Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Amber and I have seen quite a few Medair people come and go just in the two short years we've been here. We've appreciated getting to know many of them and making great friends. Medair has been a source of companionship and stability in our Karamoja experience, and we will really feel this loss. Medair was there for us after we had an armed robbery in 2008. Soon thereafter Medair moved into our compound to be our neighbors and have been there since August 2008.
Medair, thanks for all you've done to make the lives of the Karamojong better, and thanks for all you've done for us. We will miss you!
Saturday, March 27, 2010
On top of the mountain were a few trees that we can actually see from our house in Kaabong. Terrill's first endeavor on top was to climb the biggest tree.
It was a pleasant climb, but one I'll want to do with sunscreen on the back of my neck next time. We just can't get away from the beauty of Karamoja.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
We started out from Kampala, the capital of Uganda. We both thought it was funny that cows get to hold up traffic even in the city.
The red roofs in the distance welcomed us. The dogs were barking their heads off and the spiders in our house were retreating. It's nice to finally unpack our suitcase, settle in and put our feet up.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
“The wild creatures I had come to
—Peter Matthiessen (1972)
In 2008 we met an Ik man named Mark (pseudonym) from the
Fast forward a year or more later. We stopped briefly in the Karamojong town of
Fast forward a few days. I’m working in our yard in Timu. A Dodoth man who speaks Ik tells me in Swahili that he found a man lying alone in the forest. He says the man is very sick and is coming to see us. “He should have gone to the hospital in Kaabong instead of risking his life to walk to us”, I thought. I was annoyed. Why do people put so much on us? Why does a dying man seek us for help in the middle of nowhere? “I’m not a doctor”, I said. “Let me get my wife”.
Mark was skin and bones. His body was ravaged by an unknown disease, and we didn’t have the means to diagnose or cure him. We called his relatives in the next village to come get him. We gave him something to eat and drink. The next day we arranged for a humanitarian agency to pick him up on their way back to Kaabong.
Yesterday I found out that Mark died three days later. No one knows what killed him. The hospital either doesn’t know or won’t tell. As for me and Amber, we have our first major regret of our time here. We regret not reading the signs better. Mark was knocking on death’s door the last time we saw him. We regret not treating him better, not treating him like a wounded king. We regret not praying for him and praying with him. I particularly regret not talking with him about his soul’s destiny.
There’s no use beating ourselves up over this. What we can do is let the regret sink in, in hope that next time we will be more prepared.
May Mark rest in peace.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
We’re having trouble accessing our Twitter site, so we have to use the blog as the platform to announce that…
WE’RE BACK IN KAABONG
After four months away and twelve hours’ driving today, we reached our Karamoja home safe and sound at 5:30 pm. We feel blessed and happy to be here.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
We met with some Baptist missionary friends yesterday and were saddened to hear their stories of the rising crime rate in south
These recent stories reminded Terrill & I to be particularly careful in the south of
Terrill & I were walking down a busy street in
Going into church and trying to worship was a little more difficult after that. I had to forgive that man and everyone else who allows crime to thrive in this place. Tonight I’m praying that those who would commit crime against another might feel loved and learn how to love others. Please also pray with me for the safety of the missionaries in south
Thursday, March 4, 2010
- We can only bring 200 lbs. of luggage with us when we fly, and certain things we need or like to have are not easy to come by in Uganda.
- When we're upcountry in Uganda, we give, give, give. It's a gracious thing to be given something out of love. It helps keep us sane.
- The stuff you send often replenishes our supplies that have dwindled as a result of our giving things to others.
- Getting a package simply makes our day, every time.
For those of you who are interested in sending us a package sometime, we have compiled three lists of things we want and/or need on Amazon.com. The lists are as follows:
Amber's List: this is a list of books, CDs, and DVDs that Amber would like.
Terrill's List: this is a list of books, CDs, and DVDs that Terrill would like.
Lehman's List: No, Lehman is not a third member of our family! Lehman's is an "Amish hardware store" in Ohio that sells a lot of cool stuff that would be useful in Uganda.
Both Amazon and Lehman's can ship things to Uganda, but beware of potentially high shipping costs. An alternative is to have items shipped to you, then you put them in a Post Office flat-rate box. Our mailing address is: Terrill & Amber Schrock, SIL Uganda, PO Box 750, Entebbe, Uganda.
People are often worried that packages might get lost. That can happen. To my knowledge we didn't lose anything in our first two years. It could take a package anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months to get to us. The average time it takes is about 2 months. But hey, there's nothing wrong with getting a few extra Christmas gifts in July!
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
The flight to Atlanta was a little warm, but it might have been because I sat in between two grown men (one being Terrill). The flight took an hour and I had hoped for some peace and quiet. Not to be. The guy on the other side of me had drank a few beers with his dinner and was proceeding to tell me his life story. I shouldn't be able to recite an hour's worth of his life story...but I can. I couldn't help but be little sympathetic as this young father seemed to need a listening ear.
