So I have arrived safely to Amani Baby Cottage!

I got here in the late afternoon on Thursday, January 21, got oriented, and then just rested. On Friday I floated around to all the different age ranges of babies–they have “Baby A” which is the youngest babies, and then “Baby B” is a little older, “Baby C” is a little older, and then they progress to Toddler/Preschool. I spent most of Friday with Toddler/Preschool because I’m going to be teaching Preschool all next week. Last night I helped put the preschool boys to bed . . . and that was pretty much the epitome of chaos. Trying to get 14 toddler/preschool age boys all to calm down in the same room together isn’t an easy or smooth process!

The ride home from the airport on Thursday was absolutely crazy. I have never been anywhere outside of the USA other than across the border into Canada (which is pretty much the same as the US), and this was an entirely new experience. For one thing, the whole we-drive-on-the-other-side-of-the-road thing took awhile to get used to . . . but then I realized that that statement is pretty much the only road rule they have. There is no concept of lanes (or even sides of the road, until another car comes along and whoever is aggressive enough gets the right of way), you go as fast as you can until you get approximately 5 feet behind another car and then slam on the brakes and blare your horn, hoping they’ll get out of the way. If they don’t respond to your horn blaring (and your yelling doesn’t carry over everyone elses), you start trying to get around them. If this requires that you get in the lane of the oncoming traffic…oh well! Also, alternately, if this requires that you go onto the side of the road and nearly kill off a few pedestrians and bicyclists…oh well! And, on top of all this, there were tons of people milling in and out of the traffic, trying to sell their wares at your window…I’m surprise I didn’t see anyone get hit!

Also, I’m not used to seeing desperate garden plots on the side of the road in every available piece of land they can possibly find, houses made of scrap tin and cardboard, kids sitting around with vacant glazed looks in their eyes with nothing to do, guys toting big guns around, and cows wandering the streets of the biggest city in Uganda. This is everyday life in Africa.

As some of you already know, my luggage did not arrive with me. This is fairly common, but they usually at least know where it is and can tell you what flight it will be arriving on. The airline and my travel insurance have been attempting to find my luggage, and no one has been able to even find where it is . . . so, I think the verdict is that it has been stolen. Also, my money situation has not worked out here, so I don’t have money with which to buy anything yet. This has all sure been a faith stretcher! There have been far too many tears shed over this situation, and I still don’t think I’ve seen the last of the tears yet. It’s been a really hard thing for me to accept . . . and to continue on cheerfully in the midst of these difficulties. Missionary life, I suppose! I can’t imagine that it is uncommon for missionaries to wear dirty clothes, not eat, wear dirty clothes again, use minuscule amounts of other people’s shampoo, and have to depend on other people for every day necessities (that are truly necessities and not luxuries!)…

I took a few boda rides to town and back yesterday. A “boda” is a motorcycle taxi, basically. And it costs approximately $1 roundtrip from here to town and back….I could get used to this! But, remember what I said about how it is to drive around here. It’s the same situation when you’re riding a boda, only scarier because you’re on the back of a motorcycle! It’s nice that in Jinja (the town I’m in) there isn’t as much traffic, so you aren’t always praying for your life when you venture out the gate of the orphanage!

And on that note, I have to run! I could save this and add more to it, but I think if I asked you all, the general consensus would be that I should send this one and then write another later . . . so, I shall do that! Thank you all who are praying for me . . . it is greatly needed and appreciated. Don’t stop them! 🙂

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