I began to see a few boards at the top of my windshield inching forward. Ezra was the only other person in the car. He said, “Um…dad?” I was driving downhill at forty-five miles an hour with a solid mile of rumble strips that would do exactly what they were meant to do. I slowly put my foot to the brake trying to reduce speed while avoiding a jarring stop that would set the whole pile loose. My straps weren’t holding. The speed came down to 38 miles an hour before I hit more rumble strips and the pile moved forward until I could see several feet of it hanging over the hood of the truck. My foot pushed harder on the brake and the truck decreased to about twenty miles an hour. More rumble strips. This time they were especially rumbly and I sensed the pile bounce free and slide forward. Immediately, I slammed on the brakes hoping that all twenty-five boards would sail over the hood without causing any damage to the vehicle. Fortunately the truck was unharmed but my ego was not so lucky.
Today marks one month of time here in Uganda. So far we have been settling in. I’ve been learning to drive, navigate, buy things, fix things, etc. Jade has been nesting. The kids have been acclimating and finding their place here. Yesterday we turned a new page.
Jade and I began our language lessons. So now if a Ugandan asks, “Do you speak Luganda?” we can reply “Mannyi Katano” which means, “I know a little”. I will admit that “a little” is still an overstatement. Our teacher, Florence, will be visiting our house every day from 9am-12pm for lessons for the next three months. Today it was a beautiful sixty-two degrees and she wore a winter coat. We told her that it is much colder than this in Indiana and showed her a picture of a huge snowman we built last winter. She said, “Did you use your hands?” We laughed and told her we had gloves and she said, “Oh my! How many?”
|Florence in her winter coat. :)|
While we are feeling more and more at home there will continue to be experiences that remind us how much we have to learn. Once I got that lumber home I commented on how warped and curved the boards were. A fellow missionary said, “Do you see those marks? They cut these things with chain saws. Isn’t it amazing they can use a chain saw to cut a 2X4 ten feet long and still keep it that straight?” In our adjustments we must be careful to stay in the moment and in the place. We have grown the most when we embrace Africa for what it is and enter into the culture. We want Africa to work itself into our minds and hearts so that we can truly minister.
When I finally got out of my truck to begin the clean up I walked around the vehicle and saw a Ugandan man standing and watching. He smiled a big toothy smile and said, “Hello! How are you?” as if nothing had happened. I burst into laughter at his enthusiasm in the face of my very public spill and said, “Bulungi!!!” He was shocked that I replied in Lugandan and he too burst into laughter. Perhaps in that moment I stumbled across our best tool of transition: shared laughter.