Upon landing in Atlanta, we headed to our gate and sat for only an hour before we were allowed to board the plane. In the meantime, I went searching for a place to drop my letters off at. Again, not to be. I was informed by an older Hispanic lady (why do they have to put people with thick accents at the information desk?) that I wouldn't be able to send any mail from their airport. I was hoping for an alternative to my problem but she didn't give any. I was dismissed. Now I'm sending my letters from Uganda.
So...we boarded the airplane at 8:50 pm and flew all night towards London. I was in the middle seat between two grown men again. However, at the beginning of the flight, the stewardess kindly asked the man on my right to move to another row that only had one passenger. She was trying to give us an extra seat to sleep in. Very kind and thoughtful. I got several hours of sleep on that flight thanks to her.
Now...the interesting thing about this flight was that a man in the aisle across from us was a bit out of whack. We saw him drinking alcohol with dinner but didn't think anything of it. The lights were dimmed and many people fell asleep after dinner. Within a few hours, many of us were awakened by this man crying out in a loud voice...phrases that didn't make much sense to us. He was definitely Scottish. I think he must have been talking in his sleep. His poor wife! The funniest part of this whole episode is that the man awoke right before we were landing...and he was still talking to himself or anyone in general...in a very loud voice...and not making much sense. Everyone around him looked awkwardly at him from time to time. Before we disembarked, I heard a stewardess tell someone over the phone that she had a drunk in the back.
When we landed in London, it was 9:15 am (London time). We sat in the airplane for 20 minutes while waiting for someone to drive the stairs to the door of the plane. This was not a good sign and had us worrying. Our next flight was closing the doors at the gate around 10:25 am. The process of getting from one plane to the next was no simple matter. We disembarked from the plane and got on a trolley which took us to another part of the airport. We got stuck behind slow people...you know the ones who stop in the middle of the walkway to look for something in their bags?...we got stuck behind those with kids who are training their 2 year old how to walk in public...we got stuck behind other just walking leisurely. We went up escalators and down escalators. We went through customs and then security again. At one point, it was 10:15 am and we were stuck in a long line at security. We showed our tickets to an airport employee who promptly helped us skip the line. I did feel bad for those I was skipping but I'm pretty sure they weren't getting on a plane in ten minutes. The security check itself took ten minutes. Belts and shoes off. Laptops out of cases. Passports and tickets in a safe place. Coats off. Then we have to get dressed again. We finally found our gate with no time to spare and were some of the last passengers to board. We should have known that this wouldn't bode well for our checked-in bags. We had our feet and voices. They didn’t.
The ride from London to Uganda was nice and peaceful. We tried to sleep but the Russian passengers in front of us were in jovial moods and talked loudly to each other. No problem. We'd sleep later. We were intrigued by a 'missionary-looking' family sitting across the aisle. We never talked, but I spotted their luggage later and saw they were going to Jinja. Terrill says they reminded him of his family moving to Tanzania. The children had perfect manners and were quiet on the flight. I was impressed. I pray they 'make it' in Uganda.
We landed in Entebbe around 10:10 pm (Nairobi time). The air felt nice and warm. I was getting tired of the cold in the US after living in tropical weather for two years. We found our way to the resident visa line in the building. To our dismay, our visas had expired in December. They stamped our passports and sent us to the visitor visa line. We waited and when it was finally our turn, they charged us $50 each to renew the visa, even though it was supposed to be free since we have work permits. Too bad we didn’t know that!
Finally, we get through and head to the luggage claim. This is when I first had the sinking feeling that the luggage hadn't made it. At the same time, Terrill spotted a sign that named us as not having luggage. We went to the luggage office and waited some more. From here we're told that our luggage will arrive on Friday. By now it's 11 pm and I was tired and not to be messed with. No clothes...deodorant...shampoo. Lucky for us, we had traveled with toothbrushes. We were able to get some things in Entebbe but what irks me is the inconvenience of it all. I'll get over it.
A good friend, Doug, picked us up from the airport and we also agreed to take two Ugandan men to the hotel where we'd be staying. That was a good decision. We dropped Doug at home and made it to the hotel. The other men were checking in when the receptionist told us that someone had made a mistake and booked us for the following day. We went back outside and were ready to go look for another place to stay (as they had no other rooms). Terrill went inside again to use the phone and was told that one of the men who we'd brought from the airport was willing to give up his room and stay with his friend. We had a room and we slept the whole night. Praise God for happy endings!
Our waiter at the restaurant kindly, if unsolicitedly, told me his name, which to my ears sounded like "Greece" (I couldn't imagine why it would be "Grease"...). I thought perhaps his parents had some connection or fascination with the country of Greece. Later, I pointed out to Amber that his name was Greece, but she heard something more like "Crease". Okay, I thought, I DO know a guy named Bob Creson (our esteemed president of Wycliffe). And I remember that Denzel Washington was called "Creasy" by the little girl he was supposed to protect in the movie Man on Fire. "Greece", "Crease"...whatever. A guy's got a right to be named whatever he is named. Fair enough.
Then Amber started laughing (at me? with me?) because she realized the waiter's name was...simply..."Chris"---"Chris" pronounced with a Ugandan accent. She doesn't often get to laugh at her linguist husband's linguistic mistakes, but whe she does, she takes advantage of it. I guess I don't blame her. :)