We drove to Kampala and after a quick lunch, went to a store with a big showroom full of plumbing fixtures, tiles, cabinets, etc. I was impressed to find this type of store in Uganda, but as we began walking around, we found that the prices were double or triple what we had budgeted for these items. Apparently if you want to buy something at a nice store, you pay a significant mark-up. We traveled around looking for several other shops, some that we were able to find, some that had apparently relocated. Traveling around Kampala in Friday afternoon traffic can be a bit tricky, particularly when you are not sure where you are going.
After some time, we found several smaller stores in one area and were able to find some plumbing and electrical fixtures that were within our price range. Since we were spending the night in Kampala, we decided we would shop around a bit more in the morning and come back if we were going to buy those items. After navigating the Friday night Kampala traffic to get to the place where we were staying, we found that they did not have any rooms with bathrooms available. Then we found that the shower room near the room we were staying in was being renovated, and we would need to walk to another shower room if we wanted to bathe. Instead we just crashed knowing that we needed to get going early the next morning.
We left this alley area having purchased several items from the list, but still lacking many others. At 2pm, after going to several other locations, walking around in the heat and bargaining, I was so exhausted and hungry that I knew it would be a bad idea to make any more decisions until I had eaten something. David drove us to a mall where we could get something to eat and also look at some other options for lighting. It was so good to sit and eat, and although we did not find anything to buy for our lighting needs, we did get some ideas about things we could make to save money on light fixtures. If you know me, you know I am always happy to find a way to save money.
After lunch we went back to the industrial area to find some of the last items on our list. We found things within our price range that we are hoping and praying will hold up over time. After all of the house shopping was finished, we needed to go to a supermarket. It is the week of Thanksgiving and many of us on the missionary team are cooking special foods for our Thanksgiving celebration together. Many ingredients can only be found in Kampala so I had shopping lists from four people. By the end of my grocery shopping, I was spent and it was almost 7pm, so we just grabbed some samosas and a coke for dinner and began our drive back home.
Early in our drive home I commented on how the traffic didn't seem as bad right around Kampala, but that soon changed. The trip from that grocery store home usually takes us about 2 hours, 3 when traffic is really bad. But last Saturday was
another story. We drove for a little while in light traffic and then eventually came to a complete stop. We knew there had been road construction, but we thought it just must be narrowed down to one lane and the two directions were taking turns. Eventually no one was coming from the other direction and we had not moved forward for about an hour. It was 11pm, there are no street lights, and we were in our van loaded down with things for the house. Most of the other drivers had turned off their vehicles and seemed like they were going to sleep in their vehicle or got out and went for dinner or a place to sleep. It was clear that no one was moving forward that night. We had heard that there was another way to Jinja, but it was a very circuitous route and we didn't what to get lost on a back road in the middle of the night either. David sent a text to our team with an update, and thankfully Mark, our team leader, was still awake. He called and talked with David about the alternate route. They agreed it would be best for us to drive back west toward Kampala, northeast to Kayunga, southeast to Jinja, then west to Good Shepherd's Fold. We all agreed that it wouldn't be a great idea to spend the night on the road in a parked vehicle loaded with merchandise.
Honestly, once we were moving again I had trouble staying awake, but David found his way and we made it home by a little after 2am. (The Foxes graciously stayed with our kids and spent the night here again.) At that point we unloaded only the "refrigerated items" from the grocery store, which we had put in a cooler, and then went to bed.
We thought Sunday would be a more restful day after the craziness of the weekend, and it mostly was....until Zeke decided to try to fly. Our team here was so thoughtful and supportive on Sunday. Amy generously offered to have my kids and our usual Sunday lunch guests over after church so I wouldn't have to worry about a meal and David and I could rest. Normally I love our Sunday lunch routine, but it was so good to just eat some leftovers and rest a bit. In the afternoon Ezra and Zeke were playing outside while I was inside the house. I was talking with our neighbor Kim when I heard a loud noise from our van and Zeke starting to cry. I ran outside and found Zeke on the ground with a cape on. Here's what I could gather from the boys' stories and my observations. The boys had put on capes and were being some sort of super hero. Naturally they needed a hideout. So they climbed up the front of the van to the roof-rack, which is probably 8 feet above ground level. Zeke had some trouble getting up, so Ezra being a creative and helpful big brother, hooked a bungee cord onto the roof-rack and threw it down for Zeke to pull himself up. Here is the front of our van to help you picture this scenario.
They were having a good time playing their super hero game until 3 year old Zeke wondered if he could really fly. Thankfully David had left the trunk (called the boot here) open to air out the van a bit after all the things we had brought back from Kampala. Zeke thought he should jump off the back of the roof-rack onto the raised trunk and then fly off. So the noise I had heard was the trunk slamming, Zeke falling 8 ft and crying because his feet hurt a little bit when he landed. Here is a photo of the van with the trunk up/opened.
As I reflect on the weekend, I can see how God graciously provided for us throughout the weekend. Sometimes his provision looked like keeping us safe. And sometimes it was helping us to grow in patience as we shopped and then sat in traffic for hours. His loving care does not mean that this life will always go smoothly, but that He will be working for our good, to make us more like Jesus through this life. (Romans 8:28-32)