Sorry if there was any concern about it, I just haven’t been able to get online and update all of you on what is going on in the busy life of Kitgum, Uganda! So be re-assured that all is going well and I am as healthy as ever!
So here is what I have been up to the last week and a half...
I find that in life, God always seems to bless me with amazing timing! Although the McCourtney’s haven’t been able to take a vacation as a family for several years, they were blessed with some money for Christmas and decided to take several days and go as a family to Jinja for a little R&R. So after living here a full 2 ½ weeks, I got to pack my bags and go to the city of Jinja which is the source of the Nile river... Can you say beautiful? I will upload some pictures here soon so you can all see how amazing it is! I told Summer that no one would ever believe I was living in Africa. It is gorgeous. We even had pizza!!! Man, let me tell you what, I was feeling pretty amazing. The kids spent a good portion of the days swimming in the pool, although they all had some sunburn difficulties :) I am pretty sure they couldn’t figure out why their noses were pealing! Most of the kids had never had a sunburn so it was one more new experience!
Also, I had a new experience. In Uganda, if you want to get around, you just hire a boda-boda (motorcycle) and you hop on the back and the driver takes you wherever you want to go. So picture this. We walk up to a driver, tell him where to go and then hop on side saddle (have I mentioned I am almost always in a skirt) and away we race to dodge other vehicles, busses and large trucks also traversing the roads! Helmets... what helmets... We don’t need those silly things, totally unnecessary. What is going out shopping without taking your life into your hands every once and awhile :) All I could think as I was flying through the streets of Jinja was that my mom would kill me if I got hurt on one of those things!
After all of this fun stuff, it was back to the town of Kitgum, also known as home sweet home or as Ezekiel (one of the 5 year olds) put it when we were pulling in WELCOME TO PARADISE! I guess I will take some pictures of the city soon so that you can see what the town looks like. Then the humor of that statement will hit you :D Kitgum is an experience in itself...
Anyway, we had church on Sunday morning and then I was able to go out to the village with Zane and some of the men from the church to do a service with the people there as well as Sunday School with the kids. Zane asked me to do a Sunday School lesson for the children. I was thinking 10 or 15 children between the ages of 5-10... Boy was I in for a surprise! After traveling for an hour on pretty good roads (a blessing because apparently it used to take 2 ½ to 3 hours) we pulled in to the village where we were greeted by 15 or so adults and around 40 children.
Church is held outside under a huge mango tree! I was joking with them that the church is bigger in the village because the tree is larger than the tree we meet under in Kitgum for church :) Also, a blessing (as a side note) is that it is cooler out in the village, so having church in the evening was nice. The people were very sweet and welcoming and then we started church. Everything is a capella (although sometimes drums accompany the singing) and a man named Charles goes with Zane and does the worship. I wish I could upload videos of the worship cause it is awesome! So much fun and Summer was telling me they call it “aerobic worship” cause you are singing, clapping and jumping up and down! Too much fun for sure I love it!
Anyway, then came Sunday School. Although I have taught before I was super nervous! Julius was my interpreter (most of the children don’t speak english or only know a few words) and we took the children in to the actual village area and sat them down under a tree. Our story was the ten commandments and then that lead into the golden calf :) It was pretty exciting! Julius is really good with the kids so I would talk and then he would translate! It was a lot of fun. He made them repeat a lot of things after him to help them remember! He told me later he thinks they will talk among themselves and in a week or so if we keep reminding them some will be able to tell them to us!
I did feel a little bad when we got to “do no steal” because all of the children got it right away and started pointing at one boy in the back. Julius told me that they understood and apparently there was “someone” who had a reputation of stealing! We told them to quite pointing but I was glad they understood. When we were done with the story we still had a little bit of time so we sang a few songs with the children (ok ok, I don’t know Acholi songs yet, so Julius sang songs and I laughed and acted them out with them) and then Julius informed me that Zane was probably almost done teaching and the children were content to just stare at me until he was done... Great :)
Anyway, we finished with church, said our good-bye’s and headed home! All in all it was pretty great!
*Sorry for the lack of pictures of the village! I didn’t want to miss out on my first village experience because I was behind a camera. I will try and take some next time I go out!
** Pictures of vacation soon to follow! If you are friends with me on facebook you can always go there for an update!
Love you all and I will try to be better about writing!
Soon to come, pictures of our “Christmas Program” at the McCourtney house :D