Oh, the things I seen living here in Africa. Yesterday was like most days for me office, getting things done in town, emails, office prayer times, emails, and so on. But, there was something unique about yesterday…allow me to explain.
The day before I got a package ship, which meant I needed to go down to the post office. So I was up and out of my flat by 8am the next morning heading to town. As I was walking down the road to the boda stage and I was praying one of my boda friends was at the stage. When going to town I prefer to have the same guy take me and bring me home. While walking I could see a few guys at the stage, normally they race up the hill and meet me, but not this morning. So I kept walking and then I was greeted by a man’s voice behind me. He said, “Eh, we go?” I turned around and it was my boda friend! He had been driving back to the stage from the other side. With a smile I greeted him in Luganda and we were off. We chatted a bit heading into town. Talking to the guys is my daily 411. They know so much about what is going on in town and all over. They also help me with my Lugandan vocabulary and Ugandan cultural questions!
Once we got into town we waved in and out of traffic to the post office. We got here and he waited for me across the street for me. Now, getting a package is a big deal! The package slip will tell you if you need to get it at the upper office or lower office, this one said it was in the upper office. Most people hate the upper office. You have to pay more to get your package and the customs guys have to look through the box. If the objects in the box are more than $50 (stated on the customs form the sender fills out) you have to pay taxes on it. But….I have made friends in the upper office. They greet me and I greet them! So it never feels like a task going to see them in the office. So, I paid for my box and was told to have the customs guy look it over, just like always. But, as he pointed to the customs counter his face looked confused. There was NO one there. I asked when they normally come in. He looked at the clock and said “by now.” At this time it was 8:30am. I said I would wait for them. What else could I do? I could not take the box home without them looking at it and I did not want to give the box back and come later. So I waited and I waited. Then I waited some more! An hour passed and I went and chatted with my friend. Asking when they would come. I told them I had a meeting to get to on the other side of town. They assured me someone was coming. Welcome to Africa I told myself. No hurry. So I waited some more. Finally the boss came. He saw no one at the customs counter…..lets just say he was MAD. He told me he is calling them. My Luganda is not that good but I knew he was not happy and they were going to have a hard time when they got in by what he said and his tone. The person did come and quickly looked over my box, as the bossed looked on, and let me go. As I walked out I laughed. I was over an hour late for my meeting, my boda guy was waiting for me, and I still had to get out of town (there is always a lot of traffic in Kampala)!
Once I got to the street and hopped on the boda I told whole story to my friend. He was laughing. “Well, you know” is all he could give as an explanation. I too laughed and replied with “Yeah, I know.” We were close to the end of the city and closer to being home. Soon after a round a bout I saw a boda that looked like there was blood on it. I told myself no, there is no way it was. Well the closer we got the more I was sure it was. As I looked at it I saw a cow head. Just the head! Then as we passed the bloody boda I was saw it was a whole cow in a bag with the head on top! You cannot get more African than this I thought! The guy was propably taking it to his shop to sell. Meat out here is call neyoma. I pointed and told my driver “neyoma” and he laughed and said, “YES!”
Town was unusual that morning so when I got back to the office and thought it was going to be a little more normal….I should have known nothing is normal out here! In the afternoon I walked over to the AIM Inn on the same compound as the office and saw a puppy sitting there. I took a second look. It was the same one I saw the morning before while driving to the office. He was so small and was going to be knocked (hit) by a boda. I kept driving because I told myself I could not stop for every animal I saw….I would never get where I was going if I did. Well, some how this little guy found his way up the hill and on to our AIM compound. The Innkeepers were talking about what to do with him when the cook, a lovely Ugandan lady, said she would take it. She had a dog put it was killed. She then took it and gave it a bath. One bath was not enough. This little guy was covered in bugs and dirt! I watched. She so lovely heated the water, rubbed him, and set him in the sun.
Now, I know God has called me to do “missions work” out here. But every now and then it is a joy to just LIVE a day out here. Truly just live a day where you see, hear, and do things just like your neighbors. That is what yesterday was for me.