Finding our Stride
Glad to say after a month of trial-and-error, we have found a stride…for now.
In our last post, I wrote about all the accomplishments of the previous month and described the results of our boundary-less, hit-the-ground-running entry strategy. We’re happy to say that we’re recovering and found a much better pace. It wasn’t easy, and the second we stopped pushing so hard, we realized how much damage we had done to ourselves. We were distant and irritable, exhausted and numb. We spent a lot of time this past month repairing and re-strategizing.
And we’ve seen it working already! For example, our driving experiences have dramatically improved. I noticed yesterday, while driving back from the store, that I wasn’t scared. In fact, I was almost enjoying the drive. I used to LOVE driving in the US, so I think I’m starting to let go of enough of the stress and fear to enjoy things again! We are handling negative things much better, too. We still don’t have a home and are still trying to figure out our visa situation (looks like that might get resolved tomorrow), but those don’t feel like crushing pressures anymore. We’ve made time to enjoy each other, life, and God again, which really we never should have stopped.
So, things are looking up!…or at least things are looking sustainable! =)
Now, here is a photo update of all that has been going on!
Engagement Lemon Chicken, a Becky Geiger classic has FINALLY been pulled off!…after two other attempts.
Had a “date night” at KFC! I almost cried. EVERYTHING about it could have been in the US!…except they don’t have soda fountains here.
I made french fries (or “chips” here) from scratch!
During our water well days (described later), we were given a bunch of fruits to try. This one didn’t have a name, but it was like pomegranate inside. The fruit was yummy, a bit like citrus. The seed was INTENSE! It was like biting into nutmeg or cloves!
Water well day – lemon.
Water well day – sugar cane.
Water well day – “Black sweets”…which they pronounced as “black sweats”. These were very strange. The taste was like licorice, but the fruit wouldn’t pull away from the nut in the middle.
Water well day – lunch was chicken stew with posho. Seriously the best chicken I have ever eaten. We ate with our hands.
Water Well Days!
Last week, we were invited to join a local water well drilling team and another American (Hal) while they drill and install a water well for a church outside of Gulu town. I was SO excited. I had been disappointed that I hadn’t been able to get involved in water work since we’ve arrived and I was asking God to please let me be involved with something. To connect with Hal and be invited to join was definitely God letting me know that He heard my heart. Here are some photos (from the MANY, MANY photos) I took during those 2 days.
Driving out to the villages.
The road was getting difficult just as we arrived at the site.
To drill, we used a hand-auger, or some call it a post-hole digger. We dug about 14 feet below the ground.
WATER! We reached water and tested to make sure that there was enough supply there to support the hand pump that we will install.
This is the site. In the foreground, you can see the community’s current water source. This is a little hillside that the people dug into to reach the ground water. This water pools here and the people fill their jerry cans with this water. Note the algae and trash. The team is drilling just above there, on the hillside (you can see them in the background). This will develop a much more protected water source.
A good view of what it looked like at the site.
The team was making their slit-screen which is what protects the pump from dirt and debris. I tried sawing small slits into the PVC too, and given the quality of the saw and the quality of my upper body strength, it seemed better to leave it to the experts.
By the end of day 1, the team had drilled the hole, installed the casing, put in sand and cement, and had cemented the base of the pump.
Day 2 was time to build the pump base and install the pump. Here, the team is setting up bricks to build the pump base. It is important to allow excess water to drain away from the well to prevent well contamination.
How do you make aggregate for cement in Uganda?…you smash some rocks (“marrum”). Martin is teaching me how.
Time to prepare the submersible well. Here, Martin is holding the well (the red piece).
Hal and I were talking together, when we realized that the team seemed to be having a debate. They speak to each other in Luo, but the mannerisms seemed like they were disagreeing. We asked what they were talking about and they said they were debating what the Bible says about how Christians should view death. Next thing I know, a Luo Bible comes out and we all start learning.
Here, the pump is in the hole, and the top pulley mechanism for the hand pump is being finished.
The team did a great job, and were SO meticulous about the concrete finishes on the pump base.
After installing, women and children from the community came around and learned about how to use the pump and how to manage for maintenance.
Beautiful sunset in Gulu!
Entering Gulu town. Lumi is just down the street on the right.
This is the road to our hotel where we stay in Gulu. We turn right after this building that is under construction and the hotel is there.
This is a field of sesame (“simsim” here). This is grown in many villages near Gulu.
Gulu’s town clock. Elections will be in February, so people are posting many flyers for their campaigns.
We drove through a CRAZY storm on our way back from Gulu last week. It even had HAIL!
Kampala has been getting a lot of rain. We were downtown to buy a laptop for Lumi and this building on the left had waterfalls coming off of it. Everything shuts down when it rains, so I could not find a parking spot. I had to wait in the car for about 2 hours. Adventure!
Every fall or the last 7 or 8 years, I have taken my littlest sister, Abbie, to a corn maze and pumpkin carving. It is the only annual tradition that I have, and I knew that missing it would be very difficult. Fortunately, we were able to carve pumpkins together over Skype! I carved an African pumpkin that I bought at the grocery store, while Abbie had a good ol’ American carving pumpkin. Honestly, I was just really happy not to find any worms in mine.
Here’s my pumpkin!
It’s a light bulb for Lumi.
I even used one of our demo solar products to light it!
A new missionary just joined us in Uganda, and she brought some documents for our visa paperwork. Jesse’s parents included a few extra goodies as well! Great for our newly created rest time!
I went to get a new sponge from under the sink, when I noticed a small black dot on it. I picked up the sponge and this thing popped out! I screamed like a little girl. I just found out crawling out of our box spring as well. Just when I start thinking that it’s getting easy to live here…a worm or roach or snake or something seems to show up. =)
Over all this month has been hard work, but VERY worth it. Big strides have been made by Lumi and by us and our adjustment to life in Uganda.
– Grateful that we are adjusting to life here and finding community!
– Safety and protection while driving in Uganda (especially while traveling to and from Gulu).
– Glad we found a sustainable pace of life for now.
– A suitable and affordable house in Gulu before Thomas returns.
– Our visas need to be resolved in this week.
– Lumi is in a critical phase right now as the capital raise and trial are going. Please pray for Lumi, and it’s founder, Thomas.
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