Think Someone Is Trying to Tell Me Something

Internet down?  Check.
Power off for two days?  Check.
Water off?  Check.
Both computer batteries dead?  Check.
Phone almost dead?  Check.

Ah, yes, it must be my six-month anniversary!  

That's right, I have officially been in Uganda for six months.  We celebrated by having our Internet go down for a while, and then losing power for two days.  Well, you know how it is. You hate to do the same old thing.  Besides, I've always wanted to learn the meaning of "cascade failure."  It goes something like this:

  1. Power goes off Monday evening.  Make dinner in the dark.  
  2. Wake up Tuesday.  Power is still off.  That's okay.  Face the day with cheerful determination.   
  3. Take lukewarm shower to conserve hot water.  Contemplate Revelation 3:16.  
  4. Try to use computer as little as possible, but use up one computer battery for office day.
  5. Keep refrigerator door closed as much as possible.
  6. Talk yourself into using second computer battery so you can get some more work done.  The power won't stay off THAT long. 
  7. Use half of second battery.  Feel guilty, even though your job requires using a computer.
  8. Realize cell phone is less than half charged.  No worries.  Power will probably come on after 24 hours off.
  9. Make dinner in the dark again.  Eat a candlelight dinner with Heidi.  You don't mind, but you get the feeling she kind of wishes you were someone else.  Preferably male.
  10. Try to read by the light of two candles.  Wonder how Abraham Lincoln did it.
  11. Go to bed early because, quite frankly, you can't think of anything else to do.
  12. Wake up Wednesday morning.  Still no power.  Work on the cheerful determination thing.  Settle for getting out of bed instead of pulling the covers over your head and going back to sleep. 
  13. Take a cold sponge bath because you can't face a cold shower.  Discover there's very little difference.
  14. Check cell phone battery.  Only one bar left.  Power must be about to come back on.
  15. Do Bible study.  Look through Psalms for prayers for power.
  16. Water pressure drops.  Now there's no water in the kitchen.
  17. Try to open refrigerator door as little as possible.
  18. On impulse, check refrigerator.  Discover that inside the fridge is warmer than outside.
  19. Use most of second computer battery for work.  Wonder what you're going to do when the second battery goes dead.  Contemplate a nice vacation.  Somewhere with electricity.  And hot showers.  Ahhh...  
  20. Heidi sweetly offers use of her spare battery.  oh.
  21. Go to MCC leaders meeting with white computer battery on your black computer.
  22. Come home.  Still no power. 
  23. Check your phone.  Almost no charge left.
  24. Check computer.  Almost no charge left.
  25. Take stock:  Water off in kitchen, no power, no internet, computer and phone almost dead, refrigerator now a steam bath.  Start to laugh.  What better way to commemorate being in Africa for six months!
But I'm still trying to figure out what Someone is trying to tell me...