[ Uganda, Africa Mission Journal â€“ Entry 8 ]
JINJA, UGANDA – MARCH 16, 2012 – In golf they call Saturday “Moving Day”. For us, moving day was Thursday. Jill and I spent our first night in Uganda in one of the outer bungalows, a giant round room with a king size bed in the middle. Sweet. They next day we were quickly moved to one of the regular cottages. Still sweet. We stayed in that room three nights. In the meantime, The Haven rented out our rooms, which Loren had booked for the entire week, to a group on photo safari for Thursday and Friday. Not so sweet.
We had a choice, we could sleep in tents for those two nights in a field out by the bungalows and move back into our rooms on Friday or we could go elsewhere. Luckily Jill’s bags finally arrived Wednesday afternoon while we were in the village and the group decided to move into town to Surgio’s Pizzeria and Guest House. Loren had stayed there before and on the way into the market on Wednesday, the guys checked it out. They had room for all of us and the place looked great. The stone-fired pizza was even better. It was just past the dam where the Nile begins to flow out of Lake Victoria in Jinja, the largest city in eastern Uganda. It was a little farther away from Wakisi, but it was all on paved roads (or what passes for paved roads here), no dirt paths.
That meant, even though we had just gotten Jill’s luggage, there was no unpacking Wednesday night. Jill just went through her bag to get the stuff she needed. The rest stayed right where it was.
[Okay, this is an aside about Jill. So Jill if you’re reading, skip this paragraph. After a few panicky moments when we realized the bags weren’t there and the next morning when we still didn’t know if they had found our bags or if they were coming at all, Jill was remarkable. She had one extra pair of pants and one extra t-shirt in her carry-on bag. Every morning she would wash what she wore the day before in the sink with a packet of Tide she got from Beth, and wear the other change of clothes. Thursday morning was the first day she could wear something new.]
As Jill went through the bag she realized there wasn’t much there she really needed after all. But there was a week’s worth of clothes in there that were going to waste. Maybe we should just stay another week. Just kidding Grandma and PopPop, and Mimi.
Thursday was moving day at the village, too, finishing the playground and bringing in the first kids to play there. It was a long, luscious, hard, satisfying day. And at the end of it, the entire group’s bags were on a flatbed truck headed for Jinja to Surgio’s. We followed them in the van and I can’t be sure, but I think Jill watched closely to make sure her new bright orange bags (bright orange so we would be sure to see them at baggage claim) didn’t come flying out. They didn’t. We all arrived safely at Surgio’s, people and bags.
The next day we were back at the village for the second day of the Grand Opening of the Mashah Community Playground. We had over 150 students from two different schools, but it was a much more orderly day. That doesn’t mean there were any fewer smiles or hugs or squeals of delight on the swings. It just means we had learned from our mistakes from the day before. We got back to Jinja in the early afternoon; the Smiths had to get ready for their flights back to Houston.
Jill and I spent the last few hours of the day being tourists, shopping for souvenirs. We got Grace a…and Troy some…Nope, we want it to be a surprise. Pastor Mathias even took us on a little sight seeing tour. We saw the Port of Jinja (a boat dock), the charcoal distribution center (dozens of people putting charcoal in hundreds of huge bags to be sold as fuel for cooking fires and the like), and Jinja’s only golf course. It was right on Lake Victoria at the source of the Nile.
There were no golfers, and storks were making themselves at home on the fairways, but the yellow flag on the final green was rustling in the wind. Must be moving day.
I just wanted to drop you a note to say that I am enjoying your journals about Jinja, Uganda! My husband, 6 children and I are moving to Jinja at the end of May to work with Healing Faith, a malaria ministry that works in Wakisi Village. We have never been to Jinja before, but visited Kampala last year for a couple of weeks. The home that we will be living in is next to the pizzeria that you mention! It is such a gift to get a little glimspe of where we will be living from your experience. Thanks!
Cara. Thank you for reading the Jinja blogs. I am sure you will find the place a revelation. It was for me. Send me pictures or your own posts when you get there. I would love to see the place again, if only through a lens or the written word.The people and the place are still in my mind.