Friday, July 01, 2011

Uganda part 1- Jinja

We headed off for Uganda expecting the unexpected, but we didn't expect the unexpected to show up before we got there! We had a number of flight delays, changes, and cancellations, and at one point wondered if we would have to cancel the trip! We did finally make it, but we ended up at the Entebbe airport in the middle of the night when no one was expecting us, so we were fortunate to be able to get ahold of our hosts and get a ride to Kampala. Betty and Moses Odongo are a pastor and wife in Kampala and they were our host for the first couple of days. Of course, we missed the first 24 hours with all of our delays, but we did get to spend a day with Betty. That afternoon we headed off to Jinja where we would be part of a pastor's conference on purity and we worked with the pastors' wives. We knew that domestic abuse was widespread in Uganda, but we did not realize how far it went. Also, it is not illegal in Uganda to have more than one wife, so many men do. Believe me, the wives are not happy about this either.

The first few days in Jinja we stayed at a nice little guest house called "Cool Breeze" and we were actually surprised this trip to have some cool breezes in the mornings. June is definitely a better time to visit than March or April. This was a nice guest house for Uganda, but in the first room we had, the toilet didn't work and the room smelled. None of the windows would close all the way (mosquitos) but they did have wide mesh screens. We asked for another room the next day and they gave us a downstairs room. This room had a window that looked directly onto a mens urinal for "public" restroom use. Great. We also had no light in the bathroom, but I guess that didn't matter since we only had power for 2-3 hours each evening when they turned on the generator. Our room was also near the front porch, so it was noisy when people were talking outside, and the bed was a board with a foam pad on it. I was usually so tired at the end of the day that I didn't have any trouble falling asleep though.
During the day we attended and helped facilitate the Purity conference for the women and got to know some of these pastors' wives. There were also other women there from the different churches and it was nice to get to meet them. Most of these women were from cities although a few were from the villages. Many of the women spoke English, as it is the official language of the country. Most of the women from the villages did not speak English and spoke Lugandan instead. We had one woman who translated for us and it was great to watch her. She was very good.

On Sunday afternoon we worked with these ladies teaching them embroidery. They were very excited to learn it and many said they could and would use this skill to make items to sell to provide income for their families. It was such a blessing to be with these women.