Tuesday, January 12, 2016

On going....

Well, this is day 100 of not having a working stove, fridge or truck. Not really, but it feels like it. (I've barely been back in Soroti two weeks so it can only be 14 days tops.)  The truck is STILL in the mechanic and STILL leaking fuel. I was planning on heading to Karamoja tomorrow so that is out. I would really like to get that fixed without a trip to Kampala though it isn't looking hopeful. I caved and bought a new fridge and stove. I just can't keep trying to get them running again. I have to embrace the fact that no one in this town can or will come do it.
On the up side though of all of these challenges I've lost 5 pounds so maybe not eating and riding my bike everywhere is a strategy I should keep up. The fridge and stove I bought were supposed to arrive in Soroti today but no dice. So I own new appliance  but they aren't doing me much good yet.  Maybe tomorrow.
And my bike. I mentioned I'm riding everywhere because of the lack of truck which I actually enjoy. Or would be enjoying if the watchman didn't use it the whole time I was gone and break both the rear and front derailleurs because he's never used a bike with gears before. In "fixing" it he somehow took apart the drive train and forced the chain to stay on only one gear. Which completely deletes the purpose of a bike that can shift. I took it past the bike shop today and they say for 1 million they can fix it. No thanks. I'll keep riding as a fixed gear.
So I'm having trouble doing much ministry because I can't get out to the villages and I'm not wasting time with my favorite hobby of cooking. What am I doing with my time?
Well, I did pack hundreds of birth kits with the help of Joyce, Janet, Betty and Vicky. The TBS will be pleased to be restocked when I can finally make it back up to Karamoja.

 I also played "Slides and Ladders" with a bunch of kids after church on Sunday. They had never played anything like it before and really enjoyed it. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Well, my to-do list isn't getting any shorter. Started off taking my truck to the mechanic this morning. This has been quite a complicated process. The first mechanic, John, who got my truck running from Soroti, isn't my usual guy but he is trustworthy and a good driver. When he got the truck to Kampala he told me of the repairs he had already done and added that I have a hydraulic (transmission) fluid leak and a power steering fluid leak and I needed new gaskets. But he had topped off the fluids, it was alright to drive it as it was, he could order the parts to Soroti and do the work from there. Fine. So we headed back to Soroti. His parting words were he would order the parts and call me when they came in- two days tops. Well, two days passed. I started calling him. His phone was off. Every time I called.  I'm trying to get ready to head to Karamoja so yesterday I decided to go back to my regular guy- Emburuk. I explained what John had said, that he had possibly ordered the parts and would he do the work?  Fine. But after looking over the engine, even putting it over the pit, he said he didn't see any leaks. I pointed out the general place the first mechanic had showed me.  Emburuk just grunted, went over and turned the truck and it became very obvious that I have a diesel leak. Not transmission or steering. A fuel injector.
Well, that can't be fixed in Soroti. I have to take the truck back to Kampala. Sounds like Karamoja is out as I don't really want to wander around the countryside leaking anything.
While still processing that and waiting for the guys to clear out the three other vehicles that parked me in, I walked over to the fridge repair guys's shop to see if he was around. I've called him three days in a row and three days he told me he would meet me at my house "later" but he had not once shown up. Well, he was there. I rather flippantly asked if he was ever going to come. His answer? "Someday." I told him I would be happier if he had just told me on the phone he wasn't able to come. He apologized and told me he would call me when he "became free." (meaning available). I also walked over to the "junk yard" asking if they had old hot water heaters. It is a bad sign that I needed to describe to several men what exactly a hot water heater was. I'm hoping to take the insulation off of an old one to use on my over. Same heat rating and flame retardant. Anyway, might be a useless thought but the guys told me they would look and call me if they found something.
So, there it is. I had the truck, the fridges and the oven on my to-do list today. I just added showering and a nap to the list to make sure I at least have two things to cross off at the end of the day.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A new challange

Oh Betty...... Betty finally found me. I'd been looking for her since I got back to Soroti without success. Every time I went to her house or went to find here where she supposedly was I got a different story. "She is with friends." "She went into town." "She just left." Etc...
Today she arrived at the house with a few others. This is actually a red flag because I know if she has brought people with her it means she thinks I'll go easy on her. Turns out she failed S1. Not just tested poorly, but straight up did not pass in December. I was headed out the door when she arrived so we only talked briefly and we had her spectators so I said she needed to come back tomorrow and we will discuss more in depth. Her parting comment was that now I'll have to put her in a different school. Whoa! I know she hates the school I picked for her because it is an all girls school, run by catholic nuns, in a tiny town, far from Soroti, that has practically nothing else in it beside her school. It is for these very reasons that I picked it. She needs that structure and no boys (mostly the no boys) in order to focus.  It is also in Karamoja where I spend quite a bit of time so it is easy to check up on her. But she doesn't like Karamoja.  I've known for the past two terms that she has wanted to change and go to Mbale (just a far away but a big city with lots of "diversions".) I've said that as long as I'm paying for school, I get to choose.
As I was pulling out of the driveway I said that I'm not changing schools, she will just repeat S1.  She said she wasn't going back to that school.

