Ellen showed up to pick me up from the hostel this morning. I had tried to reach her by phone and not had a lot of luck. I was sitting on the patio outside the dormitory reading a book and having some bread and cheese with Nimrod when I saw her blond hair and big smile walk through the door. I was so happy to see her that I gave her a big hug. I think she wasn’t expecting that from me and I certainly don’t often hug strangers that readily. ’Fred was the driver. He is married to Tina the manager at Musana, When I got in the car Fred asked me if I was a Latter Day Saint. I assured him that I was and asked if he was, as well. He gave me an enthusiastic yes with a little fist pump to accompany it. It made me think that we should all be so open with our enthusiasm. He told me that he knew several people from Utah and he started giving me various first names as though I should know these people. “Do you know Grace?” he asked. I told him I didn’t know her. “Grace is a man,” he answered with a laugh He told me that he served a mission in Johannesburg. I thought it was a long shot but I asked him if he knew Sundy. His face lit up and he answered, “Sister Peterson? She sings like an angel and she married a doctor?”
He told me that they served together in the mission As he talked about her sunny disposition and beautiful voice I knew we had the right Sundy, As if there could be another. It made me so happy to know that he knew and loved her too. I thought how strange life is that through a twist of fate I had met Sundy by giving her a ride somewhere and now this man had come to my rescue to give me a ride. Even after that long flight I could laugh at what a small world we live in.
Traveling by car through Kampala is taking your life in your hands I have never seen anything like it. So many times I thought that we were going to hit another car or a person. I couldn’t see any rhyme or reason to how or where people were driving. There were no lanes and cars just squeeze in wherever there is room and sometimes when there really isnt. The people just walk in and out among the cars as though they were not even moving. I was already feeling rather sick and by the time we arrived in Lugazi I felt as though I would lose my stomach.
Ellen took me out to eat. As we walked through the streets I marveled at this place that is so different from anything I have ever experienced. It’s hard to imagine that I will ever get used to it here. The food tasted good but my stomach would not let me eat much.
As Ellen and I walked several people shouted Mazungu! (Foreigner) as we passed. The children ran up to us and held Ellen’s hands and walked with us. They acted a little shy with me and at Ellen’s encouragement attempted to pronounce my name. It’s hard to know what to say about this place. I felt so lost and sick and afraid to touch anything for fear of germs. We went back to the house and I began to settle in. The house is part of a small compound surrounded by a wall and topped with barbed wire. Its much nicer than most in the neighborhood and even recently got running water!
I pulled out my computer and attempted to access the internet. As I sat on the floor in our kitchen messing with the computer I though I saw something run under the shelf against the wall. It moved so fast I wasn’t sure so I kept working. A few minutes passes and I thought I saw something about two inches long and an inch or so wide run across the wall, again it went so fast I wasn’t sure. I asked Ellen who was just laying down for a nap and she told me that is was probably a cockroach. I didn’t think I was afraid of them but I didn’t like the way I was feeling about the thought of that thing in the house while I sleep. She told me that there is a rat living in the house with us as well. She said that she allows it because he helps with the roaches and she thinks he is kind of cute… I don’t know what she is thinking We have a small refrigerator and a table and a little gas burner. My room consists of a squeaky bed and a shelf. Nails on the walls give me some place to hang some clothes and my towel. The bathroom ha a toilet of sorts and a showed head that allows for a cold shower. I should feel blessed as I know it is much more than many others have.
My first night in a strange place usually leaves me feeling homesick and wondering why I have come. I didn’t feel that way last night but as I sat in our little house feeling hot and sweaty, dirty and sick, I felt it. For just a second I wished I was at home where I could take a nice bath in a clean tub, and familiar food to calm my stomach. I decided now was as good a time as any to to out the shower. As I stood underneath it wearing my sandals for fear of having bare feet on that floor and letting the cool water run down my body the smell of the clean soap and the feel of clean hair made me feel as though I could face the rest of the day. I put on clean clothes and lay down on the bed. I had just put my fresh clean sheet on it and sprayed the whole room down with Lemon oil. It felt so good that I soon fell asleep.
When I woke it was dark outside. Davis a neighbor boy who is a friend of Ellen’s was helping Ellen cook us some dinner. They were cooking Catoga (no idea if I spelled that right) It is basically a type of stew with beans, onions, green peppers, and a root comparable to maybe a turnip or potato that is called Casova. It was warm and delicious. I think my stomach is settling. After dinner, Ellen and I went for a walk and she showed me around the village a bit and I got to meet several of the Musana women. As we walked a man shouted at us and asked where were were going. She answered “We are here” I was confused what she meant by that and she explained that the boda boda drivers will ask where you are going to see if you want a ride, If you answer we are here the know that you are where you want to be and are not looking for a ride. I feel as though I will never learn all the strange words and how to do things here, I remember feeling like a child in Japan because there was so much I didn’t know and I felt a little helpless but it was nothing compared to this. I hope I can be as comfortable and confident as Ellen is before long.