Uganda – Church & Markets

27 12 2013

On our final day I had one more experience of washing my hair over the sink, packed up as much as I could and headed down for breakfast. Just in time for the last day I discovered that they made fresh pancakes, so after a week of beans on toast, I had pancakes with syrup, and a croissant, a continental!

We headed off to a church in Kampala, and only arrived 45min late – not bad for African time! This did mean we missed all the worship time, we arrived during the last verse of the final song, I was gutted to miss that part of the service as I’d been told there was nothing like it, but fortunately we’d been able to experience a few times of worship with the LDP students earlier in the week.

We were there in time for the commissioning of their women’s ministry team, and to hear testimony from one of their current LDP students. It’s amazing, through the week, how many of the testimonies we heard mentioned how they had gained social skills from the project. It’s not something that instantly comes to mind as something they may be lacking in, but it’s definitely something Compassion is there to do!

The sermon was on Genesis 26vv1-33, and was on keeping the promise (v4) alive. In the UK you sometimes get people clapping at the end of songs (which I tend not to do) but here they gave the sermon a good hand clap! My only concern was that it felt ever so slightly prosperity-gospel-y, or at least expressing a need for people to be wealthy so that they can do things, but maybe I misunderstood.

This church also ran a Compassion project, and so after the service we went upstairs to the project office. We met the project director who himself was a formerly sponsored child and an LDP graduate – it’s great to see the circle of sponsorship complete! They gave us mini fresh bananas to snack on and we also had their pastor join us, which was very generous as he was actually on sabbatical!

We headed off for lunch at the Good Africa Coffee Place. This was in a retail park, and because the terror alert was on maximum (and potentially they would have done this anyway) as we entered the car park we had to vacate the bus to have it searched, and also have our person and bags searched and checked too. We were used to lots of metal detectors and bag searches by now, but it was less common for the whole bus to be searched. It did make the place feel a little safer though.

I ordered bolognaise, which was a little odd but fine, and a strawberry ice tea. I took a sip of the drink before someone pointed out it had ice in it. Of course, ice could be made with tap water, and so you can’t consume it. Such a shame, I was so looking forward to that drink! I only took a sip from the bottom with a straw where the liquid was still warm, so wasn’t too worried, but it would have been silly to drink any more.

Several of us bought coffee there to take home as presents for family and friends, but they didn’t have enough in, so they first said they would bring it to our table when it was delivered (we had already paid), and then promised to bring it to us in the market in the afternoon. In the end Lillian had to collect it for us – it all worked out in the end!

I didn’t really enjoy the trip round the markets as much as I expected to. There were so many lovely things, but you weren’t able to stop and think. There were repeatedly ladies asking you to come into their stall, to see what they had, offering good prices. Even when I went in they kept talking and showing me things so I couldn’t just pause to work out what I wanted to get for the people on my list, or how many shillings I had left. In the end I just got a few things and sat down later to work out what to give to who, but for myself I did get some extremely colourful trousers with elasticated waist and trousers!

We went back to the hotel to change into more comfortable travelling clothes, collect our luggage and check out, and then as we realised there may be no time for dinner, a few of us got something to eat at the restaurant. A couple of us just had brownie and ice cream as it was a bit early for a meal, but we needed something to keep us going!

On arrival at the airport not only was our bus searched, but they even sent sniffer dogs aboard! We were all searched too, and then when we entered the building, even before we could get to check in desks our bags were put through security scanners and we all had to walk shoeless through the metal detectors, and then finally there was another security check at the gate.

While we were waiting to get on the plane a few of us had fun trying to do accents – I was taught some American over the week, and some of them did their best English accents for me which I managed to get on camera, lots of fun!

The flight left around 11pm I think, and once we were up and cruising we were served chicken and rice for dinner. I then managed about 3 hours sleep before breakfast. So given a late dinner, very little sleep, it’s unlikely anyway that you’d want breakfast within 4 hours of your previous meal. Not least when breakfast is broccoli, potato and quiche! I left it all and just had a roll.

We got off the plane at Amsterdam, and after a tearful goodbye with my new American friends, I headed back to London.

The End! I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about my trip, please don’t hesitate to ask me more about it, most particularly if you’re interested in finding out more about Compassion, or sponsoring a child! I’m very happy to talk!

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