Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmas shopping in Buwundo Village

My Esther loves to give gifts! She likes to make presents for friends. if she knows something a friend wants, she loves to be able to give that gift and bring joy to that person. She enjoys baking for people, but our oven has not been working for a couple of weeks, so we needed to come up with other gift ideas.

Esther heard that one of her friends really wanted a duckling for Christmas. Her friend’s mom said that it would be a fine gift, so we set out through our village asking whose duck has recently hatched ducklings. As we were preparing to go, I asked Elijah if he wanted to come along, but he said that it sounded a little too much like a “wild goose chase.” He said, “I’m sure it will be a fun adventure, but it is a little too early in the morning for me.” At 7:30am Esther, Evie and I began our shopping adventure. Our neighbor, Shaminah, said she knew of a few people who had ducklings, so she offered to come direct us. This was a good opportunity to work on my Luganda as we sat and visited with some friends in the village. The first place had already sold all their ducks to get money for Christmas. The second home with ducklings had ones that were more like teenage ducks. After visiting with some more friends, they directed us to an area with many ducks and ducklings of various ages. After some time of discussing which duckling to choose, we selected two possible ones.

After choosing one, we needed to figure out who to pay. Apparently the owner of these ducks had gone for the burial of a friend. Thankfully some friends of mine were there to help me know with whom to leave the money. That can be a bit tricky. After successfully purchasing the duckling we began our walk home. We were all enjoying the morning’s adventure. 

We drove into town to give the gift to Esther’s friend. Her reaction was priceless! She was thrilled to have this little duckling to love on! 

I have done Christmas shopping in Various places like Boca Raton, FL, Chattanooga, TN, Athens, GA and Jinja and Kampala in Uganda. But Christmas shopping in Buwundo Village is definitely a fun, unique adventure! Merry Christmas from the village! 

Monday, December 18, 2017


On a recent Sunday we heard a sermon about the early church from the book of Acts. We heard how the early church shared meals together, how they cared for each other‘s needs, how they spent time together regularly. The pastor talked about how we should know where the members of our church live, we should share meals together, visit the sick in our community and pray for one another. I was convicted about the ways I have failed to care for members of our church community. I thought about the elderly woman who lives just a five minute walk from my house, but is not well enough to walk to church.

My family prayed for this jajja (grandmother) at lunch. It occurred to me that my Sunday afternoon was free, so I decided to take Evie for a walk and check on the her. Our dog, Penny, tagged along. We found our friend sitting outside her house, and we had the opportunity to sit and visit and pray with her. Next-door to this jajja, a new house has been built. During the process of building, I have been very curious about the family who was going to live there. It is a large brick house with its own water source and electricity. It is probably the nicest house in our village. As Evie, Penny and I were walking home from visiting the jajja, a friend of the family who lives at the new house drove up. Penny walked up to greet the man who had arrived. We began talking I asked if he lived there. He said no, but insisted that I meet his friends who did live there. They came out to greet me and invited me into their home. The wife quickly brought me food and drink. They invited my dog into their house and even brought her a plate of food with meat. As we sat and got to know one another a bit, I discovered that they are business owners who bought land in the village to farm. They have stated a passion fruit vineyard and also own some sugarcane fields and some cattle. We talked about farming and business and faith.

After visiting for some time, I needed to get Evie home so I excused myself and thanked them for their hospitality. I began imagining a scenario in the United States where a stranger of another race walks up to your house. I cannot imagine many Americans inviting that stranger in, offering food and friendship to a previously unknown person. It is almost  comical to think about that scenario in the US. We warn our kids about these situations. And there are sometimes valid concerns for safety. But I was blessed and amazed by the generous hospitality of my new friends here in Buwundo village.

In this Advent season I think of Mary and Joseph traveling and not finding anywhere to stay while she was ready to deliver. What a challenging time to be turned away rather than shown hospitality. I am sure there are many people who would love to be welcomed into a home this time of year. I hope that God grows in me this heart of hospitality that I have seen and is demonstrated by the early church in the book of Acts. I want to learn from my neighbors how to value and welcome people even in this busy season, especially in this Advent season.