LOLAFRICA journey to Uganda

Glory to God, who's power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or Imagine....

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Location: Kalagala, Uganda

Saturday, May 05, 2007

I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the village of Kyayi this past weekend...the home of my dear friend Roger. The journey was around 3 and 1/2 hours crammed like sardines in a minivan-taxi..bumping along dirt roads, leaving a cloud of red dust billowing behind us.
We passed through many small towns and villages as we made our way steadily West. As we neared our destination, we entered the "Savannah Corridor" a scrubby area with low shrubs, termite mounds and short scraggly trees..monkeys raced around and chased each other across the road chattering at us as we sped past.
We arrived in Kyayi in the early evening...a teeny, tiny, dusty town that you could miss if you blinked while driving past...we tumbled out of the taxi, happy for the freedom to stretch our legs!! Roger said, "Welcome Home." and I was instantly greeted by his brothers and neighbors and all of them welcoming me home. We entered one of the blue wooden doors of a rowhouse into a cozy two-room home...and eased ourselves into some chairs in the front room. Home. It certainly felt like home - which may seem strange since I'd never been there before- but the warm welcome and tangible love that surrounded me, held all the qualities of home.
After settling in, Roger took me for a tour of the tiny village...meeting the villagers and viewing the banana, coffee and sweet potatoe plantations that fill the surrounding area. We passed folks busy building, slathering red bricks with cool grey cement...stopped by the local Clinic and greeted the village priest, local elders and swarms of laughing, giggling, mischievous children, before heading home for tea.
Hot tea, instant coffee and some bread nourished us after our long journey...we sat and conversed and enjoyed each other's company as many friends and neighbours popped in to welcome and meet the Muzungu.
One of the neighbors, a jolly lady named Enid cooked us a hot meal of Matooke and G-nuts and we were thankful and satisfied.
We were picked up, like royalty, in a friend's vehicle and drove through fields and pastures and over hills and through the trees to the place where we would spend the night - dear old friends of the family who welcomed us with open arms, offered us more tea, showers(bucket baths) and cozy beds. We stayed up late into the night talking and listening to the goats, sheep, monkeys and bugs fill the night with their chorus to the African moon.

After a short but sweet sleep, we were up early to be sure not to miss the morning ritual of milking the cows, and drinking fresh milk! So, out to the pasture we went! No, the cows here are not like our cows at home...no black and white dappled dairy cows here...these cows are large, deep coffee and chocolate - browns, with impossibly huge (gigantic really) long, intimidating horns!! There are, however, calm and docile and stoic...looking at you lazily as you trudge past. The calves were let out one or two at a time to feed...they were then made to "pause" for a few moments while the people took a litre or two of milk for the family...then the calf could resume its breakfast. The people here LOVE milk and can be fully satisfied by milk and fore go food!! To watch them take their litre of frothy, creamy fresh milk is like watching happy babies with a big bottle...drinking without taking a breath until it's all gone!! Then, licking their lips like happy cats..they are satisfied...MILK- it does the body good!

After taking morning tea and taking many photos with everyone...we were on our way, this time "footing" back to the village, past goats, stream of ants crossing our path, herds of cattle, termite mounds, flowering trees, and of course curious monkeys scampering everywhere!
In town we spend the afternoon lounging outside on Papyrus mattes, weaving hemp and trying to find reception on an old radio. In the afternoon, Roger and I hopped on his brothers Motorcycle and zipped down to a nearby river where we found men bathing, washing clothes and rinsing jerry cans. It was great to feel the open - air -freedom of a motorcycle ride.

We zipped back to pick His brother and we sat three on the motorbike and headed up into the hills to visit the homestead of another old family friend. At the top of a large hill, we found several earthen buildings with thatched roofs and children everywhere. Again tea was served and we were taken to a small room to rest while we waited for the man of the house to arrive.
When he arrived, beer was served and everyone settled in to relax, laugh and enjoy each other's company. I had brought some books and pencils with me and gave them out to the kids (thanks to Garth Goodwin for the donated books!!!).... some of the kids could read, so we crowded around to hear stories like Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. Delightful!!

After some games and fun with the kids, we needed to be on our way - a mile and 1/2 journey through the bush to our next destination and rest for the night. As we walked through the wilderness, past smoldering campfires of local hunters, and stoic bulls silently chewing...we sang songs by Bob Marley and watched as the stars came out.
Long after dark, we arrived at out hosts' home and were welcomed with much laughter, many big hugs and it was again time for photos!! We were blessed with the gift of fresh apples to enjoy - a real treat! Ahhhh...much joy, good company and good conversations...then showers (bucket baths) and sleeeeeeep!!!

We slept in, enjoying our beds and the freedom to do as we pleased...we were up by 7am having tea and coffee. Our last full day in Kyayi. The day was a lazy one - mostly spent talking and enjoying the great outdoors of Uganda. The family was gracious and kind. I felt kinship despite language and cultural barriers. There were two wives in this household and their love for each other was like that of sisters - they ran the household as a team and were both wonderful, beautiful and happy. Before we left they blessed me with the gift of beautiful traditional clothing and giggled and cooed as they dressed my up like a doll for some photos!! Big hugs and well wishes..thanks, blessings and blown kisses and we sped away on our motorcycles!
I was surprised at the long journey back to town...I had now realized how far we had come! The ride was a joy - wind in my hair, red earth speeding past under our tires and blue, blue skies overhead!

Back in the village we resumed our lazy matt-lounging ways until evening when many folks came by to sit around with us and talk late into the night.
The generosity of these people overwhelmed me, as I was given the gifts of three goats, a hen, some and a supply of natural local honey!! I am blessed beyond!!! My beautiful tan-colored goat that they've named "Lola" is pregnant and will give birth in August...a good excuse to revisit this lovey village, these warm delightful people and this beautiful land.

We slept only three hours that last night and were up at 5am to jump back into our sardine tin for the ride back to Mpigi., As we left Kyayi behind us in our cloud of dust, the sun was rising over the mist covered trees and my heart was singing. Is it possible for one person to be so blessed as to have many places on this earth that they can call home? Places where they will always be welcomed with open arms and warm hearts? Yes.

Many deep and heartfelt thanks to the lovely people of Kyayi, may you be blessed beyond.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Shawn Cote said...

Great to see you are doing well! darby stioll totes her little cat PICKLES around like crazy too!

Can't wait to see you!!

8:51 PM  

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