Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Virtual tour of my flat

To celebrate this snazzy internet connection and the fact that I think I have completed all my domestic upgrades to my flat in Uganda, I'd like to offer this virtual tour of my flat.  My flat is attached to the Josephine Tucker dormitory, where I resided my last semester of seminary.  Some of my students stay there in the January and May semesters, and I'll never forget the looks on their faces when the first saw that I am their neighbor.  It was priceless.

Let's start with the verandah.  The front of this loveseat is a bit sunbleached now, but I love it.

This kitty is often on the loveseat, at least until the sun becomes too much.  I call him Mzee (old man) Kitty, because he certainly walks like he's an old man.  Clearly, he's threatened by my presence.
The Dennison's cat occasionally wanders in if the door is open, and this day, she surprised me by demanding requesting admittance.  She was denied... this time.

These are the moonflowers that are growing just off the verandah, and I am all kinds of obsessed with them.  I do have a gardener so that they have a chance at not only surviving, but thriving.  The dormitory is on the far side of the bush, and you can see that the wall was painted a slightly different color last year. 

When you walk into the sitting room, this is the view.  I just purchased the sofa, loveseat, chair (in the bedroom) and tables from a Canadian couple who just returned to Canada.  They are precious and I will miss them, but I do love the furniture!  It is beautiful, comfortable, and well-built, a rare trifecta.  The cross has a descending dove in the middle, with palm-face hands on the beams.

Helen, my housekeeper, chose the curtain for the front door, so it rather dictated the colors for the room!  I chose the turquoise to offset the orange in the fabric and the bookcases, and was thrilled to find the wall hanging at Banana Boat.  It's quite tall, and though all of it doesn't show here, it frames the wall well; the ceiling is 12 feet.

This is the view into the kitchen, with the cooker (stove/oven) in front, with the propane tank beside.  It takes me around six months to use the propane in the tank, whereas a larger family might go through a tank in 4-6 weeks.  Yes, I am that domestic.  On the top of the bookcase/pantry is the lighter I use to ignite the burners on the stovetop and the oven, because I'd surely burn my fingers off if I used matches.

This long table is my primary counterspace, though I'm thrilled that both my best friend, Kim, and Mary Jane, who lives behind me, convinced me that 1. missionaries can have such amenities as microwaves and 2. there was space for it.  I love that my stoneware (seen in the bowls, but is echoed in the plates) carries both the green of the kitchen and the orange of the sitting room, where I eat.

My apologies; I thought I could rotate the picture in the software, and apparently I can't.  However, I did want to show you that 1. I have a refrigerator, and 2. the yellow can is the jerry can that contains fresh [drinking] water.

The master bedroom.  I admired the sheets while I was in the guest house awaiting the repairs to my flat, and they followed me here.  With the bedside table, now I have a lamp by which I can more easily read in bed, since I won't have to get up to turn off the light.  Woohoo!!

The guest room/office, where I think I spend most of my time.  The bed is a new acquisition, and my suitcases fit underneath, which was my main goal.  The chair is also a recent roadside acquisition, and the carpenter was none too amused that I only wanted one, not four, thereby breaking up the set.  The bulletin board to the left is going to go to the office, though I've heard we will be moving, so I'm waiting to see whether that is true.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Life in Kampala as seen from the US

While I'm enjoying the American life of amazing roads, fast internet, and being able to pop over to a supermarket for anything and actually being able to FIND it, I thought I'd share this post about life in Kampala.  

Though I'm not into the Kampala nightlife scene, I do drive a RAV-4.  I have bought furniture from the side of the road.  And the phrase "Jinja Road" makes me shudder, regardless of day or time.  That road is almost pure evil.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

The joys of a washing machine

I did a load of laundry this morning, rejoicing in the pleasure of having such a machine.  Helen, my house help, does my laundry in Uganda, so I'm equally spoiled, but not having to hand-wash clothes is a joy I shall never take for granted.

