It’s exciting day for my blog, because we have a guest blogger! I was curious to see what IJM and Kampala look like through a different pair of eyes, so I asked Rachel to give some reflections on her time in Uganda. She’s a gifted writer, and it’s always amusing to read first-hand accounts of a first-time boda ride and such other distinctly Ugandan adventures.
————————————A Guest Post by Rachel———————————————
Wedged between the driver and Krista as we weaved our way among Kampala traffic, I prayed fervently that this, only perhaps my 3rd time on a boda boda, would not be the end. I was still getting accustomed to the sensations of whizzing down the roads clogged with traffic, bracing myself for the (more than) occasional bumps, and trying not to slide so close to the driver that my face was pressed into his back. Besides all that, I was holding something very precious.
It had been a long day full of the joys and frustrations of life in Uganda. You know – drivers being 40 minutes late to pick you up, ants attacking you and your picnic lunch, technology not working, slow internet, sudden rain storms that delay plans, and ATMs that seem to steal your money.
Of course, among all that were the joys that also fill one’s life here: early morning walks on quiet streets, views of the beautiful Lake Victoria, riding a motorcycle along the bumpy red roads of a village and feeling like “this is Africa”, meandering among the tropical plants and birds of a huge garden, and quality conversations.
So back to the boda ride… After all our adventures that day, we were headed off to meet some friends for a nice meal to celebrate Krista’s birthday. And somehow I ended up being the one to have to carry the precious homemade cheesecake that we had made (quite a feat, considering you can’t buy cream cheese here). I gripped that pan as tightly as I could and prayed that the last disaster of the day would not be the cheesecake flying out of my hands on a bump. Although there was one close call with a man-sized pothole, everyone (and the cheesecake) arrived safely and we had a lovely meal with Krista’s friends at the restaurant.
Sometimes daily life is here just made up of dealing with inconveniences and rising above them. And that’s something Krista is learning, as am I. How do you deal with inefficient systems and ways of life that are downright irritating as Westerners? Sometimes with cries of frustration, understandably so. I suppose it all comes down to a matter of perspective. After the initial outburst, will you move on and remember your purpose, or let it bog you down and make you bitter towards circumstances and even people?
From my observations, Krista is practicing the former. She’s not perfect, but she remembers the ways that God has blessed her in a day and the joys He’s given her. It was a good reminder for me that we can easily be distracted by the little things that weigh us down – little things that can easily turn into a heavy burden. But we have each been given incredible opportunities wherever we are, to serve and glorify our gracious Father. And He has given us a yoke that is “easy and light.”
I was so privileged to be able to spend a few days living life alongside Krista, getting to experience IJM and Kampala. Much of what Krista does is behind-the-scenes work for IJM’s work there. Sometimes that can be frustrating when things don’t work well or take much longer than they should.
For example, she had to deliver a certain document to the USAID office at the U.S. Embassy. Simple, right? But first she had to find a folder that looked professional and fit the size of the papers, print out the papers and individually hole punch each piece of paper because 3-hole punches don’t exist in Uganda, and then she had to sit on the back of a boda for an hour, winding her way all around town in order to avoid traffic, all to hand over the document. However, what she does enables others to do their job better.
I really enjoyed getting to meet many of the IJM staff and see how passionate they are about their jobs and serving God and their people in this way. The best part was their devotion time in the morning, which always starts with singing. Wow, can they sing. It was like sitting among a beautiful choir as they harmonized with each other and focused their day in on the purpose for being there.
And that’s what I loved about my visit!