Monday, March 22, 2010

shower shoes and crazy zoos

So, Candyce tells me she's getting a kick out of showing us around Africa. Since it's all new to us, it reminds her of the first time she came to this continent.

But mostly, I think we just make her laugh.

Take, for instance, the fact that I tried to wear shower shoes to church yesterday--which would have been the worst fashion faux pas imaginable. I was actually kind of dressed up for me--in a skirt, nice top and matching flip flops. It just so happens that my flip flops look exactly like what most Africans consider to be lowly shoes to be worn only in the bathroom.

Luckily, Candyce noticed my footwear and told me to go change them before our ride to church arrived. I told her it would be nice to know such important cultural practices in advance. She just laughed.

She didn't laugh at me today, though, after our boda boda ride downtown to get her bridesmaid's dress fitted. I jabbered happily away with the driver, relieved to discover that he was "born again." He got quite chatty when I told him my husband was a pastor and seemed reluctant to quit talking when we reached our destination. Candyce finally came over and drug me away right about the time he started asking if I could sponsor his children to come to America . . .

This afternoon we went to the zoo in Kampala. All us mzungus were charged four times what Steven and Robert had to pay. As usual, Candyce protested the injustice, but to no avail. I must say, though, that the zoo was worth every schilling. You could tell the animals all felt quite at home--they were all native African creatures. Their enclosures were so casual that you could have climbed in and communed with any of the critters if you'd cared to. We got so close to the rhinos that we could hear him huffing as he munched on the abundant grass. I could have nearly reached out and stroked his leathery hide.

The monkeys were amazing--and running freely throughout the park. Candyce is terrified of monkeys, so I never really got close enough to take good pictures (or get attacked, according to her). We saw poisonous lizards snaking through the grass along the side of the zoo road. It was all quite exciting!

We ate lunch at a wonderful pizza place right on the shores of Lake Victoria. We sat outside and enjoyed the afternoon breeze and devoured three tropical pizzas and a BBQ'd tilapia (caught in the lake that very day!) We've had amazingly good food since we arrived--one night we went to a cafe that specializes in steak. The food was superb, but the combined odors of sewage, garbage, kerosine and insect repellent (we were eating outside) made us all a little queasy. Funny how that little sense of smell can have such a big impact!

We are enjoying our stay here at the Namirembe Guest House. We've met lots of interesting folks from around the planet--here on mission trips, relief work, to adopt children . . . it has been fascinating to hear their stories. One medical missionary told us of a fatal bus crash they saw coming back from their clinic in Jinja just the other day. Most of the passengers died--some because no ambulance or help could get to them in time because of the congestion on the roads. He is developing a boda boda that can get medical help to the scene of accidents and carry injured people to the hospital! What an amazing blessing that would be in this place!

I want to write about the government and all the armed men we see everywhere--even armed guards at the zoo! But I'm running out of power and we need to go plan a wedding.