When the Ugandan bishop came to the UK to speak on idolatry, all the old hands knew what to anticipate: the usual suspects – Mammon, Mars and Aphrodite. And they were all wrong. When prospective visitors phoned him pre-travel, the bishop found their first enquiry was “Is Uganda safe?” He concluded that security was the British idol. Lately I have been struck by how much I like to lock things up. And how much Jesus likes to untie things.
Happy Easter from a Gulu munu! Munu is Acoli for “foreigner” but the important thing is I self-identify as a mission partner!
Well things are cheerfully smelly in the staff house at college. I have assumed guardianship of two kittens, Prisca and Phoebe, brought in to attend to the college rat problem (they are not yet housetrained). One of the local dishes here is dried fish which I am also enjoying. It goes really well with okra, even if it does hum like one of those earworm tunes that sticks in your head for a few days. Then the concrete base for my water harvesting tank collapsed after some heavy rain. Instead of filling the core with something rock solid, the builder used murram (a clay-type material) and earth. The water swelled the “squashy” interior – that’s an engineering term – which pushed out the concrete wall that may or may not have been made with the correct proportions of cement and sand (a bag of cement saved goes a long way towards paying school fees).
Greetings from a Gulu mzungu. The soothing swish of pneumatic tyres on the maram track has been replaced by the alarming snap crackle and pop of loose chippings. In Gulu, roads are being tarmacked while, out of town, the African village loses some of its charm in another nod to that fashionable misplaced aspiration, modernity. The chickens are thriving, omelets are frying and the students have finished their exams.