Our holiday season looks a little different than to which we are accustomed. Christmas traditions look a LOT different. We have almost nothing familiar. There are no lights and decorations on homes and businesses as you drive down the streets. We don’t get Christmas cards in the mail (we do get some hand delivered, which is a nice touch). Christmas music is not playing in the stores (which is a bonus to Kelly). There are no mad dashes to find the perfect gift. None of these are bad things and people aren’t against them, they just aren’t a priority. We have to truly focus to remember its Christmas since we’re not constantly surrounded by the usual reminders and it’s so blasted hot here 🙂 Most people take some nice time off from work to focus on celebrating our Savior’s birth, to have intentional community with family and friends (without all the extra fluff that goes into it) and of course, eat some good food (which is universal no matter the culture). We miss our family and friends this time of year but are very blessed to be invited to several friends’ homes for Christmas Eve & Christmas Day.
Watching movies is usually a big tradition for most people (us included) over Christmas break. That’s something that hasn’t changed for us. I’m happy to say that we’ve watched most of the current Hallmark Christmas movies. Yay!
There’s a movie that was recently in the theaters in the States, Queen of Katwe, which is great and we highly recommend it. A true underdog story which takes place in Kampala, Uganda. If you want to get an idea of what is happening around us, it is accurately depicted in this movie. We aren’t living in a place entirely like what’s in the movie (nearby for sure) but it is true for a lot of Uganda. We recently got to see this movie with the whole Amazima staff in Kampala. Very cool to watch the movie, step out of the theater and realize the movie was filmed very close by.
Side Note: Kampala is 1.5 -3 hours from us (depending on jams (traffic)). It’s the “big” city we go to buy things we can’t get in Jinja. They have a mall (with a little health food store!) and a small Walmart type place. Also a Pizza Hut and KFC. Now, how to get a CFA 🙂
Everywhere we look is different and yet so much is the same. There are people working hard to make a living, people not working and wanting a handout, people struggling, and mostly people just wanting to be valued and loved. Taking the time to get know people and their stories is critical in showing someone they are loved and valued for who they are on the inside. We are grateful for the relationships we are building and humbled by them daily.
We have a lot of birds outside our little cottage. They are beautiful with their vibrant colors and it’s entertaining to watch their antics. I’ve never paid attention to birds playing with each other or eating from a tree. It’s quite relaxing. Now if they would just start the chirping a little bit later in the morning 🙂
After my first visit to Uganda, the red dirt and the breeze stuck out in my mind and they are both still very prevalent today. The breeze is the best, especially if you are in the shade. I always say “it’s a little touch of heaven”. You might actually get chilly some evenings, outside I might add. Now I just need to figure out how to bottle that breeze and put in my house 🙂 Walking the red dirt roads will always just be “Africa” to me. I can’t say I love everything being covered in the dust or constantly feeling I need to wash my feet. But there’s something about it that makes me slow down and pause, hopefully feel the breeze on my face, and take in what’s around me. Whether it be the sunshine always shining so brightly, birds chirping, monkeys playing in a tree, kids laughing & playing or just daily life happening, it all makes me feel closer to God. Walking down these streets is a great time to chat with Him and be grateful for these surroundings.
Our home (being built on The Amazima School campus) is making progress! It is last in priority because we need the homes for the staff arriving Jan 5th to be ready and also housing for the students who will be moving in Feb 12th. I cannot express how excited I will be to have a kitchen again and to make a home “our home”. Our house is up on a hill, overlooking campus. The breeze and the view are fabulous from up there! I will definitely get my exercise in,but I will also get to enjoy just watching everything in action. Cannot wait to see all the kiddos (Ugandans and Westerners together) running around the campus. We are still trying to get the container (with all the furnishings from the registry) through customs. Praying it happens very soon. Want to be able welcome our new staff in January with furnished homes.
THE NEXT FEW WEEKS
Amazima is closed for the holidays but Kelly and I will be busy getting ready for orientation, trainings and our teams arrival on Jan 5th. We are so excited for them to be finally be here. Once they arrive, we will be helping them get acclimated and settled. Then we’ll have a few weeks of orientation and trainings with them and the Ugandan staff. Then the best part which is getting to know the students (and their families) who will be coming to the school in February. It’s a very exciting time with a lot happening.
We are so very grateful to each of you for supporting and sharing in this journey with us. We would appreciate prayers for all the exciting things happening over the next month. Getting the container out of customs, new staff arriving, trainings, meeting the students and their families and The Amazima School Open House.
Woah! I think we’re going to be a little busy. But it’s going to be GREAT!