Monday, March 24, 2014

Background info

As I type, I am sitting at a guest house in Rwanda listening to a huge rain downpour.  I had to renew my visa, so what better excuse to visit a really beautiful country that is completely opposite to Uganda.  Rwanda gives me hope for Uganda.  The roads are paved.  Things are orderly.  Things are clean.  People drive normally.  There are traffic lights that people obey.  Maybe Uganda will jump on those bandwagons????  A girl can dream…

Anyway, this is the first part of a two part post.  I was typing out the whole post earlier and realized it was getting really long, so I am going to give you all of the background info you will need to understand tomorrow's post.

First up, we basically do the same thing every Sunday.   I go to church in the city with about 10-12 boys. We finally found a home church right before Christmas.  It has been a huge relief and blessing.  I get so tired of the local churches and the rubbish that is Wealth Prosperity Gospel that they preach.  Our church is in a mall in Kampala at the movie theater.  Very weird, I know.  But we love it.  Kampala is a church plant and the main campus is in the UK.  They send the preaches to each of the different campuses and we watch them a week behind the church in the UK. 

Our favorite Koi at the mall
Our Sunday schedule is as follows:  Wake up early so we can take the 30 minute taxi ride to town, and then walk the 40 minutes from the taxi park to the mall.  We barely make it in time for the start of church because wrangling 11 boys to leave the house is not an easy chore.  It usually ends with me frustrated and shouting bye as I walk out of the gate and the boys chasing after me 2 minutes later.  After church, we go to the huge chain supermarket’s bakery to get a snack.  Then I get my weekly treat of super delicious coffee (Only time this coffee addict gets the stuff.  Ugandans are tea drinkers and I have no choice in the matter, so I am becoming one also.) and we leave to walk back to the taxi park.  And that is our Sunday.

The pond we have to see every week
A bit about the mall,  it  is a really spiffy place.  I don’t know who actually shops there because it is insanely expensive and I am pretty sure that you can find the same things on the streets of Kampala for 1/20 of the price.  But it is the place many white people and wealthy Ugandans go.  They expect everything to be perfectly in order there.  I think if you breathe wrong, people will look at you funny. 

Next up, child raising in Uganda.  The biggest and most difficult thing to deal with is
children are to be seen and not heard in Uganda.  There is no playing.  There is no talking loudly.  There is no having an opinion.  There is no being a kid.  Kids in Uganda blindly do what they are told and if they choose to disobey or question authority, there are serious consequences, i.e. beatings and canings or worse.  Offences can be anything from not sitting properly or spilling something to crying, or something more serious like stealing.  Talking and advising does not exist.  There is no patience or grace or forgiveness.  There is only do what you are told and expected or get beaten.  I have been told on several occasions that I don't know how to raise African children simply because I am not tough enough on them.  I refuse to send them away or chase them from the home for the simplest of mistakes.  Instead I prefer to try to love them enough each day that they can believe there is good in this world.  Not to mention the only way to heal is to be filled with love, but I have been told I am wrong because I believe in the power of love, compassion and forgiveness. Unconditional love does not exist in Uganda.  There is no loving someone simply because you do.  It is all behavior based or about what the other person can do for you.  And no one gets how I can still completely love these boys, even when they are breaking my heart over and over.  The worst thing is anyone believes that they can beat anyone's children, at any time, for any grievance that they feel they have.

The dinosaur statues that we love to pose with at the mall
And lastly, how women are treated.  Just like children, for the most part women are to be seen and not heard.  They are treated like they are only good for making babies, cleaning the house and cooking food. Their opinions are disregarded.  Obscene things are said to them.  Why even just yesterday, a man completely serious, offered the boys a gun to leave me with him.  Men feel they can treat women however and if a wife doesn't do exactly what her husband wants, then it is perfectly ok for him to beat her.  It is ok for a man to have many girlfriends and a wife.  Women are just objects to be used, not appreciated or cherished.  They should do what they are told, and that is it.  And I don't fit into any of those boxes.  When I know I am right, I don't fear to voice my opinion and make sure everyone knows.  I refuse to play these games of respecting a man when he can't respect me, especially when I know he is in the wrong.  If you are wrong, I don't care who you are, I am going to tell you.  Most days that doesn't go over so well, but I stand my ground, especially with matters concerning the boys.

Make sure you come back tomorrow for the exciting part of the story!

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