Monday, March 13, 2006

Adam Langford

Adam Langford, a Kibo fellow, has now been in Uganda for over 2 months. Below are Adam's insights to adjusting to daily life in Uganda.

Greetings from Jinja, Uganda

I am beginning to feel settled. Life and ministry are starting to slow down a bit and I am beginning to find my rhythm. I have been blessed in the month of February with no major events. I have had numerous days that I think I can now call normal. I want to thank you all for your prayers and words of encouragement as I have been hurrying to get life to slow down to a normal pace.

While my life has been relatively uneventful, Uganda as a country as been very eventful. Uganda has been experiencing a serious drought for the past several months. This has lead to receding water levels in Lake Victoria, which has lead to a decrease in power produced by the two hydroelectric dams here in Jinja, which in return has lead to a lot of very dark and boring nights for all of East Africa. Since February 1st the electricity at my brother Ben’s house (where I have been living) comes and goes every 24 hours. Every other night we have been scrambling to cook dinner before the power goes off (which happens anywhere from 5:30-9:00pm). We have had several nights where we have to throw away half browned meat or almost
baked chicken. I did the same load of laundry four different times because I keep getting caught in the middle of the spin cycle. We find ourselves sitting around candle light, wondering if we can justify going to sleep at 8:05pm. It has been horribly frustrating and incredibly boring.

However, my view on the power situation was changed a couple of weeks ago when my teammate Mark Manry and I were talking to two Ugandan friends of ours. They were asking us what we were going to do that night and Mark said that it depends on when the power goes out. Both the Ugandans instantly burst into laughter. Confused, Mark and I inquired into what was so funny. Tom, one of the Ugandans, stopping laughing long enough to ask, “You let the power dictate your program for the evening?”

Suddenly the contrast between Tom and I’s perceptions of the basics in life hit me like a load of bricks. Americans are blessed to the point of being cursed. The luxuries that I experience as everyday norms have lured me into utter dependence upon them. Dependence to the point that when they are taken from me I don’t know what to do. TV, computers, cars, planes, healthcare, retirement accounts, education, money, and even electricity are all luxuries that I depend on where as most of the world goes without. The lack of power still irritates me, but every time it goes out I am now reminded that there are only a few things we really need to survive on earth, and there is only One that we need to truly live.

Uganda held there Presidential elections last month. This was a very exciting and anxious time for the entire country. In America, during Presidential elections we live under the assumption that the worst thing that can happen is a scandal that will lead to angry protests that could get violent and media overexposure that might make Larry King tired of talking (see Bush vs Gore, Florida 2000). In Uganda, it appears that America’s worst case scenario is the norm when it comes to choosing a President. Which means the worst case scenario here goes something like this; coup d’etat, civil war, and ending with a tyrant dictatorship for almost a decade (see Idi Amin, 1971-79). While most of the hype around this election was in fact hype, our team laid low during election day and a couple of days after. God blessed this ountry with a peaceful election. Was it fair? I don’t know. Did the right person win? I don’t know. I do know this though, before the elections I asked a friend of mine, who is a very intelligent man, who he was going to vote for. He told me he was voting for useveni, the incumbent. I asked why. He said, “because Museveni doesn’t kill eople.” To which I replied, “Well, that’s an interesting political platform.”

I hurt daily for this country. How can they ever pull themselves out of there current impoverished state when they base there reasoning for electing there most important leader on rather they think he will or will not kill people. May God bless his country as it struggles forward. May God continue to protect it with a blanket of peace. During the month of March, my teammate Mark Manry and I are taking over the responsibility of managing The Source of Life Café & Resource Center. The Source is a redemptive business that was started by our former teammates to be an outreach to the community and to create resources for the churches in Busoga. It includes an eatery, internet café, library, computer training center, craft store, and coffee business. Moses Kimeze, our current manager is taking a well deserved holiday (vacation). This will give me the opportunity to really learn the ins and outs of the business. I will then be more capable of working with Moses and other Ugandans to continue to improve the Source not only as a business, but as an outreach to the community and a resource to the entire movement in Busoga. I was very excited two weeks ago when Moses asked me and Mark if we could take over his responsibilities during March. My excitement quickly subsided after I followed Moses around for a couple of days so he could show me the enormous amount of responsibility he carries. However, I still welcomed the challenge. That is until Mark reminded me that he would be out of town for the first 10 days in March, at which time my excitement turned into nervous panic.

On March 1st, my first day of work, I woke up early. Not to make sure I was there in time or because I couldn’t sleep. I woke up early because I was sick, really sick. My nervousness left me and panic remained. As usually happens, it worked out fine. The Source didn’t burn down, I got better, and things are going on as normal. I am now seven days into the job and I am still overwhelmed. Not with the work itself, but with figuring out what the work is. I find myself having entire conversations of nothing but questions. I am learning a lot though and forming great relationships with the employees. I can already see that this experience will greatly improve my ability to help the Source push forward towards its goals as a business and more importantly, as a ministry. Deep down though, I still hope I don’t accidentally burn the place down.

Things to pray for:

The Source of Life Café & Resource Center.
That God will bless new relationships that I am forming.
That I will learn Lusoga quickly.

God Bless,



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