Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A New Name and the Upcoming Marathon

A New Name

Nazil (called Naziru because of the inability to say the letter L in the southwest) is one of our special HIV cases. He lives with his mother because his father died of HIV/AIDS. He’s frequently visiting the local clinic for various reasons. When I first visited his home I noticed his skin condition. He has scabs all over his body, and I mean all over. Alice told me at the time that it’s a relatively common condition of the HIV and that it’s a skin infection. HIV/AIDS greatly limits the body’s ability to fight off infections, so as a result he can’t get rid of these. They’re somewhat similar to chicken pox and they leave scars all up and down his arms and legs. It’s really sad. And to make matters worse his mother is a gold digger, for lack of a better term, weaseling her way around the various systems to get what she wants.

Nazil is 11 but still in the 1st grade, in part due to his poor health, but it’s somewhat common for kids to start school late. His father was a Muslim but Nazil has decided that he wants to be baptized into the Christian faith. Along with that will come a new name. He can’t be called Nazil anymore because that’s not a ‘Christian’ name, so he’ll get to chose for himself a new name: Moses, John, Steven, Andrew. How refreshing is that? To receive and to be called by a new name after becoming a Christian? I just thought that was such a neat thing.

Jesus Video

I decided to show a video on my laptop this week to the secondary students. I bought a series of Jesus videos in Mbarara this past weekend and one of them was Passion of the Christ. If you haven’t seen it, it’s Mel Gibson’s creation of what the last few hours of Jesus life may have been like. It’s a very difficult movie to watch because they show a dramatic brutality of the beating and crucifixion of Jesus prior to his death and resurrection. I wanted the secondary kids to see it, to experience it, and to understand the great amount of suffering that Jesus endured for them… so we watched it. It’s not in English, it’s subtitled, but that didn’t seem to phase them. The watched intently. I asked if they could all understand it and they nodded their heads, not wishing to stop the film. Beforehand I explained that it was violent, that some of them would probably cry and that it’s difficult to watch. I explained to them the significance of Jesus being beaten 39 times, because it was believed that anything beyond that could kill a person. These kids know beatings. They’re beaten in school with a rod if they misbehave. Occasionally there will be reports in the paper of students (one girl recently) who have been paralyzed from harsh beatings. When they began beating Jesus you could just sense that they understood the pain he was enduring, whereas me, in my “go sit in timeout” era of punishment tried to wrap my mind around what that kind of beating must entail. They cried, I cried. Afterwards we talked about what it all meant and if it was really like that and how if Jesus had to do it all over again, to die for our (singularly, not plural) sins that he would, out of love. It was really good, but emotionally afterward I was certainly spent.

Triumphal Entry

I went to visit one of the nursery/primary schools this week in town where some of our kids go. The kids at this school are particularly young. Probably 3 and up. They see Jacob and I every day riding my bike by their school on the main road in town, but for some reason, when I parked my bike and started to approach the school they SWARMED me in this entourage of cheering and laughing and lavished on me greetings and small hand shakes. You would have thought that Barney the Dinosaur had just strolled onto their campus. It was nothing like I had known or seen before and in a way I felt like Jesus coming into the city of Jerusalem like I had seen recently in the Passion.

Kampala Marathon…this week

The marathon is this week. I’ll be in Kampala for a few days and will get to see my homestay family for the first time since training plus I’ll get some photos of the beds we purchased for Marcel and the orphanage. I’m really looking forward to the weekend, mostly to just get away for a while to eat some ice cream and to see a real movie in the air-conditioning. I don’t think you can ever truly look forward to punishing yourself for 26.2 miles, but it’ll be fun to compete again. 2 other volunteers are running Kristen from New Albany, Indiana will run the marathon and Dan (a one time Boilermaker) will be running the 10K. I believe there will be around 3,000 for the marathon. My goal is to finish in under 3:30. This’ll be my 5th marathon and only once have I finished longer than that time. I didn’t realize it until this week but I’ve actually been training harder and running a faster pace than that, but I was sick with a mild flu last week, so we’ll see what it all adds up to. Genia brought back some Ole Miss running clothes so I’ll be decked out in the red and black. Running a marathon isn’t about winning. It’s about finishing, running well, being thankful that you are able to run that distance with good knees, ankles, legs, etc. It’s a celebration of life and accomplishing goals more than anything. I’ve been thinking about running this week as I’ve been perusing through Runners World and I truly wish more people could experience the exhilaration of the moment when the finish line comes into sight for the last leg of the run after months and months of training.

Random Factoid

I put a picture of this up on my flickr.com account so that you can see it for yourself. The electrical outlets they use here are different than from home. First, they use 250V. 2nd, most outlets have an on/off switch on the outlet itself. 3rd they are ‘child proof’. You can’t plug anything into the outlet unless it has the 3rd prong (for grounding). Probably ½ of all of the electrical devices don’t have a ground prong so you have to turn the switch off and then stick something into the 3rd prong hole which then will allow you to plug something into the socket. What it all boils down to is that the only thing that’s really handy to ‘open’ this Pandora’s box is a metal key! Now when I first arrived I was very careful to only use plastic devices to plug something in, but as time has gone on I have shifted to just using whatever is handy! (keep in mind that higher voltage doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more dangerous. It’s the amperage that is harmful in an electric current) So in my photographs you’ll see me demonstrating sticking my key into the 3rd hole and plugging in my laptop. Don’t try this at home kids!


At 14 November, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck Sunday! I'm excited to hear how you do. I'll be cheering from far, far away . . .

It's fun to read your blog periodically.


At 18 November, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Good Luck Sunday! I hope you meet your goal! I've been keeping up with your blogs and would just like to encourage you to keep up the good work!



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