Thursday, January 03, 2008

Home For The Holidays

The John-Matt-Jesse Show rolls from Kampala to Gulu.

The hope of any long-term missionary is that their host land becomes like home. Getting to show my town and play host to Jesse and Matt, fellow YASC missionaries serving in South Africa, may have sealed the deal.

For the last week, we've been living like summer campers or college students, packed into my modest bedroom during the night, and hoofing it to town for improv adventures during the day. Right now they're enjoying a couple days in Murchison National Park, hitching a ride with some students from Illinois.

Let's recap the highlights: The first night we spent in Kampala, hosted by the Bishop's son, Rev. Ali. His new house has a breathtaking view a Lake Victoria valley. The conversation was a breath of fresh air, reflections on common experiences, stories from our training in New York City, like a couple of veterans on R &R. We were giddy (if I may be so bold to attribute this word to them on their behalf) with being together again, traveling, adventuring, with no agenda but fun.

The view from our room the first night. Lake Victoria is under the mist on the left.

History seemed to follow us wherever we went. On Sunday, we met the children and grandchild of the first Bishop of Northern Uganda, who served during the mid fifties and early sixties. Over lunch, Jesse and Matt were brought up to speed on the recent history of the Acholi people. The next day we marched with Bishop Nelson and religious leaders of all faiths for continued peace in the region. Later that night, we rang in the New Year at Acholi Inn. Among the four to five hundred people present, the muzungus you see below (preparing to march for peace) were the first to break the ice on the dance floor, soon followed by several children, and later by several hundred Acholi. It was a big night. And don't worry, we were up the next morning early enough to phone loved ones at home as the New Year reached them.

Despite big plans for Tuesday - renting motorcycles to spend the night by the Nile's Karuma Falls - the terrible violence in Kenya and its ripple effect through East Africa meant gas stations were out of petrol. We would have to kick it local for a few days. We created our own agenda: rediscovered the homespun pleasure of pirated country music videos, explored the market (where donated clothing from home is resold), had a rare and amazing swim and poolside afternoon at Acholi Inn, and ended with a delicious meal.

Late Tuesday night, while reading news from Kenya, we realized one of our fellow YASCers whom we didn't get to meet at training is actually living in the heart of violence, 20 miles from Kisumu, where the infamous church-burning happened. Her blog reports she's very safe in a hospital compound. Please keep her and peace among Kenyans in your prayers.

I just got a call from Jesse and Matt. Their safari was as amazing as it was full of hijinx and mishaps. They've called me out to join them in Kampala for a few days to see the Ssese Islands. We'll see what happens...

1 comment:

barbara said...

That my darling was a fantastic blog on your whereabouts since christmas time. I was smilng the whole time while i read it and looking at the pictures from your adventure. It was hard to stay with you when you told me about your adventures, but this was easy to follow. I cant wait to hear about the 2nd half of the John-Matt-Jesse show!!