This week got real.
I am settled down in my house. No more traveling for quite a while and praise Jesus for that! Traveling is great and all, but not endless coaster (bus) rides backed up to half-way-across-the-world plane rides. Bless the Rwanda trip, but I am happy to be chilling for awhile.
Classes began. Naturally, the first week only says so much. I am in Faith and Action, a required course for USP students, Cross Cultural Practicum (a requirement for IMME students), African Literature and Ugandan Religions. 13 units and I am SO happy about it. Three our of five days of the school week, I don’t have to be to campus until either 11, 12 or 2. It’s nice not to leave my home peacefully and return peacefully. There’s not a whole lot to do at home except for just be….the ideal action of an IMME student in the eyes of a typical host family. After 4 months of this, how will I ever be able to return to hectic American culture? Culture shock all over again.
I’m excited about my Cross Cultural Practicum. The class meets once a week to discuss logistics and challenges, but the main point of the class is to do hands on work with local organizations helping out the needy. I don’t know exactly which site I am going to yet, but rumor has it I was given my number one choice…Off-Tu. This organization works with street kids in Mukono and helping them find their identity outside of their situation along with sometime reuniting them with their parents. I felt like this site would be most pertinent to my passion to fight against human trafficking…especially when it comes down to forsaken kids coming back in contact with their parents. What a battle that must be. How could these kids ever feel loved by their parents when they’ve been living on the streets, fending for themselves?
Anyway, that will be an experience to be sure.
Yesterday was my first visit to Kampala, the capital city. I went with Jenna and my host sister Jennifer.We rode a matata (taxi van) in. These taxis can legally hold 14 passengers and they drop off/pick up anyone wherever they want along the way to Kampala. This makes the 25 minute trip take almost an hour…luck of the draw. At least it’s cheap, though! 2,000 schillings one way, which equates to about 80 cents.
Kampala is crazy. There are so many people and taxis and boda bodas (paid transportation motorcycles) all around and you literally have to hold hands if you want to stick together. We did make it to a cute craft market, though. It was clearly designed for tourists, but there were so many cute things! I got some beaded sandals for about $12…a very nicely crafted pair. I plan to go back with other students on a day when we have more time.
It’s not uncommon to see many Mzungus (white people) in Kampala. There are plenty of westernized areas. If I ever get a true craving for pizza or American groceries, that’s just where you have to go. Frequent travel there is discouraged because of the population of the city (making it a target for riots and such) and the risk of transportation. I imagine I’ll go a total of 4 or 5 times during the semester.
I think things are going well so far. Jenna leaves next Thursday, which I am bummed about, but I am becoming pretty comfortable around my homestay and definitely learning how to do things for myself. It’s always a good feeling when you get to stop asking countless questions when you are in someone else’s home.
Thank you, Lord, for your ever-sustaining provision.