I am living and working in Uganda with Amazima Ministries, but my eyes are set on eternity.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Downs and Ups

We will start with the downers and finish off on a high note.

Well, as some of you may know, Uganda is in a bit a turmoil recently. They had the elections a few months back and things have not been super great ever since. Compounding the problem of some disapproval of the President is the issue of inflation and oil prices increasing which drives up the prices of just about everything else. Anyway, this has led to some public uprisings and rioting.

Since getting back in November I've been the proud recipient of two separate tear gassings (yes I know gassings isn't a word). The first was following the election when they were counting votes and I decided to go to the bank which happened to be right across from the municiple building where they were doing said counting. The only details I know of what happened is that they shot the tear gas right near the edge of the road so it drifted right into my truck as I passed by. The second time I was just driving down Main St. and passed by the police station where they again shot the gas right near my truck and it drifted in. I tell you what, tear gas is very unpleasant. My eyes watered out of control, so much I couldn't see anything and you cough and your eyes burn and nose runs. All in all I wouldn't be disappointed if I have received my quota of tear gas.

Most of the rioting has been in the capital of Kampala, but Jinja has seen a bit. One day they brought out the military tanks and drove them around town to disperse crowds that were burning tires and participating in general riot shenanigans. We have also seen our fair share of military. It is weird seeing the sidewalk lined with 50 soldiers with AKs. I know that I am safe, but being in close proximity to such blatant death dealing forces is a feeling I don't like so much. Like I said earlier they had tanks. Real stinking military tanks with big canons and 50 cal machine guns mounted on top. Actually seeing them driving around town was bizarre and talking Christine (Amazima social worker) she said it reminds her of the wars from when she was younger up in northern Uganda. Different world over here.

I think as Americans we are so distant from any real war or even unrest that we don't even make the connection with what it really is. Scary to think that we feel like we (meaning the average American citizen) know enough or understand enough about warfare that we can have an opinion on if it is good or not or if we support it or not. I'm not making any stances for or against any war we have been involved in or saying I don't support our military and what they do, just saying being here and seeing the military face to face makes me realize I don't a clue about any of that stuff. As for me, I think I will stick to the pacifist route and focus on caring for, loving, and investing in others lives that they may know our mighty Savior and join me for eternity in heaven. Somebody else can figure out that other stuff.

Alright enough of that. Here are a few things I love about Uganda!

1) Little boys in suits. Man do I love this and you see it a decent amount. Ugandans enjoy looking sharp and they do it well. It might be an all of Africa thing cause my nephew Abra (Ethiopian) also an affinity towards suits.

2) I love the passport photo booth (errr passport photo alley). Here is seems you need passport photos quite often. The whole officialness of Uganda can get old, but the passport alley sure doesn't. I had to have 6 different ones taken because my ears were not visible enough for the bank. Finally I had to stuff paper behind my ears to make them stick out more. Who knows? I guess I will never be self-conscious about my ears sticking out. Well, I just love that the passport photos are taken in an alley behind the photo shop that they painted a block of the wall white for a backdrop. Excellent!

3) I love glucose biscuits! Not true, but I do love the name. Can you think of a more appealing name? I sure can't

4) I love having to slow or stop for cows on the road. Yeah it is an inconvenience, but they are sweet African bred cattle with sweet huge horns and they are being herded down the road! How can you complain about that?

5) I love the ice cream man. My love for the ice cream man pales in comparison for many Ugandans love for him, but I still love him. I love him more for the fact that he uses a cooler on the back of a bicycle or motorcycle to store his cold treat than the fact that I actually like his product. They also play the old ice cream truck song.

6) Finally I love my old security guard. I was only blessed with him for a few short months while I lived in an apartment, but they were good months that I will hold onto for as long as I live. Each time I would come home he would click his heels together and salute me. That sure makes a man feel special.

Well, I hope you enjoyed hearing a bit more about my time here. I am so thankful God has led me here. I am loving the adventure he has me on and I pray that I can continue to serve him wherever he leads. Until next time.


  1. Brad,

    Thanks for the update. I have a couple questions. First off, how would you compare being tear gassed to watching "The Notebook." Second, did you cry more at the first tear gassing, the second tear gassing, or during "The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants"? Third, were the tanks life-sized?

    Your loving brother,


  2. Brad,
    What you lose in frequency of posts, you certainly make up for in quality. You are by far my favorite writer. Who else makes me laugh and cry all at the same time (except maybe your brother, but then I'm mostly crying). We love you and we love Uganda.

  3. Thanks for the look at the serious and quirky sides of Uganda. I would love to see the "ear" photo. I didn't realize people could be identified mainly by looking at their ears, but now I can see how it is an important feature for positive identification. I guess you can just add it to your collection of goofy pictures. We pray for you often.