Monday, August 19, 2013

Life in Uganda: Update One

Hello from Kubamitwe, (coom-ba-me-tway) Uganda! Barely a map dot in the midst of the jungle, this little village will be my home for the next few months. It is a beautiful tropical place, and as my new Ugandan friends tell me, this country is called the Pearl of Africa for a reason.

Since I landed a week ago, the hardest thing to comprehend is that this place is real. It is not just an article I am reading in National Geographic or a sad commercial I am watching about starving children.  Although I’m talking and hugging people, walking on red dirt roads, and waving chickens out of the food, it still feels a bit like a strange dream. It is hard to comprehend that people really do walk for miles to get water, kids wander around naked or in tattered clothes, and that families live in mud huts and cook over an open fire.

We’ve been spending much of our time in the villages, visiting people and doing Bible study with Bekah, my friend who lives here. The people are incredibly grateful to have us, and often say “you are most welcome here.  Thank you for coming to visit us.” It’s actually bit of a hilarious spectacle, with literally everyone waving or shouting about the “white girls!!!” as we drive by on our little motorcycles. It’s like we are part of a permanent parade. If you ever want a self-esteem boost, this is the place for you. I’ve had a few marriage proposals already, so I’ve decided to postpone my answers for awhile until I can line all of the eligible bachelors up and make a more informed decision. (Just kidding, dad!)

I’m so glad to be here with my friends Hannah and Amy (who leave in a week in a half), and especially with Bekah, who knows the language and the people.  We’ve laughed a lot with each other and the Ugandans, who are quite the spirited people. The other night we played a viciously passionate game of charades and are planning a night where everyone will perform their tribal dances. One of the guys is insisting that we also bring a tribal dance, and since I can’t quite remember the mighty Iroquois dance (of Iroquois County, IL), we are thinking the Macarena may have to suffice. (It’s a crowd pleaser, right?)

Everyone has been eager to give me an intense African education. While we were walking to a village the other day, my new friend Isaac, who hails from Texas, was teaching me about the local snakes and what to do upon an encounter with said snake….black mambos, you stay still…. vipers, you run. Helpful information, except I’m not sure I could identify either snake at this point. Maybe next week’s lesson  should include some flash cards.

It’s been a full and overwhelming week so far, but I am very glad to be here. Pray I could continue to adjust and absorb the surroundings. The immense need and poverty is hard to process, so pray I would use my time well and wisely and do what God has for me, not trying to do too much or believing that He can’t use me at all.  Pray too for the people working here full-time and the Ugandan leadership in the community and church. There are many needs and much wisdom is needed in knowing how to help in ways that are sustainable and best.

And if anyone has a tribal dance up your sleeve, please share!


  1. Thanks for the update, Jackie! Sounds like an adventure! You have a way with words and I can almost picture you there getting cheered at on your motorcycle. We miss you! God bless your work there. We will be praying!

  2. SO glad you are getting settled. Thanks for the update- they will help us to know what to pray. I know God will use you in His way and you will be changed and blessed by this experience!!
    As for the snakes I hope not one crosses your path any time soon!
    I understand about the proposals as I had eligible bachelors tracking me in Haiti trying to make conversations!! Enjoy!! :)
    Love you and praying for you! Auntie M

  3. Sounds like a good time so far. Know that the Lord will use you in mighty ways. We will add you to our prayer list. Any dance you do, even if made up on the spot will be new to them! Enjoy and have fun. Sherry J.

  4. Thanks for the update, Jackie! Praying for you.

  5. Love your writing, jac!! You do such a great job expressing things:) So thankful you are there safely & getting settled.... thanks for the update- will look forward to reading your posts & updates to keep up with whats going on there & how you are doing.... we will be praying for you!! Please watch out for those snakes & such - that sounds SCARY!! I'm sure you will have many stories to tell!! Love you girl:) A. Tricia

  6. Love you Jack! Please don't get bit by should definitely make those flash cards!


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