Random Sunday thoughts...
1. ...on being punctual
After eight months here, I have a fairly good idea of the difference between African time and Westerner time. It's simple: To maintain your Mzungu sanity, just plan on arriving everywhere at least a half hour after the stated start time. (Please note, however: In the case of a local wedding, better make it two hours.) Although Heidi and I are well aware of this rule, we suffered a momentary lapse of reason a couple Sundays ago and actually arrived for Bible study on time. So while we were waiting for other people to show up -- specifically the Bible study teacher -- we got out my camera and took a couple photographs of ourselves in our Sunday best.
2. ...on translating
I've mentioned before that the sermons at Mbale Church of Christ are interpreted from English to Luganda in order to reach the widest audience possible. For some reason it really tickles me that often the person preaching in English (we have six people who take turns preaching) also knows Luganda. This can result in some interesting (read: trying) moments for Timothy, our interpreter. If he appears to be struggling for the correct word while translating, the minister may break off preaching for a moment to supply it. This in turn can lead to a quick discussion between the preacher and Timothy as to the appropriateness of a particular English/Luganda word. Add in the fact that a good quarter of the congregation also has a working knowledge of both languages, and you now have a situation where it's not uncommon to have words being helpfully shouted out to the interpreter from several different people at once, which I'm sure makes his job even more difficult. I think my favorite "interpreting moment," however, came the day Shawn Tyler decided it would be a nice switch to begin the service speaking in Luganda instead of English. Timothy was left trying to decide whether to translate into English, or just throw up his hands and leave Shawn to do his own translating. Being an extremely kind gentleman, he remained at his post.
Timothy keeping a close eye on Shawn Tyler