27 March 2012

Uganda, Africa | a day trip

One day during our first week, 7 of us piled African style into the pick-up truck to drive to Ngora {about 1 1/2 hrs. away} to visit an old friend of the H.I.S. team. Papa Alfred, Mama Carney, Evelyn & Uncle Meredith have known Margaret for 30 years and Eleanna & I were looking forward to meeting her after hearing so much about her!
We headed out of town mid-morning... 3 in the front, 4 in the back of the small double cab. As we drove out of town, there was a man taking his eggs to market piled on his bike. For some reason he had a 4-5 foot pole strapped horizontally on the bike which Uncle Meredith, who was driving, didn’t see. *BOOM*  We hit it & he crashed. Thankfully he wasn’t hurt & only some of his eggs were broken but immediately a crowd began to gather. We stopped & backed up but since it wasn’t a good idea for him to see that it was mzungus in the car, we sent Florence out to make a deal with him {so thankful she was with us!!}. The crowd started “counting” the good eggs for him but in the middle of their counting they’d run off with them! We knew we needed to get out of their quickly before it became a bigger mess & the police came so Uncle Meredith, Evelyn & Kay pooled together their money. The man told Florence he wanted 200,000 /= {$80} but Florence said no-- it was his fault because he had the stick jutting out into traffic. So we paid him 160,000 /= {roughly $65} for all of his eggs, took about 8 flats {30 eggs each} and quickly left. Phew!! Thank you Lord for keeping us safe!! Needless to say, those eggs were nicknamed the Diamond Eggs:) And that guy had a *really* good day-- made more than he ever would have at market!
{Florence with some of the Diamond Eggs}
We had to take the Mbale Road until we got to Ngora and it is awful! The road is covered in potholes so the entire way you’re bouncing around, on and off the road trying to avoid them. It’s a bad ride for the passengers but I think it’s even worse for the driver because it’s such stressful driving! When we reached the turn off for Ngora, Margaret had a guide on a bicycle waiting for us. He was literally booking it over the dirt roads-- going faster than we would have in our truck! Bless his heart! Another reminder that Africans are in *incredible* shape!!

bracing for the uneven roads-- thankfully no one ever got car sick!{photo credit: Eleanna}
 {This was a relatively *good* section of road where the potholes weren't as deep. Wish I had pictures of what most of the road looked like!}
{our guide}

As we arrived at Margaret’s compound, she welcomed us into a cement hut with a thatched roof & scripture verses/quotes stenciled on the walls. After visiting for a little while she led us on a tour of her compound. She has put *so* much work into it and on top of working hard to improve her own way of life, Margaret takes care of many members of her family. One of those is her 99 year old grandmother. Her grandmother {I didn’t catch her name} blessed each of us in Ateso as we greeted her. Squeezing our hands with incredible strength & looking into our eyes as she spoke earnestly-- such an honor!! 

{photo credit: Eleanna}
 {photo credit: Eleanna}
Kay, Eleanna & Evelyn
 Uncle Meredith giving Margaret a picture of Ethan when he was a combat medic. Ethan stayed with her for a few days when he went to Uganda 8 years ago and helped Margaret with her clinic-- she calls him her "foster son" and prays for him all the time.
Kay, Margaret & Evelyn
my beautiful kindred spirit:)
 meeting Margaret's grandmother
{photo credit: Eleanna}
 chasing down some little chicks:)
In Margaret’s living quarters, she showed us many special gifts she’s been given & told us the story of the stars on the ceiling. The story simply goes like this- 2 years ago, on May 7th she had a horrible accident which completely crushed her jaw {she’s spent the last two years having extensive reconstructive surgery done}. But God was with her that day and protected her and to remember that, the numbers 5 & 7 have become very monumental to her. So when she was building her living quarters, she had the workers create a Jewish flag {she modified the star to have 5 points & the flag is significant because Jesus was Jewish} surrounded by 7 stars with 5 points each on her ceiling. They kept saying she was crazy for having that done but she just kept telling them, “I’m paying you to do it, so do it!”. 
{photo credit: Eleanna}
 Evelyn, Florence & Beatrice
{photo credit: Eleanna}
 Margaret was *so* excited about the solar powered charger we found for her! Solar powered things are a huge blessing since out in the villages the only source of electricity is through a generator which is very expensive. Even in town we used solar powered things because we never knew when our electricity would go off...sometimes for days. 
 Evelyn, Margaret & Uncle Meredith
After the tour, Margaret served us an incredible meal of rice, vegetables, chicken, potatoes, cabbage & bananas... followed by African tea & Digestives {biscuits/cookies}.
We couldn’t stay very long after the meal because we had appointments to meet back in town but our visit was so wonderful! Margaret is an incredible hostess!

 Enjoying a yummy lunch!
 Beatrice, Eleanna & I {photo credit: Evelyn on El's camera}
 both El & I *attempted* to journal on crazy roads!
 On our way home, we took a slightly different route to the main road and at one point, all of a sudden, there were 10-15 huge mounds of dirt right in the middle of the road. At most places on the road there are areas where you can easily drive on the side if you need to but at this particular place there was a pretty deep ditch {the photos don’t do justice}. So Uncle Meredith told us all to hold on and he had to drive half on the mounds, half in the ditch & with a very tilted truck until we got past them! Did he ever pick a tough day to drive!
      {Huts... you'd typically see a few grouped together like this and they would call it a compound.}
the swamp

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