Arrived in Uganda

Saturday October 13, 2007
Kampala, Uganda

Dear Friends,

I’m writing to you tonight from Kampala. We left Nairobi this morning. Amy & Ruth waved goodbye to us from the footsteps of the MGH and we were soon on our way to Entebbe. We got to the airport and took our last steps of Kenya. We checked in and had our stuff screened and got our boarding pass. We were super early and decided to go to the Java House to have some lunch. As luck would have it, the power was out in all the gates. So we couldn’t order anything warm. Martin purchased a chicken salad sandwich mistake. The mayo was runny. He tried to return it but to no luck.

We boarded the plane. The Nairobi airport is incredible. There are a few gates however all the planes are just parked out in the middle of the field. We just walk to the right one. However we had four planes to choose from and not one sign pointing to either direction. We just ended up guessing that the plane we choose was the right one.

On the plane I had a great conversation with two elementary children flying to Uganda from Kenya. There were tons of kids on the plane. They all came from the same private school. We had a great conversation about all the places we’ve been in the world. It was a great ice breaker. I ended up getting some 7-up for him since he was feeling a bit stomach sick, and I gave him my Kleenex. He was the coolest kid ever.

1.5 hours later we landed on Uganda soil. It was the happiest moment of my life. I walked out of the airplane on the stairs and smelled the 90+ degree weather and was so happy. I even skipped off the plane with Judy. I was excited. Very excited. The airport arrival portion is super rustic. It’s a make shift building with a conveyor belt and the luggage came shooting through. There is a great bit of Muslim influence in this country. There were a whole bunch of business men with big packages tied up with striped gunny sack material. I felt like I was in Egypt about to go on a pyramid excursion. It was so cool to see all the different souls and wild types of people God has made. Then I looked at myself. Camera bag around my shoulder. Bag around my neck. Shoes. Belt. Jeans. Army green t-shirt. I was ready for this wild photographic adventure. I walked with my luggage to the gate awaiting our driver. The gang was in front of me so I trusted their direction in the meantime I was staring at all the people. And all the soldiers/police. They were all handsomely dressed, but did I mention that they all had rifles with them. All of them did. My adventure had started minutes off of the plane.

I kept telling myself. Liz, this is what you have been praying for. This is where you wanted to be. And then the other part of me was saying, my mom, was so right. There are plenty of people that need the Lord in the US why do you have to go all the way over there to help people out. And then another soldier would pass by me with a rifle.

The driver took us through Entebbe on a road to Kampala. I saw many amazing things. I saw the common wealth home where Queen Elizabeth will be staying. Not in Kampala. I saw a whole different landing for the huge UN planes. Tons of UN planes.

Driving through Ugandan I witnessed a lot. There were lots of people on the main road. Cars bustling about. People open for business with local shoppers coming by. Butcher shops right on the street. Seamstresses shop every couple of blocks. Men fixing their homes and painting them. Churches going up in construction, but as I neared Kampala the hopefulness grew dim, and I got scared. There were millions of people in the street. So many business open, and lot of people hanging out in the street. They have taxis (mutates), cars for hire, and then badahbadah(sp?) and tons of people everywhere. I felt this oppressive cloud over me. The people of the communities still look so very very sad. Sad. Sad?

That isn’t a sufficient enough description. You get the feeling that something horrific has taken place on this land and that people aren’t sure if it’s really over. The city has grown cold and people are out to do what they got to do to get back to their home and a safe place. One of my spiritual gifts is discernment and there was some creepy stuff out there. Even in the bush you just sensed unease. Normally when I see a rainforest I want to go in it and explore it. This time I wanted to lock my doors and drive fast to my hotel. I didn’t have the desire to get out and greet everyone in the loving name of Christ. In fact, if I had done that I would have been shot most likely.
I got to sit in the front seat of the Matatu again. I like sitting up there for a) I get car sick and b) it’s a good place for me to take photographs from. But I didn’t take very many photographs on this journey. I saw a few children wave kindly to me from the street. Not as many as I saw In Kenya, but it happens. Someone pointed out the huge termite hills and everyone started to keep an eye out for one so they can ooooo over how huge it was. I was enjoying the game too when I looked over and saw a young boy offering himself for money. And this happened more than once. Boys & Girls. Young ones who should have a clue about sex yet and older ones who have probably learned too much. It broke my heart. I was speechless. I just sat in my seat with my camera in my hand and just prayed.

I realized that after some time the whole car quieted down too. We got deeper and deeper into the pearl of Africa and we just grew quiet. We got to our hotel room. Which is an ok place, but it wasn’t Nairobi and we were all having a bit of a panic attack. Kristin and I are sharing a room on the bottom floor. There is no glass on our windows and the screens have been ripped. We were ok until we realized our window is near the men’s public restroom of the bar at the hotel. Interesting no?

Kristen and I got the feeling that all of us were feeling a bit awkward. We met Rena and just kind of listened to her but I could tell what all we were thinking. We then moved into the dining hall and just sat and looked around. And then I just laughed. We were in major culture shock. We ate dinner. Or we tried to eat dinner. Nancy and I couldn’t swallow the chicken we ordered. So we just at the French fries.

And the evening grew dimmer and we did emotionally as well. But then Kristin led us into a devotion that really encouraged all of us. We talked about our hopes and fears and sang a great song…

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly rest in Jesus name

On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking stand.
We left encouraged. I’m now in charge of tomorrow’s devotion. Pray that I can come up with something that will be the right fit for our group.

Kristin and I had asked to switch room to one of the bungalows. So I took off to check out the room that was offered to me. Suddenly, I realized that I had to go pee and used the public restroom. She pointed out where the restroom was. Up the stairs, behind the dining hall, all the way down this loft area alley way, in the dark, and take a step and turn left. I immediately thought of Tammy and all the crazy stories she told me. And on the way to this restroom I prayed the blood of Jesus like never before. I kept praying the blood of Jesus over and over and over again, until I got out of there. And again my mother came to mind…..and I hope she was praying for me.

I walked up to the bungalows and there were private on a hill top in the dark. We opted to stay in our room with Martin & Bill next door and Judy & Nancy right above us. It seemed safer that way.

Tomorrow the plan is to have breakfast. Go to church. And head out to Lira.

Keep us In your prayers.

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