Today was kind of low-key. First I woke up and finished my Pluralism paper for ATR class, knocking out all duties for two of my five classes. Next, I washed clothes outside. Then I played adungu for a little.
When 1 PM or so came around, I told Toto I was going to pick Suzan. When I reached Suzan's friends' hostel, they were all watching Ghanian films, which are just as bad as Nigerian films. In each Ghanian movie, the same actor gets involved with too many women and things gets complicated within the family. Africans watch these movies as if there is nothing more intense. When the power goes out and shuts off their laptops they get fairly upset. Anyway, we left there with some supplies Suzan bought for making French Toast. She came over to our home and cooked with me. She also made some really good chapati. Dinner was really good as a result. The day was slow and Sabbath-like.
Today I woke up before 6:30 and prepared for the day. USP kids put together an Ultimate Frisbee team and I was a part of it. I met Suzan outside her hostel and we all grabbed a matatu to the rugby pitch in Lugogo, Kampala. There were about six teams and we were all given different color T-shirts based on what team you were on. USP was green. Before the tournament (a charity event for the red team which was from an orphanage) started, Silver met us there as well. We played the orphanage team first and came from behind to win by one point. Then we played another team immediately thereafter and lost. After that loss the red team approached us saying the game ended in a draw. This is impossible in frisbee, but since our captain Redman could not convince them otherwise, we flipped a frisbee to decide the game. Luckily, we won the flip. But this (and events to be noted later) will explain how corruption is just a part of the Ugandan culture and people.
We played the peace core next, who were very tall and last years champions. We slaughtered them 10-5 or something like that. Then we were tired and barely lost our next game.
The other games ended in a win and a loss, putting us at a 3-3 record. Megan Clapp showed up to hango ut halfway through the tourney. After our six games, I told Redman I was leaving to take Suzan for some American food. Apparently after I left there was a three or four way tie for third place and we played a ten minute game and lost with a close score. Oh well, we all had fun and I am a much better ultimate player as a result.
We went to New York Kitchen and Suzan and I shared a teriyaki burger with all fixins, coleslaw, fries with Heinz Ketchup (Megan said it's not made in Pittsburgh so it's not quite as legit), and a brownie sunday. Silver ate fries. Meg got free bagel crisps with salsa which we all consumed together. It was a good meal according to all of us (Suzan mentioned the next morning she could still taste the burger). Megan and I came up with an idea to start a chapati stand on our campus - a "send meg and phil back to africa" business.
On the way home, our matatu pulled into an illegal space to pick up customers. A police officer came over to ticket the conductor but the conductor just slipped him a few coins. Like I said, corruption here is natural. Additionally, we ran out of gas while on the way home. Horrible service in Uganda sometimes!
That night I was very sore. Suzan, Dean, and I were all exhausted.
So I woke up very sore to a text from Suzan saying her leg was paining her like it did twice in the past.
I met Suzan as she was coming to campus and I escorted her to the Dining Hall because she needed her ID card to go to the hospital in Kampala to get an operation. She had previously forgotten her meal card and had to leave her ID with the head cook as collateral. The head cook wasn't in so she tried to get a referral from the clinic. The clinic denied it. Meanwhile, a UCU prof I have grabbed me and made me take a quiz on the spot because he could not locate the questions to my last quiz (only the answers I had given were in his hands). He was impressed with my essay, but it was kind of frustrating at such an inconvenient time to take a quiz on the spot. Then Suzan and I went to ask our director Mark if it was okay if I skipped class to escort her to the city. He said it was ok if I was marked absent and we took a matatu after a long while of trying to wait for a coaster which would give room for Suzan to stretch her leg. We were picked up from Suzan's father's work at the Bank of Uganda. He took us to a resort where their doctor friend was. He instructed us what to do about Suzan's bad left knee, which was now swollen over twice the size of her good knee. We went to their temporary residence and they fed me (even after Suzan's dad spent several thousand on food for us). I helped figure out how to get working younger sister Rachel's laptop computer which was donated by a sponsor. Then Suzan's dad drove me to town to catch a matatu back while they would go to the clinic to get records of the previous operation so that the problem could be diagnosed without cost. Suzan is probably in Kampala getting fluid extracted from her knee or getting prescribed with tablets as we speak. She may come back to Mukono tomorrow.
