Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Breathe in the familiar shock of confusion and chaos- Brandon Heath

The next edition of "Things I've learned in Uganda"...

17. Take time to start a diesel. I’ve never driven one before, so I was more than happy to learn that you have to wait until the engine clicks before you start the car, or it will kill the engine.
18. “It is finished.” It’s the phrase that Jesus said as he hung on the cross, but has a completely different meaning here. A common occurrence in resturaunts when you order is for them to say to you in turn that “it is finished”, meaning that the last of it is gone, and you have to choose something else to order.
19. My stomach is not a missionaries stomach. I should clarify that I did already know this, but I am reminded of it quite often, and I’m not even out in the villages yet. Any recipes for good simple foods you would like to send my way would be appreciated it.
20. Expect the unexpected. As strange as it is, we’ve had three unexpected holidays. The first was when the king of the main tribe here died, and the second and third is a Muslim holiday that I’d never heard of , Idd. Idd has something to do with the moon, and how they have to see that it is full, if they can’t see it due to the clouds, the holiday is not the next day, but whenever they can see it.
21. Don’t talk about pants. Pants here are considered underpants, and the word trousers is the word that we in America would use for pants. Uganda used to be a british colony, so that tradition came from there.
22. Don’t go out past 6pm. Even if it’s still light out, there are some creepy characters. I was on a run one evening with a few other people, and a man came right in my face as I was running and said “Oliotya” and when I ignored him and kept running, he hit another muzungu woman’s arm.
23. Blinkers don’t mean that you are turning. If the right hand signal is going, it means it is not safe to pass. If the left hand signal is going, it means it is safe to pass. They are usually displayed after the car behind honks, asking if it is safe to pass.
24. Trees in the middle of a road. Instead of road blocks or orange cones, people just plant trees in the middle of the road to signify that there is work being done in a certain spot on the road.
25. Moe-squee-toes come in the house especially after 6pm. In Uganda, they don’t say mosquitoes the same, rather the way I spelled it in bold. When we’re home, we leave the doors open until around 6pm, after that the bugs come in a lot more.
26. Hit and run…please! If you are in a car accident and the car can still move…drive away! Otherwise you could quickly become part of a mob scene. The best thing to do is drive straight to a police booth and hope the one other in the accident follows so that it can be sorted out with the police…even though you may wind up paying a large fee because of skin color.
27. The word poop is a swear. Ugandans are shocked whenever you talk about bowel movements. They are fine with saying the four letter s word to talk about it, but never poop.
28. “I am paining”. This simply means that you are in pain, or the way we would say it in America is “I am hurt.”
29. Don’t walk in between people. In Uganda, it is considered very rude to talk in between people who are holding a conversation. They will even grab you and move you aside so that they don’t have to walk through.
30. “Jesus is the wiener man.” No, that is not what they are saying. Ugandan’s accent just makes it sound like that, but in reA.ty they are singing “Jesus is the winner man.”
31. Don’t talk about pants. People giggle if you say pants because they think of that word as underwear. It’s still embarrassing when you forget to use the word trousers sometimes.
32. Fruit really is like candy! For the first time in my life, I have to admit that fruit really is nature’s candy. The oranges here are different. Besides the fact that they are in fact green, they are so sweet and tart. It’s almost like eating sweet tarts. (For those of you who know me really well, my eyes even twitch like tangy candy makes them twitch!)

And check out the New Photo albums!!!
Including pictures of the Rain Festival, Nakigalala village church, Grade 1 Chapel, photo assignments from friends, and a monkey :D




There's a yield for what you've sown, I will not leave you all alone. -Matt Wertz

A few weeks ago on a Wednesday we had quite a rough day in school. By the end of the day there were only 5 people on green, 10 on yellow, 3 on green, and 1 on red. Towards the end of the day I found one of my posters had been tampered with. So, naturally I asked the class what had happened. No one owned up to it. Kids have quickly learned in my class and are afraid to admit to doing anything. However, they also know that they might not get in trouble if they tell me the truth. Because no one had admitted anything and the day had already been so rough, I picked up the bean jar. The bean jar is basically like a mason jar that has beans in it. Everyday the kids are good, they get a handful of beans in the jar. When the jar is full, they get to have a party (which was full of a movie, cookies, carrots and peanut butter, popcorn and digestives). If they are ever especially bad, some of the beans come out. I started taking out the beans one by one saying that I was waiting for someone to tell me the truth. A few kids quickly ran up and said “I touched it but it was this morning.” Or “I touched it but it didn’t break.” So, the right person was not owning up. I kept on pulling out beans and the kids were besides themselves and distraught. The one kid in my class who has never had his stick flipped called out “A and M broke it! (initials used to protect privacy)” I knew he was telling me the truth, as he has never done a bad thing in his short life since being adopted. M lied to me, but that is nothing unusual and owned up to lying and had to flip her stick 2 times. In my class if you lie to me, you go straight to orange. I don’t tolerate lying! I kept pulling out beans and by the look in A’s eye’s I could tell he was lying and about to burst into tears because he knew what was coming. Finally he admitted to it, ran over to his desk, flipped his stick to red (even though it was only supposed to be on orange) and then started screaming and crying. The bell had just rung, so I quickly got the rest of the kids in line and gave them their “handshakes, high-fives, or hugs” despite some of them telling me repeatedly that A was crying. 
Sadly, I was already 2 hours late to a meeting so I also had to leave rather quickly. A does not have a good home life so Miss Agnes stays after school everyday to help him with his homework, or else it doesn’t get done. Plus, Miss Agnes has been with A for over a year now and knows him better, so she told me she would talk him down.
The next morning I talked to Miss Agnes about how A had reacted and what he had told her. Apparently after I left, he started throwing things and saying “I hate Miss Jean”. Imagine the drama in our lives? She talked to him about it and explained that it was not Miss Jean’s fault he was on orange. He was the one who told the lie. He would not have had to flip his stick if he had told the truth.
I took him outside and asked him if he was mad at me. He nodded yes. I asked him why, and he told me because I made him go on red. I quickly corrected him and reminded him that he indeed was not on red, but orange. We went into detail and talked about how if he had told the truth he would not have gotten in trouble and how it was not my mistake at all. He said that he understood, so I went on to talk about forgiveness and how I had forgiven him. I asked him if he knew that Jesus would forgive us too if we just asked for it. He told me “No, Jesus hates me.” This just broke my heart. In the past A has told me that he prays at night. From what I know he comes from a Muslim home, so I have been so confused by him. He has told me that when he prays at night by himself he thanks ‘God’ for punishing him. I quickly told him that NO, Jesus does not hate him. “Jesus loves you so much A! He just doesn’t like it when we lie or do other things that are sinful. Jesus loves you no matter what. He made you and is your father.” He seemed to understand a bit more, so I continued and I closed the conversation by praying and thanking God for his love and forgiveness and asking him to help us not to sin. This child is slowly opening up more and more. I just wish I understood more about his home life. That is truly one of the hardest parts of any teaching job, not being able to control how they are treated outside of the classroom.