Sunday, January 16, 2011

BACK IN AFRICA!!!!!'s only taken me 4 weeks to get on here and post something since we landed! YIKES!! You'd think we moved to the bush of Africa or something! he, he. Nope, not at all. In fact we're in the heart of the capital city, KAMPALA!!!!!!!!
We landed safely, without any flight cancellations or problems! Yay! We got all our luggage and our dog Kenya, who suffered minor anxiety from flying. The minute we landed and walked outside, it was as if AFRICA greeted us with a warm, loud and sweet..Hello. The smell in the air, the noise in the distance, and the blanket of heat that wraps your body is the best greeting one can receive. Fatu and I looked at each other, smiling as I told her, "we're back!".

I think from here I'll be short and too the point! Just the highlights!

We LOVE our house! Totally not what we would have ever imagined in all these years of dreaming and praying and living in Africa! Jeff and I have had numerous conversations over the last 8 years about where we would end up and this isn’t at all what we imagined! But, God is a way bigger and better dreamer than we are obviously!! So we're looking forward to opening our house to family, old friends, and new friends....and filling it with loud, fun, LOVE!!!

Gardens and Grass...we’ve got lots of it on our homestead and we’re looking forward to neighborhood soccer fun, veggie gardening, composting, and lots of little feet running around outside enjoying Uganda’s beautiful weather!

Driving on the Left! We borrowed a car for our first 3 weeks here and during that time…Jeff and I learned to drive! I was terrified to be quite honest but once I got behind the wheel it seemed to be easier than I thought. Now we’re on the search to buy our own car.

Christmas and New Years is so different in Uganda. There are no carols on the radio or being pumped into the streets. No hot chocolate, flashing lights, bells ringing, or count downs to Christmas Day. No “10 days of shopping left” signs to stress you out. It’s really a peaceful time of reflection on the true meaning of Christmas. We sang carols at church, our family read the story of Jesus birth, and enjoyed a meal with our friends. Simple. Sweet. Celebrating Love himself!

                        Tuning our ears to Lugandan, shifting our money minds to schillings, taste buds being awakened once again to the sweetness of mango’s and the yummy-ness of chapati’s (basically fried flatbread), saying our good nights under mosquito nets, scrubbing our dirty red feet every night, hearing the familiar call of “Muzungu”, being careful not to drink water from the tap, wonderful, long greetings no matter where you are or where you’re going,…YES…we’re Back in Africa!

                      And although this list encompasses the quirky and fun things of Africa, there is also a side of Africa that makes your heart ache and your soul cry out! Poverty is all around us. Kids are hurting and hungry. People are sick and lack money for medicine. Teens are longing for a brighter future but are left at home to work so their families can survive or pressured to slip into bad social scenes. Many are without jobs and without a way to express their hearts, dreams and desires. Every day we are reminded of this. There’s a constant ache in our hearts that never goes away. We're glad for it because it's in that heart ache that we can hear the whispers of Jesus calling us beyond ourselves to those around us.

                      BUT…even in the midst of the struggle, the suffering, the hardships…there is no doubt still JOY and STRENGTH within the Ugandan people. There is creativity, ingenuity, laughter, love, peace, friendship, confidence, talent, and gifting that astounds us!! There is HOPE and there is a FUTURE for Uganda! We are inspired by those we meet to love bigger, give more, and pursue the dreams that God has put in us. Dreams of spreading HOPE and LOVING extravagantly and seeing lives changed!