Tuesday, April 20, 2010
i'm going to love You with my life
So 5 days after we went to the North we came back down to Kampala. It was not what we expected. Not at all. Both Megan and I felt like God was calling us to go to the North, we thought He wanted us to see a need there, that maybe He was calling us to open something there in the future. While we never entirely understand how God works, the circumstances after we arrived in Gulu really shook us up. We left Jinja around 8am and arrived at the Kampala bus park around 1030am. The Kampala bus park was insane. Busier and more overwhelming than any part of New York I’ve ever been to. People yelling at you to buy things. dodging bodas, taxis, and buses while attempting to make it to the other side of the street alive. Having no clue how to find the busses that leave for Gulu. We finally asked someone if they knew where the busses to Gulu left from. Another man overheard our conversation and told us he would bring us there. Throughout this whole ordeal it was raining. As Meg and I tried to keep up with the man we hoped was actually leading us to the bus we needed, we were dodging mud puddles and merchants trying to sell us a wide range of Ugandan treasures. We finally reached the bus it was called “Baby Coach” All the Ugandan men cheared as two mzungu girls climbed aboard this bus to Gulu. We payed our “guide” 1,000 UGX (50 cents) as the Ugandan men huttled around the bus cheered as we climbed aboard. I think the longer you’ve been here the less overwhelmed you get by crazy situations. Everything here is a bit crazy, but you learn to just laugh about it. It was about 12:30 by the time we finally got seated. The bus was already almost completely full, so we left Kampala around 1:15pm. The bus ride was not as long or as bad as we expected. It only took about 5 ½ hrs to get to Gulu, we stopped every so often to pick people up and to allow people to buy different food or drinks people were selling on the side of the road. I dared Meg to try some of the chicken on a stick they were selling. She was smart and didn’t take me up on that. We were in the back row, I was between Meg and a young man named Samuel who talked to me a bit and I was even lucky enough to have this complete stranger fall asleep on my shoulder. Again Meg and I just laughed. We got off the bus in Gulu, with no clue where we were and what we were to expect for our stay there. We walked around and called the woman we were staying with. We took bodas to a small café, and met here there around 6:30pm. She picked us up and showed us our room and introduced us to the girls and Mama M. We stayed at the home for girls called, Zion Project. This is a rehabilitation home for war affected girls. There are 14 girls there now, ages 4-14. These girls are Congolese girls who were at risk for sex trafficking. It was neat to meet them, to hear from the Mama how some of them came to be at the Zion Project, we got to hear them sing, and worship. We got to color, read to them, and play with playdough a bit. But things didn’t feel quite right from the start. Sarita was more than welcoming, the Mamas, the aunties, and the girls were as well. This made it even more difficult for Megan and I to understand why we were so miserable and felt so off being in Gulu. We were there Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, when we finally decided we needed to go back. We prayed a lot about it before making the decision, but neither of us had ever felt like that before. While we might not ever quite understand why it was so difficult for us to be there, we knew God was telling us we needed to head back to Jinja. We both made sure it wasn’t just because this was a new place, or that we missed our kids at Amani, but that it was God maybe protecting us or needing us back in Jinja. We visited a few different NGO’s up North. SOS Children’s village, Favour of God, and Zion Project. We were taken to 3 different churches on Sunday, all of which were interesting to say the least. KPC Gulu, a local church in the village, and a Congolese church. In each service we were asked to stand up and greet the Church, something we weren’t quite used to either. We walked around Gulu, visited the market. We were served antelope, and told it was rare bush meat that we were lucky to have. The only thing we did not get to do up North was travel to Pader like we had planned, but both Megan and I didn’t think we could last another night. Neither of us were able to sleep at all, we would wake up multiple times in the middle of the night terrified, and not knowing why. Mama M was so kind and prepared meals for us, and showed us around Gulu. She told us a story of a woman who had stayed in our room before us. Mama M explained this woman was “possessed” and she had attempted to harm her and the girls in the middle of the night on at least one occasion. Mama M explained that the evilness of the war still lingers in Gulu, while it is much safer, she never felt completely safe. There was not night guard at the home we were at, and Mama M said she felt unsafe a lot of the time. Even after hearing these stories it didn’t automatically make us want to leave. We know our God is way bigger than anything evil, however we do know that these things are real and we need to guard ourselves from them. Megan and I were both physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted, which would have made sense after traveling a long way by bus, but not 3 days later. I asked my Mom to call my cell phone, and asked her for her advice when we began talk of heading home early. My Mom was understanding and prayed with me about the situation. Megan and I prayed before we went to bed that night, that God would help us decide what He wanted us to do, not what we wanted to do. We both felt the overwhelming answer of “you need to leave Gulu”. We were also informed about the volcano in iceland by some people up in Gulu. We hadn’t made our final decision to leave, but after hearing that all flights had been cancelled until further notice, we felt like we needed to head back now more so than before. We had no internet, and limited telephone service where we were staying, and if flights through Europe were cancelled, I needed to be able to contact my Mom, and Lisa and Alex to see if we could change our route possibly. Even in attempting to write this out and explain it, I feel a bit crazy, I have never experienced something like this before. All I can say is that when we got on the bus to Kampala we both felt a peace. We sat on the bus for 2 hrs, waiting for it to fill up, when we finally left it was past 4pm. We got into Kampala around 9:30 last night. As soon as we got off the bus, there were about 10 taxi drivers yelling to get our business. Megan and I laughed because we were wondering how and where we would find a taxi to get where we were staying in Kampala. After watching the taxi drivers fight over who would get to take us, we hoped in the first car that got to us. We arrived at Loving Hearts Baby Home, on Bunga Hill, where we spent last night. Today we are planning to visit Makerere University, and then head back to Jinja for 5 days. I feel a little silly after saying all our goodbyes to the kids, to our mamas and to our friends in Jinja, but it is going to be so good to spend my last few days in Uganda with family, and not completely scared and weighed down. It will be so good to gives and hugs and kisses to my kids when I thought I may not get another chance. People are going to laugh at us for coming back early, but that’s okay. I have 5-6 days left in Uganda. I’ll see everyone very soon.