The Blue Necklace

 

Lisa and I drinking coffee on the tire hill

Lisa and I drinking coffee on the tire hill

“Cockadoodle doo!” the roosters crowed back and forth. Roosters are known for being competitive (naturally, since they’re boys) and this morning they seemed to be in the longest battle. Last night, I was fortunate enough to go to bed at 9:30. God gave me a little blessing, but I’m sure it’s because he knew the roosters would be having a crowing match of a lifetime at 6 in the morning. I rolled out of bed, thankful for my 8+ hours of sleep, and got ready for the day.
As I stepped down on the cold tile floor and grabbed my skirt, I wondered if our bags would get here today. First off, this was the last clean pair of clothes I had. secondly, today was a shopping day and I needed a place to store my Ugandan goods.  Friday’s at the James Place are for bible study and selling goods. Many women come to hear God’s word and sing songs of praise. Every few weeks (it’s on a rotation), they are able to bring their jewelry to sell to the mzungus (aka white people).

Beads
The morning sun felt nice as I walked back to the crafts shed to see what jewelry there was to buy.  Thoughts of my mom and my sister went through my mind; obviously, I was going to get something for them. As I walked up, I saw a blue three-string necklace and a green one that matched. If you knew me and Betsy, then you’d know that these necklaces were meant for us. I snatched them up, exchanged money with the smiling lady sitting behind her mat and carried on to see the other beautiful jewelry. About 20 minutes later, I walked out of the shed as a happy lady with a full bag of goods. I promptly pulled out my sisters necklace and wrapped it around my neck. I knew it wasn’t hers yet, but it still made me happy to know that at some point it would be.

We came down the hill to find a few ladies gathered on mats getting ready to sing a joyful song. There was a little baby who was only a week old and a little girl standing close. The baby was cute, and I wanted to play with the little one. I walked over to the cutie in a green dress and stretched out my arms to see if she wanted to come play. A little half-smile came across her face and she walked over into my arms. I picked her right up and popped her on my hip. We twirled around and she laughed and laughed, but more ladies had gathered and the singing was about to begin so we had to calm down a little bit.  The music brought joy to my soul. As my new little friend and I danced around, she grabbed ahold of Betsy’s necklace and let out a contagious laugh. It brought happy tears to my eyes listening to the child laugh, the ladies sing, and the thought of Betsy. We settled down to hear the message. Today was going to be a good day.

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Little Girl hold on tight to Betsy’s necklace

 

A Different Aroma

As I walked into the bunk room I found this laying on my bed. It was the warmest welcome and such a comfort to read as the rain came down.

As I walked into the bunk room I found this laying on my bed. It was the warmest welcome and such a comfort to read as the rain came down.

We are here! Our team has finally arrived in Uganda a mere 28 hours after we left Nashville. There were quite a few delays along the way but we have made it. It is about 11:30 pm Ugandan time but I’m not too tired. I’m excited and full of life. Yes, I’ll admit I’m a little exhausted but being on African soil sparks a fire in my veins. I am ready!

Unfortunately, our bags were not as ready as we were when we left. We just found out that 13 of our 22 bags had not made it the airport in Africa; and, 11 of them are still chilling on the tarmac in Nashville, including both of mine. I’m not really upset, but more puzzled that 11 bags were sitting on the tarmac in Nashville for 28 hours and no one bothered to check them through or try to get them to their destination. Did people just walk past them and disregard them? I can’t think of a reasonable explanation for it, but it’s already becoming a distant (no pun intended) thought. I don’t have any time to think about that, just time to rejoice that I’m in Uganda!

It’s about 1:30am and we finally board our bus to head to Jinja. Entebbe, the city we just flew into is about 3 hours away from Jinja so we still have quite a long road ahead of us. I decide to sit in the back with the 3 fresh high school graduates. We chit chat about life things, like getting pregnant and giving birth – I mean naturally, what else would we talk about? However, I’m starting to get tired so I nestle in my window seat and stare out the window.

It’s dark out, so I can’t see too much, but what I notice are all the different smells. As we leave the airport the smell of sulfur fills my nostrils. If you’re not sure what sulfur smells like, it’s similar to the stingiest fart smell in the world. But it’s not too long until the smell of fresh clean air takes over. The fresh air is followed by smells of gasoline, burning rubber, campfire, cinnamon, bar-b-que, gunpowder (you know, the way it smells after fireworks), cotton candy, bamboo and alas the jungle, the sweet sweet jungle. I am intrigued by all the different scents; all the different smells of Africa. An hour has passed since we left the airport, and it just began to pour down rain so we shut the windows. I rest my head against the cool glass and listen to the pitter patter of rain.

We arrive at the James Place a few hours later. Fortunately, the rain let up just long enough to get our bags inside and then it came pouring down again. The rain is a nice little blessing because it provides a light cool breeze through the windows in our room. There’s something about the sound of rain that’s so relaxing. It’s like “real life spa” music. The lightening provides a flash, which illuminates the room and is followed by the low growl of thunder a few seconds later. The heart of the storm must not be too close. It’s 5 minutes after 5am. I close my eyes to doze off to sleep. As I lay down I think about my sister. We’ve never been away from each other for more than a month and the thought of being away from her for two months makes me already miss her. But these next couple of months are going to change our lives and (hopefully) only for the good. I thank God for my many blessings and let the sound of the rain drift me to my dreams.

 

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