48 Days in Kampala, Uganda

If someone had told me a year ago, “you will take your family to the other side of the world, live there for 2 months (mostly without being paid :-/) and come back as a family of three,” I wouldn’t have gone through with it. Not lying, but the financial management person in me says it’s not a fiscally smart idea. My rational thought would have been, "I can't do this with my job and afford it." It sure is a good thing God didn’t fill me in on all of the details, because being a dad is one of the greatest privileges, challenges and reward that I’ve ever experienced. Now I’m sitting here in Uganda for the 48th day with Leigh and our son. I don’t quite know how it happened, where the time has gone or how we’ve survived, but I know that we’re both forever changed by it…and we also wouldn’t change a thing!

I thought it would be fun to give you a quick insight to what it’s like to spend 48 days in Uganda. So far, we’ve lived in a 2-bedroom/2-bath villa style home in Kitebi Village located in Kampala, Uganda. I would estimate that it’s around 1,000 square foot. During our second trip, we’ve shared the villa with another family of 3, which has made things a bit tight, but fun sharing the experience.

Kampala is the most populated city that I’ve ever been to. We’ve heard population estimates that range anywhere from 2.5 million to 4.5 million people in a 73 square mile area. To compare, Greensboro, NC has a population of around 300,000 in a 131 square mile area. Multiply the population of Greensboro by 10 and divide the size by 2 and you get Kampala. Needless to say, there are a lot of people here in Kampala.

Outside our window, we hear the sound of motorcycles (aka boda bodas) or trucks carrying people or goods constantly. Most of the time you hear them because they’re beeping their horns all through the night and all day. Since most of the roads where we live are red dirt, you also have a constant haze of dust and dirt. The open windows combined with the dust from the roads makes it really hard to breathe and get the clean feeling we’re used to in the US, but it’s something that we’ve grown accustom to during our stay.

Our guesthouse has running water, and we’ve had hot water the whole time, with the exception of a very LONG 14 days. Air conditioning in Uganda consists of opening your windows, which means the coolest it will get is around 70 Fahrenheit at the coolest part of night and the normal temperature is around 80 Fahrenheit during the day inside of the house. We sweat quite a bit here. Since the water is not purified like it is in the states, we don’t ingest it. We have to boil any water we use for cooking and use bottled water for things like brushing our teeth and drinking.

Every 2 to 3 days we go into town either to a market or a fancy mall. It is a little costly because we pay for each trip we take, but it has helped us with our homesickness and makes us feel a little more like we’re in the states. It also is a chance for us to have experiences with our son in his birth country. We’ve done things like get ice cream (3 cones for $6 USD) and order fancy coffee drinks (2 mochas and a chocolate milk for $7 USD) but it’s always a struggle on what we should and shouldn’t spend money on since money is on a one way street right now.

All in all, we love our son’s birth country. Although we would love to know the exact plan God has for us and the exact date our son’s visa will be approved to come home, we have to wait for now, trusting that God will provide for us along the way. We pray that we’ll be home soon with our friends and family, but we’ve learned in Uganda that timing is often unknown. Although our patience has dwindled away and our savings is running low, we also know that we will never have this time back with our son. We constantly pray that we live in the moment and trust in God’s timing.

Lastly, we’ll be at the US Embassy tomorrow for our second visit (first was unsuccessful). Please pray that our case will be started and the files we need are in hand. Our appointment starts at 10 am Ugandan time, or 3 am Eastern Standard Time.

Thanks folks!
Phil 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