Even though I am technically a resident of Tanzania, I feel like I have spent just as much time at home in Tengeru as I have outside of Tanzania traveling in neighboring countries. I have spent over a month in Kenya, and by the beginning of December I will have spent just as much time in Uganda.
My most recent trip to Uganda involved a 18 hour bus ride overnight, two border crossings, and a traveling salesman. I had never been to Uganda till a few weeks ago and I enjoyed every bit of the adventure into unknown territory. The 18 hour trip was tiresome but the lovely green Ugandan country side and random herbalist salesman added much enjoyment to the trip.
Uganda is a beautiful country, similar to what I am used to in Tanzania, but significantly greener. English is a major language at least in Kampala, the city I stayed in, so communication was very easy. Except when I would, out of habit, start speaking to someone in Swahili, forgetting that they don’t speak Swahili there.
I enjoyed many things about Kampala. One, was the great relationship that was formed with a lovely couple, Nick and Vanessa. My leader, Sig, had been corresponding with Nick since our tour in Nairobi and we are seeing God knit our hearts together with them in regards to some of the pastoral literature and training that we distribute through Pamoja. There is a large Congolese community in Kampala and many of them don’t have good training materials or pastoral resources in a language they understand well. So it has been really good to connect with Nick and through him connect the Shepherds Staff, in French, with these church leaders. The reports that we have gotten back have been amazing. One woman cried when she received the book and told Vanessa’s mom that she had been praying for this book for 9 years and that God had brought it to her door. Praise God! The Shepherds Staff is provided for free by World MAP to anyone who teaches/preaches to more than 20 people weekly. Nick and Vanessa were very kind to have me to their home for a meal and fellowship. We had a great time sharing about the things God is laying on our hearts and getting excited about the things that we can see God doing through this new relationship between us. Vanessa is Congolese and gave me a fun language lesson on some of the differences between Congolese Swahili and the Swahili in Tanzania. Since half of the Sowers Group are Congolese I was able to come back home and randomly insert some Congolese Swahili into our conversation. They definitely were shocked that I knew some of their Swahili. Very fun!
Another thing that I enjoyed were these fabulous little motorbike taxis, called bodaboda’s. They were a very cheap and fun way to get around town. Because of the large number of these little taxis the traffic is very aware of their presence, making it a fairly safe mode of transportation. This is definitely not something that I would consider in Arusha where there is absolutely no concern for motorbikes from the rest of the road traffic. In Kampala, I would leave my guest house in the morning, walk to the road, grab a passing bodaboda, tell him where I was going (usually someplace in town), haggle about the price and go. It cost roughly $1 to get from where I was staying just outside of the city into downtown. Not bad! The day I was leaving to catch my bus back to Tanzania, I strapped my one suitcase to the back of the bike and held my duffle on my lap and rode to town that way. Love it!
More to come!