Sunday, December 15, 2013

Week 41

Recently I dropped by the police station just to pay a friendly visit.  The Gulu Branch had just installed some Tippy Taps at the police residence compound. (A fringe benefit for the policemen…they all live in the same fenced compound and some even have electricity.) Upon meeting the officer guarding the jail cells, I told him about what our Church had just done for his residential compound and he said he saw the branch members installing the hand washing devises. I emphasized to him that the Tippy Taps will be of no value unless someone keeps water in the jerry cans and soap in the soap bottles. He told me he was the Officer in Charge of the compound and would make certain these things would happen. He was humbly appreciative of the service provided by our Gulu Saints.  Coincidence I just happened to run into the OIC?  My goodness…we sure have had a lot of “coincidences” since we arrived in Gulu.

This is a typical Ugandan broom.  Straw base but that it all it is...a straw base tied together with a cord of some sort.  This broom might be 2 feet in length.  To sweep, one must bend way over.  Same with a wet mop...locals use a wet, soapy towel, bend over on their hands to sweep the towel back and forth across a dirty floor.  Few think about putting a stick on a mop or stick on a broom that is until I saw this fellow below.
He was sweeping the sidewalk at Lacor Hospital with a broom that had a stick handle on it.  What a novel idea!  First one I've seen here though there are certainly more around.  He was glad to have me take a picture of him.  People here are so humble and friendly. (There are those who will try to yank one's wife out of a moving car and then accuse you of biting them but they are few in number, far fewer than those in say Chicago, for example.)
Patrick Kumakech...home 4 months from his 2 year mission.  Home to Gulu where he felt he was needed.  And he is needed here so badly to help build the Church. A natural leader, experienced in meeting new people, talking to strangers while on his mission.   Unfortunately, there is no work in Gulu.  We've helped him with a resume, gotten him in the door of an American here who is just cranking up an ebook library business for locals.  Will pay good money but no indication Patrick will get hired on.  His parents migrated to Canada before he left on his mission 2 years ago.  They want him home, naturally, but neither they or Patrick have the means to fly there.  And then they would have to put up a $5000 bond with the Canadian government, after he gets a visa here. The bond is nonrefundable.  Things just don't look bright for Patrick at the moment but we are praying my American friend will hire him...400,000 shillings/month -- a LOT for this area.

Cassava root...pretty good when fried up in cooking oil and salted.  We've talked about this before...tastes like a potato wedge...but now you can see what it looks like out of the ground. (Cassava (Manihot esculenta), also called maniocyucabalinghoymogomandiocakamoteng kahoytapioca-root (predominantly in India) and manioc root, a woody shrub  is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropicaland subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates.  No continent depends as much on root and tuber crops in feeding its population as does Africa. In the humid and subhumid areas of tropical Africa, it is either a primary staple food or a secondary co-staple).  In the U.S. tapioca comes from the cassava plant.

A close up shot of paper beads often sold here.  Just colored pages from newspapers, rolled up, wet and allowed to dry, then varnished.  Very pretty.  Some beads are made out of beans...the beans being soft enough to absorb a dye and then sun dried.  In southern Uganda where coffee is a big cash crop, jewelry is also made from the coffee beans.  They are very pretty.
 A couple of smokers/grills/ovens on the street for sale.  Only the wealthy could afford one of these.

 99.9% of Northern Ugandans can't afford one of the oven you see above but Pam did make contact with a Rotarian who heads up Aid Africa.  Among other things they provide a new cooking stove to Ugandan citizens, a Rocket Stove.  Very efficient, requires less fuel and not charcoal...just twigs of firewood. Charcoal costs money, firewood can be gathered up for free, thus preserving the environment.  Charcoal generates carbon monoxide.  Firewood does not.  AA agreed to meet with each of our two Church Branches recently and taught  them the benefits of the new stove as well as how to construct one...each made from 6 bricks.  We arrive at their facility and first load the truck with rice husks to prepare the bricks for transport.  We made two trips on two separate days and put 300 bricks in the truck each time.  Each load would provide 50 new stoves provided none of the bricks broke in transport back to the city...which they did so we netted about 40 ovens a trip.
 Finished/fired brick coming out of the oven, stacked and ready for loading into our truck.
 An open oven where the formed clay bricks are fired.  They are made out of clay, of course, plus sawdust.  They are very fragile and light.  Will actually float in water.
 There are about 10 locals who work the brickyard.  This is the type of mat they sleep on at night.
Interior of thatched roof storage building to keep the brick dry from the rain.  If the brick are rained on, they will crumble.  These bricks cannot be used for construction, obviously.
 Loading up the truck, one brick at a time.  Standing the bricks on their end onto the bed of rice husks.
Back at the chapel, assembling a stove.  Three long normally shaped bricks in the back, two bricks that have been formed to allow the final half brick to rest on the latter two bricks' notches.

