Monday, March 3, 2014
Ever since the Great Office Shift on the first day of lectures this semester, our office has become the de facto vestry for our chapel services, especially since the wardrobe that holds the vestments remained in our office (which had been the Chaplaincy office).
Often, I come to my office to find my desk covered with detrius of various services and students. The bookshelf next to my desk holds quite a few books and things I need for my job, but also holds a few things for our services as well.
Last night, I was looking for a book I had left in the office that I wanted to use at home. It wasn't where I left it. I reacted like an American: "My book's been stolen!" A student standing nearby quickly reacted like an African: "It's been borrowed." I pointed out that there's a fine line that separates the two. And I found the book; I have no idea why anyone would have moved it, unless they looked at it then just returned it to a different place.
This reminded me of the different world views: as an American, I'm very individual-centered, whereas the African is very community-centered. I was thinking of me, and that the book I wanted was gone; the African view is that someone is using it, which benefits the community.
I can usually style up and take on the African view, except when I'm caught off-guard. Then my American roots show, rather glaringly.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
I'm most grateful that I love being in Uganda. I'm even more grateful for the technologies that allow me to easily stay in touch with family and friends, as it really helps with homesickness.
Having said that, there are times that just prick my heart and completely undo me. Today, it's my goddaughter's birthday; my sweet baby is now 17.
My head tells me that I've not been involved in her life for quite a while (due to a number of extenuating circumstances), and that as much as I love her, it's not quite the same. My heart is grieving that lost time, and remembers the sweet girl who used to call me "AUNT Jessica" (emphasis hers) compared to her siblings' "Ant Jessica," following my southern pronunciation.
I love that Facebook allowed me to wish her a happy birthday on her wall, and her comment "Aww. :) Thank you Aunt Jessica!!! Miss you!" just made me want to hop on a plane, take her out for dinner, and catch up on the years the locusts have stolen (yes, I'm currently reading Joel).
After chapel the dean asked how I was, and I told her that some days it's easier to be away from home than others. She asked if I needed to go cry, and yes, I do. If I think about it too much during this curriculum review, my eyes tear up.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Friday, February 7, 2014
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
This week we have a visitor on campus, Dr. Angus Cricthton, who administers the book program in the UK that sends books to our first year students. While it's a pleasure to meet someone with whom I communicate on email, the real joy is sitting in on the interviews he's conducting with students about the impact of the book program.
In these interviews, I have learned more about my students than I have in being with them for two semesters. One has written a book on premarital counseling with her husband, and they use it in their diocese with couples. Another was renamed during the insurrection in his area in the 90s; he was a baby, and there was fighting. The rebels took him, carried him for four kilometers, then inexplicably left him in the road. One of his aunts had been following behind, and saved him. The bishop renamed him Moses (and he was reunited with his family).
I always learn from my discussions with my students, but listening to these interviews completely humbles me. I am in awe of what The Lord is doing in them, and that I get to be a part of their lives.
Monday, February 3, 2014
A new month means another turn of the calendar. and to my surprise, I saw my face for February. This photo was taken in November at the second thanksgiving service, in which ideally, there were to be graduates from each decade of Bishop Tucker marching. While that didn't quite happen as planned, it was a nice concept.
This was also the day that I realized how people assume I'm part of the chaplaincy; aside from the bishops, the only clergy vested for the Eucharist were the members of the chaplaincy, and me (because they asked). Hmmm...