Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Proliferation of Terrills

When we first came to Karamoja, we wondered why so many people have the same names, or, put another way, why people showed so little creativity in naming their children. Many children are named after very close relatives, as close as aunts and uncles. Other children are named after well-known foreigners, especially Catholic priests who lived in the area for decades. For example, there must be dozens of 'John Boscos', probably named after a note-worthy Italian priest (most priests in Karamoja come from Italy). Well, I don't know what this means, but there are little Terrills popping up all over the place. Am I a priest? I did used to get letters here addressed to "Terro, Parish Priest of Nagala", though I was quick to dispell that notion when I got the chance.

This little fellow here is one of the latest Terrills to be born. His father also has a grandson named Terrill (the second picture), which means, these two Terrills will have an uncle-nephew relationship, even though the uncle will be younger (yes, the man has three wives). In any case, this is good motivation to be an excellent role model for all my namesakes!


Our visitors---Larry, Mary, & Cassidy---have gone :(...but they left us with many great memories! Last weekend we celebrated Mary's birthday and our 4th Anniversary by spending one night in a 'safari lodge' in nearby Kidepo Game Park. This was such a blessing for us because we'll be spending our anniversary (today) in Kaabong, where nice places to eat are nonexistent (well, depending on how you define 'nice'). The dining was wonderful in Kidepo, but it was just icing on the cake of having great company, both human and non-human:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Murchison Falls

Murchison Falls is a drop-off along the Nile River in Uganda where the entire water volume of the Nile drops several hundred feet, and at one point, is jetted through a rock cauldron only 14 ft. wide! Surrounding this stretch of the river is a large game park by the same name. This was one of our first destinations with our friends from Florida. I think the power and violence of the river through the narrow gash in the rocks has left an impression on all of us.

Visitors from Tallahassee, Florida

On Thursday the 16th, we were thrilled to meet Larry & Mary Shingler and Cassidy Summers at their hostel in Entebbe. They hail from Four Oaks Community Church in Tallahassee, Florida and have come to spend two weeks with us. After getting a whirlwind tour of Entebbe and Kampala, we headed off to Murchison Falls for a couple of days in the wilderness. Then we continued on to Kaabong. Now, for the next week or so, we'll be gradually introducing them to our lives here in Karamoja. They're taking lots of pictures, so be sure to ask to see them when they get back! Amber and I are grateful for friends who love us enough to come visit.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

We're still in the honey business...

Two weeks before we were due to drive south for our break, the Ik started bringing us honey again. At first, we were just going to use it for private consumption...but the honey kept coming. It's not even the season to harvest but the Ik were wanting to get rid of the honey they kept stored so they could harvest new honey in the next couple of months. We eventually ended up with 78 liters of honey. Right now, the way the process works is that we personally buy honey from the Ik sellers and then put the honey in big blue buckets. If the honey is light, we separate it from the wax and put it into a special bucket. If the honey is dark, we put wax and all into one bucket. We then load the buckets either in our vehicle or onto a truck heading south. This time around, we only had three buckets, so we took it to Malaika's offices ourselves. Malaika will then pay us for the honey (the same amount we paid the Ik) and exchange the full buckets for empty ones. This whole process works right now, but we hope that eventually the Ik will be able to trust each other enough to put a couple of men in charge of getting their honey to Malaika themselves. The drive to Malaika offices (in Kampala) is currently about 12 hours from where the Ik live and very difficult. The only options for transporting from Timu are personal vehicles (such as ours) and trucks who pass through for other business purposes. Most likely, the Ik man would have to transfer the buckets of honey between several vehicles on the way to Kampala. They would have to take records of who gave them honey and pay people when they've returned home from Malaika. They would also have to consider transportation costs and deduct it from the amount given for the honey. One problem they face is that one person may have an immediate financial need and they'll use other people's money to meet that need. If Malaika gave an Ik man the payment for the honey and the Ik man had a sudden need to spend the money, the other Ik would not get paid for their honey. They don't like when this happens.

  • We pray that God will give us wisdom and insight in how to handle/adjust this process to make it work for the Ik.
  • We pray that we'll find trustworthy men to take charge of the business.
  • We also pray that the roads will be repaired to make travel easier and the process of transporting smoother.


I was looking through recent Karamoja photos today and found this one of Terrill with a friend of ours and her new baby. This woman (Elaine) had a difficult pregnancy and much back pain towards the end. She was constantly coming to our house for Tylenol and hot tea. She went into labor in the middle of the night and came to our outer gate for assistance. We called an ambulance who promptly (and surprisingly) came and took her to Kaabong hospital. Soon thereafter she delivered a healthy baby boy. Upon asking what the child's name was, we learned he was now called Tubo Terrill (or Tero). The very next words that came out of the mother's mouth was a request for clothing for the child since he was now connected to Terrill by name. This is the fourth child we know named after Terrill this year and each mother has asked for gifts for their children. We almost don't know whether to feel flattered or manipulated, but either way it is customary to reward those children for their connection to us. I think we've officially been initiated into the circle of relationships (and responsibilities) that permeate Karamoja.