Ten weeks in and I convinced that my African experience will be different than expected.
The other day the main road in Gulu was filled with the usual assortment of trucks, bicyclists, cars, pedestrians,a bull and motorcycles. Yup – a cow had decided to wander through Gulu amid the late afternoon traffic. It wasn’t until a few minutes later that I remembered that this is ‘not quite right’ and wished I had a photo. Later I got my chance as Dale (the bull’s newly assigned name) had wandered down a quieter side street. No one seemed to mind and Dale was still unfazed by the occasional truck.
Ten weeks in and I am realizing that many things which once seemed incredible are now routine.
If I expected to be lonely here, I would have been surprised. Gulu was once the ‘NGO* capital of the world’ and many organizations are still here. With all these organizations, there are hundreds of like-minded volunteers and aid workers here – I find myself often forced to turn down offers to hang out, eat or travel; there is just not enough time to do it all and work. * (Non-Governmental Organization – think non-profits, ministries, etc)
If had expected to experience culture shock, I would have been surprised. As of yet, that it has not set it. English is widely spoken, so communication is not a problem. ‘American’ foods such as bacon, waffles, Honey Nut Cheerios (these are basically the highlight of my day…) and ice cream are easy to find. The power is on more than half the time. Gulu has been pretty easy place to live, I think the shock would be much greater if I was living in the more remote reaches of Uganda.
If I expected to not blend in; well, I would have been right. 6′ 1″, blond, blue-eyed, Scott does not exactly blend well in most places and Gulu is not an exception. However, most people do not stare or single me out; I am simply another person living in the community.
‘Orange’ juice is unexpected, as are the oranges. The box says ‘Dole’ and shows ‘orange’ juice, but sometimes the juice is a light green (think Mountain Dew). Most oranges here have green skin and some have green flesh – which makes for green ‘orange’ juice.
If I expected my work to go as planned, well that would be not quiet right either. Land purchasing in Uganda takes a whole new level of patience and the new primary school land has not been an exception. Until the land deed is processed we are unable to start the construction of the school. But, that has not prevent me from staying busy.
Christmas in Uganda was awesome. 85 and sunny 🙂 Some Aussie’s and Kiwis tried to teach me cricket…which was a learning experience. I think I have learned that professional cricket is not a likely career…
I did not expect to watch New Year’s fireworks from the roof of a fire truck. But I didn’t mind. 🙂
So far, I have yet to do the work that I thought that I was ‘supposed to do’. However, though all the delays, adventures, difficulties and confusion Jesus has been so good. He has been teaching me to love and trust Him in ways I never really thought possible. Which make me wonder if maybe what I am currently doing is what I am ‘supposed to do’…
Life in Africa has been unexpected, amazing, sometime patience-taxing, difficult and most definitely an adventure.