Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Painting Maps

I’ve started a project at Compassion in which I’m painting maps on their walls. I’m painting 3 maps. Uganda, the World and the USA. I’m painting the US because many of the kids have sponsors from the US and I want them to be able to identify where their sponsors are from exactly. I have almost finished my map of Uganda. It didn’t take quite as long as I expected, but it was tough. I had made a list a few years ago, before I joined the Peace Corps, of things I wanted to accomplish before I turned 30 (won’t be long now). One of the things on the list was to paint a mural. About half way through my map I realized that I was accomplishing that goal without even really knowing it. I have a picture of me with my map on my flickr account. I’m not an artist by any stretch of the imagination. At least not an artist with any kind of pencil or brush. I like to think of myself as being artistic and I am a bit of a perfectionist. I do want things to look a certain way and I’m willing to put in the time to make sure they do.


IDP stands for Internally Displaced Person. Refugee if you will. I know I spend a fair amount of time on this blog talking about things that bug me and drive me a little crazy, but this is the icing on the cake and I’ve taken about as much as I can take.

I live in an office of the church next to the Canon, the religious leader for the Church of Uganda. Every 6 months or so the church has a mini-retreat. A hundred or more people come to pray, sing, fellowship, etc. And I have no problem with that. We’re worshiping the same God here. Hakuna Matata. What I do have a problem with is that fact that 20 or so of them end up staying in the big room directly next to my room. Ugandans DO NOT respect sleep time. The sun goes down at 7:30 here and I’m typically in bed by 9 or 10 at the latest. At 10, when the party is still going strong I go out and ask them nicely to be quiet. They giggle a little bit and I go back to bed. At 10:30 when they are even louder than before I again go in to ask them to be quiet. At 11pm the Jesus party is still going strong so now I’m livid. I raise my voice, telling them in their own language to Shut Up, that I’m SLEEPING next door and they are being very rude! Their response: more laughter at the funny, irate white man. I’m about to throw stones at this point. I can’t get them to be quiet, the only thing I can do is drown out their noise with my own, so I put on my headphones and listen to Chanticleer until I’m drifting in and out of sleep. I have to do this until they all go to bed at around 2am. Now I don’t sleep with music on or a TV on or anything. I sleep in silence. I don’t really sleep when there’s background noise. I float in a sub-conscience state, which isn’t really sleep. See me the next morning if you don’t believe me. I’ve told the Canon about it and he acts apologetic, but nothing gets done. Recently, when they were having prayer meetings mixed with morose singing mixed in I cranked up the BBC on my radio to drown them out. I’m sorry, but this is MY HOME! This is the one place in all of Uganda where I can shut my door, turn up my American music, music that isn’t created on a synthesizer and which words I can understand, and I can temporarily leave Uganda, and if you’re impeding on THAT, my one shred of freedom and independence, then I have a problem with that! You can charge me the ‘white man’ price for things, you can cram 25 people into a vehicle that holds 15, fine… but don’t you DARE impose on my peace and quiet! I was livid! I actually had to leave my home and stay with the 2 missionaries that live across the hill for several nights (on a side note, they did make brownies for me…with frosting).

The reason I think this is a universal Ugandan sentiment is that one night in Mbarara while staying at a hotel (remember, a hotel is where people pay to sleep), that same hotel had rented out their courtyard to a wedding party that played music at mind numbing volumes until 4:30am! I could do nothing to prevent my bed from rattling from the mega decibels that pierced the air. How can a hotel permit that? I paid for a night of sleep! Apparently that means nothing to a Ugandan!

Community Hall

I haven’t blogged much about it yet but construction has begun for a community hall which I’m raising money for for Compassion. Currently our kids meet outside and when it rains our entire day is shot. With the generous help of several individuals along with Sexton Church we have raised about half of what we need. Here in Uganda, you start construction with what you’ve got and then hope the rest of the money comes in. So we should have enough to build up to the roof line. I’ll be sure to post pictures as it goes up.

I’ve never believed more strongly in something being a God thing than this building. I don’t like to thing of buildings as being God’s will (except when a building is just outgrown). Buildings cost a lot of money, money that could be spent helping so many poor people, but the money for this building has just poured in from very unlikely sources and I can attribute it to nothing more than God’s hand at work. For those of you who have already helped, a sincere Thank You, from all of us here! And if anyone wishes to help… stay tuned.

Birthday wishes to Melanie and CJ


At 18 September, 2007, Anonymous Ann Shaw said...

I'm glad to hear the building has started!

At 18 September, 2007, Anonymous Jennifer Blanton said...

I'm glad to hear you're still doing well. The not being able to sleep thing would drive me insane as well but soon you'll be back in the good old midwest where all you hear is the occasional cricket or dog barking. Sorry I've been slacking in keeping up with you! I've been a little busy. I still enjoy reading your stories!

Jennifer (Noble)


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