Recently, my (Leland) mom and step-dad came to visit our new life in Uganda. We wanted to get their fresh perspective on how they saw and experienced this new place. Here are some musings of my mom, Kim Broadway. I hope you enjoy them…
When Leland and Gina told me they were moving to Africa – and taking Adalyn with them, by the way! – one of the first things I asked was when Paul and I could come visit them. Within a few months of their decision, I was telling them that we would be there this summer. I thought, “Hey, we usually take a long driving vacation every summer, and I have been lots of different places – how much different can it be to go to Uganda, right?!?!?” Well…
Whether you are in the city or in a village, there are so many things that are new to me in Uganda that I find it very difficult to describe, but I will give you a glimpse. Let’s start with transportation – you have to drive on the wrong side, I mean left side, of the road, which can be very confusing. But most of the roads are dirt roads and all of them are very, very bumpy – most of the “highways” even have speed bumps (what the heck) – so you can’t go very fast anyway. Through all of the driving around that we did, I only saw one stop light and one stop sign, and neither one of them were acknowledged by any of the drivers! And…watch out for all of the bodas and matatus, which are motorcycles and vans that carry tons of people and all sorts of other things that don’t even fit on them. They weave in and out of all of the rest of the traffic. Add a lot of people walking and riding bicycles along the roads, and it can kind of look a little crazy!
Also, if you need to use the restroom, you might have to specify if you need the “short call” or the “long call” facility (I’ll let you figure out the difference). Also, don’t assume you are going to have water, electricity, and/or internet service at any time, and even if you do have hot water, it doesn’t necessarily come out of the faucet labeled “hot.” Napkins are called serviettes, white people are called mzungu, a banana might not really be a banana, someone pumps your gas for you, the grocery store – especially the meat department – looks just a tad different, electricity has to be paid for in advance, you stand in a cue instead of a line (but people don’t really follow the “line” rules), you order white or brown toast for breakfast, you sleep under mosquito nets, oranges and lemons are green, and use of the term “spoiled” is not referring to a child who always gets his or her way. Certainly many new things to learn!
One thing that has definitely been reinforced in my belief system while here in Uganda is that just because something or someone is different doesn’t mean that it is better or worse – it’s just different, and that’s okay, and we should respect, and sometimes even embrace those differences. Everyone and everything has positive and negative attributes. It is up to us as to which attributes we focus on, as well as how we address each other when we disagree.
But even with the differences in culture, language, and how daily life is lived, I have realized that the people that live here aren’t that different than other people that I have met or known. Each of us do our best to take care of those we care about and strive to provide for our families in whatever fashion we have learned. Regardless of culture, economic status, or the country we call home, we need to take care of each other and remember that each of us are sinners and are in need of God’s saving grace.
Even though I miss them terribly when we are not together, I know that Leland, Gina and Adalyn are right where they belong. It is definitely a sacrifice for them to adjust to such a different way of daily living, as well as the different ways of thinking that a new culture brings. But the need is great and they are already reaching many people. I’m so thankful that God has equipped them with what they need to be able to carry out His plan for them in Uganda and has also placed people in their lives to help them along the way. It has also reminded me that all of us are called to carry out His will wherever we are and that God has also equipped each of us to be able to do so.
And, oh by the way, I’ll spare you the icky details, but there is no sick like Africa sick – ugh! There is no dusty like Africa dusty – but well worth it when you are playing in the dirt with your granddaughter! When you come visit Leland, Gina, and Adalyn in Uganda, be prepared to see chickens, goats, and cows absolutely everywhere; you will probably get rained on multiple times; and you will get to see beautiful landscapes along the way. Also, be sure to politely decline if someone offers posho to you, be ready to pick your own lettuce for the evening meal’s salad, and say, “yes, please” if Gina offers chapati pizza to you. God bless!