So now (after 5 PM), I'm going to start my paper which I wanted to start at 7:30 AM haha. It's the last paper I need to do so I just want to knock it out.
I forgot to mention that Suzan's dad gave me three maize to roast, two mangos, and a handful of "transport money." What a nice dude. Maybe I'll reciprocate with getting him yogurt if I meet him Friday.
Monday, November 30
at 4:32 PM
Friday, November 27
Okay, this won't actually be a cynical post for a change. I just wanted to use a cynical title to describe our Thanksgiving experience in Uganda.
So in the morning I went to town with Josh to buy sweet bread, eggs, and milk to make Cinnamon French Toast because the USP students were responsible for the deserts at our Thanksgiving party (which Mark hosted and invited all UCU alums who happened to be in the country). We took Suzan with us so she could learn how to make this recipe. Josh, Suzan, and I made over 50 pieces.
Then the frustrations began. I went to a tutorial and found out that my tutor had not received my essay a few weeks ago (I gave to a coemployee who said he would forward it to him), and he had not had my quiz from over a month ago (which he later found, thankfully). I told him I'd print out my essay for him again (which costs money by the way), but when I looked for it on my computer, it wasn't there. Thankfully after a frustrating half hour I recovered it. Then Suzan, who had already been dealing with my frustrated self, offered to help me go off campus to find a folder for a portfolio to hand in for the end of a class. She helped me go print some things and put the papers together and was really patient and wanted me to stop thanking her, but I told her it was Thanksgiving, the time of year where we celebrate how those of backwards cultures submitted to the rule of civilized European authorities, saving the history of America as we know it. Just kidding, I didn't tell her that, but I did tell her it was Thanksgiving so she would have to accept my thanks.
USP played a game of American football, of which I wasn't able to make it on time because of all of the stressful running back and forth and printing and organizing and recovering lost things. But afterward we had Thanksgiving at Mark and Abby's house. It was pretty cool. I met a guy from Ethiopia named Moses who studied in England with New Tribe Mission for a year and now was doing something with widows and orphans in Mukono and he was a nice guy. We ate turkey, which I did not know existed in Uganda. We had tons of delicious food. It was a very legitimate meal. I didn't feel 100% afterward, naturally, but it was all worth it. We watched Charlie Brown Christmas when the electricity came back on. There were also lots of monkeys outside hopping from tree to tree.
Today we go to Mildmay Hospital somewhere not far from here. Then the dudes from IMME are having man night together.
at 7:26 AM
Thursday, November 26
Our sister Sarah has finished her last semester of college in Jinja and will start university around September. We went to pick her up yesterday (Vincent drove me, Dean, Suzan, Toto, Kevina, and Sam). We stopped in between Mukono and Jinja where salesmen and saleswomen flood each vehicle to try to sell their products. I got a dozen or so mangos for 1000 shillings and Toto bought some bananas at a dirt cheap price.
When we reached to pick up Sarah, she showed us around her campus. She's also suffering Malaria headaches and has seemed to be pretty tired.
Then we went to Toto's sister's place in a sweet neighborhood of mud/bamboo homes. We were fed a delicious lunch with lots of laughter.
Then Vincent drove us back to campus where Dean and I joined the Ultimate Frisbee practice because we are playing a tournament Sunday in Lugogo, Kampala.
at 7:32 AM
Tuesday, November 24
Grasshoppers are everywhere.
Sometimes people catch them and fry them and eat them.
They are very tasty.
They fly on people in class too.
at 8:27 AM
Monday, November 23
Friday we left after lunch for Rakai, SE of Mukono not far from Lake Victoria and the border with Tanzania. The drive was 7 hours and consisted of me being tired and uncomfortable and seeing trucks overturned just off the highway. One big truck was recently flipped over cuz we could see people gathered around and cattle that were previously inside of it laying on the ground bleeding. Not to mention, all of those cattle-carrying vehicles also have teenage boys stationed on the top, so at 60 MPH I'm sure those boys had to bail when they felt the truck flipping.
