Networking and Flourescing

Networking and Flourescing

I’ve missed some days of blogging. I did want to tell you something remarkable about my stay in Kampala. There we just waited for the bags, and had various appointments, but while I was there a missionary couple was there. This family I met also in June at the same guest house when I was in Kampala. They were there for one day only both times. What are the odds of that happening? This couple lives in Mbale with their children, who have been sick a lot since they arrived in June. They are becoming a part of the community and the wife teaches fine arts to the children in the mission school. What amazing and strong people. They said that Christmas was very hard for them, and the lack of the Christmas spirit was difficult. They were able to go shopping in the big city though and saw lights and heard music and were revived.

It is amazing how many interesting people you meet when traveling. While staying in Jinja and having lunch at Two Friends Restaurant, we met a British Army Colonel who had lived and grown up all over Africa. I would have never taken him for military, he was in civilian clothing. He now works permanently in Africa doing trainings of various army groups and officers from around the world. He said in all his training the American soldiers are the ones that are not able to make independent decisions. He prefers his troups to be able to jump and go on their own thoughts and ideas and the grand plan to be a whole initiated by independent thinking. He said our soldiers are used to taking orders and cannot work well alone without that.

He said he loved the special freedom that the continent of Africa brings and that freedom is like no other country. Free of massive governmental regulations, stiff laws and the ability to think freely and act upon that. I’m not sure about all that encompasses his thoughts about freedom. Interestingly I had never thought about how free Africa is, we always think of America as being the land of the free don’t we? But the more I think of it, we are regulated down to the bone of our existance. So we have “freedom” but do we?

Another interesting thing is that he said he hasn’t worn a watch for years and years, it just simply isn’t necessary here. We are on African time. Time to do what ever you need, and time that is not yours, but the world around you. Time to relax, time to go and time to prepare. No one is worried about time. This is the bane of existence of the American.

The most important aspect of life in Africa is to realize the moment. This is a lifestyle transformation for many from the western world. African time is not driven by conventional time it is rather governed by each person’s simple expectations to only achieve what is really necessary. The environment has a great influence on what needs to be done and when.

If you experience delays, the only way that you will make any progress in Africa is with patience and courtesy. Officials here seem to have all the time in the world and if you place any extra stress on them, they are sure to react with a go-slow type of response.

The only fast pace activity in Africa is the informal taxi industry. Here mini-bus taxi (Matutu) hastily carry their overcrowded occupants on competitive routes and complete as many turnarounds as possible. They are the rule of the road here.

You may wonder why people in Africa just sit for hours in the same position for hours and seem to do nothing. This is a question, which has no real answer.

When you visit Africa to experience her true essence, it is vital to leave behind your own conditioning and become receptive to a whole new way of living. My own encounters have in Africa have become a life-changing event.  If I had not embraced her and her timelessness, I couldn’t have fallen in love.

Another great meeting I had was with Robyn Nietert of  Women’s Microfinance Initiative.  and her two interns Montana Stevenson and Ainsley Morris, from Long Island and DC areas. They are staying at the guest house here in Jinja. Here is the showcase of work of Montana and Ainsley living in the village of Buyobo. These are two college graduates on a certain mission!  I had time to look at their website and I’m just simply amazed at all they have accomplished.  This organization gives small beginning business loans to women so they may become independent investors and business owners.   I also met some of the women that started the program as borrowers and now have large businesses making money. These businesses range from hair salons to guest houses to agricultural businesses. You name it, they are doing it here and it is all good.   The teams from the organization must go into the villages and retrain years of depressed thinking and get the women moving on their businesses in a positive way. I’m thankful that these people touched a part of my trip. Networking opportunities abound here. Please see what Robyn and her team are doing for Uganda.

I hope to stay in touch with them and learn more about their program and how we could possibly implement something like this in Northern Uganda. So much to do there. What an inspiration it was to meet this group and start my wheels turning on how to get our orphanage self sustaining…it could begin with a loan!! From there the world could be theirs for the asking!

