Friday - March 19;
Work at the internet cafe went very6 smjoothly today. I( got done early enough that I could shop for the 6 attendance awards I still needed. I decided on some nice face soap. Thyey usually use the same harsh soap for washing themselves as they use for washing dishes and laundry.
Leah made her presentation at Smile Africa so I didn't teach today. In fact, tomorrow at usowa will be my last full class of teachingt. Sunday, I will start teaching half classes and doing "closing ceremonies", i.e. giving of attendance awards, class and individual photos and a treat.
I woke up with Peter's gift to me - a sore throat, so right nhow, I am just hoping I get through the coming week okay.
Taught Leah to play Cribbage tonight. I had fun. I hope she did as well.
Saturday - March 20:
This day has been surreal! I left the house 10 hours ago. The trip which should have taken 1 1/2 hours or so to Busowa took 4 as Peter picked up and then dropped off 2 people in a remote village quite out of the way of our destination. We were on a lot of back roads - at one point the road appeared to be a mere footpath. Anyway, we finally arrived at Busowa LATE but Peter wanted to leave promptly at 4:00 so I cut all of my classes 15 minutes short. We met outside in the church, which was cooler, but the disruption from the children was very difficult to contend with. By the time I got to my 3rd class my voice had disappeared and my sore throat had become MUCH more sore.
Then Peter announced he had a headache like no pain he had ever experienced before, so I was concerned for his driving. We barely had started our journey home when we had a flat tire (with no spare, of course). Fortunately, this happened in Bugiri, a sizeable town and right across from where it could be fixed. By this time my sore throat was paining my ears.
We finallyt got the tire back on to continue with our journey. We drove for maybe 20 minutes when the same tire went flat again. However, now we were in the middle of nowhere (but still on the main road) so Peter opted to continue driving on the flat until it was gone and he was on the rim. Now it started to rain really hard. He ended up using my phone to make several phone calls - he had no minutes on his phone. (I don't know WHAT they did before cell phones.) He finally got it worked out that the True Vine van which was going our way from Kampala would stop and pick me up. This information was obtained from George, a car hire, who was also coming from Kampala and had seen the True Vine van pass him with few people in it. Then Peter also arranged via phone, for his spare tire to be pickedd up in Tororo and driven out to him, via a piki-piki. By then, as we were waiting, the rain had stopped, the sunset was glorioius and there was a big, beautiful, full rainbow.
When I finally got home, Leah had some food waiting for me, so had a quick shower, ate and FELL into bed. Who knows what time poor Peter will finally get home tonight.
SUNDAY - March 21 HAPPY BIRTHDAY KELSEY!! This bug I picked up seems to be going around. I think I got it from Peter last week, but Pastor Ruth was also complaining about thye same thing on Friday and Peter said he ran into others who were also complaining of the same thing. Leah went to True Vine - I stayed home in bed.
Peter took me to Juba very late, to say good-bye, take photos, etc. It didn't turn out aes I planned because of the lateness and because I am feeling unwell and my voice is bad. My throat hurts again, now from using it too much.
MONDAY - March 22: Leah woke up sick this morning. I got up, cleaned up the kitchen, did a bit of cooking and waited for Peter to go to Wikus. My last classes would have been fun, had I felt better and been able to talk. We took photos, gave out treats and attendance awards. I spoke to each class in appreciation. Just when we were finishing there was a downpour with a strong wind. When it let up a bit, we moved across the road for their farewell to me. They sang songs in English, then switched to Japadohla and danced as well with drumming. It was very special. This was followed by speeches and gift giving to me: 2 mats, a bag, eggs, oranges and a huge jackfruit; it was all very generous. I tried to thank them in my croaking, half voice and to express my appreciation for my time with them.
By the time Peter arrived the rain had stopped and we got home with no further incidents.
Tuesday - March 23: I did my usual morning off routine. Cooked my last pot of beans. I waited a long time for Alex. Finallyt, in the middle of a big rain storm, I arrived an hour late at Smile Africa for a farewell to my Tuesday class. They were all gracious and waited for me. They were upset because they found it was my last day (they didn't know) so they had no gifts for me. I told them the love I felt from them and their warm smiles were my gift. I think they were okay with that. My LS student was late as usual BUT turned up. We have not done much studying together, but she was faithful in coming and got her Good News Bible which she badly wanted. It turned out to be a good day.
WEDNESDAY - March 24: I had a miserable night last night. My body did not like the fish I had eaten and I coughed a lot. I woke up feeling miserable so I called True Vine and cancelled out today. I did manage to get our final food shopping done.
It was fairly mild all day todayt - not too hot. The electricity has been off all day so it's good it was a little cooler. I worry about food spoiling in the fridge.
I did a bit of pre-packing sorting today along with setting things up for the last two good-byes.
I feel better tonight. I think it was good for my throat not be talking today. Also, I didn't cough as much and my GI tract finally settled down.
THURSDAY - March 25: This day off had previously been arranged. It rained again today with a bit of a wind, but it has kept the heat down so that is nice. The bad part - no electricity all day.
My next notes will be from home regarding my last good-byes to my classes on Friday and Saturday. I will arrive home on Maundy Thursday and leave for Minnesota on Good Friday. I will be staying with my grand-daughter while my sone, Kent and his wife, Laura, go with H4KI on the April Ugandan trip.
