Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summertime

It's been a while since I've posted anything here.  It's not been that I've been super busy or that life has been cruising by in a blur, but nevertheless here it is one month later.  It's been an interesting month.  The beginning of the month continued much as last month ended.  I was flying several times a week, the weather here was improving, and things were moving right along.  As a family we are feeling life become normal again.  A little bit of routine has made it's way into our lives and many of the new and different things about living life here in Uganda have begun to fade from new and different into normal and every day.  This is good.  This change in perspective does affect my blogging however.  At the beginning it is easy to write about differences and new experiences that we are having.  Now however, the "freshness" of memories from Canada and the newness of life over here have both begun to fade.  The memories of Canada become less crisp, new things here fade to normal, and when things happen here that 3 months ago would have been new, exciting and exceptional, now we might hardly notice it as it has begun to become normal.  As a result, ideas for blogging also come at a slower rate. 

Karen has done very well settling into life here in Kampala.  She knows the city much better than I do.  Since most of my days have me driving out to the airport, flying, then driving home, I am very familiar with that part of Kampala and surrounding area.  Because Karen does most of our shopping, and is able to do things with friends that we have made, she ends up all over the city.  It is because of this that I often find myself asking her for directions as we make our way from point A to point B.  My knowledge of the city is also improving, but not nearly at the same rate that Karen's is.  Karen has also done well with the cooking and preparation of food here.  Getting a meal ready is quite different, but we are also blessed here in that we are able to purchase many of the same or similar items that are available back in Canada.  Karen has enjoyed having a gas stove and range once again, and the two cast iron pans that we brought along with us see multiple uses every day.  Personally, I don't think that there is a nicer, more "stick free" surface to cook on than a properly maintained cast iron pan.  It's fantastic! 

Our kids have really enjoyed the "summer" here.  Mentally, I'm stuck on a four season year cycle.  Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter.  Here there are two seasons, Dry and Rainy.  Both of these seasons have weather that we in Canada would call "summer".  In this context, summer is the time of year when the kids are off of school and at home, roaming about and generally getting into trouble.  Good times.  As I said, the kids have really enjoyed summer here.  They have been swimming often and are rapidly increasing their swimming abilities.  They have made many friends, especially amongst the other MAF children here.  They are quickly learning to say goodbye, as no sooner did we arrive here than MAF families began to disappear from Uganda as their furlough times came upon them.  This did make it exciting for them when their new friends returned to Uganda later in the summer.  We have heard that for some people, sleeping underneath a mosquito net is a large adjustment.  I don't think that any of us have missed one minute of sleep due to mosquito net issues.  We have all adjusted very well to that.  Today is the kids' first day of school here and they are extremely excited about that.  The girls were up way to early this morning and we had to wake up D, but he did pop out of bed with much more vigor and fortitude than what we normally see.  They are attending Rainbow International School in the city here.  Hopefully we hear exciting reports and stories of a good day at school when they get home this afternoon.

The adjustment to living in a large city has also gone very well.  Neither Karen nor myself have spent much time in our lives living in a city and both of us would rather live out in the dingles somewhere where the pace of life is slower, but living here in Kampala is quite nice.  As I mentioned already, the city does afford it's conveniences.  There are many items that are readily available here that are not available once you leave the city.  Things like power and water are also easy to come by.  These things do have their issues and are frustrating at times, but at the same time they are here, easily procured.  Driving here in Kampala is a daily adventure, but even this craziness settles down to this weird kind of routine crazy.  We were blessed to find a vehicle that suites our needs very well, and were able to buy it at a fair price.  We and our children have also become accustomed to the... unevenness of many of the roads here, as well as the mud and slippery conditions of many of the roads after a short burst of rain.

As for myself, life is at an interesting place right now.  The validation of my Canadian pilots license expired on the 20th of this month, and I have not flown since then.  For my American pilot friends, yes, in Canada it is a license, not a certificate.  I have applied for another validation and am hoping that it will come through in the near future so that I can resume flying as soon as possible.  I continue to work on achieving a successful result to the Ugandan Commercial Pilot License conversion exam, and am writing it again this coming Wednesday.  Once I have been successful with that, I can apply for and hold a Ugandan license and will not have to worry about any more validation issues.  I have really been enjoying the flying.  It is fantastic to hear many of the different stories that passengers have to share as they come and go from their places of ministry. 

When I am flying, my day begins at 5:30am.  I am up at the MAF office by 6:30, and then have a 30 minute drive out to Kajjansi, where our airfield is located.  I preflight my aircraft with the goal of being airborne on or around 8:00am.  My flights can take me anywhere from the North to the South of Uganda, into South Sudan, or west into the Democratic Republic of Congo.  When departing in the morning, I usually land mid afternoon and am home in the 4 to 5 o'clock range.  On the occasions when I fly in the afternoon, the day is a little more hectic as any kind of substantial delay could result in an inadvertent overnight experience.  This hasn't happened yet, but it is inevitable.  I always fly with spare clothes "just in case".  My "skill bubble" has grown as I have had experiences with weather, different terrain, and different people.  Landing on a muddy airstrip is not quite as intimidating as it was the first few times, although there will always be that tiny bit of nervous apprehension when my wheels touch down on a muddy airstrip and I find out if it is a firm as I supposed it would be from looking at it. 

In our time here so far we have seen many answers to prayer.  From things like the transition from Canada to Uganda, settling in to our home here, friends for our kids, and safety on the roads and in the air, God has been answering prayers.  I have also heard many reports from people whom I have flown telling me about how they have seen God at work through different ministries and in the lives of the African people around them.  Please continue to pray for Uganda.  There are many Christian people here, but there is a lot of work to do as well.  Witchcraft is very common, and we can at times hear the drums in the evening as sacrifices are made near the top of the hill that we live on.  There is also much poor teaching that happens here, and many walk away from the faith when they realize that everything has not magically become perfect for them now that they are a Christian.  Pray as well for the countries that surround Uganda.  There is also much to pray for there.  War, conflict, disease and other disasters can be found on almost any day in many of these countries.  Thank you once again for your prayers.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
                                                   - Philippians 4:4-9 (NIV)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the glimpse into your lives there. Good to hear about how the memories of Canada fade as does the newness of Uganda. It will be important to remember that the mundane or the common things there are new and surprising to people here. Takes a lot of energy to always try to be seeing things from someone else's perspective though.
    We'll be praying that your next exam is a success! Does the test marking guy need his lawn mowed, or his car fixed or something? Not a bribe...just some good old-fashioned "relationship building".

    Glad to hear that it's going well for you guys. Missing those Memoir 44 nights!

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