Monday, July 29, 2013

Pumpkin Muffins

(A few weeks back I posted about a cooking challenge. This is a continuation of that)

I’ve started out cheating. But I guess if it is my game then I get to make the rules. So it is now a new rule that it has to be a smitten kitchen recipe but it doesn’t have to come from the cook book. I had a pumpkin and this last trip up to Karamoja I searched her whole book and the only pumpkin recipe is Marbled Pumpkin Gingersnap Tart which looks and sounds wonderful but I can’t even begin to list the things I don’t have up here from cream cheese to a tart pan. The rules of this game allow many generous substitutions as long as the intent of the recipe remains but for this one it would have been lost. Maybe in Soroti it will be possible. But back to the pumpkin. So I found a recipe on her online list for pumpkin muffins. I wrote it in the back of the book and decided it was perfect. Muffins can’t be cooked in my cooker so it became sweet bread loaf. But dang, after four hours of work it really hit the spot. And the upside is that it is a recipe that the ladies here can replicate. My afternoon plans fell through and earlier the ladies from the “women’s union bakery” had seen what I was attempting and so with the extra time and left over pumpkin they also made two loaves.

It really was a lot of work though. The pumpkin alone took two hours by the time I got the fire hot enough and boiled the pieces until soft and then cooled and shelled it. (Do you shell a pumpkin?  Seems like it. Wasn’t there a nursery rhyme character who “…put her in a pumpkin shell and there he kept her very well.”?)  And baking here is more time consuming too. Fires just don’t maintain heat the way an oven does and needs frequent tending to keep the coals hot enough. But as long as time allows it is usually worth the work because there isn’t anything else even comparably nice to eat here. 

Peaking at it in my "oven".

Esther giving it a try.
The women's union cooking theirs.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Roller Coaster

It really seems like these 6 weeks that I’ve been back in Uganda have been full of ups and downs. Mostly lot of gut wrenching downs with some sideways twists and turns that have left me feeling dizzy and nauseated. Within my close Soroti team we’ve had a lot of division, deceit, discouragement, and even depression that Satan has seemed to send in order to destroy the work that is being done. We have had 3 families leave Soroti and International Teams in the past 2 months.

My first trip back up to Karamoja was good in that it was easy to settle right back into my home up there and the ladies seemed genuinely excited to see me.  However, out in Nakayot there was anger and dependency all around. Their fatalistic attitude was overwhelming and discouraging. There has been next to no self-motivation and within moments of our arrival, they were demanding that we take care of their problems for them.

Twice in less than two months I’ve had to race to Kampala to try to get necessary medical care for team mates and been frustrated both with myself and lack of ability and with our lack of access to anything helpful closer than 7 hours away.
Honestly, today is probably one of those days I shouldn’t be allowed to blog because I’m feeling sick and tired. But that is how it is right now. Please pray for my team and our ministry.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Love of the Karamojung

I know that the Karamojung are a struggling, hurting people. I know they desperately need the gospel. I know that they are God’s children and He grieves that they don’t know Him. I know that this is the place I’m supposed to be serving. I know I’m supposed to love them. But some days all this knowing doesn’t help…

Yesterday, we had a sack of empty water bottles when leaving the village of Lomoruchabi. These are a hot commodity, mostly for the children, but the adults also like them for their homemade booze. One of the ladies I was with handed the sack to an adult and suggested she distribute them. She just tossed them over her shoulder into a group of gathered children where immediately a cloud of dust rose over the fight that broke out.  Have you seen those videos where meat is tossed into a calm, drifting school of fish and suddenly the water turns into froth as the piranha rip into the meat?  It was like that. As the dust settled, several of the biggest girls were laughing over their water bottles as they walked away and two little ones were laying on the ground crying. I’m not exaggerating.  To make matters worse, one of ones that had gotten hit and kicked to get his bottle was laying in the road as we were trying to drive out and so to get him to move they started throwing stones at him.  I know it is a dog eat dog world here but do none of them have compassion for each other?!

It makes me so angry! Why do they choose to behave as savages?

I find myself praying often lately that I may have love for them. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013


 Many of you know I love to cook. A few months back a friend blessed me with a classy cookbook.  It is unlike any I've had before. It isn't like my Mennonite book (I strongly recommend, More-With-Less) which is very practical here in Uganda. Nor is it like my very old fashioned Betty Crocker, printed in 1982 that also works well in this place where a "stick" of butter isn't happening. This new cookbook uses words like milanese, crème fraiche, and mandolin. It is far from economical or practical. But I love it. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is also now at the center of my newest challenge.  The friend who gave me the cookbook is in Karamoja nearly as often as I am lately and together we are going to attempt to do these delicious and elegant recipes over a fire in one of the remotest places on the planet. We'll be taking pictures and writing about it. And while I'm sure nothing we make will look remotely like the picture on the front of her book (or the ones on her blog) it should be comical if nothing else.
So, I'm setting off with my beautiful cookbook with nice glossy pictures all covered over in brown paper to protect it up in Karamoja. We'll see how this little adventure goes!
 This is a pictures of my cooking space. (I refuse to call it a kitchen because it also contains two nesting chickens, 50 liters of diesel,  and more creepy, crawly things than your wood shed)

Friday, July 5, 2013


We all have and like goals, right? We need goals. Exercising a few days a week. Checking things off of our todo lists. Our goals are endless. We know that we can't really succeed in school, business, sports, or most endeavors without purposefully applying ourselves to move forward. Yet what about goals in regards to our relationship with God ?

Is our spiritual goal to just survive this life, one day make it to heaven and along the way not lose our salvation? This seems to me like having an amazing racing bike (or insert your favorite thing here) and keeping it locked in the garage so that it doesn't get stolen and making it to the end of life still possessing it.

Earthquakes, termites and Karamoja

Termites ate holes through the kitchen shelves.
A few nights back at 10:22pm there was a rather large earthquake in Congo which translated to a rather small earthquake here in Uganda. At that time of night I'm usually asleep and even if I am awake I may not normally have felt it (many here didn't) but I was in bed and my sleeping situation is a bit precarious at the moment. While I was back in the states termites took over the house. I anticipated this as I've had termite problems since the moment I moved in and I packed clothes, books and papers all away in plastic.  But the termites still did a number on furniture and the legs of the bed were victimized. (They also consumed a kitchen towel, the bar of soap in the shower and part of a shoe.) On top of the instability of the termite damage the bed is also raised so that I can store supplies under it. I'm not sure why I'm writing all of this except to say that the earthquake felt really intense until I got down off the bed and then it seemed much more subtle and less dangerous.  I guess this is all just a little glimpse of life here.
Bed about 4 feet off the ground. Pay no mind to all the pillows on my bed. It also doubles as a couch.

On a completely different note I'm finally headed back up to Karamoja!! Monday I'll pack the truck and head up to check the condition of my other house. I'll be up about a week to catch up with people, resume language lessons and start to determine the next step in ministry.  Will you pray with me?