Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Uganda Day 1: You must dream it first and then give it some thought for it to come to pass

In route to Entebbe, my flight went over England. Back up... When I left England there was a giant hole in my heart. It literally took me 6 solid months to regroup. It may sound funny, but I went through every emotion of mourning during that time. But I was certainly over that by the time my United Airlines flight entered into British airspace all those many months later... so I thought. As I watched the television prompter chart our path over the British Isles I learned that I have a forever hole that months away could not fill. Giddy excitement and floods of suppressed memories surfaced and it was all I could do to not lift the latch on the emergency door and drop myself out of the plane and onto the mother land. I had to remind myself that my life was pretty amazing pre-England and that while my English peeps lit up my life, I also had a crazy wild good life post- England... and that day I was fulfilling a life dream that I had envisioned over and over again since I was only a decade old. But I still wanted to get out and drive-by Selby on my way. Ha! The layover in Amsterdam was perfect for stretching and refocusing. It was dark when we got to Entebbe but that didn't stop the welcome committee from coming to greet us! I'm not sure if it was too late or just another miracle in the books but airport security let us through customs with all of our bags sans the regular fees on humanitarian goods. I'm going to chalk it up to more miracles.
Doracus, Steven, Joseph, Agnus, Christine, Godfrey and a half dozen more friends and a few children opened their arms like we hadn't seen them in ages. The night air was warm and the palm trees provided a deceiving vacation oasis feeling that was supported most by the inability to see much more in the dark of night. We piled in Godfrey's van with open windows and drove to our accommodations. Through my delirium flight fatigue, All I could think of was, "do I have enough deet in my bug-spray?" and "Did I take my malaria meds today?" Next memory was waking up to foreign sounds, under mosquito net, smelling camp fire. Still trying trying to figure out where I was, I knew for certain that it was not home.
Rumor has it, monkeys loved the forest behind our rooms before the Government cut them down to provide firewood for the villagers. However, during my sponge shower (where I mixed the cold tap water with the buckets of camp fire boiled water to bath in) I felt like I was in a zoo with the noises coming in the window. The intrigue factor couldn't have been higher. Everything I looked at was new. I didn't know if something was dangerous or safe, what was growing on the trees or how I would contact or trust another soul if I found myself in a predicament. As vulnerable as I was, I couldn't have been more at peace... more accurately, I was so curious and so full of brain over-stimulation that I probably missed my vulnerability all together.
Wouldn't you believe it... I had 20 questions about everything... "what is that?" you ask? (answer) papyrus.
While I am aware that bananas grow in the USA, it is still uncommon place for me to just see them growing on the sides of the road so it was exciting. In fact, all the vegetation that was uncommon or completely foreign really had me swooning!
I didn't find it much a surprise that third world countries have dirt roads even though I didn't think about how they were affected from the rain storms... the muddy mess plus cars driving on them made for an adventure I didn't anticipate. I expected mud huts with shake roof, but was surprised by the brick neighborhoods with tin pieces for cover.
These were some of the sights we saw on the drive to the bank where an armed guard stood outside while we exchanged our hundreds of U.S. dollars making us instant Ugandan millionaires.
It didn't feel as cool as you might think while viewing the women out laboring in the garden with a baby on her back or the small child carrying 5 gallon containers of water back to her camp fire. I learned that "Ma zoon goo" (surely not the spelling but definitely how it sounded) means "white man" and I was easily identified with my blonde hair blowing around outside the car window. I especially loved hearing it in child like screams when I waved at the little ones who were absolutely curious and excited about us! A few hours in a van, windows down, on a dirty road was like days of education. All that on our way to do a water project...

Uganda... the Back Story...

As a child I don't recall watching much television... EVER. But somewhere in the late 80's I recall watching a 'Sunday Night at the Movies' and a commercial came on. I could support A very frail and hungry child with an extended belly and flies buzzing around him, in Ethiopia, for only $1 a day. I was so on board. Shortly thereafter I couldn't get enough of "feed the world" blaring on my ghetto blaster. Truly I had a determination that burned a desire to find Africa and serve these hungry babies before I die. Little did I know that my very own Nate would aspire to building water systems for under developed villages all over the world... When I learned such a thing I was certain that together had a worthy goal to work towards; Water to Africa. After leaving South Carolina and moving to Utah in December 2015, I found Tiffany. She was in my ward at church. I admired her first for her blunt honesty. You never have to wonder where you stand with somebody who is honest in their conversations and feelings. For me, this establishes a 'safe zone' and 'safe' friend. I drew strength from her determination to overcome. I loved her ability to put into words the feelings that were in her heart and I was inspired by the depth of her testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and her understanding of her place in Heavenly Father's plan. And then I learned that she goes to Africa to do humanitarian work. OH! MY! WORD! Game OVER! Funny thing, she was planning a humanitarian expedition for November 2016 and I knew that I had to be on it. The back story of my life in 2016 didn't support a this event for me. We had just opened our own company a year earlier so financially we were using all of our money... however, I knew that a whole lifetime couldn't make up such an opportunity. While timing couldn't have been worse, it really couldn't have been better. And so I booked myself on the Global Life Vision Uganda tour and committed to myself, my family, my Heavenly Father and to Tiffany that I would be there. It did not disappoint.
Miracle Doors opened. Miracle windows opened. Miracle people happened. Truly, that was kinda the theme of 2016 for my entire family. While our world seemed to be falling around us, we just kept seeing miracle after miracle pop into our life... so the Uganda tour was par for the course. In the Salt Lake airport I had plenty of time between check in and boarding. The woman at the front desk allowed me a free bag because I told her it was full of humanitarian kits for girls in Africa. She totally waved the baggage fees. After a true blonde hour and a half of reading books and watching election news in the wrong terminal I had the thought to check my flight and realized that I was about to miss mine. I sprinted across the airport to a different terminal only to find that my name had been called multiple times and I was the last on the plane that was closing the doors as I ran up. Sheesh... that was CLOSE! TO my surprise and delight, my torn I.T band in my knee had been so painful that I could hardly walk for the previous 3 months, which in turn pulled my hip out and wreaked havoc on lower back... somehow it magically repaired, swelling went down and I enjoyed 2 weeks absolutely pain free. I like to think of it as Divine intervention... after all, you can't get ahead of the Lord.