We arrived in the extremely-rural Kibaale Community Centre in the Rakai District. It is primarily a private school that is directed by a Canadian group of missionaries, but most staff and teachers by far are Ugandans. I think there's about 150 staff. The Canadians are trying to train Ugandans so it is eventually all run by them. There's also a small hospital and guesthouses and farm and other facilities. The weekend was really chill. The only obligation we really had was a Saturday morning tour of the place and church Sunday morning at El Shaddai Voice of Healing, a church about 3 years old.
The weekend was good food and relaxing, but I had nothing to read and no homework to get ahead on and nothing to do really, which is a good formula for my body shutting down and wanting to be sad and do nothing. The area is beautiful though and I'm ready to get back to work on my remaining courseworks before the semester is over.
This is the last week of my classes through UCU, and on the weekend I may have an interview for a job back at Messiah's Campus and Sunday I'm playing an ultimate frisbee tournament in the capital city Kampala. I think this Friday is when some of us are going to a local hospital that has well addressed the AIDS epidemic. Also, just an interesting fact: AIDS here is not primarily transferred by homosexuals at all, and the use of condoms, unlike in the states, provides absolutely no statistical evidence that AIDS is best prevented through such means.
at 9:43 AM
Thursday, November 19
So I've already failed to accept my renewed call. The next morning when I woke up, I forgot to pray for peace, good health, and strength like the man in Geheni, Rwanda told me to do every morning (I added wisdom to this list). I forgot to sing: "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies are new every day. They are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness." So I'm already a hypocrit because my praxis has failed to align with my telos.
The other day I came home early with Suzan. We were going to go to the garden on the hill but it had been wet due to rain hours before (it's out of place when the wetness sits and it's not immediately dusty 30 minutes after raining), so we just went to our house. Toto had just come back from a burial, looking sadder than I've ever seen her. She told me, "it's just a part of life" and talked a little bit about God. I love when people who aren't committed to a faith of Sunday mornings tell me about God. It's raw and refreshing. Anyway, I asked Toto what she wanted from the market, and she smiled and laughed and thankfully said "anything." I walked a minute to the shop and bought g-nuts and chocolate (Suzan's favorite). There's this one chocolate bar that tastes like a Twix kind of, and another that is a combination of chocolate and orange. Too bad nowadays the only fair trade chocolate you can buy is at least $5 for a small bar. Too bad I buy into the oppressive system anyway. So we took these foodstuffs back home, giving some to Toto. I'm not sure if she ate any.
Suzan and I were in the sitting room and relaxing when I heard the voice of some girls out back. I was hearing Ateso being spoken with my name randomly interspersed. So a few minutes later these 3 girls run into the sitting room greeting me loudly. They are the ones I sometimes go get water with. They are fun and always walking together and wanting to talk to me when I'm around. I had been playing my drum and mbira and one thing led to another and a dance party broke out. They broke a string or two on my adungu, but I can probably get it fixed for free. They left home after about an hour at which point I showered as Suzan and Mom and Kevina prepared dinner.
Last night Sam informed me that this romantic relationship he's been having with "Abigail" on campus has been all a lie so he could write a novel or a movie script. Instead, he's actually interested in one of the USP girls but afraid to intrude in case she has a girlfriend. Funny guy.
Tonight we are hearing Douglas Fountain, a mzungu staff member at UCU present to us on the topic of AIDS. After that I'll be driven home. I'm going to send Suzan some money to go to town and pick up mozzarella cheese and noodles so I can make some pasta tonight since it is Papa's last night with us before he returns to Gulu for work.
Tomorrow we are leaving at 2 PM for a supposedly 6-hour drive to Rakai to learn about AIDS and a Community Operation involved with AIDS victims for the weekend. We come back Sunday around 9 PM. There is apparently no cell phone reception there so you will not be able to get ahold of me until I return on Monday.
at 7:40 AM
Tuesday, November 17
Over a year ago I hit a peak it my life and pursued discipleship no matter what the cost. Every hour I'd be asking God to give me the eyes of Christ. When that happened, I began to see everyone in a new light. It killed me. I only saw brokenness. All around campus I watched fake smiles and people convincing themselves they were fulfilled with fleeting things. Day by day, I'd realize that everyone needed something and that I was incapable of giving it. I decided that seeing people like Christ was the worst gift I've ever been given from God. I renounced my abilities after a few nights of wishing I was dead. I openly accepted again the blinders that had previously covered my eyes. I wanted nothing to do with compassion because I wanted nothing to do with suffering.
