Monday, April 20, 2015

First Impressions

I am in Uganda, Africa. 

The concept is actually quite surreal despite the fact that I am really here!  I suspect each day it will feel more and more real.

After 20 hours of actual flying time(3 separate flights) and layovers and drives, door to door was about 35 hours of travel. 
For the first 2 days we didn't venture out much except to go shopping.  We went to a mall that resembled that of one in America with lots of little shops and a big elevator.  A place for the wealthy to shop. 

The roads are bad.  Huge potholes everywhere.  The driving is crazy and that is putting it mildly.  I do not think I could ever drive here.  You must be aggressive.  No rules to go by at all.  You just drive. On the drive from the airport it was dark and Isma, the driver for the UCI, knew I was nervous.  He said, “You are in good hands, just relax.”  You get used to it quickly though.  I'm not so nervous any longer.  We've been out to eat a few times and each one a nice place for the wealthy “muzungu's” (muzungu is swahili for “one who wanders about aimlessly” and they use it today for us white folks). The 2nd dinner out I had a lamb dish and James had pork.  He had a beer and then with dinner we each had a glass of wine.  We paid 60,000 shillings which is about $20!

But you see, after these first couple of days it became very clear to me that one could really live here and have very little exposure to the real poverty that is so great.  One could really live in great wealth and as long as you kept to the malls and restaurants that are created for us wealthy muzungu's you'd see very little and the tug at your heart would be slight if at all. 

On Sunday, yesterday, we went to the Parish of St. George which is in the suburbs of Kampala, about a 25 minute drive.  Here was my first look at some of the slums.  We drove by many and the church is in a pretty rough area.  Fr. Stephen himself lives nearby.  He makes very little as a priest and therefore has a side job, he makes bricks. St. George is a tiny little parish.  There were 10 people in the congregation including the choir.  There were 3 altar servers.
What a lovely and beautiful service.  I loved the 3 young men who sang in the choir, what lovely voices.  It was really neat to hear Christ is Risen in Lugandan, recognizing the melody. 

As we drove to church we drove by these places.  In the little stream/river there were hundreds of these Marabou Storks. 
They were huge!!  From a distance they looked as if they were bigger than Joseph. I just looked, the wing span is 7.4-9.4 feet and they are about 4 feet tall.
You can see in the picture how some people live around here.

This is just the first impressions. I head to the Uganda Cancer Institute with James this morning.  This, I am sure, will be of an incredibly different experience than I have had so far or ever in my life.

Until then,
Susan Sophia

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