Miller, Coffee, and Accomplishments

…I am an English tutor and I can make chapatis! Yesterday was an accomplishment.

I am going to tutor two congolese and/or nigerian students who are here at the university and only speak French and their native language (which is not Luganda or English). They need help. I’m glad I have some background in this. It’s going to be interesting! No, I’m not getting paid, but I’m helping a person and to be honest, I am so jazzed about having the upper hand in some form of relationship/communication here. It’s not that I don’t like being the humble learner, but it’s going to nice to be tutoring again. I won’t have to be the helpless only-English-speaking Mzungu…for once. Hallelujah.

Mama and I decked out in our colorful dresses at a local wedding. She is wearing a gomez, the traditional apparel for a woman to wear to a formal event. Now-a-days , at a modern-style wedding, more of the older woman wear that and the younger gals are found wearing more westernized party dresses.

And my mama called me at school yesterday afternoon telling me to scurry home so I can learn how to make chapatis. Chapatis are the Ugandan equivalent to a tortilla. They’re delicious and absolutely terrible for you. An adopted brother, Junea, taught me how to make them. Pretty simple actually. I’ve made pie crust, so kneading dough and rolling it out?..big deal. We ate them for dinner. Mama made a tomatoe/onion/pepper mixture (aka: salsa). Junea cooked some eggs inside a chapati for me (aka: a rolex). Rolex + salsa = heaven in a roll!

Well I managed to take one step toward  facing my fear of lizards. The first tiny step was naming “them” Leonard…. Leonard the Latrine Lizard (because the latrine is where I find them the most and where I am most vulnerable). The REAL step was picking up a baby lizard yesterday evening. It was probably half as thin and long as my pinky finger, but it’s a start. The big ones are a different story.

So, I love Donald Miller. Thank you, Reyes, for insisting I read Blue Like Jazz for free reading my freshman year of high school. Miller’s writing appealed to me and since then, his works often serve as my enjoyed pre-sleep reading material. Now I am delving into Searching For God Knows What.  Two chapters in and I’m already loving it. I truly appreciate Miller’s writing style. His words can somehow reach out to any individual no matter where they’re at spiritually or how well their life is working out. Here I am in Africa, and his words are appealing to my mental debate over the priority of western thought? Go Miller!

Most recently loved quote:

“I realized the gospel of Jesus, I mean the essence of God’s message to mankind, wasn’t a bunch of hoops we needed to jump through to get saved, and it wasn’t a series of ideas we had to agree with either; rather, it was an invitation, an invitation to know God.”

Hooray for western thinking! Don’t we always think that the gospel is pre-defined? A simple invitation can be universal. An invitation to know God has no limits and could EASILY meet each person where they are at in their own setting, on their own time.
Hallelujah!  (again).

Withdrawing from deep thoughts, I greatly miss coffee. I shuffled into the lovely “Touch of Class Cafe” located on campus, in pursuit of some hot brewed coffee while the heavens were pouring out tubs full of water and the temperature (amazingly enough) was cool enough to actually enjoy a hot drink.
Disappointment. I had to convince myself that I was sipping some Ugandan specialty drink that was somehow a distant relative of coffee, but not the real thing, in order to drink it. I asked the gentleman (not a barista) how many tablespoons of grounds he put. He said 2 tblspoons for the 5 cups he brewed. Eww.  For my love of strong coffee, I blame my father. For my barista-snobby need for taste and balance in my brew, I blame Origin Coffee. I can appreciate you both at home, but here you have made my adoration a painful thing.

I suppose this will be one of those items that I will appreciate that much more once I return home. And as another study-abroad-er once said from across seas about her life back home…  “Admire, don’t desire. “

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