Last night as we worshiped as study abroad students for the last service together of the semester, I realized that everything I've learned here point to one thing: discipleship means inevitable suffering. And with someone who has chemical imbalances like me, someone who when he wakes up has to try to convince himself that there is still hope somewhere on earth, hidden from principalities and powers and empire and government and self-righteousness and religious systems and nationalism, this is no easy task. Sometimes I see God everywhere, in everyone and everything, but most of the time He's just hiding Himself and He's nowhere to be seen. But for whatever reason, whether spiritual or intellectual or wishful thinking, I think He's still out there amidst all of this suffering. So last night I decided I'd ask God again to give me those eyes of Christ, and this time whenever I am experience this intense global suffering where all creation groans, I'm going to address the issue through living in solidarity with these broken people. When depression is the heaviest weight, I will try to bare my cross. Maybe I'll give up again, but hopefully I won't.
When I read about how Museveni, Uganda's president/dictator, is considered a "beacon of light in Africa" according to how he is portrayed in the west, I want to vomit. He's broken like us - skewing statistics about unemployment, peace, and education for the sake of satisfying the international community. These stats are what keep the US and Britain, the two major donors to his government, grounds to aid "Uganda." Everyone knows that Ugandans are not receiving these funds. Through corruption, the money given to the government is hoarded by government leaders to supply full dinner plates. Museveni's (I use his name not only to represent him but also his coleaders) greed can be found in his stomach. The money kept for the government is to build the Ugandan military to defend from the LRA (who hasn't attacked once in over a year). But you can't fight the LRA with force - you are then fighting children who have been abducted and enslaved to kill so that they may live. You want to fight with negotiation, not with physical power. But now my attitude in not cynicism. If I can, I will embrace solidarity with the Ugandan people by suffering this atrocity alongside of them. And they will teach me that Christ is NOT working through any kingdom of this world. He has no country with borders. His kingdom transcends all nations and political systems. The one who has been slaughtered through humility has conquered through his suffering.
Why the hell are we at war? Why the hell are we further corrupting developing nations when we have the means to being good health? The only way I can describe how the United States government prioritizes and operates is that it is fucked up. Any other words are not sufficient to describe the brokenness within this worldly system. If our country is at all associated with the right God, we will realize this. The True Kingdom is in this world, but operates completely opposite and in a revolutionary way from what we know. The Kingdom has come but is not fully here, and we are responsible to keep it coming. I am responsible, and so are you. I am willing to suffer at the expense of my life, unlike before. I am pledging allegiance under the correct God, not an artificial establishment.
Last night at the end of our worship service we sang about a God with a Mighty Hand and Outstretched Arm. We sang about how forever this God is strong. But what we also sang about how forever God is with us. Is anyone else hearing this irony when they sing? The God that has a mighty hand and can create an entire universe or wipe out entire nations at the blink of an eye chose to reveal his true self by becoming God-with-us. Emmanuel is a God who took on suffering, refusing to come down from the cross. He became a man tempted in all the same ways as me. That means that over a year ago he saw in the same way, perhaps in a deeper manner, the same brokenness I saw. He rides on the donkey and overcomes his enemies through suffering and love. I hope this post does not find you, as the reader, with closed ears and heart. I hope it speaks a love to you that is worth dying for, and I hope that you feel empowered not to admire or worship Jesus but to follow him. I hope you do not separate your right belief from your right action, your telos from your praxix. But I do hope you separate your nation, your earthly system of how things are to operate, from the Kingdom to which you should truly adhere.
at 7:45 AM
Monday, November 16
Only a few weekends left!
This past weekend was good. Friday we went to a Shrine depicting the early Christian Martyr's. Ugandans tells us these martyrs are the seed of the Church. Catholics and Anglicans alike died together.
