We arrived in Uganda at about 11:00pm local time after a fairly uneventful set of flights from Dallas to Detroit, Detroit to Amsterdam and then Amsterdam to Entebbe, Uganda. Our host, Dr. Martin, picked us up at the airport and took us the 40 minute drive to our apartment in Bugolobi, Uganda. Our friends, the Gash family, had worked with the hotel staff to have our room ready to go when we arrived. As they purchased their own, the Gash family bought us things that we would need, like a water dispenser, measuring cups, milk, eggs etc. We visited over PBJs and cupcakes before we went to bed about 1am.
Thankfully, we all slept well on that Friday night, and woke Saturday morning without too much of the "switching times by 9 hours hangover". We went to the grocery store and to a store that is supposedly like Target, but probably more like TG&Y. We bought more essentials to stock our fridge and cabinets. Some things are really cheap. For example, a pineapple on the side of the road cost 2,000 shillings (80 cents), but a pint of Haagen-dazs ice cream will cost 62,000 shillings ($27). Needless to say, we bought 4 pineapples and no ice cream. Saturday evening, a Ugandan friend named Rogers came by and we visited for a while to catch up on things since we had last seen him in July. We went to bed a little early and again slept well.
Sunday morning, we went to the early service at Watoto Church and were treated to great worship and a timely message about the Holy Spirit. I'll have to admit, I was disappointed when I heard that there would be a guest speaker from Canada preaching. I was ready for some Ugandan fire-you-up kind of preaching. I was even a little more disappointed when I saw the old bald guy that was the Canadian speaker. I am ashamed of my stereo-typing. This guy was fired up and preached it that day. He was so fired up at times, there were spit grenades almost making it to my seat in the second row. Jayne leaned over to me and said "I am afraid he is going to have a heart attack". It reminded me of a comedian from back in the day named Gallagher. He had a routine where he smashed things with the "Sledge-O-matic".
As we left the restaurant, we again had to leave by canoe. We really were not anxious about riding in this small boat until we stopped to take pictures at the falls that was just down river from where we boated across. The life jackets in the canoe would not have helped much going over this fall.
After an awesome day of seeing the sights of Africa, we headed home. We see multiple times everyday the incredible beauty of God's creation, right next to severe poverty and desperation. We stopped to buy freshly picked pineapples and our kids got to love on some Ugandan children in a slum area north of Kampala.
Monday we met with Africa Renewal Ministries and were encouraged with the discussions. We will be "training" in the Wentz Medical Clinic in Gaba for 2 weeks while we get our Mobile Medical Clinic together. I will be working with the local doctors brushing up on the local treatment of illnesses and resources that are available. Jill and the kids will be learning how to do simple lab tests, health assessments for children (height, weight, head circumference etc), pharmacy skills, and putting together wheelchairs that someone donated that we can take to those that need them in the rural areas. One thing that is a little different than I had planned is that most of the areas where we are scheduled to go, are more than "day trips" away from our home. So there will be many weeks that we go out for 3 days and 2 nights to more remote areas of Uganda. I am surprised by this, but not disappointed. My greatest love and perceived calling is to the more rural areas and this will allow us to connect with them a little better. In addition to doing "normal medical" clinics where our coming is advertised and people line up to see us, we will do some "unannounced" clinics where the pastor of the local church knows that we are coming and he identifies a few sick people that we can go to their home and visit. In these visits, we can spend more time getting to know the family and the health issue. We also can pray for the family and share Christ with them in a more intimate setting. I think that I am looking forward to these trips the most. We were excited to hear that our family working together will be a "ministry" as many people in rural areas may have never seen a mzungu (white/non-African) child and likely never mzungu families. To show a western/Christian family dynamic will be important in our mission.
We went to a remand home this morning. This is a home where suspected juvenile law breakers are held awaiting trial. They are supposed to only be there for up to 6 months, but many are held there for 2 years or more on only accusations.
This week and next could feel a little slow as we do our learning internships and get our medical unit put together, but we are excited about what the next few months have in store for us in Uganda.