“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” -Mark Twain
Alrighty, so a lot has gone down this past week that I can’t fit it all in one post. This post will be about the amazing road trip to Gulu this past weekend and then I will do one about all that is going on with the kids and the village, because that is amazing and there is so much to tell!! God is doing so much, to say the least.
Ok so Gulu…First off, Gulu rocks and if you ever come to Uganda, you have to visit this place! Now, Gulu is in the medium category when it comes to the size of cities in Uganda- doesn’t look like an Old West town but not a huge metropolitan area like Kampala or Entebbe. Gulu is a city that has a few streets and shops squeezed into every available space along each street, with apartments stacked right on top of them. There are a couple markets, grocery stores complete with security checks, one or two night clubs that make you want to punch someone in the throat at 5AM when they are blasting Beyonce down the street…so basically, your all Ugandian little city. Many of the kids from Village of Hope actually live there when they have to go home for holiday so there’s another neat characteristic of the city- home away from home for these kids.
Well, the adventure begins on Friday. Donna, Hope, Nurse Kevin, and Sam (a staff member), and I all piled into the Kadudu, Mike’s modest red truck, and drove for 3 hours along the pot-holed road straight to Gulu, stopping at Bobi along the way. That was especially neat to see because that will be Hope and I’s home for about the entire month of November. Village of Hope Bobi is a modest little village, not quite as large as the main Village of Hope in Bweyale, but still amazing and filled with the best Ugandians around.
After stopping and hanging out for a little while at VOH Bobi, we drove a few more kilometers and arrived in Gulu, where the traffic is crazy and the people are numerous. Upon arriving within the city limits, we drove straight to SanKofa Café, the best mazungu restaurant in all of Gulu. There, we indulged in some burgers and fries with HEINZ KETCHUP!! That was glorious. I even got to have some freshly squeezed lemonade and that so divine and amazing. After our late lunch, we drove to Cosmo Bed and Breakfast, a modest hotel where Donna, Hope, and I stayed for the weekend. After saying goodbye to Sam and Kevin, who went off to go see their families, unloaded our things and freshened up in our rooms, we made our way down to The Coffee Hut, a magical place to enjoy free wifi and some amazing mazungu coffee specialties. During that afternoon and evening, I was able to Skype some close friends and talk to some family, which was some good medicine for that awful homesickness that I had come down with for a couple days this past week. Honestly, there’s nothing more beautiful and simple like some coffee and some solid wifi to doodle on during a rainy afternoon. Love the simple life…
The next day, the three mazungus took bodas again to SanKofa Café and got some killer pancakes with SYRUP and bacon, along with an avocado smoothie or two. So so good and while we were there, we got to watch the footage the Grove Team left with us from the CopterCam! So awesome!!! Right now, I’m trying to edit it down into a little 4 minute video so it’s easier to load than 30 minutes of footage, so hopefully I can get that done in the next coming weeks. The Grove team was amazing and we were so blessed by them and are very thankful for those sick aerial views of the village. The kids had such a blast hanging out with them and Adam, Jessica, and Bryce were such love warriors!
In the middle of the day, we all met Kevin up at the “Carribean Market,” where Kevin and Hope split off to go shop and hang out on their own. Donna and I had a blast together and got some pretty awesome produce, like jackfruit, a green, bumpy fruit that is delicious. We even found some mangoes, which are rare right now because they are out of season, along with some avocados, tomatoes, passionfruit, peanuts, “Gum Gum” boots, a couple calculators for the schools, and a few marriage proposals to name a few. What would a market day visit be without a few Ugandian men hitting on you? A walk around town in the evening ended the day well with a visit to the pharmacy for Hope to get some doxy and a visit to the movie store to buy some cheap American DVDs. We fell asleep watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and eating the best potato chips, or “crisps” ever.
The next morning, the mazungus met up with Dorkus, the wife of one of the staff members at the village, Mike, and her family at Watoto Church. This church was so good and it reminded me a lot of a church back home in the States. They played a lot of Hillsong, had video announcements, and the pastor was on fire. He spoke a message about why it is important to love your country, and it is because the Lord loves it and has plans to prosper it and give it a future, coming out of that scripture in Jeremiah. After dropping off Dorkus and her family at their compound, we picked up Kevin at a gas station and started back on the eventful trek back home.
Now, Sam had driven us to Gulu but since he was away visiting his son, this meant that Donna had to drive. Don’t get me wrong- she is an incredible driver and got us back home safely. The thing is, Ugandian roads are insane in terms of other drivers driving like idiots, pot holes littering the road, no real traffic laws and the concept of personal space not existing. If you have ever been on the road internationally, you know what I’m referring to. Driving on these roads is like a video game because you have to avoid hitting pedestrians and pot holes, while getting to your destination before dark, because then it gets even scarier. We hit many pot holes along the way, because it’s nearly impossible not to, and almost picked up an unwanted visitor at one point- a baboon.
Now, we had just gotten Rolex and were about half way home. At this point, the road was lined with these huge primates and the windows were down. There they were, sitting in the middle of the road all nonchalant and thinking they are all that and here we come driving slowly down this road because we don’t want to hit any of them. Well, one stud comes up to Donna’s window and starts jumping up and down along the side of the truck, trying to catch a glimpse or possibly a nibble at her Rolex. Oh my gosh, scariest thing ever. She threw her burrito at Hope and screams, “Roll up the windows!” One more thing, if you didn’t know before, but baboons are mean and can be super aggressive, so there was no way we were gonna be put in that situation. We zoomed off, nearly hitting another one, and a few minutes later, we start laughing and don’t stop till we reach home.
Overall, Gulu rocked it and I am so thankful I got to adventure out with Donna and Hope, growing closer to each of them. The Lord is doing so much in each of our lives and I can’t wait for further adventures in the coming couple months!