Friday night I went to a dinner at the home of the couple who runs Mennonite Central Committee of Uganda. MCC is the most legit Christian organization on the face of the planet. Seriously, they are so creative in the ways they provide relief, development, and peacemaking/keeping. They have so many diverse projects and empower organizations and churches already in existence rather than starting their own denominational establishments for the sake of competition. I would consider working with them later, maybe in advancing peace or in interfaith relations.
Saturday I met with Megan Clapp in Kampala. It was an awesome day. We just chilled. She took me through the market and to a local restaurant she likes. We talked about our experiences. She says she'd consider working in East Africa. I guess I would also, but I feel more called to the states at this point. After chilling, Meg and I met Suzan who was on her way back from IDP Camps or something in Kitgum. Then we walked to take a taxi home. Suzan and I reached our home after long traffic jams and cramped legs.
Sunday I was a Pagan and skipped church (like my family decides to do every week haha). Instead, I did my wash and read and relaxed. Then I took Suzan for lunch (after emailing a job application). We went to a place that was not too satisfying on the ends of quality food and service. They didn't have change for 20000, so Suzan had to walk to find change. No local businesses had change so after 30 minutes she came back to pay our balance. Then we went home to play cards. Papa had employed a truck to come pick up the bricks Sam and Joshua fired way back when. The truck delivered them to our family's other property where they are building a hostel for local students. I hope the hostel is soon finished so the family has income. It's looking like they can struggle by with two of their kids' education. Kevina and Joshua will have to be funded from elsewhere if they hope to get an education through college. School fees. What every African family desires. It's simple to live on less than a dollar a day, but now that the western world has introduced another necessity, Africans across the continent (and those of other continents also) are now begging for this "need" which they have no capital to afford.
This weekend we are going to Rakai in the south to learn about the AIDS epidemic and organizations working with that and stuff.
Next Thursday is Thanksgiving and I'm making Cinnamon French Toast for our dinner together.
I can feel the schoolwork both picking up and winding down.
at 7:40 AM
Friday, November 13
So yesterday in the Dining Hall a student was standing up between the two sides holding a Bible just preaching to anyone who was listening. Nobody was watching him. He was telling students to repent of their sins and turn to Jesus Christ. Another attribute of the ever-growing Pentecostalism movement in Uganda.
Anyway, I wanted to comment about Silver, my friend who is in his first semester as a Law student. He's one determined kid with great time management. He sleeps early and wakes around 5 AM to read his Bible, the English dictionary, and law reading additional to his studies. He's very hardworking and determined to succeed in law so he can help slow financial corruption in the courts. He is very friendly and social with his fellow students, roommates, professors, etc. His time management is incredible. Yesterday he wanted to spend time reading my poetry and listening to my DIY recordings on my Macbook. When a girl came asking for money for a fundraiser walk, he gave money explaining that the Lord provides. he wants to become a lawyer and provide free services to those victims of rape, injustice, etc that cannot afford good services. He's trying to get a visa or green card or whatnot to the states. Normally I tell Ugandan students that they probably don't want to go there as much as they think, but if anyone would utilize our good education system it would be Silver. So that's my friend Silver.
Suzan is in Kitgum learning from an organization that works with victims of Kony Rebels (Lord's Resistance Army victims). However, she text me yesterday saying that due to poor budgeting they might be coming back today. That's kind of ridiculous on a University level (especially for a reputable university like UCU) that budgeting would be that poor.
Today I'll be going to a local shrine after my one class. In the evening I'm going to a missionary's house for dinner. The missionary works with Mennonite Central Committee, and I want to learn about peacemaking missions in Uganda (if there have ever been any) and what they have to say about the role of nonviolence in missions.
at 7:54 AM
Thursday, November 12
I'm part of a demographic that seems to always know what the next stage in life is going to be. Granted, I can't predict everything, but the past several years have been full of not-so-ambiguous events of a few months (college semesters, traveling, music, camp counseling, etc etc). Well, now I still know what to expect (guess I haven't fully embraced this African "presence" yet). So for January I am not doing J-term, I am traveling with my band down the east coast for a few weeks of performances. In February I start spring semester at Messiah Grantham campus with these classes:
United States History Survey to 1865
Historical Study of Peace
Ethnic and Racial Politics in America
Christianity in Africa
I'm not too pumped about US History or Stats as gen ed classes, but I figured since there was nothing else I needed to take I'd knock them out by taking the full 18 credits. Might have to pick up another minor later on down the road if I stick with this whole collegiate education thing, but what I would really like to do is make my minor of Peace and Conflict Studies my major. At this point, it is not being offered as a major though, so I'm just rolling with it.
