Tuesday, June 22, 2010

en masse

There is a strong Christian presence in Uganda. Just down the road from where we live is a beautiful cathedral that was finished just a couple of years ago. One Sunday we had some things that came up that kept us from being able to travel to Jinja (about an hour away) for church so we decided to go to mass instead. I'd actually been wanting to visit an African church while I was here anyway so it was a perfect opportunity. We walked the 5 minutes through a field of corn to the cathedral on a hill and attended the traditional service delivered in Lugandan. During the hymns, there was still an African feel as choir boys played drums with the congregation. It was really beautiful. On the front doors are carvings of different bible stories. I really liked this one of the good samaritan, so anyway, enjoy!

Monday, June 21, 2010

I'm in love, no big deal.

No, no. I don't have jungle fever. That was effectively cured one afternoon by a certain raft guide from New Zealand by the name of Sonny. I have however fallen head over heels in love with black babies. I know, I know. This is a trifle cliche in the era of  trendy celebrity adoptions from the third world, but let me tell you, there is a reason. I can't resist them, so I'm not even going to try. I have turned into a shameless baby holder, and in spite of the risk of contracting just about every viral infection from their cute little booger noses, I will keep holding every little chocolate baby whose mother will let me near it. The end.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Obama Nation

Regardless of your political affiliation, you have to appreciate this shirt. Thanks to my friend Ronnie and a certain screen print shop in Provo (Gen X anyone?), I am the proud owner of my very own Obama t-shirt, which I wear around the streets of Lugazi. Initially my intentions were less than noble. People from last summer told me that everyone here loves Obama, so it was something of a social experiment. I thought hey, maybe it will help me make friends. There is actually an Obama clothing line here in Africa, and everyone here feels a certain sense of pride about our 44th president, and now after living in Africa  for a few months now, I do too. Let me explain. Like I said, politics aside, it is pretty amazing to see the effect one man can have on the spirits of people that live across the world in a country that has benefited so little from American politics. For them, Obama really does inspire the audacity of hope in a country where many have given up on even the local mayor, who is usually one of a long line of corrupt politicians. Obama is one man, thousands of miles away that looks a little more like them than centuries of white colonial rulers and American presidents, and inspires them to feel a little more pride in the color of their skin. I can't tell you how many times I've had someone tell me they wish their skin was fair like mine. And I can't tell you how small this makes me feel. So I wear my Obama shirt with pride so that my new friends here in Uganda know that I am proud to live in a country with a black president, who I hope does more for them in the future.

Obama recently passed a bill committing the U.S. to fighting to capture Josephy Kony, the demonic leader of the Lord's Resistance Army. Kony is responsible for capturing, torturing and killing thousands of Ugandans and Congolese, especially children who he recruits into his army and brainwashes into little killing machines. Uganda is still suffering from the devastating  effects of this war, and waiting for Kony to resurface from the jungles of the D.R. Congo to pursue his goal of overthrowing the Ugandan government. We are so lucky to live in America and have a government that in spite of its many weaknesses, protects its citizens from the chaos that plagues much of the developing world. Ok, stepping off soap box now.

**Obama Update: We visited a rhino reserve on our safari in Murchison falls last week. Since the 1970's, the natural rhino population of Uganda was completely wiped out as a result of poaching and the civil unrest. The reserve now has 9 rhinos, two of which were donated by the Disney Wildlife Foundation in Orlando. One of those little rhinos had an "American" mother and a "Kenyan" father...they named the little guy Obama.