Please pray for safe travels for all. Many thanks and may God bless you.
Friday - March 26: Alex came an hour late to take me to the internet so it was a good thing my report was a bit short and I finished with no complications. I got to Smile Africa a few minutes late and there were all the ladies waiting for me. They greeted me with ululations and many hugs. I was able to get all the photos taken. I think they turned out okay. I gave Ruth the certificate list. I spoke to all of them to say my good-byes tearily and handed out awards. Then came their speeches and gifting. The ladies were so generous to both Leah and me. They had spent MONEY to give us things. It was really all so touching. I will miss these wonderful ladies. But as I told them, I will carry them in my heart. We have enough eggs and bananas to feed an army. They will feed our friends. We received necklaces, an African fabric outfit, dishes, glasses, a pot, yarn doilies, fabric, purses, bags made by the ladies, hankies and, of course, the eggs and bananas. Pretty incredible!!
Timothy brought an oil painting of his family compound that he did for me. Again, it was very generous of him.
Saturday - March 27: WOW!!!! What can I say about today? It was overwhelming. Pastor Peter got me to Busowa 1/2 hour late and nothing was set up, people weren't there and Pastor Charles was at the hospital with his child. So I started by taking individual photos, did class photos, handed out treats, gave awards as people started trickling in. Peter interpreted for me as I said my good-byes. THEN, they took over. I was given a place to sit, they sang and then started presenting their gifts. I couldn't believe the generosity of their gifts: 2 large bags of Irish potatoes, a half (mill size) bag of rice, a washtub full of avocados, a giant papaya, a live goose, several mats, 3 beautiful baskets, several broomws and a beautiful gomas (Ugandan dress). They had not banded together with their gifts but each one gave separately - it was incredible!! Those beautiful, wonderful, generous, loving people. What a blessing!! At one point I just couldn't deal anymore and had to take a break behind covered face and lowered head.
Peter took the food to distribute where needed. He also took mats for use in the various churches. So all of that was good. One thing I noticed - several times it was mentioned that one of the things I brought to them was excitement - unexpected, but I think, probably true, on different levels. I will need much time to process all of these experiences, etc., when I return home.
Sunday - March 28: PALM SUNDAY - my father's birthday - Alex picked me up for church at 9:00. We went to the Church of Uganda, St. Peter's Cathedral (Anglican). I was so looking forward to the music, the joyous Palm Sunday service and especially the Eucharist. I have been without our Lord's body and blood for almost 12 full weeks. I am sorry now I didn't go back to the Alex's church, Sacred Heart Catholic. There was no Eucharist, the singing was not very good except for one man and the service was hardly joyous. However, I wasw moved by Palm Sunday worship starting in this part of the globe and gradually spreading around the world. We are ALL worshipping God and celebrating his Passion, singing and saying "Hosanah to the Son of David - Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. The sermon was pretty good and the service was completed in two hours.
Leah went to Pastor Patrick's church and then was going over to teach them how to cook butternut squash. I entertained myself in a very liesurely fashion the rest of the day. The air has been mild and it feels wonderful.
Monday - March 29: Packing day!! I got all of my stuff organized in the morning so spent the afternoon relaxing. When Leah came home, we decided what should to to Andrew and Frida and I packed that up and cleaned up the kitchen. In the evening Alex helped us load everything and take it to Andrew's. Frida had made a lovely dinner for us, including chicken. The cabbage was particularly good, though a bit difficult eating with fingers. When we left it was raining and here waiting outside was Wandera Robert to say good-bye. He is such a sweet man. I like him so much. I'm sorry True Vine kept him so busy the last 3 weeks so he couldn't come to class. We were sent off on our journey with many hugs and prayers.
Tuesday - March 30: This is the 1st time I am having to write by flashlight. We have been without electricity now for 14 hours.
Leah and I met with Pastor Ruth in the morning for a closing, evaluating conference. It was a 2 hour conference in which we all were honest about our expectations, fulfillments and what to change and/or keep the same for next time.
Alex took Leah and me shopping to the markiet for fabric. Then we took Leah home nd I went to True Vine to say good-byes there and deliver a few things. In the evening, we went for an early dinner at Pastor Ruth's. It was delicious as always.
Got home early but everything is dark. Good-byes are so difficult! I don't do them well.
Wednesday & Thursday - March 31 & April 1: Peter came with George and Andrew to take us to Entebbe to the airport. We stopped in Kamlpala at a handcraft market as Leah had a few items she needed to purchase. We got to the airport about 5:00. It was a tearful leave-taking for all concerned.
After an arduous 32 hours of wakefulness: the trip from Tororo to Entebbe, 8 hours from Entebbe to Amsterdam, 5 hour..s layover in Amsterdam but with a REAL SHOWER, 8 hours from Amsterdam to Chicago, 3 hours from Chicago to McFarland and then church in the evening, my body was extremely appreciative of being in its own bed with its own pillow.
Good Friday I picked up my mail, my sweet puppy-dog, that I had missed so much, and drove for 5 hours to Minnesota to Kent's. Now comes the week-long task of getting over the jet-lag.
Thank you to all of you for your prayers and your thoughts and for sharing with me when able.
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