As far as life here is concerned, I'm doing well. Last night we had a huge dinner: posho, meat, spaghetti, g-nut sauce, fried matoke, beans, pineapple, soup. I ate so much. Suzan left early this morning for Kitgum (she'll be there until Sunday). Apparently because of instability USP does not allow us to travel to northern Uganda. I want to go there someday, however. Besides, there has been no Lord's Resistance Army induced violence for over a year anywhere within the border.
Also, when we talked about Environmental Issues in class yesterday, I came up with a holistic approach to address the issues of pollution, AIDS, and poverty: hire those working as prostitutes to support their families to pick up trash and litter. I think it'd be a good plan to offer to the people of Uganda.
I also started working with USP director Mark on the presentation topic of homemaking vs. homelessness. Basically, the argument is whether Christian college students are taught to be upwardly mobile, traveling anywhere and vandalizing the earth and foreign communities or if they are being taught a sense of place and rootedness in a geographic location.
just some ramblings and updates for today....tomorrow I'm going on an ATR field trip to a shrine and then meeting with a Mennonite Central Committee missionary for dinner (which will be cool on account of my theological convictions and steadily increasing interest in peacemaking). Saturday I'm going to meet Megan Clapp in Kampala.
at 8:03 AM
Wednesday, November 11
So apparently I broke a USP rule by not bringing my "ambiguous relationship" to the staff here, though I appreciate the intentions behind that rule I guess. This week we're presenting in ATR on Christianity in Uganda, particularly how it was spread. Interestingly enough, primary evangelism was done for monetary or political gain, or for the sake of reaching out to a heathen world. Now Timy in Taiwan is telling me about how his friends there are deeming Catholics unchristian and Muslims as following a straight up satanic religion. This goofy mission field of the globe may never be set free from narrow-mindedness. Hopefully Timy will call them out (in love) haha. Anyway I gotta go to the printing stands to print some papers for class now.
at 8:06 AM
Monday, November 9
Friday one of our classes went to a Mosque in Kampala. That's cool and all besides the fact that we didn't actually go inside and we just listened to a speaker. Eh I guess it was cool, though I was expecting more.
Saturday was the Cultural Gala at UCU where students from all different tribes did their traditional dances and wore traditional outfits and stuff. Suzan and I also watched to Sigur Ros documentary which never fails to be amazing.
Sunday I met Suzan for prayers but we left early to reach the place where her father stays in Kampala when he is working. So basically he lives on his boss's property while he is driving. Otherwise he doesn't get paid much which means that Suzan has been lucky to go to school because every Ugandan family can basically live without money until it comes to school fees. So if kids want educated, it's all basically based on luck whether they get it or not. Suzan's younger siblings (who are born to another mother) probably won't get to go as far in their education. Anyway Suzan's dad likes me and all but because of African culture my age might be a problem for his approval. I guess it will take awhile for him to see that I am serious and not just a kid. In other news, Papa is back home from Gulu for two weeks.
at 7:49 AM
Tuesday, November 3
Brian tells me that Mt. Elgon, the widest mountain on the face of the globe, is where man comes from. The oldest human fossils were discovered there. It looks similar to the Rocky Mountains - an abrupt transition from flat plains to towering hills. The volcanic soil is so rich and fertile. Rural dwellers cultivate crops (mainly coffee, maize, and matoke) all over the slopes of Mt. Elgon. There is no peak of the mountain; it just gradually slopes upward as you move toward the Kenya border.
