We spent 5 days in Ft Portal this week which will become our new home soon and the home for the a.k.a kids. It has pros and cons compared to Kampala (Kyanja) where we currently live. They are separated by a 185 mile drive over a fairly good paved 2 lane road. It crosses through lush green landscapes with a lot of forest.
Kampala is 3.7M people so there is a lot more access to everything and prices are lower there. Ft Portal is a fraction of that population at 54,000. But Ft Portal is like Denver in that it sits about 5,000′ above sea level and sits next to a beautiful mountain range. Further west into the mountains you can find peaks topping out at 15,000′ & 16,000′. We can’t wait to go over in the area of Queen Elizabeth National Park sometime to get a view.
So Ft Portal is much smaller and while I was raised in a small town, it has been 30 years since I lived in one. Debra has always been in Denver or Phoenix so this will be her first small town living experience. When you are used to the hustle and bustle of big city living, it can be hard to slow down. Life is slower in Ft Portal.
We have been adjusting to “African Time.” This is a concept that conflicts directly with “American Time.” We are fast food, fast this, fast that. Here in Uganda, there is no rush. So when someone says they will pick you up at 10AM they usually will be there about 11AM. You do not rush in Uganda. Everything gets done eventually. This clock I found in a shop is a perfect reflection of Africans and people from other countries. We tend to look at our watches too much. We will have to learn to slow down.
We have met some amazing people along the way. It has been nice getting to know Claire’s husband Paul more. They are an amazing couple and both very resourceful. If you need something, they know everyone! He pulled some strings to help us to be able to stay all week at the Lisieux Guest Centre which is run by Catholic nuns. They only had a room for one night but he knew the administrator. We feel special. This is a great place for any of you who come to visit. It is cheap but nice and in a secure compound with dining available. Oh, and good heated showers.
Paul’s friend Solomon is now our new friend. He has been shuttling us around and was our transport back to Kampala Friday. Solomon operates on Muzungo time which means he even shows up early!! He is a delightful man with 5 kids. Claire had a surprise for us to get a little rest. She had Solomon take us up to a mountain lodge for a few hours called the Kyaninga Lodge. It is peaceful and quiet and will be useful for our need for rest.
In Uganda, they grow tea, lots of tea. Tea is hot. They don’t serve iced tea. When you order it, you get the oddest looks. At the Lodge they were able to make it. Solomon had never tried it so he had some and liked it. Who knows, maybe we can start an iced tea shop in Ft Portal!
We went searching for houses. This is a fascinating process. We had to have a broker who would look for what we wanted and we would drive around to these places and look. The first several we saw were humongous and obviously not what we wanted. After explaining in detail, the next day he only had 2 and the first one was the right one!
Close to the kids and near the center of town, it is in a location where we will be able to build relationships. Please pray as Claire negotiates with the landlord over price. We are depending on her a lot since she has all the connections.
On the a.k.a HOPE front, we have been looking over the work at the compound for the kids. They are on schedule to complete all work by the time the kids start coming over in late February. It is amazing to see how it looks today as opposed to how it looked when I was here with Chris in August to sign the lease. They have done good work on it. Since the political climate here in Uganda is a bit tense right now before the February 18th elections, the exact date of the move will depend on any unrest that may be here. Please continue to pray for the country and these elections.
As always, we are trusting in the Lord for every provision. Debra was ill shortly after we got here with a cold and then I picked it up. Not feeling well doesn’t help my energy level. We will get to see Peter & Joeline from Kyampisi Childcare Ministries Sunday where I will be doing the message at his church and then we get to be there for the 7th anniversary of the ministry. Peter & Joeline stayed with us in Denver back in September and we are looking forwards to deepening our friendship with them!
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