I try to avoid pizza in the developing world. I dig pizza really, but why would I want it on a project trip? I’d rather try the local fare. And yet, pizza always shows up. ALWAYS. It’s unavoidable. This trip I made it a goal to get out of Uganda without eating a single slice.
I totally failed, but I can explain.
While at the Amazima School site I had the joy of attending the weekly chapel service. When I attend church in Africa, it’s normally with a group of other mzungus (white people) and we’ve met the pastor ahead of time and we get introduced because we are visitors whom people will want to greet. This time my introduction was made so people would not be distracted by the American woman with the huge camera.
There were the shy smiles and that typical Uganda laugh I’ve grown to appreciate. It sounds like a nervous chuckle, but I think maybe it’s just the normal reaction to mzungus or new people. It’s also very possible that my hair looked terrible.
If you think getting your photo taken is a bit intimidating, try being the photographer. I don’t much like having to shoot people I don’t know, but that is pretty much the life I chose here so I have to suck it up. Sometimes here at EMI I get the blessing of a having a "handler."
Matt walked me around the Amazima construction site one morning while the sun was lower, the light decent and the air a bit cooler (so, like 95 instead of 195* F). There were people digging latrines in this heat. The next time I want to complain about some aspect of my job, I will remember this. Like 45 seconds ago.
The first thing I did here after my day of recovery time, was to head up to Jinja, about 3 hours north of Kampala, to visit our team at the Amazima School site.
You might have heard of this ministry. It was founded by Katie Davis Majors about ten years ago. She wrote a book about her experiences (Kisses From Katie) and was also interviewed by David Platt and it pretty much went viral and she wrote another book and stuff. Right about the time we began with EMI we were sending a project team here to design the school. That school is now operational, but we are also still constructing dorms, latrines, and some other facilities. So we have a pretty large construction management program going on there.
The photo had a strong pull on me. I stared at it far longer than I normally do. I make it my business to look at good photography so I can become a better photographer. Some images just beg to tell their story, and this was one of those. I found I could not stop thinking about it and I remembered the face of the man named Jared.
Jared sat down with me and immediately leaned in. I don’t mean to use a buzz phrase - I mean he literally did. Right away he leaned in so close it was like he had these wonderful secrets, too good to be missed. A slight smile played around the corners of his mouth as he spoke and I smiled too because of joy on his face. He spoke with an urgency in his voice and I listened with more intensity than I normally do.
We are missionaries with Engineering Ministries International, based in Colorado Springs, and traveling around the globe to serve.
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