A Travellerspoint blog

November 2012

Last Minute . Com

Graduation!

Our certificates!

Our certificates!

I remember a few years ago on a long haul night flight I indulged myself in 3 cheesy chick flicks back -to –back (obviously pre-amelie, there would be no chance anymore…) and after watching 6 hours of beautiful faces, perfect teeth and glossy hair, I subconsciously assumed that the face, or at least hair, in the artificially lit plane bathroom mirror would maybe resemble Jennifer Aniston or some other beauty… I literally jumped back with a fright at the pale, tired face that stared back…

Yesterday we completed, or ‘graduated’, from our 6 month DTS.
Relieved? Yep.
Tired? Yep.
Looking forward to living in a bigger home without Amelie being urinated on by our neighbour’s kid on a daily basis…? definitely yep.

But in some ways the DTS has been like the reality check in the aeroplane mirror, realising that there are many more areas of weakness in me that I wasn’t aware of.
Don’t get me wrong, there has been lots of encouragement in the last 6 months, but also it has been a place of being humbled and having various securities and comforts (and necessities?) stripped away.

Preparing for the graduation ceremony in the last few days was an interesting cross – cultural experience, the eleventh hour seems a popular hour, which adds adrenaline to the occasion, if nothing else. It seems that there are several vital ingredients for a celebration in this culture…

1. meat
2. speeches (the more the merrier)
3. an order of service and an MC (with the impression that there will only be one speech and it will be short and sweet)
4. dancing

Acholi traditional wedding dance

Acholi traditional wedding dance

A few weeks ago we went to Amelie’s friend’s 2nd birthday party. All of the above were demonstrated for the celebration, and the speech was a sermon directed at the bunch of 2 year olds sitting quietly on the mat under the tree (Amelie has still to learn from her African friends how to sit still and quiet for long periods of time)…

birthday cake (no meat in sight)

birthday cake (no meat in sight)

We were probably culturally insensitive for Amelie’s 2nd birthday party last week with none of the above for the celebration (unless musical bumps counts as dancing). I’d go for cake rather than meat any day though.

We, (well, mainly I), continue to make cultural blunders probably on a daily basis. Yesterday was no exception. Our friend Charles, (who is the most careful motorbike driver in town and therefore gets most of our business) dropped me at the small supermarket and was reading the newspaper headlines on display whilst waiting, ‘Which one do you want?’ I ask Charles, thinking it is a token of appreciation that he does not smoke weed and drive. ‘No, it is okay’ he replies looking at the loaf of bread I have picked out. Then it dawns on me, why would someone choose a newspaper when they could buy a loaf of bread for the same amount. ‘Er, would you like bread instead?’ I mumble sheepishly, his face lights up, of course he would.

It was a small reminder of how little I understand the survival mindset and although we have completed this 6 month training, there is still A LOT to learn…

Safest Boda driver in town...

Safest Boda driver in town...


and God promised we would survive our DTS...

and God promised we would survive our DTS...


Posted by africraigs 01:59 Comments (4)

Running together

sunny 27 °C

As a night person, it is not natural for me to be getting up at 6:15 for a morning run, but in Africa, this is probably the best time be out. The sun isn't too hot and there are less people to stare at you.

I sort-of enjoy running and sort of don't. I like it to keep fit and wake up my sleepy mind. It helps me sort my thoughts out and I have some of my best ideas while running. But it is hard and a little dull, and is more like an endurance test which only really feels good once you are finished. Scientifically, it realeases happy hormones, so it helps deal with my depressive tendancies...

There are some nice runs around the YWAM base. One of them is a loop en-route to the Congo border along a yellow-ochre dirt road. It is quite special to be pounding the road of a remote African village at 6:30 am. It is also very special for anyone who is just emerging from their sleep and seeing a long-haired white man sweating while huffing and puffing. It is common to see people be walking about with a small neem twig in their mouths which acts as a toothbrush. It is antiseptic and antibacterial and is horribly bitter. I am quite an unusual sight and so I am the cause of interesting reactions. One of most common is for people to stop in their tracks and stare. This is annoying. I feel like a freak-show (no comments, please). Even more annoying is when children start calling out "Mundu" over and over again. In time, this chanting becomes like a sing-song. There is no place to hide, everyone knows a Mundu is passing by and so there is a bigger chance for more people to spot me and stare. Since people have noticed me, a lot will greet me. The other day, I ran for an hour and 20 minutes and was greeted over 200 times...! This is a little different to running alongside the seaside in Musselburgh. A more comical reaction is for people to start running alongside me. The other day, an old lady of about 60 started running behind with a big smile while calling out in Lughbara. Quite discouragingly, she was catching up...
Village I run by

Village I run by


Curious kids fascinated by the mundu

Curious kids fascinated by the mundu


In my philisophical moods, I feel that my running can be an example to others who will be inspired. That is why it is encouraging to see others copying me by running alongside me when I am out. I always feel that the best way to be a teacher to others is by being an example, words can just be fluff.

Emma mentioned that I was able to visit my dying Auntie Mo while in the UK, in the last blog. Sadly, it was my last time to see her as she since passed away. Her funeral is on Thursday 15th November. Aunt Mo (on the right) and wee Amelie

Aunt Mo (on the right) and wee Amelie

Aunt Me and I at my sister Lizzie's wedding last year

Aunt Me and I at my sister Lizzie's wedding last year

I wish I could be there to share with the rest of the family. Instead, though, I am running the Kampala half-marathon on the 25th of November in her memory.
Kampala International Marathon
I am investigating ways in which I could raise money for the the Southern General hospital in Glasgow who looked after her for her last weeks. It was the same hospital in which she was born. The running I am doing is helping to train for this.

As I have also mentioned, running is like an endurance test. As I write this blog, we are in the final week of our YWAM DTS course here which has lasted for 6 months. This course has definitely felt like an endurance test, though at times we have wondered whether we would actually persevere... Thank God we have made it through! It has been a tough time for us all as a family!

I have uploaded a few photos showing my time in the UK at the wedding.
Ethiopian airways flight back to Uganda

Ethiopian airways flight back to Uganda


The beautiful St Brelade church in Jersey where Mary and Martin married

The beautiful St Brelade church in Jersey where Mary and Martin married


Mary, Martin and Martin's Aunt

Mary, Martin and Martin's Aunt

Martin and me all dressed and ready for the inevitable

Martin and me all dressed and ready for the inevitable

Posted by africraigs 11:49 Archived in Uganda Comments (2)

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