Greetings from Team Journalism!
Culture Corner: A highlight of a unique cultural norm.
This week we are discussing a Bantu way of keeping time. Our first week in Uganda has been full of learning experiences. It was quite difficult to select just one that we wanted to discuss. A unique aspect of Bantu language is their traditional way of telling time. The time is not set at a twelve hour shift that starts at midnight or noon, but from when the sun rises and the sun sets. For example, if the sun rises at 6am, in cultural Ugandan time that would be 1 because it is the first hour of daylight. 7am would be 2, and so forth. At night, the sun sets at 6pm and would therefore be 1, because it is the first hour of nighttime. 7pm would be 2, 8pm would be 3, etc. While it took a while to adjust to this new way of telling time, it was fun for our team to learn a unique piece of the Ugandan culture.
Hearing from our team:
Bekah: Pit latrines, trash piles, gutters, and jungles. What do these four things have in common? To an average person they would mean nothing, except a place you would deposit waste of various kinds. But to Susan, a Ugandan national, these four locations are places where newborn babies are often abandoned by their mothers. With one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy, Susan has heard heartbreaking stories where young mothers are unable to care for their children. Maybe it is an unwanted pregnancy. Maybe the child has special needs. Often times the mothers themselves are still children and are not physically able to care for a baby. Feeling they have no choice but to abandon the baby to die, these mothers leave them in places no human should ever be placed. Take a second to think about that. A desperate mother feeling she has no choice but to throw her newborn baby down a pit toilet. Into sewage. Hearing these stories broke my heart. It is easy when hearing stories like this to become overwhelmed by the tragedies in our world. Yet amidst these tragedies is a story of hope. God placed a deep longing and desire on Susan’s heart to start a babies home. She has seen the need and is choosing to do something about it. Even now she is in the process of creating the plan as to what it will look like for her to open a safe haven for unwanted babies. It will become a place in the community that offers training for mothers, protection for unwanted babies, and a safe place for babies to be left if the mother feels they cannot provide for them. Each child found is given medical assistance, a home, food, protection, and lots of cuddling and hugs. This is just one of many stories we have the privilege of hearing as we travel this summer. Stories of hope amidst the destruction, redemption from ruins, and the Gospel shining a light in even the darkest of places.
Sarah here. I have had the pleasure of working with the most amazing team and meeting the most inspiring people. This is my first missions trip and my first time in Africa. I am definitely being put outside my comfort zone. While filming this week, we have had some ups and some serious downs. Shall I start with the up or the down? I will let you decide which is which. I had the opportunity to play with a few kids who thought my video camera was the most fun thing ever! One of them was April, a six year old from Kenya. April’s mom takes an overnight bus every Wednesday to attend a church in Kampala, which is where I met them both. April ran up to me at a basketball game and wanted to play with my camera. She sat on my lap and we filmed the basketball players running up and down the court. We also got a good five minutes of the ceiling of the gymnasium, which I am sure will be useful in post production! I loved showing her how to record and zoom in, but I loved even more watching her face as a smile spread across it in excitement.
On the third day, I checked my footage to ensure that it looked and sounded professional. As I flipped through the six hundred clips and four hours of footage, it became evident that there was no sound on any of them. Apparently, while in transit to Uganda, a switch was flipped on my camera that turned off the microphone. Who knew that my camera even had that switch! Luckily, we have audio on Abigail’s camera, so it will be fine. It was just an unfortunate mistake on my part. I have loved every second on the trip so far. Even when I am tired from flying for thirty hours, or when I am hungry because I don’t particularly like the local food, or when Bekah is spewing sarcastic comments at me (all in good fun) – I have loved it all. I love my teammates and I love the way God is working in this country. I am honored to be able to see just some of the amazing works going on here.
Abigail: “I listen to people and then I hug them.” I can’t get this phrase out of my head. So simple, yet this pure heart for ministry came from someone whose ministry is deep and multifaceted. Mama Lois greeted us on our first day and continued to let us into her life as she shared her past as a sponsored child all the way to her recent journey of figuring out who she is and will be in this world. She sings, she leads, she listens, and she cares – in her we found a kind, loving, and joyful new friend.
Kenneth, a Ugandan, shared with us that his heart for the gospel led him to move his family to Congo 4 years ago where brokenness, rape, and poverty are rampant – and now he is seeing lives forever transformed. A witch doctor’s home, when visited, began to shake but it ceased when they prayed. Kenneth said he wouldn’t have believed it if he hadn’t been there himself! Now the witch doctor is bringing people to church himself! His ministry is now reaching out to 6 countries and it is so beautiful to see Ugandan Christians being sent out in ministry all over the world.
I have to end though, by bragging on my team. In just these first days, I have watched my team shine in their passions of video, photography, and writing. They have not backed away from challenges and have given their all as we have captured the stories of so many in a very short time. Now we head on to another ministry in Uganda to capture their stories!
Tunaalabagana (see you later in Lugandan),