Monday, March 21, 2016

Work permit

Well, it has been three years and my Ugandan work permit is about to expire.  I'm trying not to stress about it and just trust God but I'm starting to get worried. I know everything here takes far longer and is far more convoluted that one could even imagine possible.  I've been mentioning my pending expiration to Dr. Moses since January and even this week he still doesn't have the papers I need.  Most of his stuff should be pretty quick like a copy of CLIDE's certificate of registration (as long as it isn't also expired), but others will take quite a bit of time like the a contract with a job description(which I haven't had for more than a year), and a Memorandum of Understanding with Fuel. I'm heading to Kampala tomorrow because one of the documents that I need in the application is a Certificate of Good conduct which I need to get from Interpol. And that requires a variety of documents.

  • Will you pray that all the pieces can be pulled together and I can get things submitted in time?
  • Will you also pray that God works out all the little details that are outside my control and I just trust Him to do his thing? 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Like a duck out of water

There are 20 ducks living in Lormoruchbae. I'm not sure how they survive but Simon, one of the guys in the village I live in, has been successfully breeding ducks. I honestly can't believe these ducks. Somehow they can go days without water. 100+ degree, sweltering, dusty days. I couldn't help look at them this trip up as I was sitting in one of the tiny patches of shade and thinking that this isn't actually what God created these little guys for. They need large bodies of clean water for swimming and grass and other green things for eating. Instead they get tiny bits of filthy dirty water once in a rare while and get to just try to scavenge what sparse food they can find. 

I didn't have any water to spare but I gave them the little dirty water I was going to throw out anyway and all twenty of them tried to bathe in it. I looked at their burned web feet (from walking in hot sand) and realized that these ducks were going to live their whole lives without ever swimming. This deficient, dis-satisfactory life is not what they were created for!! I found it very sad. Then I caught myself, it isn't just the animals, the people of this village weren't created to live like this either.
They were not created to live with the hopelessness and despair that surrounds them. Struggling for each meal, feeling trapped in their circumstances.  They were created to live confident in a relationship with their creator that sets them free from the lies of this world.
But I guess this is a bit true of all of us.  I'm reminded once again that this world is not our home. We have a perfect place waiting for us. But that place is not here. We are all like ducks out of water. For now.
Please pray that the k-jung will learn to put their hope in God!

Friday, March 18, 2016

hot and dry in karamoja

I was in Karamoja for the first part of this week and man is it still HOT and DRY up there!!! From about 11am to 4pm I'm useless as I needed a shady spot to just hide from the intense sun. I also didn't go up with enough water, making this trip around even more challenging.

The folks of my village are hungry too. Their stored food from last rainy season is pretty much completely gone and the last little bit they are saving to plant when the rain comes. They are eating once a day and it is really hard to see my friends and neighbors so painfully skinny. I cooked a big meal with the extra food I brought up and fed a bunch of the kids but I know it was pretty much a spit in the pond.

There is always lots of work do to but now people get up before dawn and work until after dark to escape the heat of the day. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


So the popular health drink Kambucha has made it to Soroti. I had it in my checked bags. And now I have two SCOBYs growing in my kitchen. 
I don't love the taste like some people do but I love the idea of growing my own probiotics. There are some crazy claims about this health drink, very few of which I believe. However, in my own, one person clinical trial (on myself) I found that there didn't seem to be the same level of sensitivity to pathogens causing gastrointestinal upset as in the past. This is a nice way of saying I haven't had any diarrhea since coming back to Uganda.
Lets face it, diarrhea is extremely common in the developing world and missionaries (even nurses) are not exempt. But I've been drinking a half a cup a day since about mid November and I'm glad I do. I really believe it has made a difference.

It is nothing more than a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), tea, water and sugar. I let it grow and because it is on average 100 degrees in my kitchen I can bottle this stuff about every 10 days.
I'm beginning to think about how I can offer it to my patients. However, this might be a challenge. I don't think two or three days of the stuff will make a difference. It needs a while to improve your gut flora. But it needs refrigeration after bottling which practically none of my patients have. So I'm not sure yet if I can offer it. However, I'm trying to convince other expats who have fridges that it will improve their lives and that it is worth growing and drinking. So if you live in Uganda and want a mother fungus from me just let me know.....

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

I can't believe i'm still writing about these stupid bank accounts!

If you follow this blog you know I've been trying to get some simple bank accounts. If you don't follow this blog it isn't actually that important. I recommend skipping this post and checking out some missionaries who post far more interesting things than me.
Like this one: The Very Worst Missionary Ever
Or there is always something good to read over at A Life Overseas.

However, if you have read these already and actually care about this STUPID ongoing mess of me trying to get a bank account read on. (Last written about here.)
Election time was very quiet here in Soroti so starting the 22nd I resumed my frequent trips into the bank. I was told I had accounts now but needed to fill out applications to receive a debit card, check books and online banking.  So I had accounts and I could put money in but still had no way to get money out. This didn't actually seem to me to be "completed accounts" but Robert (Mr. Manager) didn't seem to see it that way.  After filling out more forms, making more copies of my passport and signing more things, I also had to sit down with someone else while they set up online banking for me. I told him I was able to do this on my own but he insisted that him setting it up was the only way for me to get a pin number for the debit card. I was so tired of fighting with these guys that I just let him do it his way. This guy was ridiculous. He was their "IT" guy and he couldn't type and it took him forever to just navigate around.  Some of it was his poor internet but most of it was his lack of computer skills. So as he was setting things up for me he assigned me a user name involving all manner of letters and numbers but nothing resembling my name. He also made a password for me. When it got down to the security questions I almost lost it. Part of it wasn't his fault- the questions were the most preposterous I've ever heard. Like "what is the name of a childhood friend?" Well, if I only had one this question would have been fine. I know this is an issue with the bank.  My problem with the IT guy was that as he was entering my answers he spelled two of my answers wrong. I was watching him closely, thankfully as I would have been very frustrated if not. I had every intention of going straight home, logging in and changing everything he had just done but still it was a waste of time and too frustrating.
Anyway, jumping ahead to this week. I stopped in the bank and got my debit card. I'm still waiting on my checkbook but I feel like I actually have something to work with now.
Here is the most entertaining twist of the whole darn thing.....
Literally the day that I have these accounts opened, I read in the news that Barclay's pulling out of all of Africa. No more Barclays banks in Uganda.
That seems like an appropriate ending to the way this whole process has gone for me......