- posted by mika
Now that we’ve had some time to settle at Suubi, I’ll try to describe what daily life is like for us here so far. Suubi is BIG – over 200 acres with over 900 kids (not counting house mums, teachers, and other staff). I kinda feel like a new freshman on college campus. It is a knowable place, but a bit overwhelming at first. We walked miles and miles last week trying to discover where everything is at. Reynah’s umbrella stroller is not really cutting it with this terrain. I’m thinking about getting some of this pretty fabric here and tying her to my back, but I don’t think she will go for it. She loves to tackle the hills herself!
Our apt. is near the top of the hill. The administration building and classrooms are on the very top, and the children’s houses and clinic are down the hill on the other side. When I say “hill” it’s a little like a small mountain. The view, as I’ve already mentioned, is just amazing! We can see for miles in all directions. Our apt is on the second floor, so we love going out on the balcony to enjoy the breeze. A couple of mornings ago there was a thick blanket of fog everywhere beneath us. It really looked like a white ocean - and the hilltops around us, with their tropical trees on top, were like little islands coming out of the water.
The apartment is simple but sufficient – and quite a bit bigger than we expected. The big windows are the best feature; I open them first thing in the am. There are two bedrooms. The kitchen and living room area is like one big open room. We have a small fridge and a little counter-top gas stove. The bathroom is just a toilet, sink, and a shower head with a drain on the floor. The floors and counter tops are all concrete with a reddish-brown stain – the same color as the dirt here, which I’m sure is intentional. The dirt is just unavoidable! Today I mopped for the first time, and couldn’t tell a bit of difference before and after. But the mop water gave me proof that my efforts are not futile!
Domestic duties take more time, of course. All the drinking water has to be boiled, cooled, and stored. T has done an excellent job of washing most of the dishes. I’m washing some clothes by hand, and some I take to Pastor Josh and Patience’s house. They have a small washing machine on their back patio. I’m not certain that it saves very much time, since it’s about a ½ mile walk from here to there. I’m sure I look funny walking with my bright blue laundry bag on top of my head African style. They probably wonder why the white girl doesn’t just wash her clothes on her own veranda like everyone else. I just feel like they are getting clean better in the machine. Plus, walking is less tedious than squatting and scrubbing.
So, many people have asked what it feels like to be here. Is it what we thought it would be? To try to answer briefly, Watoto is “as advertised.” We are super impressed with this ministry and have enjoyed everyone that we’ve worked with so far. We can definitely see ourselves serving here for a longer time, though we still haven’t made def. plans as to how and when we would return. As far as living in Africa, I don’t think we had very specific expectations. I’ve been very intentional to let all the culture-shock and reality of life here hit me full force. Generally, when I travel overseas, I love to “romance” the culture. I become enamored with it, and flirtatiously think I could live in it and adopt it as my own. Well, there’s no flirting going on right now. We are weighing a serious commitment, so I’ve not allowed myself to gush and flatter every new experience. I think there things about Africa that we would deeply love and other things that would just be hard. But we are SO grateful for the opportunity to have these 7 wks. to just soak it up. I keep thinking of missionaries who arrive on their field for the first time, ready to stay for several years. That requires a lot of grace!
There is one thing I have to gush about, though. I am have noticed that I feel the most at home during worship times. I’m sure it helps that they love to sing Hillsong and Chris Tomlin. And their style of worship is very familiar to me, because it reminds me of how my dad worships… if you are praising and singing, then you are dancing and moving! This is one aspect of Africa that I know I will “deeply love.”