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“Here’s to freedom, cheers to art. Here’s to having an excellent adventure and may the stopping never start.” — Jason Mraz

 

What a full, exciting weekend this has been. Both Saturday and Sunday were full of new sites and smells, cravings that had been capturing my soul as this past week wore on. Not that the village itself isn’t full of exciting and beautiful experiences- in fact, they occur on the daily- just, it is good to get away for a few hours and see all the hustle and bustle of Ugandian life a few miles away from the abode.

Saturday was Market Day in Bweyale, a small town about a 20 minute drive from VOH. This place reminded me of a small, “Old West” establishment with one main street running right through the center and store fronts jammed along each of side of the road. Then, behind these stores, sort of tucked away in a corner, was a network of booths, tents, and shacks- the Market. Janelle, Jenna, Donna, Hope and I sloshed our way through the maze of small businesses, greeting many of the owners and returning a smile to every passerby that yelled out “Mazungu!” We were able to also accumulate two unwanted escorts while exploring this market. One was a drunk, elderly man that was clearly a beggar and took a real liking to Donna. Eventually, he left after receiving a few shillings and multiple “Go away!”s in Acholi from Donna and Janelle. The other stalker was a lady, who took a liking to Hope, and didn’t understand any Acholi and English. After about half an hour of following us around, we found one of our staff members who helped us out and told the lady that Hope was a police woman. That lady took off faster than I have ever seen anyone book it. After a couple hours, we ended up with some bananas, peanut butter, cookies, local yogurt, a couple scarves, and some marriage proposals to Jenna and I, which we kindly had to turn down. Pretty successful, I would say.

Back in town, we were able to indulge in some of the local cuisine, one of which being a treasure called “Rolex.” Now, we did not go out and eat fake fancy watches, but literally had the best breakfast burrito many of us have ever eaten in our entire lives. Supposed to mean “Rolled eggs” in English (‘Rolex’ is the English with an Acholi accent), it is a tortilla stuffed full with scrambled eggs, onions, and tomatoes, cooked right on a piping hot grill for about 3 minutes. Oh my gosh…so incredibly delicious. I wish I could have taken a picture of all these wonderful treasures but Ugandians do not like pictures and I knew it would do more harm than good.

The next day after church, Donna, Hope, and I, along with some of the VOH staff, drove about 2 hours out to Anaka to pick up the Grove team, a small group from California coming to stay here for a couple days after doing work in Gulu with World Vision and church planting with Gulu Bible. On our journey there and back, we passed by some of the most beautiful scenery. There were dark mountains, roaring waterfalls and rapids, baboons along the roadside, lush green plains. What a gorgeous testament to just how great and mighty our God is. The land seemed to stretch on forever and yet, God is still bigger and way more beautiful than His creation.

Last evening was so joyous and wonderful. The kids did their welcoming ceremony for the visitors, which included some songs, a drama, and some traditional Acholi dancing. The drums, the movement, the voices…I could listen for hours. These kids amaze me with all that they can do.

Every day, Uganda continues to sew itself onto my heart, with the love for this country and kids becoming more and more permanent with each stitch. 2 weeks in and I cannot fathom ever leaving this place. I pray these next 2 months go slow. Really slow.