Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Eating in the dark

*This is my mom's second and more personal guest blog post*
It is the morning of our last full day in Soroti.  It has been an amazing three weeks with Jennifer so it is especially bittersweet to be thinking about leaving tomorrow morning.  Our primary purpose for this entire trip was to enjoy being Jennifer’s parents.  This happens best for Steve especially when there are lots of projects to do and he has kept very busy working on the Toyota and the bike, lots of odds and ends around her home base in Soroti and even a few projects up at her Karamoja home including the solar system (only power available for many miles) and “plumbing for her shower” (here try to picture a black bag, a jug, a hose and a tiny shower head hanging from a bent re-rod pole in a roofless tin shed.)
Our other goal was to meet the people she works with and to experience firsthand what her life is like here.  This has been wonderful and will serve to give us faces to put with names as she talks about her International teammates as well as her Ugandan co-workers.  
So these last days are proving to be a bittersweet time of reflection.  As I prepare to write this post I have decided to share with you in terms of some of the things we will miss the most and some we will not miss one bit.

"Enjoying" a mosquito net...
I need to start with a few things that I can’t put in either category, like mosquito netting-absolutely necessary for a good, safe night’s sleep, kind of cozy and a pain in the neck.  Dirty feet, which means I have been in sandals or bare feet for most of three weeks and will now spend the next months in socks, shoes, boots and so on.  Jennifer’s truck falls in this category.  It is absolutely necessary to all the work she does.  It is as safe and secure and now with Steve’s adjustments is running as well as any truck in the area but it’s still a truck.  It handles these terrible roads like a truck, transports all manner of supplies and people.   We would have been miserable without it but at times, over these horrible roads we were miserable in it.  (By the way, if you are looking for an area to give, especially over the holidays, her truck desperately needs a snorkel [ask Steve], a roof rack, a winch and a second fuel tank.)
There are quite a few things I would put in the category of things we will not miss at all and these are in no particular order.  Roosters and turkeys in the yard, a pain all day long and not just in the morning.  The conditions of the roads in this whole country (and let me say that there is not a picture on the planet that does this justice).  Related but yet different is the traffic on said roads.  Again if you have not been in a country like this then words alone cannot describe the chaos of sharing the roads with all the pedestrians, bicycles with 2 or more passengers and occasional livestock, motorcycles with the same plus other things like cows and coffins, trucks overloaded already with stuff and then with people piled on top, and the list just goes on. 
 I will not miss wondering if you can flush the toilet in the morning unsure if the city water is on.  I will not miss brushing my teeth with bottled water.  I will not miss it at all when the power goes out at random and for hours or days at a time.  Let me tell you it is a pain to not open the ‘fridge because we have to save the cold or to be eating dinner at the end of the day and have the room just go dark. 
I will not miss the poverty apparent everywhere.  I will not miss the illness, disease, depravity and corruption which is ever-present .  I will not miss fighting the overwhelming sense of hopelessness and despair.
Dumpsters don't really get emptied here....
In the category of things I will miss first, the obvious, Jennifer and I will come back to that.  I will miss the Obule church and worshiping with loving believers.  We were greeted warmly, we sang in multiple languages, we smiled as the children danced and sang with pure abandon and we met the Holy Spirit there.  I will miss these new friends, the Tiesenga’s, Ronnie and Colin and Silas, and all her other teammates.  I will miss the challenges of cooking here, being creative with limited resources.  I will miss sitting outside to catch any cool breeze (even a hot breeze is better than nothing).   I will miss the antics of Solomon the monkey.
Mostly of course we will miss Jennifer.  Everything about living here is hard.  This is not a negative statement but simply a fact.  The climate, the mattresses, the market.  If you want bread to feed the 7 or 12 Sunday school kids then you better plan most of Saturday to make it, there is no just running to Meijer.  Try diagnosing and choosing a treatment course with a picture on your phone.  That’s hard.  Living in Kongoli or hoping to live in the Peace Village in a thatch roofed hut with an outdoor latrine and water carried from the bore hole is hard.  Learning one language in a place where 4 spoken is hard. Yet Jennifer, does all this and so much more (mostly) without complaint.  She knows that this is where God wants her to be and she knows that “He who calls will provide”.
Jennifer's home in Kangole with Val's "guard" dog. 
So we head back to where living is easy but with a renewed sense that she is in the right place and surrounded by first a God who loves her and then people who truly care about her.  We know she is in good hands even if they cannot be ours.  We will look forward to seeing her in the spring back in the States where she thinks living is also hard.  We will share bittersweet tears at the airport and continue to love and support with a better understanding of this place, and the people here.

1 comment:

jesusdied4you2 said...

Wow. This is awesome. Jennifer, you are truly blessed to have Christian parents supporting the fact that you are following God's call on your life.