Saturday, July 6, 2013

Week 17

Week 17  More safari.

Over the last few months, we have met or seen the folowing individuals in Uganda:
Jimmy Carter Okot (stake president of Kampala Stake of the Church)
Opio Bill Clinton (running for student body office at Gulu Central High School)
Ronald Reagan
Geoge Bush

"Fair and balanced", wouldn't you say?

Driving is the only frigtening part of our mission.  We feel very safe wherever we walk.
We don't go out at night, driving or walking.  Most of the other cars seem to drive with headlights on "high" so it is hard to see the road ahead.  Especially black skinned people who more often than not are wearing dark clothes.  We tell our young prospective missionary friends who come to our house for training to wear white clothing and if not, to walk home backwards with a big grin on their faces so cars can at least see their teeth.  The full-time missionaries feel no danger walking at night and are not to return home before 9:00 to 9:30 PM anyway.

The boda drivers are the main road hazard.  I imagine most don't have a driver's license...just like in the US but unlike in the US where motorcyclists know the rules of the road, many boda drivers fail to yield when necessary or cut in front of cars dangerously or in front of each other.  Last Sunday on my way to Church I say two boda boda drivers, taxi's, each with a passenger on the back seat collide with each other.  There was an older gentleman on the back of one boda and he took a pretty hard spill to the we are averaging witnessing about 1 boda accident a month. 

Last week we were given a GPS.  You can't imagine how helpful it is -- not necessarily for driving, but to get the coordinates for all the members, since they don't have physical addresses and there is no kind of person directory anywhere in Uganda.   The coordinates can then be transfered to the person's name in the Church's MLS listing.  This will be a big help in keeping track of members and creating better records.  (Have we mentioned before that each person in the household usually has a different LAST name as well as given name.  It is very difficult putting families together.  One need not imagine the challenges doing family history/ genealogy!)

We had an amazing manifestation this week of the Lord's tender mercies.  The clutch had nearly gone out on the truck.  There wasn't anyone up here that could fix it.  The tools needed to change it out could not be shipped up here.  The mechanics also said the truck could not make the six hour drive to Kampala, which meant the only other option was having a towing company come up here to tow it all that way.  We decided to pray for help that somehow we could make it to Kampala - or at least part of the way, so Wed morning we headed that direction.  By the time we reached Kampala (same day!)we were literally traveling on a wing and a prayer, BUT we made it! No breaking down and waiting for a tow from Kampala to meet up with us.  We know the Lord was watching out for us.

As mentioned in a previous blog we sent two of our young men off on their missions last week.
We have one more leaving in August and another in late fall.  Now we will begin working on a new group.  We've have found good employment for 6 of our young folks.  Four are working on a farm owned by an older member in the Bardege Branch who recently found the chapel after moving here a few years ago from Kampala/Jinja area.  Brother Anthony, an elderly man, hobbles to Church about 1 mile each way. The young men works for him and I pay them 10,000 shillings for a full day or pro-rata.  One new convert who was baptized in Feb wants to leave on his mission Feb 2014 so he works for me detailing my truck twice a week, 10,000 each.  He will also wash the Elder's car once a week.   (One cannot imagine how dirty EVERYTHING gets here and how quickly.)  A young lady who joined the Church  in April also wants to serve a mission and Pam is meeting with her today to interview for domestic work in our apartment.  Her pay will go towards school fees and mission.

Thanks to the Church's General Missionary fund that members contribute to from around the world, these Ugandan missionaries and other third world missionaries are able to serve the Lord full time for 2 years on their missions.  Our mission president requires each young prospective missionary to raise a minimum of 100,000 shillings ($38) for their mission.  Then there are the following costs the young adults must raise money for:
               Passport  100,000
               Yellow fever vaccination  80,000
               Police Clearance  60,000
               TB Test  15,000
               Birth Cert  5000

A total of 360,000 shillings is a very large sum in a part of the country where there is really no good work.  You can see these young adults sacrifice much in the way of time to earn what they can.  The General Missionary Fund pays the rest which is by far the majority of the monthly mission cost.

