Sunday, March 30, 2014

Crazy busy week!

The time has really gone fast as we have been very busy with Missionary Leadership Council.  The zone leaders come in and receive training with President Chatfield.  They also bring all their aches and pains for the mission nurse to take care of.  We spent a lot of time taking elders to different appointments.  I have the vehicles and we had a couple of vehicles that had to be repaired while they were in town.

This is the second time I have tried to post this so it will be a much shorter version.  My laptop quit working so I had to take it in to the local repair shop.  They found the problem is the touch screen is not working and causing the problems.  We bought it last year during the black friday deals.  I think the parts will be covered but we will pay for the labor.  I was trying to put pictures on the last post and that is where I lost everything.  The desktop doesn't have a slot for our camera disk so pictures will have to wait.

We were reading the Colemans blog who are serving in Cameroon and they were pointing out some of the cultural differences in Africa.  The observations were consistent with Uganda.  For instance, some of the men hold hands as they walk.  People sell everything - everywhere, you can buy your toilet paper, aprons, clocks, shoes, hats, fruit, CDs, etc as you stop at many of the traffic jams.  I was going to say stop lights, but they have few of those but many, many places where you have to wait for the traffic to move because of the backups at the cross streets or roundabouts.  Every nook and cranny is used for a business to sell whatever they can to make a living.  The homes all have tile floors everywhere.  I don't think carpet would be a good idea because in the dry months you get a thin film of red dirt on everything.  Not as bad during the rainy months that have started.

We had on missionary who complained of shortness of breath and rapid heart rate the last couple of months.  We took him in to the cardio doctor and were shocked with he found he had two valves that were not functioning.  He had rheumatic fever sometime in his youth that damaged his valves.  As he talked about the options with the doctor he asked how long he had to live because they didn't have good health care in Madagascar where he is from.  The doctor started to lay out all the things he could do but he said it was OK because he knew where he was going when he died.  Such faith, we love the sisters and elders.

Anyway, I do have a couple of photos on my ipad (lifesaver since my laptop is gone) that I will attach unless I get another ID10T error.

Our missionary carving we had made.

Africa clock we had made so we could use the other one for Utah time.

Nathan, my first missionary discussion - you can see he is shocked at the doctrine

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Miracles from Africa and the Snake Park

Can I just say how nice it is to be somewhere where we are needed.  As we work with our little Branch each Sunday I think how I could be one of lots of very capable people in our ward back home doing something that so many others can also be doing just as well.  It is gratifying to know that we can be of service here and offer help where the Church is so new.  I have a good friend who wrote teasingly that everything back home is the same, same, same.  I know it isn't, life is a challenge wherever we are but here we are with people that really need the stability and guidance that ANY senior couple can give.  We love it!

Our mission had a special fast a couple of weeks ago.  The multi-purpose of the fast was for the safety of the missionaries, success of the missionaries, healing for a couple of the injured elders, more senior couples willing to come to Africa, and a few others that I can't remember.  Some of the tender mercies or miracles that have occurred include:

Elder Bukenya knee surgery.  He was hit by a bodaboda before his mission and had a screw put in his knee to repair the damage that was done.  It started to back out while he is on his mission and was told he would have to have surgery to repair the knee again.  This would require an 8-10 week recovery time at best.  President Chatfield went to several different doctors to try and find a better recovery time because missionaries have to be released when there is a surgery with a long recovery time.  They went in and performed the surgery, removed the screw and put a larger one back in, tied some of the loose tendons onto the screw and basically performed major surgery.  For Africans it is even more difficult because they may not have a home to go to for recovery.  Elder B was able to go to an uncle’s home for his recovery.  Long story short, Elder B had a miracle in his life.  He is the missionary we took into have his stiches a week ago and is now up and walking around without crutches.  When President Chatfield called to have him reinstated as a missionary the medical people told him the only way he could be walking on his own and doing so well with his recovery is because of a miracle in his life.  The doctor who was at the U over sports knee injuries said even top athletics would take at best 8 weeks before they would be up and working out again. 