After assembling the stove, wiring is wrapped around the top of it (look carefully) to hold all pieces of the stove together. The final stage is to then "mud" the stove with dirt and water from one's home.  The mud keeps the stove from being destroyed by rain water and also helps in heat retention.  A grill is placed on top of the stove and there you have it.  Ready to cook!  This is one of my very good fiends, William.  He is a young single adult, preparing his papers for a 2 year mission, just having completed the construction of his new stove.

Six bricks look and sound heavy but due to the unique way the bricks are built, one can actually carry them on the head.
Meanwhile, back at the bicycle shop...this fellow tightening the spokes so the wheel turns true.  I can't figure out why this is done so often here.  I don't ever remember having a bicycle get out of alignment...not back to my youngest days.  Don't recall any friend, now or then with this problem.  But these bikes here require hours of regular maintenance including tightening the wheel spokes.  I've got some biker buddies in the states...can you shed some light on what is going on here?  Is it simply a cheaply made bike? Or could it be all the potholes?

We got hung up in Kampla a couple weeks back.  A lot to do that was left undone. Attended Church there in the Ntinda Branch.  Here is their rented building.  Very well run meetings.
Maybe hard to see this notice on the Branch Bulletin board.  Notice the reference to a 2008 event.  Still something I am little OCD about...I like to run around our home ward chapel in Dallas and pull down old bulletin notices.  Bishop...that would make a great calling for me; "Bulletin Board Purger."
Always ready for the big game...whatever weekend it is.  Football season or not.  This new shirt from son Brooks.  Sometimes getting ready for the big game does no good, ie., Auburn-Bama.  Believe me though, I'll be pulling for the Tigers in the BCS game just to keep that trophy in the SEC and more importantly in the state of Alabama where it has been 4 years in a row.  Can the Aubby Barners beat Florida State? Probably not, but I didn't think they could beat Alabama either...and I wasn't alone...I didn't find a single Ugandan who thought the Cow Herders would win that game...I'm guessing I interviewed nearly 10,000 folks on the street. :)

This is our mission doc sitting on the right. Elder Jonson. His wife standing.  Having dinner at their apt one Sun evening in Kampala a few weeks ago with some other couples. The Jonson's leave to Utah from their mission in February.  We will hate to see them leave.

 Careful where you park a boda here.  This one about to get washed away.
 Pam went for a 31/2 hr jog/walk the other morning.  Seems that it doesn't matter what time of day one is in the sunshine near the equator.  She was burned pretty badly, but pleased that Melaleuca Oil and Melagel took away ALL the pain and prevented most of the blistering.
 This headline caught my attention.  MPS (Members of Parliament) wanting to rid Kampala of boda bodas.  I'd love to see it happen but no more chance of this occurring than New York City removing the taxi off the street.  You are talking employment, day to day transportation...this is a pretty silly idea.
 This hospital gurney laying on the ground smeared with mud outside a nearby hospital.
I keep mentioning how ingenious the Ugandans are.  They just figure out a way to get things done.  Here are maybe 10-12 empty jerry cans tied together on the back of a boda headed to market.  The empty can are used by locals to fill with water from a bore hole (water hole hand pumping station) for washing dishes, clothes and one's own body.  This is as essential to our northern Ugandans as sinks, washing machines and showers are to us in the West.

Segregation in Alabama!  


This version will bring the Christmas Spirit into your home.
If it won't open for you, cut and paste into URL.


One of the attributes that distinguished the Nephite people (of the Book of Mormon) was that “they had all things common among them” (4 Nephi 1:3). President Marion G. Romney described what this phrase means and how it worked:
“This procedure [the united order] preserved in every man the right of private ownership and management of his property. … Each man owned his portion, which, at his option, he could alienate, keep and operate, or otherwise treat as his own. …
“… He consecrated to the Church the surplus he produced above the needs and wants of his own family. This surplus went into a storehouse, from which stewardships were given to others, and from which the needs of the poor were supplied” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1977, 119; or Ensign, May 1977, 93).
President Romney also explained what leads a people to live in such a way: “When we reach the state of having the ‘pure love of Christ,’ our desire to serve one another will have grown to the point where we will be living fully the law of consecration. Living the law of consecration exalts the poor and humbles the rich. In the process, both are sanctified. The poor, released from the bondage and humiliating limitations of poverty, are enabled as free men to rise to their full potential, both temporally and spiritually. The rich, by consecration and the imparting of their surplus for the benefit of the poor, not by constraint, but willingly as an act of free will, evidence that charity for their fellowmen characterized by Mormon as ‘the pure love of Christ.’ (Moro. 7:47.) This will bring both the giver and receiver to the common ground on which the Spirit of God can meet them” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1981, 132–33; or Ensign, Nov. 1981, 93). 

This is a state of living we as Latter-day Saints are striving for.


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