Now we are in Soroti teaching Church History for the week.

[From Gail]

It is our last teaching week (one week after this to go), and I am both happy and sad. Ten weeks is a long time and we have accomplished so much; met so many people, over 700 in the weeks we have been here. So many returning students and so many new students to get to know.

One of the ways to get to know your students is to give them rides to the conference in your van. Kamuda village was about half an hour from Soroti where we have been staying. Early in the week, along the way, we encountered some of our students, and they stuck out their hands, asking for a ride. It wasn’t at all like Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night, but the effect was the same: we stopped!

The third row of seats in our van has been removed so we could pack all our things from place to place –luggage for multiple week road trip, generator, paper records of multiple Institutes, handout copies, electrical cords for the generator, multi-plug for multiple plug access for our equipment, fold-up table that we carry because it seems Ugandans abhor flat surfaces to place things on wherever we stay and we were tired of putting things on the floor, boxes of bottled water, medium size whiteboard with stand, voltage regulator that protects our electrical from power surges, jerrycans of fuel, bag of tarps large, medium and small, student note-taking books, student pens – anyway, we have a lot of gear between the three of us…can you get the picture? So when we stopped to give a lift, there was only the back seat available, and I was occupying part of it with my big tote that I carry with me everywhere. There were three women and two small children asking for a ride. They all piled in and we were packed tight!

Me in the backseat with four other ladies we we will deliver back down the road from Kamuda Community Church at the end of day.

The road to Kamuda is a paved road for about two minutes and then 25 minutes of bumps and humps, back and forth travail to avoid the many potholes, and, of course, the many potholes that are unavoidable. We arrived just fine, just a little pressed down, shaken together and running over, to speak biblically.

Each of the five days at the end of the teaching, the number of hopeful riders increased for the return trip down this tortuous dirt road. Soon into the week we had five women in the second seat with me, and back with the “stuff,” seated or crammed in with the generator and jerrycans and boxes, there were sometimes three more people. On the last day, we also had three chickens!! It was a little crazy, a bit uncomfortable, but how could we say no to such requests? it was a long road and it was very hot and we would not want to walk it ourselves at the end of a long day.

Even the luggage area was packed out with a church member, the pastor himself (on the left) and three chickens, “Julie Regina,” “Lunch,” and “Dinner” (they’re the ones in the middle in the box).

I have learned a lot about the villages we pass and the vegetation and crops we have seen each day. i have heard about some interesting things they can do with sweet potatoes in the off season. One sweet lady even made me a special dish using dried sweet potatoes and a wonderful g-nut sauce. The g-nut, or ground nut, is somewhat like our peanut, but smaller. How could I ever have learned about so many new things while sitting comfortably all alone in the backseat of our van each day? The crowded conditions of our makeshift taxi-service has ended up furthering my cultural education.

We are in Soroti town this week, and the road is not long or difficult to reach the church that is hosting our Institute meetings. I will have the backseat all to myself. I’m not quite sure if I am happy or sad about that. After all, these new friends are why I am here. I can be comfortable when I return home to the U.S.