Elders in Jinja – We had two elders in Jinja who had worked all day and got home around 9:30 at night.  They had no food for Sunday so they decided to run to the store and back.  They got to the store and had all their items up for purchase and found they had left their money back at home.  They ran back (about 2 ½ minutes each way) and got their money and returned to find the clerk had been shot and the place had been robbed.  You can say what a great coincidence that these two elders were removed from danger but I know it is an answer to the fast and prayers our Mission had two weeks ago.

Drive back to Gulu – We had a pair of missionaries that were down her is Kampala for training and wanted to drive back to Gulu (about 6 hour drive) but would have had to drive at night so the Mission President nixed the drive and said to wait until morning.  Well, 3AM is morning right?  They left early and were driving fast and another truck was coming the other way very fast.  They passed the truck and it took the mirror off the Elders vehicle.  That is around 5 inches from being another reported causality in the mission field. 

We had another Elder that was included in the special fast.  He had hurt his knee while doing service work in his area.  It was very painful to walk and do the things missionaries have to do every day as they live on their feet.  We took him in and collectively with the Doctor decided to give a steroid shot in the knee.  He has not had any pain since that time.  

We see the Lord's hand in many of the things we do.  I know he loves his missionaries and watches over them.  We are blessed to be part of this great work.

Now for some of the more interesting things we did this past week!  We went to a snake park.  The APs went with us because one the them is going home soon and had not been there.

This a group photo when we arrived.  You will notice a live chicken the elder purchased along the road.  We found out it was to feed the African cats (looked like a lynx).

Said chicken - just before he met the cat...

This is a Busch Cobra, all the snakes were ready for a fight.

The workers getting the python out of its enclosure.  They were very feisty.  One kept attacking the screen separating us from him.

Come out and play with us!

Kind of cool, but hurry and take the picture because we want out of this snake

Nancy does not look as happy as she is trying to portray

Notice how high he gets as he says Hi!



Chameleon on the melon...

Puff Daddy

Smile for the camera

You have a good hold on him...right?

You haven't lived until you have stared down a viper

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ndere dance troop

Oh that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that people would come to Africa to see what good people they are.  We are amazed each and every week as we come across more and more people who just have a sweet spirit of Christ.  Our branch is small but the people serve and work hard to make the best of what they have.  Nancy is such an inspiration on how to teach and serve in the Primary.  The children love her and she loves them.  She played the Piano in Sacrament today and did a great job.  They don't care if it is perfect or not, they just love to sing the hymns and participate. There are four elders assigned to the Lugazi Branch and they have a desire to serve and do what they can to further with work of the Lord in this part of the world.  We plan to make dinner for them in the next couple of weeks so that should be fun.  We had the three Sisters working here in Kampala over for dinner last Sunday.  I didn't have the heart to tell them the roast beef had been on the floor as the plate fell off the counter as I was cutting the meat. I think the 5 or 10 second rule doesn't respect borders but just in me keep my secret.  We made our traditional beef, carrots, onion and potatoes in the crock pot with mushroom gravy.  The African sister are not as fond of gravy as we Americans.

The four elders in our building will be coming to dinner tonight.  We are going to have some type of chicken fajitas with tons of guacamole as the avocados are huge here.  So here is recap of our week.

Nancy will get a couple of phone calls every day from sick missionaries.  She will diagnose and get them back to work with whatever they need to get feeling better.  It could be eyes, stomach, UTI's, knees or any other part of the body.  I am trying to build a spreadsheet to track the vehicle maintenance for the past year.  That will take up much of next week.

On Wednesday we went to Ndere, a Polynesian Culture Center type dance troupe from Africa.  One of the senior couples has their daughter here for a couple of weeks and we all went to the show.  It is expensive, $30,000 shillings each.  Ok that is only around $12 for a three hour show so we will be going a few more times and it is only 15 minutes from out apartment (less than two miles but traffic is always interesting).

He can take his arms all around his body without changing the position of his hands

He took one look at me, while I was flexing in the audience, and I think it scared him a little bit...


They balance these heavy drums on their head while playing, marching and kicking

They start out with just a couple of jars on their head and then work their way up in number while dancing

Nine jars was the top and then the ladies will walk up the stairs in the back with them still on their head

Not a native but still very cute!

