Friday, November 27, 2009


Wednesday night Manny and I decided to stay at the dorms on campus, so we did. I awoke to countless mosquito bites (nets are useful) when my alarm went off at 5:30. Why would my alarm go off at 5:30 on Thanksgiving? To run a half marathon of course. It was one part ambition but mostly the idea of being really hungry come the evening feast that led me to running 53 laps around the UCU track under a blood red dawn sky. Running was a good experiential primer to the amazing day ahead.
I went to a couple of classes before heading up to one of our teachers homes to cook dessert with Holly and Dean (Holly goes to Loma, Dean is her boyfriend that goes to Westmont). We made peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Our teachers name is Gwynn, it was really nice to just lounge around her house reading, cooking, and eating cookie dough.
When the cookies were finished we all headed down to the football field for American football. The game was good fun for sure, but more running was not so much fun, OK maybe it was in a sick way it was. Five o'clock rolled around and we went up to Mark's (he is the program director) house to meet up all USPers, Ex-pats, missionaries, and friends. There were Americans, Canadians, British, Ugandans, and an Ethiopian there. We were about eighty in total. We all sat under giant trees infested with monkeys and ate the staples of our normal Thanksgiving meals. We even had turkey that was grilled on a BBQ oddly enough. Regardless it was tasty. After the main course we ravished the tables full of student made desserts. I had two full plates of various sweets.
As if the night could have gotten any better we still had one more surprise. A projector was set up and we all watched A Charlie Brown Christmas on the side of Mark's house.
After the movie the IMME students jumped into Vincent's van to be taken home. I sat there on my way back to Momma Idah's house and for the first time realized that I will miss a lot of people come December 15 when most of the students leave. Also, that I will miss Uganda come December 29. It was a very good day. Amen.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


These days running through the humid coolness of November has been the epitome of deliciousness, being on the equator of Africa sometimes makes it even better. Bi-daily rains are proving that the rainy season is in full bloom. All of my family is back at Momma Idah's house for a long break off of school. The men of USP are getting burlier by the day. Nothing particularly stunning has happened in the past few weeks of my life.
Monotony occasionally sets in and steals many moments from me.
Sometimes the little things that blew my mind in September pass by unnoticed.
Some days I am sad. Some days ecstatic.
But I have realized one truly important thing. I am surrounded by amazing people. The Body of Christ is beautiful in its diversity and occasional unity. People here in Uganda have helped carry me through times of questions, trials, and fatalism. Often it is a well timed hug that push me on.
What I am getting at is once the stunning romantic Africa fades, and the dichotomy of beauty and ugliness starts to dissolve into grey, I am confronted with the truth. Africa is a difficult place. In America the norm is peace and prosperity, it is what is expected. In Uganda confrontation and poverty are the norm. My occasional fatalism has flowed from Uganda's fatalism. Car crashes are everywhere. People continue to drive crazy. When you live day to day, your life is a form of Russian roulette. Seat belts, no thought of them. This is merely a metaphor for the reality of life here on a larger scale. As an American I am not used to this. My normal relations with hopeless people comes in the form of the homeless in San Diego, but there I can choose to remove myself from them. Here I cannot. It is life. It is reality.
Obviously life is not all a hazy shade of grey here, when I allow it to be then I am sad. But, when I realize where I am and how beautifully amazing the Ugandans, Americans, and Canadians are that surround me I become full of happiness to the brim.
Last night at Momma Idah's our entire family sat around the dreaded TV and watched a DVD that Manny made of her choir, it was the first time all 4089754875 of us had been together...laughter all around. For me life in Africa is becoming life, some times good, some times bad. I am just trying to not let the little moments of brilliance pass me by in an insignificant mascaraed.
Most of all I just want to thank all of the people in the States praying- family and friends. I want to thank the USP students here. You are all pretty cool.

Peace and Love

PS- Check out to see a sweet video of my brother Manny and I.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

An update to the last post.

Something disturbing happened to me yesterday. As I sat in our little America in Uganda a Ugandan student walked in to use a friends laptop. He asked me about our time in Kapchorwa. I said that I had an incredible time. He said that he does not like the village, then he added to those agitating words that he does not like the people in the village. This was basically the equivalent to a random low blow in a moment of elation gallivanting through a flowery field at dawn. In my surprise I asked, "WHY?" He answered, "They do not have luxuries." Oh my. I had to say that I am pretty sure I saw more happiness there than in Mukono. He said, "yes, they have less robberies." I did not have much to say about that.

I guess I wrote this to show the craziness of the world. Assuredly this is life.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The place where beauty dwells.

Lost in time. Some moments seemed to be a lifetime long, others seemed to be but a breath.
Hour upon hour of picking coffee in some of the most beautiful land to be found. Land where time is situated around conversations, meals, and rain showers- never a clock. Mornings were spent running towards a sunset situated over endless plains stretching into the Sudan and Kenya in a place where running is a way of life.
I felt loved and at home on the slopes of Mt. Elgon where I spent the past week and a half of my life. I cannot write a long detailed post about what I did, that would take far too long. Instead I will briefly tell you about John, my father in the village surrounding Kapchorwa Town. He is a 57 year old father of 9 biological and several other children that he raised with his wife Gladys. He has a lot of coffee, but has sold most of it, among other possessions to put his many children through school. His children are now doctors, nurses, teachers, and such. He spits water on the floor to cleanse his palate after dinner, he has the best gaped tooth smile that I know of, he loves people deeply, and he works very hard for the benefit of others. Sometimes Papa John and I would be picking coffee and it would begin to rain, we would soon be invited into a hut for tea, bread, and conversation. In this place people and relationships are not a hassle but a way of life. Of course there are problems in the area, but relationships are alive and true. I know I am sounding extremely romantic, but I do not know any other way to explain this place. Sorry about the lack of detail. Peace.