Saturday, April 5, 2014

the thrills, chills, and defining moments of 2014... so far

That title is a bit dramatic, I know.  Yeah, ok ... it's a lot dramatic. Truth is, I had a really hard time thinking of how to caption this post.  A more appropriate title would be - "Remember back in 2013 and I told you that we were going to South Africa and that my family was coming to visit and I promised an update and now it is 2014 and all I've delivered is some musing about parenting in Africa..."  Of course, I don't flatter myself to think that any of you are actually waiting in breathless anticipation for such an report.  But, sometimes, for my own sake, I have to write a random, shot-gun post that carries absolutely no emotional, intellectual, or spiritual weight.  This is that post today. So, here we go -

South Africa... !!  How do I love you?  Let me count the ways...

1.  I love you because you have a stunner of a city called Cape Town, where we can play at the beach, climb a mountain, and visit a toy store all in the same day.

on top of Table Mt.
2. I love you because you have Haagen-Dazs ice cream, gas stations with RESTAURANTS in them, and KFCs where we can eat chicken cheaper than even in the U.S.

3.  I love you because you have reminded me that driving can, in actuality, be a very pleasant experience.  (I mean, seriously - look at this road! - well-marked lines, no potholes, boda bodas, or over-sized trucks coming toward us in our lane!)

4.  I love you because your beaches get cool points off the chart for having whale skulls and tidal pools and just, overall, the best backdrop I can imagine.

5. I love you because you have this amazing place called Cango Wildlife Ranch where we can make friends with cute animals.

There are a dozen more pictures and reasons to share, but I will refrain and stop there.  I should also refrain from saying yet again that we got free tickets to visit South Africa with our air miles.  I should, but I can't.  I feel annoyed at myself that I have this compulsion to explain/ defend the fact that we took a vacation and thoroughly enjoyed a first-world country for 2 wks.  I suppose other missionary friends might understand this as well.  The fact is, we are in Uganda 100% because people support us to be here.  AND the fact is, we wouldn't be able to stay here long-term if we didn't allow for breaks and intentional family time.

We truly felt like God gave us this time, and He blessed it.  Before we left, my realist husband kept saying, "This will be our vacation of a life-time."  And his idealist wife kept saying, "Don't say that!  I'm sure we will have other amazing vacations too."  Well, the journey's ended, the story's been told ... and I have to say that it will indeed be hard to ever beat this one.

Now, on to -

My Family Came to Visit!!!!!

In the three years that we've lived here, I can't tell you how many times I have daydreamed about having family here beside me.  Like when I'm maneuvering my van through a CRAZY round-a-bout in Kampala traffic.  Like when I'm walking the cow path into the community and down to the roadside to by some vegetables, ducking under people's wet laundry hanging on the line, stepping over ravines of rubbish (and heaven knows what other filth), being followed by a parade of children chanting, "mzungu."  There are aspects of living in Uganda that I can never fully convey through words and pictures over the internet.

  It is so significant to me that they know our world now, and have seen, touched, smelled the soil where we've planted our hearts.  Then, also, there's the fact that they hadn't seen their grandchildren in 15 months, so we had a lot of memory-making to catch up on!  

I'm blithely giving you all the sweet stuff of the last 3 months.  Lest you assume we live a charmed life, let me interject that there have been some very difficult and disappointing weeks mixed in there as well.  In fact, 2014 seemed to shoot out 0 to 60mph like a roller coaster, and proceeded to drop me a couple of times quite unexpectedly.  I think I have just recently caught my breath.  I really don't want to make this a heavy post though, so I won't revisit the plunges right now.  I will just testify that God is faithful - always, always - and His timing is perfect.

As for the "Chills" I mentioned -

This photo was taken right behind our flat in February.  One Sunday afternoon, some Watoto boys came upon a puff adder (the most deadly poisonous snake in East Africa).  They bashed it's head and had fun showing off their "prize."  If you notice, the end of it is quite enlarged.  We assumed that it had just enjoyed a nice meal, but when they cut it open, as boyish curiosity demanded they do, there were about 100 babies inside!!  Yes, I looked it up, and puff adders do give birth to live young. This mama was apparently in labor, which is how they were able to kill her so easily.  She and the babies were buried in a VERY deep pit, and we all slept better that night knowing there were 101 fewer puff adders on Suubi Village.

In other news, Thomas traveled to Gulu and was very pleased to get to eat anyeri or cane rat.  I know  - some of you are about to abandon visiting my blog altogether, because I can't stop talking about all the weird things we eat.  I promise I will try to give it a break after this post!  Thomas has been eager to taste one of these cane rats ever since we first visited northern Uganda and saw the guys spear-hunting them in a field.

And he was so very considerate to bring some of the cooked meat home in a container to share with the rest of the family - what a thoughtful guy I have!  Some husbands bring home flowers, but my man brings home rat! 

Lastly, a Weather Report -

The rainy season has arrived here, bringing some much needed relief and water.  I do love the rainy season, because it is so drastic.  It rarely rains all day long  - actually, it never rains all day long.  Rather, it blows in suddenly, and the sky empties in great, huge, incessant drops.  The African rain does not drizzle.  The wind is fierce, and for an hour or so, the world stops.  The rain can delay anything from starting.  And even if you are in the middle of a meeting or a church service, it isn't uncommon to have to just simply pause and wait out the rain.  Most buildings here have tin roofs, so the noise is deafening.  But it's a good kind of deafening - the kind of deafening that makes you feel small and alive and grateful for simple things.

watching the rain roll in from our veranda

and when it arrives... also taken from our veranda
Well, my shot gun is finally out of ammunition now, and the kids are begging for supper.  Hope your day is lovely, and I hope my night brings more rain.  Sleeping under a tin roof when it rains is the best


  1. Mika, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, and I'm SO glad your family got to vacation together and then enjoy a great visit from your parents and youngest sis! Also, my favorite line of this post is: "Some husbands bring home flowers, but my man brings home rat!" Haha! I can relate (almost). My man brings home rabbit, deer, elk . . . and he's been known to eat squirrel and chipmunk for breakfast. If he lived in Uganda, he'd probably try rat.

    1. Hey, dear Joanna! I'm glad to know you enjoyed. Wish our "men" could meet each other! T is of the opinion that rats, squirrels, and rabbits are all the same. Personally, I'm not too keen on eating ANY kind of rodent. :)

  2. We love reading what is happening in your part of the world...So happy you got to share some of your work with your Dad and Mom there. They are precious folks! Love you all. Linda.

    1. Yes ma'am, they sure are good folk! :) It was SUCH a blessing to have them here! Thanks, as always, for your love and encouragement, Linda.

  3. "I have to write a random, shot-gun post that carries absolutely no emotional, intellectual, or spiritual weight. This is that post today." ....

    Actually, this post carried all those things for me!! I am awed by God's beauty and awesomeness in His creation with your pictures, and words, and it prompted to thank Him for His messengers all around the world.

    I hate that you feel obligated to "explain" the vacation, but I understand. I AM so very glad you went, experienced and then SHARED the wonder with us.

    God bless and many prayers!

    1. Aww, thanks, Stacey! It's good to know that God can use my rambling! :) And I don't think that anyone has made me feel obligated to explain my vacation; I'm sure it is more a self-imposed obligation. But, you're right - God's creation is awesome, and it IS fun to share.