[I wrote this twelve days ago on the first evening I was on the island. I am currently back in Jinja, Uganda, where there is internet service, so I am finally able to send this.]

It is October 19 and my first day back on Buvuma Island in Lake Victoria, Uganda. My arrival brought to my mind the previous trips to this isolated place. My mind tends to remember the good points and downplay the struggles. I have been here since early afternoon and have been reminded of many of the struggles I have gone through in the past to serve here.

There is a huge government celebration this week – the visit of the prime minister of Buganda, one of the many kingdoms throughout Uganda – and so the owner of the only viable guesthouse on the island has doubled the room rate to take advantage of the government visitors, which makes staying here difficult for an already tight budget. It is not that it is expensive by American standards, but rather that I have not been able to budget for this unexpected increase and now have to fit it in to my end of year budget that is already straining to carry the expenses. So the bishop is trying to negotiate a better deal, but, of course, the phone reception is very bad, so he was not able to solve the problem tonight – this is because the owner does not live on the island.

[Follow-up on 10/30 when off the island: Actually, we discovered that the owner was traveling with the dignitaries, but he refused to meet with us. The owner was actually quite rude to the bishop, telling him that if I didn’t wish to pay the double rate, I should move out and stay somewhere else. This attitude is unusual since most Ugandans will negotiate, especially if you’re staying for many days and renting more than one room. There is no other place on the island to stay unless you’re a hardy 20-something, which I am not, and you can camp out somewhere, or stay in camping-standard rooms. The owner knows he has a monopoly and is taking advantage of it. But now we are motivated to find alternatives…we’ll have to get creative, and perhaps the lesser rooms at a different guesthouse will have to do.]

As I began to set up my room and unpack, there was an extra bed in the room. As I tried to move it a couple of inches, the frame disintegrated and dropped the heavy wooden mattress support onto my toes – so I begin my adventure with bloody toes. The manager came and completed the dismemberment of the bed and hauled it out piecemeal. He was very apologetic about the toes.

The gas on the island is much inflated over the mainland, so this will impact our budget as well since we are using a generator for my presentations AND have a car.

Insect life seems to be less during this season than the Spring when there are millions of gnats per square foot during the evening hours. I’m very glad about that, but the wet season they are having has increased the mosquitoes, which of course, are the ones that carry malaria. So I am watching my malaria-preventive regimen pretty closely. My arms and legs were covered with bites and I hadn’t even left the guesthouse in the city – that was inside the room, so I anticipate some extra care here on the island will have to b e taken.

I am teaching a week long Bible Training Institute and then a two day Marriage conference, culminating in the weddings of a number of pastoral couples. It should be a very interesting ten days.

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