Today we were joined for breakfast by Mike Henderson, whom I met last
night at supper after I could not help but eavesdrop on a conversation
he was having just down the table from me. He’s a fascinating
American who has worked for decades now in Africa. He has been
involved with many organizations. He says he starts them and then
moves on. He is currently working with Heart of Africa, which
provides grants for Africans with specific projects in mind. He was
meeting with an African veterinarian who is looking to establish a
trade school, and there may be future involvement with God’s Care
Ministries. Mike gave me a copy of a devotional book he has prepared
for trips like ours (why did I not think of that?), and out of it he
read a devotion for us. He mentioned at one point being in Nairobi.
I asked if he knew Karl and Debbie Dortzbach. I haven’t seen them for
20 years, since our time at Redeemer OPC in Atlanta. He not only knew
them, he knew them well, and had seen Karl only a few days earlier.
After breakfast we moved from Kyenjojo to Kampala. It is a distance
of 170 km but it takes a minimum of 3.5 hours to travel. Because
Alissa had to be in Kampala by noon for the “sanctifying of the
marriage” ceremony of Victor’s parents, we tried our best to be ready
by 7:30 a.m. We managed to leave by 8:10, which is incredibly on time
by Ugandan standards.
Several thoughts occurred to me during the trip. One was how
difficult it is to say goodbye. Others were teary-eyed, and I would
have joined them if I did not intentionally keep myself from going
there. As the van was readying to pull off, I said “G’day” to Rachel.
I could tell she really hated to see us go. She replied, “See you
soon.” As unlikely as that seems, I hope she’s right.
Another thought was how peacefully I had settled in to Kyenjojo. It
is hilly country. I certainly don’t know Ugandan geography, but
Kyenjojo may be in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains. At any
rate, it is beautiful and bucolic. As we got closer to Kampala, I
began to notice all the trash, the smog, the noise … I didn’t like it.
Even in Uganda, I guess I’m just a small town boy.
Once settling into our hotel, I wanted to explore a bit. The guard at
the hotel gate assured me, “You are as safe as in your home area.”
I’m sure he is right, but it doesn’t quite feel that way. I’m sure
there are many more whites here in the city, but not so many that I
blend in walking the streets. It feels odd having people stare at
you, children point at you, etc. It put me in the skin of a
“minority” for an hour or so, and I hope I never forget how that felt.
On returning, I saw Alissa in the lobby. The ceremony had ended and
she was waiting for a ride to the reception. Keli and Donna were
joining her for the experience. I am passing, primarily because I
have no clean clothes. I asked Alissa if she were stressed. She
asked back, “Why, do I look stressed?” “No, you don’t. But with all
that is on your plate, I was sure you had to be stressed, whether you
looked it or not. You have learned to mask it well.” She laughed as
if to say, “I will neither confirm nor deny.”
I think I mentioned earlier that the hotel here is on the grounds of
the Church of Uganda Cathedral. I was told by one of the guards that
they have English-speaking services at 8 a.m. We have all agreed to
attend that service, then a quick trip to the city market before
moving to Entebbe (an hour or so away). Our flight does not leave
until 5:30 p.m. Monday, so we should have plenty of rest time for the
long journey home.