This last week has been tough…likely the reason why I haven’t written anything on my blog since Tuesday. Tuesday was a holiday…Uganda’s 50th anniversary of independence. I had school off and chose to spend the day hiking up Monkey Hill, which is also known as Prayer Mountain. It was quite the hike, I’ll tell you what, but it was so worth it! The view from the top is magnificent and there was even a little grassy patch for me to plop down on and write some inspirational words in my journal. I went alone and the Lord and I had some good words together. I was later lectured by Mama as to why I should never go up there alone ever again. I think that was the first real scolding I got from Mama and I didn’t take it lightly. However, Mama has never even been up that hill, so I was sensing some natural “Mama worry” in her words. I later asked David if he thought it truly wasn’t safe during the day (He’s actually been up the hill), but he wouldn’t answer me. I think he didn’t want to contradict Mama in any way, shape, or form. The following day I asked Mark who told me he regards it as quite safe during the day. Nevertheless, I will do my best to adhere to Mama’s wishes and bring a friend along on my travels.
The week got progressively worse from there. I somehow managed to get my right ear clogged with water while bucket bathing and to this day, it still has not come out. It’s blocking my hearing and driving me crazy. I can hear myself breathe, talk, chew…every noise that could possibly come from my mouth. Even after trying every possible method and getting an ear wash and examination from a missionary doctor living up the hill, it’s still going to take its time and heal as it wishes.
I got quite worried over my ear along with other mishaps of the week. I had to cancel two tutoring appointments and couldn’t attend my internship either. I simply wasn’t feeling well. I was obviously stressed, and my body decided it needed to work out those problems while I was sleeping in the form of stressful dreams and constant sweating. Needless to say, I really did not get much rest. This resulted in 3 spells throughout the week and a tearful, cranky Emily on a few occasions. It’s a good thing my friends have a caring, uplifting demeanor about them. They insisted I see the brighter side of things.
All that plus a messed up digestive tract was about as bad as my week got, so I can’t be too sore about it. I had some better moments to be sure. Friday’s extremely rainy afternoon kept Becca and I in the Dining Hall from tea time at 10:30 until Lunch at 1pm. Despite the sound of pouring rain and only having one ear to work with, we managed a good conversation. Sometimes the deep thoughts just come and need expressing to open ears. That was good for my soul.
I originally had plans to accomplish a boatload of assignments and such this weekend, but those ended up going out the door, being replaced by loitering time at the neighbors’ house. Our neighbors next door have a shop. Janet and Mzungu are their names. Janet is about Mama’s age and Mzungu is my age. He is Janet’s nephew. Now for those of you who have been reading my blog, you will know that Mzungu is the Ugandan word for “white person”. Mzungu is not white, though. He is of Rwandan descent, but has grown up in Uganda. Mzungu is his legal name. It was quite strange at first calling this young man the same name that I am consistently referred to as because of my skin color. How he got that name I actually do know, but it’s too long of a story to tell.
So Saturday morning was spent talking to my Daddy on the phone and then I proceeded to migrate to Janet and Mzungu’s place and hang out with them for several hours on end. We talked and talked and talked, mostly Mzungu and myself, about quite a wide variety of things…some worthwhile and others pointless. Mzungu and I tease each other a lot. He, and the average Ugandan as well, has no problem pointing out a pimple on your face or where most of your fat lies. Being called fat, as I have said before, is supposedly some form of compliment here. But since Mzungu is so modernized and our communication is so clear, I tell him what I think about those sort of comments, with good measure of course. He receives great fascination from hearing about this, that, and the other thing when it comes to America and he certainly loves to figure out what I find odd here and why.
Out of every Ugandan I have met, I can communicate most easily with Mzungu. It’s almost as if he has lived in America before. The only time we really have a miscommunication is when he throws in a phrase in English that simply does not exist where I come from. As usual, every separate country that speaks a common language is going to develop their own little words and phrases. Anyhow, I really appreciate this guy. He has come across like a big brother and I couldn’t possibly feel nervous around him like I do around many other Ugandan guys.
I took time to show Mzungu and Janet all the pictures that I had on my smart phone. Of course, some were quite embarrassing and they got a good laugh out of them. When showing them pictures of my family, Mzungu mentioned three different times how pretty my Mom and sisters are. I found it fairly entertaining and actually quite relieving that he didn’t mention me. Naturally, that would feel a little out of place since I was the one there in person.
We had a very interesting conversation about inter-racial marriage…debating how that would work out between a white woman and Ugandan man or Ugandan woman and white man. Now Mzungu has many what he thinks are “facts” set in his mind about Americans. Where he hears or learns these things, I do not know, but most of them are fairly off. The claim he made during that conversation was that he heard American men don’t find Ugandan woman attractive. That confused me. I replied with, “Well, I’m not a man, but I sure think Ugandan men are attractive”. That tickled him pink. Haha, but it’s true. People in general are just plain good looking here. Not to mention, the men are tall.
I guess that’s enough about all my fun with Mzungu and Janet. Later that day, Mama and I took a trip into town to visit our friends Paul and Damalie and see their newborn baby girl, Joselyn. The little girl was so tiny and just so precious. While we were there, we watched the end of the African cup of nations. It was the deciding game between Uganda and Zambia. I’m convinced all of Uganda was watching and cheering their team on with face paint, jerseys, whoops, shouts and the like. The soccer game got down into the final penalty kicks. They kicked 9 penalty shots each until Uganda finally missed their shot and we lost. L Ugandans were fairly somber the rest of the evening. Even Mzungu’s face looked down when Mama and I returned home that evening.
So today (Sunday), was a day of getting things done and writing papers. That was a joyous experience.
By the end of this upcoming school week, every USP student will be on the road to Soroti, where we will be staying at a rural homestay for 8 days. Each house will be different, but we anticipate a lot of farming work, carrying babies on our backs, fetching water and just being. Should be fascinating, hopefully rejuvenating. Rural homestays will consume two weekends and then the weekend after we return, I’ll be leaving again with a group for a safari! I’m excited about that, but I’m sad about not having 3 consecutive weekends with my family. How I do enjoy quality time around here.