Other exciting events this week include taking our elder that had knee surgery to get his stitches out.  It was interesting to see how things work here.  We would walk right into the operating room to see where to go next.  I don't have a picture of his wound but it was very interesting to see how they do stitches here.

I also gave my first bribe.  We were driving to the market on Saturday and I didn't do the left hand turn right. A traffic officer was waiting for me and signaled me over.  After she had me pull over she had me get out of the vehicle and asked why I was trying to commit suicide.  I had to listen to a long lecture and she pointed out that my ticket would cost $100,000 shillings.  Nancy is trying to give her $20,000 but she wanted nothing to do with that.  At the end of the lecture we found the proper way to pay an officer is for her to put her ticket book in the vehicle and we slip the money into the book.  All was forgiven and off we went to the market.

Finally, some of the random photos for the week,

Here is Nathan with Sister Squire.  Nathan is the son of the sister that cleans once a week for us.  She straps him on her back and away she goes.

Life is good here, Nelson is the Elders Quorum President and is also a guard for our complex.  He washes my vehicle every Saturday, inside and out, and does an excellent job.

Here we are in the waiting area for getting stitches out

In the Operating Theater (Operating Room)

Maddie, you need to come and do a study abroad next summer for three or four weeks.  Look at the size of the avocados!

Way too long of a post but sometimes you just have to let things out!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Road to our house

As you can see the road to our home is a bit of a ride.  I am not sure if this will work or not.  It took all day to download so you may never get another video again.  I know, how sad for all of you.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Lugazi branch and Photos

Another Sunday in Uganda.  We drove ourselves to the Lugazi Branch this week.  Last week the APs (Assistant to the President) drove us up there so we could get a feel for the drive.  I must admit that I prefer to drive because my leg was killing me sitting in the back of the Nissan.  It takes about an hour to get there and longer coming home as the traffic begins to back up later in the day when more people are out and about.  As chaotic as the driving is, they usually make way for you when you have to turn or merge into traffic.  Here are some of the photos for the last week.

In Africa you make do with what you have.  Here is a set of homemade barbells.  I don't think your muscles mind a bit about what is making them hurt...steel or concrete, it is all pain.

Need four tires at the shop across town, no problem, just get them on a bodaboda and they will be there in a jiffy.

Living in Africa and still need a pimped out Ute vehicle, no problem!

Can't remember what street to turn on to get to our apartment?   We just look for the Fallopian tubes.  Nancy's seem to be a bit enlarged...

Want to help someone in Uganda, send a cow.

This is just a small bunch of bananas.  Some of the ladies will have them stacked multi-levels.

Think I will have to go without hashbrowns, toast, bacon and eggs, think again.

This one made me jump a bit.  I had pealed potatoes and carrots for our dinner tonight with the sister missionaries and was cleaning out the peelings when something started to move in the sink.

Here is our welcoming committee at the Lugazi Branch.  We will post some pictures of the members later.  We love them already.

Got a sugar craving, here you see a load of sugar cane going to processing.  Lugazi is where a large sugar processing factory is located along with many sugar cane fields.

Closeup of same truck.

We hope everyone is doing well.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Our apartment

We are blessed to have wonderful accommodations for the next 18 months.  In our couples complex there are eight different apartments.  We have the three Assistants to the President in one basement apartment. Four elders in the other basement apartment (during transfers and area meetings these numbers swell to lots of elders).  Four sisters in the first level unit and the Humanitarian senior couple in the other first level unit.  We are in the second level unit along with the Public Affairs on the other side (they travel a lot so we don't see them all the time). On the top are the Office Support senior couple and the Perpetual Education Fund senior couple.  Lots of work and lots of room for any others looking for a great place to serve.  There are many senior couples doing Member Leader Support out in the different remote villages.  Here are a few of the pictures of where we live.

Front of complex

Avocado tree out back

Pretty Sister Missionary

There she is again...
 Living Room

Dining Room/Living Room and our office is the back corner


Bedroom with mosquito net down

Net up

We sleep with a fan blowing on us all night because it is warm and humid.  Works great!