Why is it that we seem to make life long memories when something negative, frightening, or life threatening happens to us? I can quickly recall several scenarios from my childhood, although they are not things I necessarily want to remember. Things like almost being eaten by a German Shepherd dog in the laundry mat in Ft Worth, Tx in 1975. Or something like flying through the eye of a hurricane on Mexicana Air in 1981. Even potentially being killed in an auto accident that totaled the sky blue buick on the way to church one Sunday night in 1982.
Over the years, Jill and I have purposefully done some things that we did not think were “safe” or great ideas, to make memories for our children. They quickly remember being on a gun boat in Key West when a big storm blew in. We had to rescue some passengers from another boat and got drenched before we were safely back to shore. They remember thinking that they would freeze to death before we reached the top of Hermit’s Pass in Colorado. Going through the “high ropes” course at Kanakuk Kamps is another. Jared thinks that the bungee jumping that we did on this trip should be mentioned as well.
This past Saturday, we planned to cross from Uganda into Rwanda, in our van, and go to the capitol city of Kigali. While in Kigali, we would have a couple of days off before finishing this 9 day swing into SW Uganda. When we arrived at the border, we went through the usual progression of getting our exit stamp from Uganda, then walking across the border into Rwanda and getting our entry stamp for Rwanda. David waited with the van. He had to get it searched and approved to drive across the border. After we had waited for a while, Faith received a call from David. She then returned to the Uganda side to help him. Another while later, Faith called me to tell me that we “had a problem”. We had accidentally picked up the registration card for the ambulance at Wentz Medical Center, rather than the registration card for our mission van. So our options were to stay in Uganda, or find another way to get to Kigali, while David waited on someone from Kampala to take a bus to the border (7 hour bus ride) and deliver the registration card. We figured the easy thing would be to stay in Uganda and take it easy a couple of days, then finish our clinics and return to Kampala. We decided to go with the adventure. We crossed back to Uganda, showing the police on the Rwanda, then Uganda side our passports again. We grabbed our suitcases and back packs, and walked back to the Rwanda side.
|Jill looking like Juan Valdez crossing the border!|
This time, the police just waived us through. We were easy to remember, we were the only white people that we saw, the whole time we were there. We thought that the border crossing would take an hour or so. It turned out to take us about 4.
Once over in Rwanda with our luggage, we had to figure out what means of transportation we would employ to take the 90 minute drive to Kigali. It turned out, that our only available option was to take a 30 passenger bus. We paid our fare and waited for the bus to “fill up”. About 45 minutes, and another stop to exit the bus and show passports later, the 8 of us and about 26 “friends”, took off in a bus to bump our way to Kigali. Yes I can do math. This 30 passenger bus had 34 people on it, and ¾ of the back seat, was taken by a disassembled satellite dish that a muslim guy had brought on. Before we left the bus station, I did feel a little uncomfortable when he jumped off the bus and ran back to the Uganda side, leaving his bag and satellite dish 3 rows behind me! He had gone back to get his money, so he could pay his bus fare. We winded through the mountains and got to the bus stop in Kigali after dark.
The pastor, from a local church, was supposed to meet us there and take us to our guest house. He arrived about 10 minutes after us, but the bus did not come for about an hour. It was surreal, as while we stood in the bus lot, multiple people just came up and stared at us. I guess that Muzungus are an oddity here. This day was not glamorous, but we made it and made a memory along the way.
Rural Rwanda looks a lot like rural SW Uganda.
Pretty mountains and green plant life are everywhere. The first big change is that we drove on the “right” side of the road. When we got into Kigali, we noticed curbs on the streets and traffic lights. Palm trees line the 4 lane roads, looking like a tropical resort city. They have many big buildings and hotels. Bill Gates is funding the construction of a big convention center here. The improvement of infrastructure seen in Rwanda vs. Uganda, is reported to be related to “proper” management of tax dollars, and less corruption.
On Sunday, we went to worship at New Life Bible Church, then went to 2 separate genocide museums in the Kigali area.
It is amazing that I was 23 years old when this 3 month event that killed 1 million people occurred, and I was clueless that it was going on. Of course, this was pre-internet, and we Americans were distracted by OJ Simpson and a glove that would not fit! If you have not seen it, you should watch the movie Hotel Rwanda. It is a movie about the happenings here only 18 years ago.
I have decided that I am going to try to make more “positive” memories. These uncomfortable ones seem to be too………uncomfortable! I hope that you look for times to step out on a limb, and make some memories with your kids as the summer draws near!
We will be back in Uganda on Monday and back to Kampala by Wednesday. We thank you for your prayers and support.