Day 1 - Friday
Our coaster was an hour and a half late coming from Kampala, so we arrived in Kapchurwa at night (thus I was later given by my family the name "Chelangat" which means "at night"). I was brought up the hills through the darkness and seemingly endless matoke forests where we reached the home of my father Patrick. His brother John also escorted me. I was welcomed into the kitchen where their nieces Karen (early teens) and Rachel (in Senior 3) were cooking for my arrival. They then brought the food into the house where I ate only with John and talked to him about the political history of Uganda. He also explained that the loud (but distant) major key, upbeat music was coming from the home of a girl who just died in a boda boda accident. "Someone dies from a motorcycle accident nearly every week," he told me. "Tomorrow we will go to the burial - in our culture we attend the funeral services of our neighbors."
The first night of sleep was strange, as my room was pitch black at night. There is no light pollution even remotely close, and even those who have electricity in the tiny town of Kapchurwa are few. I wouldn't have a watch or phone or clock for the week, so I just got out of bed when I felt like it. Patrick immediately took me up the hill to a cave (created by volcanic activity) which is on his property. He said he was going to make it a resort someday haha. He then walked me around the hills. Every home seemed to house a relative, whether it be a cousin-brother, one of many mothers, etc. We visited some injured people. One lady had a cast on her leg, and another man had an arm in a sling. I think both were due to boda boda accidents. Back at the house, Rachel told me to photograph the slaughtering of a chicken. I was given the gizzard to eat since I was the guest. Then I went to the burial of the young girl. Patrick told me to bring the camera, so I did. There were so many speeches. I think some kids have never seen a mzungu before. There were times throughout the whole week that I was stared at literally for 45 minutes. Anyway, one guy spoke at the burial condemning boda drivers and another went off about the Catholic Church, which seemed completely unrelated. It started to rain hard, and the hundreds of people at this home tried to gather under the small tents. When rain hit again as we were walking back, we simply went under the roof of a stranger's home. It's common policy with the rain there. I was given a seat, the only one in the house, even though there were two ladies holding babies. I wanted to offer them the seat.
Dad can look at the sun and tell me it's almost 5:25. It's amazing. That must be why he said I had slept in late, despite the fact that it was only 7 AM. He says he sees no point in sleeping much. He'll sleep 4 hours an ight and be completely rested each day. Ugandans are nuts like that. I was fed tea, 2 chapati, a banana, g-nuts, and an egg for breakfast. I then came outside to sit in the shade to wait for church. Karen did not wait long before she came up to me saying, "I want to serve you breakfast." I laughed because I thought I already had breakfast but she gave me a bowl of cabbage, a bowl of beans, juice, 3 sweet potatoes, and 3 bananas. I was so stuffed from before that I could barely make a dent in it. Church wasn't far away/ The service was 4 hours long, but my stomach bothered me the whole time. It would bother me for the rest of the week because I would always be given milk that came straight from a cow's utter. My body is only used to processed and fake foods. This real stuff destroys me. I can't wait to have more preservatives when I get to the states. By this point in the week, I had already learned more Kupsabiny (their language) than any other language I've heard here.
I picked coffee in the morning with Patrick and some visitors from the border of Kenya. Then Patrick and I set off for a long walk. We first went to a trade school where he works as an accountant (as if farming was not enough). I was welcomed, as always, with tea. Then I was brought to the staff room where people asked me questions. I ended up talking to one guy about my studies in peace and conflict. He asked me a lot about Mormonism, Satanism, the Qur'an, Christianity in the west, and Wicca. I was not able to answer some questions. I was cut off from our conversation to go meet Patrick's boss. He was very smart, having been all over the world. He delivered to me a convincing case that AIDS is artificial and was utilized by the American government to control the population of Africa. He was actually praising the guy who he said cultivated AIDS. He thought him to be brilliant. Patrick and I walked around that place and then set off for town. We arrived at the hospital where we visited some patients. Then Patrick took me out to eat to a place where he is able to watch Nigerian films. Search them on youtube to learn that they are the cheesiest and worst films ever created by humans. Patrick, as always, wanted me to take pictures everywhere. We then went to a shop of an Indian man, who told me he moved from India in search of work. He has been in Kapchurwa since 1995 I believe. An IT student named Justine was typing a fine write-up for a police officer, and because few here can type fast, I took over the job for her. Then I taught Patrick how to play Free Cell. On the way back, we stopped at a center to get a stalk of sugarcane (6 feet tall for 600 shillings/30 cents). A bunch of drunks were wanting to talk to me. Some kids were following me and cheering so I told Patrick to ask them if they would do the same if they saw Jesus. They replied, "Yes, we would cheer for him." However, I then asked, "what if Jesus wasn't a mzungu?" - and Patrick said, "but Jesus IS a mzungu." That was kind of disappointing to hear from such a smart man. I think we walked over 25 kilometers today.
