Easter Sunday at the pool in Mbale

25 04 2011

(Acknowledgments to Courtemanche for the title!)

The above could be summed up: colourful and chaotic!  But I am sure you long for a little more than that in the blog, so I will elaborate on the events of the weekend and what our first Easter here was like.

We realised very quickly that perhaps the safest place to be this weekend would NOT be at the hotel, and when we were here it was mostly within the confines of our room. Even now as I write there is a bunch of children rushing about, no parent in sight, and enjoying the freedom of a large hotel at their fancy. (favourite activities:  trying out the hand-dryer in bathroom just below our room, ranting from the balcony above our room, impersonating elephant migrations through the corridors outside our room – all with narry a parent in range…)

There has been a large sound system and live reggae band at the hotel throughout the weekend with large crowds attracted to the shows. Deon has shivered regularly at how the equipment was set up, the distortions, the lack of vocal tightness, and their performance-which-seems-far-more-like-rehearsal most of the time.  The crowds have not minded much, though! The pool has been surrounded by large crowds, Nile Beer in hand, swaying to the music. There is a little kiddies pool, about 5x5m, which has been filled with little bodies at all times, enjoying the 106cm long slide which plops into the shallow waters… I try not to be around too long as it looks a little dangerous!  There is the crowd gathered around  the pool bar TV, watching the British Football game in progress, and little kids all along the pathways, yelling out “Muzungu! How are you?”

The security guard at the hotel gate was having a rough time of it: there must have been about 15 boys trying to get in and security was not budging!  Many of the children were not here with adults: there were packs of them, 5 or 6 years old, following a ten year old, dropping sweet wrappers along the paths … getting back to the room was bliss!

A wedding party was held at the hotel on Saturday evening; with four beaming white mercs parked at the doors. I did not see the bride but saw a number of happy teen girls in flashing gold dresses and a number of little boys in suits, bow ties and all! 

Deon and I tried to find a quieter section of the hotel grounds and managed to see a number of gorgeous birds: large black-and-white casqued hornbills, gleaming copper sunbirds, and a host of others to bring a smile to the face.  Ah! Wonderful!

Resurrection Sunday was as peaceful as we could make it. We joined a service of a group from the Kamapala Church of Christ for their service: it was excellent to have worship in an African way, and a sense of worshipping one Lord in a communal way. The acapella worship was heartfelt and similar to so many worship services in Morfar’s churches. One slight difference is that when people get into things here there are a number of ‘brripp’s and trills that join in the sounds: very special!  We sang “Walking in the light of God”  and in between each chorus was a hummed- ooo-ooo—oohed interlude which was so pretty!  The men and ladies often sing counterpart / echoing refrains and if it was special in my ears I can only think how it blessed God’s heart.  We were welcomed heartily, starred in the video recording of the sermon and when the group left later in the day forKampalathey waved and greeted vigorously – we are making friends here which feels wonderful.

I realised yesterday how bad the drought in this part of the world is. While we have enjoyed much rain in Joburg there is real difficulty in many parts ofEast Africa. Farmers cannot plant crops and the coffee growers who need this crop to survive are barely existing. Most people here are subsistence farmers – growing just enough to keep their family going.  With the prices of fuel increasing as they have and the prices of goods rising many people here are truly struggling.  Please pray for rains to come and for these dear people to find ways to cope.

This week looks set to be busy: we hope to get in and clean our house; possibly moving in; there is a trip toEntebbelater in the week and then all the usual work that needs to be done too.    (Boredom does not exist in our world!)

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