Friday, May 14, 2010

African Adventures With Mark!

Yes, I will admit that it may be time for a lighter cultural blurb for my part of the newsletter. In Uganda it seems like everything grows and being a guy who likes to toy outside in the garden I enjoy the fact there is no snow like back home to disrupt things. About a year ago we decided to plant a few sweet bananas and matokee (plantain) trees in our back yard. We harvested some Matokee a little while ago, but my prize was the sweet bananas. They are similar to the typical yellow bananas one buys back home in north America, but about half the size and sweeter.

Finally just last week, our first sweet banana tree was ready to meet its fate. The upcoming four suckers shooting out from beside it were a sign of the Ugandan fertility. Seth was excited to see the bananas finally come down. We had been waiting for them to ripen on the tree but after several months our night guard, Francis, kindly informed us they would never turn yellow while on the tree but must be cut down first. Good to know. So for the big occasion we brought the video camera and panga (machete) to do a little chopping. Seth took a few turns with the panga and of course Jodie had to have a turn too. (All swings with the sharp tool were guided by dad.) Finally it was dad’s turn and with a few chops things began to move a little quicker than expected and the tree started to come down. Seth who had been looking up at the tree, bright eyed, saw what was going to happen and began to run. Not fast enough…. The timing was such that he made it far enough from the trunk to be struck on the face by the clump of the much awaited bananas and was flipped to the ground under the light weight branches. He was very traumatized and did end up with a significant scratch from his forehead, across his eye and down onto his cheek; A direct hit from the bananas. Needless to say daddy felt very bad and tried to apologize while Seth wailed. Jodie ran around saying, ‘Bump-on-da-head! Bump-on-da-head!’ And unfortunately the video camera was rolling and caught it all. Seth received an all purpose Band-Aid and now looks a little tougher around the face. Currently we are waiting about a week for the bananas to ripen and turn yellow so we can eat them all up.

As a dad I felt very bad about Seth, but also was very excited just to do something fun with him, Jodie and Sarah. I will admit that I enjoy the kids more and more everyday. Seth and Jodie are a lot of fun and keep us hopping all the time. God has blessed Seth with some good friends and the picture here is with two brothers who live about 100 yards down the road and love to come and play with Seth. They are a little bit older, but are great boys who treat him with lots of love. We have been blessed with a great family, a good home here in Uganda, food to eat and friends for us and our two wonderful children. God is good!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

African Adventures With The Williams In Picture

African Adventures With Sarah...

I just read Mark’s blurb and had a good laugh. How tragic. As of this writing the bananas have turned yellow and Seth is all into it again and excited about having his picture taken with Jodie and the bananas…still bandaged above the eye.

My kids are doing very well… the thing I’m enjoying most is how well they get along and sincerely enjoy each other. They have their scuffles but often I will hear one of them start to giggle and then the other and then they shriek and carry on with some rough house tumble or climbing game. Jodie is no sissy! She’s going through a bit of defiance…I think she would like to be events coordinator of our family and having her diaper changed or washing hands for dinner is surely not in her program. We’re working on it and she actually seems to be remembering she’s not the boss. Seth is getting much more social… he used to mostly want to stay home and play with mom. Monotonous! But now it’s all about friends and play time. I love it! I’m so glad he has good friends!
Seth and Jodie with their best friends Jalil and Adelle.

I really wanted to share something with you that has impacted me this month and I hope it speaks to you as well. We’re in the rainy season here. So almost every day there is a good bit of rain and there can be hours of steady, heavy rain that makes almost torrents of muddy water on the streets. And since the roads here are full of pot holes they fill up with the dirty water. A pot hole full of muddy water is very difficult to guage and a miscalculation can lead to a severe jolt and the emptying of the puddle in a huge spray.

On a rainy day recently I was driving somewhere and struggling with watching so many people walking in the rain and mud… some with umbrellas, some without… just trying to get somewhere. They don’t own a car and some can’t afford a taxi (which is extremely cheap) so they have to walk. Anyway, I was wanting to give people rides but I know that is very unwise and have only done it a few times. I started praying for many of the people walking and then I started to look at their faces. And I was very interested to see that most of them were looking directly at me as I drove by (there is seldom any fast driving in town… especially on a rainy day). And I started to notice they were watching the road very closely… watching my tires. They would then look right at me. I realized they were watching for pot holes. They were concerned that I would go barreling through a pot hole and spray them with water, spoiling their clothes for the rest of the day. And I was reminded of that scripture (which I can’t find right now but I think it’s in Proverbs) that says we should ‘consider’ the poor. That’s exactly what I saw on their faces. They didn’t expect me to pull over and pile them all in the car… they weren’t presuming that I should start handing out umbrellas or taxi fares. They just wanted me to consider them. And though I continued to pray for them I felt free from the guilt I’d been feeling for driving in my dry car. God sometimes directs me (or I’m inspired) to reach out with significant or minor acts of kindness. But on this day the lesson was, ‘Sarah, consider the poor. Don’t spray them with dirty water. And by the way, be thankful for your car.’