As I was applying OxyClean stain stick to the bottom of my alb (which never seems to be free from African dust), I remembered that Helen remarked that my clothes seem so much cleaner when I return from the US where I have used that wonderful washing machine.

As further proof that I've gone native, apparently, I was sufficiently enamored with the washing machine that I forgot add detergent.  I remembered just as the spin cycle began.  True story.  So now my clothes are extra clean.

Welcome back!

Please join me in praising God for a blissfully uneventful trip to the US!  I arrived very well Tuesday afternoon, and went through Immigration, retrieved my luggage (that was on the carousel as I approached it), and went through Customs in record time.  I consider that a small miracle.

The only Ebola-ish encounter I had was when we disembarked at Amsterdam, where we were met by two VERY tall policemen at the gate, who were reviewing passports and inquiring of our final destination.  I was behind a young man who had been conversing with the policeman in [presumably] Dutch, when the policeman switched to English and demanded, "are you nervous?"  Despite the negative answer, he asked the young man to join a couple others who had been pulled aside for further investigation.

I had had had a raging headache, and was a bit nervous to take any Advil lest anyone accuse me of trying to reduce a fever, but I needn't have worried.  No one else seemed to care that there were passengers who had been in Africa onboard, despite the media hype.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Introducing my nephew!

Friday morning, I got the wonderful news that my dear friend, Sara Muhima, had gone into labor.  For the All Saints’ crowd, Bishop Muhima is now a grandfather, and he and Mama Vasta are over the moon! 

Troy Edward Manzi Kwesiga was born Friday evening around six, and I was able to go to the hospital Saturday to meet him.  His due date was October 4, but obviously, babies don’t care about trivial details such as when people think they’re supposed to arrive.  Selfishly, I had asked Sara to tell him to come before Auntie Jessica had to leave.  I’m thrilled that he cooperated!

Isn’t he a doll?  Sara looked absolutely fabulous despite not sleeping Friday night.  They should be discharged Sunday morning.

Troy didn’t seem to mind being passed around, and his dad had to introduce him to selfies.

I’m going to look for a plush football in the US to bring Troy, so he doesn’t grow up thinking that soccer is the only futbol.  I'm also bringing him "The Jesus Storybook Bible," because he needs a book for family devotions.

Monday, October 6, 2014

As if Ebola isn't enough...

Since Ebola is dominating the news (and rightly so; please keep praying for relief supplies to be delivered and for the health workers who are fighting so valiantly), I wanted to share something that may not make the news in the US.  A case of Marburg hermorrhagic fever has claimed a life in Uganda, as reported by several news outlets.  We had an outbreak of Marburg in 2012, and the Uganda authorities moved quickly to contain it.  UCU did lose a staff member then, who contracted it at a funeral for a relative who had Marburg.

Mengo Hospital, where the deceased was employed, is in Kampala, and is very near Namirembe, where the Church of Uganda Provincial Office is located.  Since Uganda contained the Marburg virus the first time there was an outbreak, I am confident it will be contained again.

Perhaps it's my naiveté showing, but I am not terribly worried about it spreading to Mukono.  Perhaps I should be.  I don't know. 

I do know that I will add this to my prayers, and ask you to as well.  Honestly, words are failing me as I think about all that is happening on this continent, and beyond.  As much as I love to understand, I can't.  I can only pray, and trust, despite my lack of understanding.   

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Saying good-bye

I suppose saying hello and good-bye are part of the circle of life in both a university setting and a missionary life, but while we embrace the former, the latter never gets easier.  This week, we said good-bye to Karl and Arleen Buchholz (front center; Karl in blue, and Arleen to the right), a delightful Canadian couple.

Arleen has been in Africa for the last 20 years, and Karl for 10.  They've only been at UCU for a year, but quickly made themselves at home, and became beloved members of the community.  We are hoping that they will be able to return for a couple months each year, but will still miss them terribly.