Also in my guest house here in Jinja, I met a young medical student from Makere University in Kampala. He wants to be a Neurosurgeon. What a goal! Soon he will travel to Norway as a guest in a medical conference. He was selected out of all the University students to go and represent the country of Uganda. He is also running for president of the student body, and somehow I think he’ll be elected. I enjoyed talking to him so much and the morning he was leaving he came to my room to exchange emails and tell his new friend goodbye. I reminded him I would see him on TV some day as the most famous surgeon in Uganda. We had a big laugh and said goodbye.

This morning I got my wires crossed. I thought I was going to be leaving for Kampala this morning but it seems that the volunteers have one more day to go to the orphanage. I will be picked up at 8pm instead of 8am today. I don’t really like the thought of going back to Kampala in the dark. I’m going to call my driver and check on the safety of such a trip. This day will be a sad day for the Little Miracles Volunteers.

So this is day two of me sitting without transport at my guest house. I haven’t been able to go to the orphanage because I changed guest houses and I have no ride right now. I’ve gotten a lot of work done though. Farouk’s mom is ill and he had to ride the bus to go pick her up in a village about 4 hours away, and then bring her back to the hospital. I’m so sorry to hear about her and I hope she is ok, but it sounds like pneumonia. I called him this morning and he was still in bed so we will talk later today about what our plans are.

I’m coughing today.   I’m really not sure why.   I pray it is only allergies.

I also learned one of the orphans my volunteers are caring for outside of Jinja, has malaria right now. I despise malaria. I’m going to write about that on a later post but this is completely for the most part preventable and really the people consider it a way of life and do very little to prevent it. Malaria kills so quickly and can be so deadly.

I generally order Krest drinks when I can. They are the tonic water type some flavored bitter lemon. The bitterness of the tonic water is quinine, which is a malaria medication that is effective as a preventative and also a treatment. It has also been prescribed for arthritis, so those of you who know about tonic water will be happy to know all the following information. Ironically I’m told that Krest bitter lemon (produced by Coca-Cola) which I’m drinking…immobilizes sperm on contact and that it has been used as a scientifically proven spermicide. I’m so glad  to know that now and don’t want to think of the uses of this bottle of Krest except I have drunk enough of it to fluoresce which is exactly what quinine does under black lights.

From beautiful tropical Jinja…I wish you a glowingly good day.

  1. Lori Hetzel says:

    What a blessing these women are to these women of Uganda! It is so wonderful to see their businesses thriving with these loans. It is so good to see that the loans have a 100% payback! To see these women have self confidence and work on their own, is such an amazing thing. I can see that this could be an opportunity for many.This is a great idea, to empower women, and sustain a good quality of life, and to be able to provide for their families.
    Thank you for sharing Lori

    • Lori says:

      Isn’t it really so amazing. Not one default! That is unheard of in America. These are uneducated women ready to dig out of poverty and they are doing it!!!

  2. Linda says:

    oh lori -- i always forget to bring tissue with me to the computer when i read your blog.
    your words are so eloquent in the sadness they describe. a child’s pain, pain like that is so vast, so unspeakable, and to have that multiplied by so many -- i don’t know how you can stand it.

    please stay safe, take care of your glowing self and your poor pretty feet, but mostly take care of your sweet soul 🙂

    you are amazing and an inspiration to all.

    • Lori says:

      Oh I really don’t write the depth of the pain I see, it is too harsh, so thankfully for both of us all we need is tissues instead of buckets. If I had to write exactly as I see, I don’t think any of us could take it.

      I’m safe and happy right now although today ended up very sad with me having to find a different guest house. I’ll write more about that tomorrow.

  3. Vicki says:

    I can picture it all in my mind, and smell the smells and feel the hot sun, as I read your lovely blogs.

    I sent you an email at the LM address, about ideas and plans.

    I met in 2008 the woman who runs Paper to Pearls for Acholi women; may be able to get our POCP girls involved?

    If you are in Kitgum, see if you can greet Pastor David Livingstone for me. He ran Peace Radio but don’t know if that is still going. I sent him a package via one of our PeaceHarvest men in ’09 and wonder if he got it. Let him know I have not forgotten him…

    You have encouraged and energized me so much! Pray that the Lord will guide…

    May you be blessed with rivers of living water to share, oh woman with beautiful feet!


    • Lori says:

      I’ve just arrived to Kitgum so I’ll have more to say when I’ve recovered from the road trip and have seen the children. thanks so much Vicki I’ll be here for a while so I can even call you from here.

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