Don't Miss the Big Picture

Leigh and I have been in Uganda for around 2.5 months, of which 1.5 of those have been with our son, Austin Bo (or just Bo). We’ve spent close to ¼, or 25%, of our year in another country. At this point, Leigh and I feel as much Ugandan as we are American. As a result, I think you’d be safe in calling the three of us African Americans!

During our time here, I’ve learned some very important rules/mottos to live by.

Number 1
Shirts are worn 6 days, shorts and pants are worn 4 days, underwear is worn 3-4 days before washing (depending on your daily activity and sweat levels of course), and socks…well, you don’t really wear socks here.

Once you hand wash your clothes 4 times, you decide that the little bit of dirt/sweat isn’t really as bad as you once thought it was.

Number 2

Toothbrushes never get clean of the previous brushings dried toothpaste crust. In Uganda, due to bacteria in the water, you always have to use bottle water for anything that is ingested. As a result, the pressure of pouring water out of a bottle is not sufficient to properly get all of the toothpaste out of your brush and, therefore, crusty toothpaste dries on your toothbrush for the next time you use it. Good news though, you don’t even realize it after the second week in a row.

Number 3

If your skin is mzungu (aka white), never accept the first price at the market or when requesting a boda boda (aka dirt bike). You can always negotiate and ask for a “promotion” or “discount”. Apparently, people here think mzungu’s have lots of money.

Number 4, last but certainly most important

The toilet bowls are shaped a little different. I’m not sure quite what it is, but trust me, they’re different. If it’s number 1, you’re safe, but all other modes need a shift. I’ll leave out the details, but just a forewarning if you ever visit Uganda!

But in all seriousness, it’s been interesting and challenging spending more than 2 months in a foreign country, especially when the country doesn’t have many of the luxuries we left behind in the states. We never thought we would spend this much time or money here, and to be frank, managing our stress levels is a daily battle.

Writing this post today is particularly more for my benefit, as it helps me to express how I’m feeling and what I need to focus on. During my shower tonight, and after a very long few days of building anxiety and stress, I think God answered some of my questions of “how much more.” I began to ask myself, how much is a life worth? Seriously, how much? Is a life worth $40,000, $50,000 or even $100,000? There is NO value on a life.

Fast-forward a year from now and I know I won’t look back on today with regret. I won’t think, “man, what a mistake we made” or “we shouldn’t have stayed those 2 months.” One year from now, or even one month from now, I’ll look back on this experience and say, “Yea…it may have cost a lot, but I would do it all over again 10 times if that’s what it took.” Has it been easy? Absolutely not. Will I ever forget it? Absolutely not. Tonight was good for me, because I realized I lost focus of the “Big Picture” by concentrating on the details. We MUST focus on the big picture and FORGET about the small details. We have one goal, which is to bring home our son. We stay focused on our son, who is awesome by the way (he wore ninja turtles pajamas tonight), because his life cost Jesus the same as my life.

Have a good night everyone!