Usually I am long on words. Today not so much. I am hot, tired, not feeling well but also feeling overwhelmed with everything that I am experiencing. Overwhelmed in a good way. I love the people here and I am loving my experience. Before I came I knew I would love the people but then, they didn’t have names.
Names like Davis and Joseph. The two boys who live across from us in the compound and who come by practically every day to see us, they sing for us, they help us with our dishes and they share their food, their lives, their seemingly endless smiles with us. They are like brothers to me and I have truly come to love them.
The other day I was cleaning the new apartment getting it ready for the other girls that are coming soon and both boys just showed up with rags ready to work. Emined came also and together we scrubbed the walls and the floors. It was fun working side by side with them and made a big job a joy. Even little Joshua followed their example and came to help.
We mopped the floor of our little kitchen and when we were finished the water was so dirty. Who knew that such a small space could contain so much dirt!
The other day I made my first solo trip to Kampala. I had a batch of jewelry that needed to be delivered to a customer and everyone was busy so I took it in. I took a taxi to Mukono and then a boda boda to our manager’s house to pick up the shipment. Then I took another taxi to Kampala and met Ashley at a great little restaurant called Dorman’s it was the most “western” place I have eaten at since I got here and it was heaven!
It’s amazing to me how simply by attending church it can make such a difference in how much this feels like home. Sunday morning I woke early as I do most mornings and by 8:30 I just couldn’t stay inside any longer. I thought I would just go for a walk and then come home, shower and get ready for church at 10. I never did get my shower. The water was out so I figured they would have to just take me as I am. Everyone was very happy to see me and put me to work right away playing the piano. The branch president told me just before the meeting started that he was going to ask me to speak. I guess I should plan on that kind of thing more in a small branch but it hadn’t even crossed my mind. The meeting was in English, although I struggled to understand the speakers. I’ve learned that the degree to which someone speaks English reflects their schooling. Those who don’t speak much at all probably never really went to school.
I helped teach primary and then after church several people had gathered around the piano to sing. I offered to play and we stayed for another hour just singing hymns. Every time we would think we were finished someone would say “just one more” and they would give me a number and off we would go again. It was a lot of fun.
I told them that if they want we can make that a regular thing and I will teach them some new songs and how to sing different parts and we could have a regular branch choir. So it’s settled, and I found myself volunteering for my most dreaded calling. Funny how things are just different here.
After church one of the men in the branch asked me to show him where I lived. He walked home with me and as we walked he told me a little about how he came into the church. He said that his mother was catholic and his father Muslim (or the other way around, I don’t remember). He said that he had been praying and telling Heavenly Father of his confusion and his desire just to serve him. One day as he was walking down the road he passed two missionaries. He thought they were Jehovah’s Wittnesses so he just kept walking. He hadn’t gone very far before he felt like he should go back and stop them, so he did. He asked them if they were JH’s and they told him that they were missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints. He said that was the first time he had heard of the church. They started teaching him and when he decided to get baptized his Father told him that he wouldn’t be allowed to have contact with the family if he did. For 14 years his family would have nothing to do with him. Even now they are not welcoming to him and though he has seen some of them on occasion they are no longer a part of his life.
His name is Emined and he is a school teacher here. He is on vacation at the moment so he has been showing me around town, helping me get my cell phone set up and explaining a little about the culture here. It’s nice to have a friend.
I was impressed at the size of the branch since when it was first organized in December there were just two families and the missionaries. Now it seemed like there were about 30-40 people there. I look forward to seeing even more growth.