First Month in Uganda!

Month One Update:

We hit one month in-country on August 18th. I can’t believe we’ve been here a month already! I can tell that the jet lag has worn off (which reveals exactly how jet lagged we were!) and now the culture shock is settling in. I’m not going to sugar-coat it, the last couple weeks have been difficult. We had four days in a row where we either got horrible lost (day 1),

Somewhere down that road?

Somewhere down that road?

the car broke down (day 2),

That's not the angle that should be, right?

That’s not the angle that should be, right?

or we were hit by another vehicle (day 3 and 4).

It's just a flesh wound! -reference joke-

It’s just a flesh wound! -reference joke-

And a bunch of other things that are sad, stressful, and/or discouraging.

But at the same time, there have been a bunch of things along the way to remind us that God is in control, that we are where we are supposed to be, and that we’re not here alone.

An email I wrote to my mom seemed to reflect what life is like right now:

“The last few days…or week have been rough, but are getting a bit better. Everyday for a week now, we’ve been told that we’ll get our new car back from the shop “tomorrow”, but it never comes. We finally got it just now!…10pm 8 days after we “bought” it. No idea what the mechanic did to it, but we owe a million shillings. And we still need to have the alignment fixed and have to get insurance. Arg. ” [Side note: it needed the belt and a brake light replaced too!]
Glad to have it now, though!

I’m starting to figure out how to do life here a bit…

Cooking has been very frustrating, but I’m starting to see progress. It took 3 grocery stores to find the ingredients I needed to make homemade cinnamon rolls from scratch (since I can’t buy canned rolls), I truly almost cried when I found the last ingredient (shortening…which I’ve never actually cooked with before). Then I made the dough and made the cinnamon rolls (took about 5 hours to sift 9 cups of flour without a sifter and cut in 2 cups of shortening). Finally time to bake them and they burned.
Yup. 2 days of work shopping and prepping, just to have them burn because ovens aren’t temperature regulated here and my oven thermometer is off. Hilariously and mercifully, Jesse loves burned stuff. He thought they were great and especially with the icing/glaze that I made. Which is even more ironic because I thought the icing was HORRIBLE (at least partially because I used castor sugar instead of confections sugar).

First attempt = fail

First attempt = fail

 

Second attempt = Yummy!

Second attempt = Yummy!

So that’s been our kind of week. By about Thursday we gave up any idea of ever getting the car, so we hired a driver for Thursday and Friday and we LOVED her!!! She took me to all the grocery stores! We had 2 lawyer meetings, 2 meetings with Lumi’s cell phone provider, a 2-3 hour training with another solar group here, prepared for our first Lumi visitor (an Electrical Engineer who will be here in a few weeks), and Jesse’s been cranking out solar system designs and setting up Lumi’s 2 new agents.”

The set-backs and negative events really challenge my commitment and determination. I knew this time would come, and I know it will come again (probably a lot of times) over the next three years. Things aren’t “progressing” as quickly as I would like, and there seem to be constant threats to there ever being any progress at all. I’m currently reminding myself of all the people in the Bible who probably felt this way…people who were given specific promises by God, and who had to wait longer than they thought they would to see those promises fulfilled. People like Abraham, David, and the nation of Israel. Abraham waited 25 years (I think?) to become a father after being promised it would happen, already pretty late in the game. David had to wait…and wait…and wait to become king. And then there is always Israel…waiting for freedom, waiting to get to the Promised Land…waiting for a savior.

It’s making me look at what waiting is for. I don’t have lots of answers yet, but I think one reason we might not have gotten our car back from the shop on time was to let me recover from my fears that were building after all our car/driving problems the previous week. By the time we were ready to head back up to Gulu, I was actually excited! Last week (when we were supposed to head up there), I was honestly scared to get back in the car.

Also, there are relationships in the waiting times. Jesse and I got a lot of time together, we got to get a lot of work meetings in, but also meet the driver that we used (super sweet lady) and the woman who cleans the apartment we are living in (also super sweet) and a bunch of other people.

I know that waiting builds patience, too. I knew that before, but this car thing took it to a new level. After hearing “maybe tomorrow” everyday for so long…I just had to change my mentality about it. One day, when we heard “maybe tomorrow”, I realized, “oh, ok, I have 24 hours to be here, how should that time be used?” It wasn’t a frustrated question, but more opportunistic. Maybe more like living one day at a time. I have a feeling that living in Uganda will teach me a lot more about living one day at a time. I’m excited about that…even if it means a lot of “maybe tomorrow”s.

Looking Forward

We had a very quick visit up to Gulu this week and were looking at more houses. We found one that we LOVE, but it is currently being worked on and we still need to negotiate with the landlord. Assuming everything works out, we might get to move in around late-September. This means we may need to find a temporary residence in Gulu…or continue the back and forth from Kampala.

For this week, we are likely heading back to Gulu on Wednesday, since we have a lot of meetings in Kampala Monday and Tuesday. We are excited that Lumi’s capital raise has gotten some traction, and that means that more developments are soon to come!

Photo Updates:

Apartment we have been staying in is the ground floor unit. It's really nice!

Apartment we have been staying in is the ground floor unit. It’s really nice!

 

Our "new" car, a Toyota Land Cruiser!

Our “new” car, a Toyota Land Cruiser!

 

 

Prayer Requests:

– Praise: Safety and protection during our crazy first few weeks here…even through the collisions!

– Request: Safety and protection while driving in Uganda (especially with upcoming travel to and from Gulu).

– Praise:  For community (both here and on Skype) to help us through this transition.

– Request: Patience and peace while still being unsettled (no place of our own), and that we find a suitable and affordable house in Gulu quickly (especially that this potential house works out).

– Request:  For Lumi and for Lumi’s founder Thomas. Lumi is in a critical phase right now as the capital raise is going. Thomas is with WorldVenture also and is in need of more financial supporters. Pray for wisdom for Lumi and for supporters for Thomas.

– Praise:  That Lumi’s capital raise is getting some traction!

Thanks so much for following along with us on this journey.

Please let us know how we can be praying for you!

~Rachel (& Jesse) Geiger

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