This morning I woke up before the sun woke up and I really wanted to call Suzan while the minutes were cheap but I couldn't even find strength to reach for the phone. I fell back asleep and then woke up to find Patrick had left to visit a patient, who now had a 10% chance of living. Last time I saw her she looked ready to die. I vomited outside that morning. I was not feeling well. I later called Suzan which was a breath of fresh air. Seth and Vincent showed up in the early afternoon to give me Pepto pills. I took them to the cave. When Seth and I reached the top, we turned around to see Vincent breathing heavy and sitting down, looking at the amazing view. "If you were in a relationship with a girl who was delaying the relationship," he said, "you would take her here to convince her of the relationship." "Would you take Betty here?" asked Seth, referring to Vincent's wife. "No," replied Vincent, "I've already convinced her to the maximum!" Later, Patrick took me and my 3 year old brother Jeremy to the summit of the area.
The best stars I've ever seen are here when it is not cloudy. Seriously, I don't think there is a place in the states, except maybe somewhere in Alaska, that has a better view. Everyone was gone in the morning so I decided to pick coffee. After a few hours, I didn't even fill a basin. If workers fill a basin, they are rewarded with 1000 shillings or $.50 - in America we call that employee abuse. Patrick came back and asked me how I was feeling. I told him, "better, but not 100%" - so then Seth and Adelaine show up. I had no idea why. Apparently Patrick called thinking I was in a horrible condition and that they should come fix my body. He said he knows that Americans will often lie to be polite, as in, "Oh, I'm fine" when they really aren't. Later Patrick came home again from the hospital and I asked how the patient Annette was doing. "It's amazing!" he exclaimed. "I don't think the recovery is normal but she's already sitting up, talking, and I even saw her take a soda." To think that I only threw out aimless minute prayers for her about her condition, expecting her to die, made me feel really small. I could've physically seen her approaching the grave beforehand.
We spent hours harvesting coffee on another plot of land Patrick owned about 3 kilometers away. It took several hours to finish that area. That night I explained to dad over our last dinner together how he had fulfilled 4 of the 5 criteria in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats for entering heaven instead of hell in just one week's time. He laughed, telling me he never heard of the parable. The conversation ended when he simply said, "If someone is suffering, you can't just watch." This is coming from a guy who has the same plea as the Christians of my generation: "Away with systematic church." Patrick doesn't understand why 4 congregations members each Sunday stand up to ramble about nothing or deliver a lengthy sermon. Patrick says that in my place you get consumed with yourself and forget about your brother. In Kapchurwa, the family lives together until the death, multiple generations under the same roofs. I think there are some things about Kapchurwan culture that are just inherently Christian. Is that possible?
My departure the next morning was hard. They asked me to stay for at least another month. They would've given me land to stay there forever if I wanted it. The place is basically paradise, so I won't say that I didn't consider it. I was also excited to get back to my family in Mukono though. I was given the gift of a photo album upon leaving so that I could share my experience from Kapchurwa with others. I hope to send them mail or photos sometime. Anyway, Sipi Falls was where we all got back together for debrief. We met with the USE students who stayed in Soroti. We went on a hike, which lead me to a headache, then to chills, then to coughing, etc etc etc. Now I am back in Mukono, still trying to recover from this miserable sickness which was at first thought to be malaria, but it's probably dehydration. It's good to be with family and friends again. Now I'm just trying to get my work done and still be healthy. My cough has gotten worse but I think my fever is somewhat going away. The headaches are also lessening.
at 2:09 PM