So that is where we are at. She is 16 + years old. I'm not going to force her to go to school. She has a choice. But as she did so poorly I'm wondering if I shouldn't pay for another year. To what ends?  And what do I do with her attitude?  I'm open to suggestions. Also, asking for you to pray for us before I see her again tomorrow and we "discuss more in depth."  You might want to pray for her salvation because she might be meeting Jesus tomorrow.....

Back to Africa

Have I been back two weeks already?? Did I actually leave at all or was that just a vivid dream?  It feels so weird being right back into the routine.
I stopped over a few days in Kampala before heading out to Soroti because my good friend Ronnie waited for me to come back to have her baby. :-)
I didn't spend as much time with them at the hospital as I would have liked but I spent lots of  hours with their older two kids.
It also proved more of a challenge than I expected to get my truck to Kampala. I had left it in Soroti for the duration of my furlough and there are plenty of drivers who could be hired to bring it up but it was having several mechanical problems and then I discovered that no one wanted to travel around the holiday (which here is a full week).  Anyway, finally got it worked out and on Jan 2nd began the trek back to Soroti. The house was pretty dusty but overall not bad. I got sheets out of storage and decided I just needed to sit down for a few minutes. I thought I was mostly over the jet lag but after driving all those hours, well, I woke up from my rest six hours later. Hadn't yet even unpacked the truck. Discovered that neither of the fridges in the kitchen were working. (I have two at the moment because in the weeks leading up to departure my regular fridge sprung a Freon leak.  This is a complicated problem to fix in Soroti. But finally, after at least six different visits from the repair man, and several things ordered from Kampala, including a freon tank, it was working again. In the mean time I had borrowed a small one from friends. Had not yet returned it before I left as they didn't need it anyway. So now I have two fridges and neither of them work). I had a strange mishmash of foods for midnight dinner, finished airing out the house, unloaded the truck, pulled a few clothes and other things out of storage and headed back to bed. Was woken in the morning by kids banging on my gate. It was Ken and Janet asking for money. I'd been back in Soroti roughly twelve hours and it was already beginning again.
Headed out to church where I was overwhelmed by the dust, heat and noise. After that headed into town to get some groceries and discovered the ATM wasn't giving any money. So back to the house and tried to make dinner with what I had, when I discovered after I hooked the gas back up and turned the oven on it smelled overwhelmingly like burning rat. Turned that back off and discovered a large mouse house between it and the wall. Once it cooled down I opened the back panels and found two more nests. Full of now cooked baby mice. Welcome back to Soroti.
Anyway, here it is thursday and I've talked to the fridge repairman several time but he has not yet showed up. I've cleaned the oven and removed all the rotten insulation. I can still use it but am finding that it doesn't heat nearly as well, which isn't actually that big a problem as I don't really have any food to cook anyway.  I'm trying to find something in Soroti that I can re-insulate it with but it seems like I'll have to get something in Kampal next time I go back there. I've brought the truck back to the mechanic and he has ordered parts to hopefully by next week it will be back to normal.
In much more positive news I've re-acquired all my pets. Mbwa (the dog) seems very happy to be back. The cat has eaten at least six mice, probably more as I've heard lots of running and slamming into things at night.
My little duck has finally decided to hatch some eggs. She is sitting on a nest of seven and though the transition from one home to another was a little tricky I think we managed. Also, I've added a new male bunny and he and my female hit it off. Little ducklings in 20 days and more little bunnies in 31 days?!

Anyway, the next few weeks are going to be busy. The VHTs have already called asking for medications so I am planning a trip up very shortly. But I've learned that CLIDE is having their quarterly meeting next week so that may throw a wrench in my plans. I'm in a rush because I'm headed down to western Uganda (three days of travel) to meet a team coming from NC. I'm looking forward to it but I'd managed to forget how long it takes to do anything here.
So, thats the low-down. Probably a bunch of information you didn't really need but I'm just trying to get back into the swing of things.