My faithful companion Alfred and I returned from Buvuma Island in Lake Victoria to the mainland after ten days, and I was thoroughly wrung out. It seems to be the hot season here, though the locals pretty much only recognize two seasons happening several times intermittently throughout the year – hot and rainy. A drop of 5 degrees puts most of them in arctic parkas or ski-type jackets, especially the boda-boda men (motorcycle taxis) who have to contend with the wind factor. Just about the time I was saying to myself, “My, isn’t this a pleasant change of weather,” everyone else here was shivering and covering up.

This trip to the island found us right between sweating to death and shivering Ugandans, that is, the dry season and one of the several rainy seasons. The humidity hovered around 90-100% most of the trip so that changing to a dry shirt was utterly pointless within three minutes. I preferred the rain because it dropped the temperature just a tad. We worked hard through the ten days, and between the pace of teaching and driving back and forth across the bumpy roads to one meeting or another, I was ready for bed by end of day, sometimes falling onto my sweat-rack (“bed”) as soon as I returned to my room around 7 pm each night.

These concerns are just the typical adjustments of living in an equatorial location. You get used to it if you stay long enough, I guess. I’m not complaining, really – I’m just describing…no, really!

When we first arrived for the Lake Victoria Bible Institute, Bishop Waako’s vision-based name for the ministry of teaching the pastors in the islands, we needed to select a new location for the meetings. Our usual “hall” that we rent was being used to store furniture and equipment for some reason. The hall is the best building on the island, I would say, having been donated to the community by an organization in the U.S. for community meetings and such. Being used for storage sort of diminishes its general effectiveness, I think.

The first site with no walls

The first site with no walls

So there were two church buildings we could choose between, one close to the village of Kitamiru where we are centered, and the other a short travel distance away (a mile and a half), which would require moving people daily from their lodgings in the village to the training site. To avoid that cost, we attempted to use the church at the village. The problem was that it was composed of a series of vertical posts with no walls and only half a roof. It sat deep in a shadowy banana and cassava field, so we at first thought this might mitigate the bright light factor a little so that the projector would be visible to the students. We chose the Kitamiru site and began the engineering project of trying to cover enough of the space with tarps to block out the ambient light.

We had to begin by digging a ramp from the main road onto the property so the car could enter the area, so at 8:30 a.m. Monday morning, several hardy Ugandans were busily hoeing dirt into the ditch along the side of the road. That completed, we began hauling tarps back to the building to cover it and block the light. This business of building a theater wherever we go for the projector often makes we yearn for the days when all I had was a whiteboard or a big piece of paper to draw on. The projector does a fine job if, and that’s a big IF, we can block enough of the light to make the images sharp enough actually to see. And all of this requires carrying a generator with us as well.

We worked for about four hours. Finally, around 12:30, the light still swirling around me and laughing hysterically at my hubris in thinking I could block it out, I threw in the towel and told the crew we had to move to the other site. The other site was fraught with logistical issues as to the transportation of the students, but at least it had walls and a roof which would go far in closing off most of the light. So we quickly tore down everything we had just spent four hours building and moved. My only cogent, perspiration-basted thought at this point was, “Arghh!!”

The final site with walls and a roof.

The final site with walls and a roof.

Several hours later, with a new light blocking theater constructed at the new site and students beginning to arrive in pairs and drabbles by motorcycle, we began the first day of teaching. I think I got an hour and a half in on Monday. Arghh again. But the new space provided enough shadow for the projector and a lovely view of the lake just 100 yards away.

I try to call Gail on my cell phone every night from Buvuma which has no internet. My report to Gail that firstbnight was that I was too tired even to talk briefly; I just said, “Hello, love, I’m too tired to talk,” and we signed off till the next night. When we finally talked Tuesday evening, my report of Monday’s exertions went something like this:

We spent the day hauling giant stones up great, high ramps with thousands of us hitched to great ropes that moved the stones inch by inch up the steep slope atop rolling logs as the bishops lashed us with whips from the sidelines to keep us pulling desperately on the great square blocks. Finally, we would reach the top of the ramp where the great stone would be set into the side of the gigantic structure our harsh masters were forcing us to construct. Once the stone was set in place, we were then forced to go back to the bottom of the ramp and hitch ourselves to another huge stone, only to repeat the long, arduous climb, delirious in our exhaustion from which there was no respite, no mercy, no compassion from the taskmasters driving us ever upward as the great pyramid we were building slowly took shape.

Well, okay, it wasn’t that bad, and I can laugh about it now. But it sure felt that way. I gotta

The "theater" we finally successfully created.

The “theater” we finally successfully created.

figure out a better way of using the projector than having to build impromptu theaters everywhere I go.

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