I awoke Monday with a feeling of elation I hadn't felt since Alabama won it's last national championship.  More like 2 in a row and 3 out of the last 4.  It was a feeling only exceeded by winning 3 in a row and 4 out of the last 5.  One can't put that feeling into words.  Even those of the Bama Nation can't quite describe it.  You know what it feels like but you can't describe it.  What a great day it was going to be.  Later that afternoon Pam and I visited one of the branch's Relief Society Presidents.  In walks her son and now I knew why I was feeling soooo good!  Picture below.

 Delivering the food dryers to Justin's orphanage. They have a removable see-through tarp to protect the foods from getting ruined by the rain.  On ours, we also put a mosquito net over the whole thing to keep off and out all insects, but the Ugandans are used to the insects.
 A BYU grad and his wife live most of the year in Gulu and run a bead business.  Locals make the beads and they are sold here and over the internet.  One of their employees gave them some land so earlier this year the two of them built this hut.  Supposed to take about 2 weeks but with their business and other commitments took them a few months.  My truck in the background.  We sort of had to make our own road to get into this place.  Our BYU friends live closer to town and this is sort of their weekend "get-away" place...relax, visit with neighbors, who also visited with us while we were there.  They still need to cover the outside walls with mud or cement
 You can see how large this one is.  Oval shaped about 21' long and 15' wide.  He simply has a few chairs and a mattress in there now.  He'll drop some curtains to petition off the room.
 Ceiling shot...ceiling is covered in material, sheet-like  cloth. The straw thatch is all that keeps the water out.  It is layered on and is very thick.  The water simply runs off the roof faster than it can sink thru the thatch.  Notice that there is about a four inch gap between the wall and the roof.  All the huts have this gap, which means the owners will have additional critter guests or residents!  Our friends used cement rather than mud to cover the bricks.  The mud looks about the same, but it begins to crack after about 4 months so has to continously be re-mudded. 

Pam found this live caterpillar and naturally had to bring it home.  It is a ___??  We took this picture before we boiled it up for dinner.  Tastes like boiled okra.  Not really.  Tastes like a french fry...not really...we didn't eat it.   Incidentally it has a serious sting and is poisonous.  One of our Kenyan elders was stung by one when back home and had to be hospitalized. 

 Enjoying a meal of what looked like seaweed and muck.
 Birds hitch-hiking.
 One of a thousand plus miles of safari track in Murchison Falls Park
 This one wanted 10,000 shillings more before she'd turn and let us take a profile of her.
 Here you go... the ultimate doesn't get any better than this.  This is what we were after for two days and yes, we were this close...just sitting in our car.  The rest of the male's pride were laying in grass another 20 feet away.
I failed to take a picture of a "kill" just a few yards away from these two...the skeletiin bones of some animal they no doubt had just devoured.  Perhaps that's why they were looking so peaceful.
 Our guard, Taban, sporting an AK-47 for our protection. 

 The falls from quite a distance.  Water too turbulent to get any closer.
The falls in the background.  You can see what the water is doing just behind and below us...maybe a quarter mile from the falls.
Sunset over the savannah...picture does not due this credit...absolutely spectacular.

 This is the sort of thing that makes you feel good all over.  Roll Bama Roll!
A new member of the Ugandan Chapter of the Alabama Alumni Association.


  1. Well, there is one thing for certain...there is going to be a ton of Alabama Tide converts by the time you leave! You crack us up!

  2. Love your blog update! We agree, lots of Bama (ahem) I mean LDS converts for sure.

  3. Love you both and miss you!!! Thank you for the blog, photos, and same sense of humor. Gayla

  4. Brother & Sister Moore,
    My family and I lived in Kampala for 3 years in '95-'98 while my husband worked at the American Embassy. We have wonderful memories of our small branch and the beginnings of the church in Uganda. Our first meetings were in a building on Pilkington Road. We then participated as the first chapel in Kampala was built and dedicated in Kololo. Please email me at as I have some photos I would love to share. Perhaps there are some faces you recognize :)
    Sincerely, Lori Gygi