I’ve just bought another bicycle…
This one is home made and bought from a street seller.It’s a toy.
I like the idea of someone selling crafts and this bike has taken quite a bit of work.Wire work and some cloth work. Design, marketing and selling.
It’s hot for me today,and it’s also hot on the streets for the locals.I’m now sitting in an air conditioned Internet cafe where it’s comfortable and I can rest.Day in and day out the seller of my bicycle is smiling, smiling in his weariness of making a living in the overhead sun.
I’m ashamed to say it crossed my mind to ask to pay less than asked for.Silly western woman being ripped off.But I love this quirky bike for whoever, whenever and I need to pay a fair price..in my exchange rate. And he still cannot afford the air conditioned cafe
I saw a mouse.
It was big.It wasn’t a rat.
I did not scream.
28 Jan 2015
Culture shock always sounds so negative. A different culture is expected to bring new experiences,people, sounds, tastes.And new is the force that heightens awareness,stimulates the brain builds the memories and having accomplished these, blends into the familiar. A change in culture whether holiday, work or a visit to another side of our city is energising for the mind.So the shock bit is actually very positive.
Disconnection, when we are so used to digital connection can be a shock. A prepaid bundle of texts failing to operate, no signal,power cuts that took the IT batteries down to dead, exhausted credit and a new phone crashing are the last week’s reasons for disconnection shock.
In a few years our instant connections have become a norm, and the
isolation of disconnection shock has become painful.The intense initial irritation at non functioning or accessible IT can be seen from adults to very small children,so we may expect disconnection to be jolting.But disconnection can be used to heighten awareness,look around for the new and to learn how restless constant IT connection has made our minds. The shock of IT disconnection shock is a positive and one where intuition begins to flourish and the mind can be constructive and restful, prayerful and contemplative.Finding new connections .
21 JAN 2015
And so we arrived in Uganda. My luggage and I. The beautiful bicycle all in the box.A big thank you to KLM for waiving the fee as a charitable gift. And to the packer.
(Just for the record re the “dwellers all in time and space ” post, my plane neighbour was upgraded and left me to enjoy a seat for two.Not complaining that his penchant for a violent film didn’t distract my reading)
Uganda is a place of warmth. Not just the equatorial sunshine, but the kindness of her people. So many people give such heartfelt greetings and
” Welcome ” is their word. It’s hard not to take a step back and feel undeserving of their words,smile and kindness.
Some have invited me into their houses in the few days I have been here and whatever the home style, the welcome has been humbling. “Welcome” tumbles off the lips of strangers as I struggle with quelling a sense of intrusion into their privacy.The visits are deeply appreciated as the pastor of the church his team and I call in on neighbours in the community just saying what a church is about. And they have a lot on offer.Caring, feeding educating, healing,medicines,support and salvation. Whatever the worldview of the folks we have seen there has never not been an active “Welcome “. Europe. Let’s learn.
Hub airports. People watching can leave many questions. Where have they come from? Where are they going? Who is alert and who is struggling as they exit into the new time zone. Who is connecting quickly and who has a long long wait?
It’s very difficult to tell, but the numbers just show how mankind likes to connect and connect in person. Skype can be very useful and a great time and money saver, but face to face human time builds a more complete relationship.
To those underway on the journey,creed and race,language and dress seem less of an issue than for the settled.The journeying binds us together in an area of our insecurity. Activity and moving seems good and necessary for the human psyche and soul.Lets take Jesus’ words as we love our neighbour as ourselves and diminish our differences as we journey.
( and when I next write I’ll sure let you know if my travelling neighbour squashes into My space on this journey.. May need extra grace if that happens)
Got it all done … luggage squeezed and the zips all holding . Bike in the box and not forgotten to deflate tyres and remembered the pump .
Thank you to the very many of you who have donated to Matugga. The generosity and kindness of strangers is something that holds human kind together. Kate Adie, a newsreporter found it in the harshest of places.
So take heart , much bad news there is , but there are far more human souls reaching out to do good to those they know and to those they will never meet .So be kind to those you meet and be generous and be blessed. We can all do a little little bit to improve the world. Why question kindness? Thank you to all of you
A vivid dream. It always brings me to wondering why I have a vivid dream . Sometimes it wakes me suddenly with anxiety or sometimes it is just a strange pondering of why did I dream that . Go back a few months and I had a clear dream on three separate occasions within ten days .And exactly the same dream.
By then,I had to question what is going on .Why? and will I dream it again ? It wasn’t an unpleasant dream but an urgent dream of taking a mountain bike to Uganda. On making further inquires about my forthcoming trip, I was told that a mountain bike would be highly treasured and loved. The reply to my query was a definite ,” Yes , take the bike ” . The only problem was I didn’t have a mountain bike . Without very much searching at all, but with an off the cuff remark that I was thinking of taking a bike to Uganda, a very kind colleague offered me a mountain bike ,a few days later. One that was’ in the way ” and one that I was more than welcome to have. My remonstrations followed, that the bike could be sold .Were my colleague and her family really sure they wanted to give the bike away? A definite “Yes”.
My colleague’s generosity now means I have a large box packaged and ready for the flight to Africa .I have pondered over a few days how the mountain bike will be used,Will it be a communal bike for the school or for a particular family or community?
As it happened , just a few days ago I heard a story about Archbishop Sentamu, who in his childhood had cycled for medical help for his miscarrying mother.He had to return to her and his fearful siblings before the doctor arrived and he is reported to have seen angels surrounding her and protecting her. This was a great story to hear as we repaired the mountain bike. A story of a small boy in Uganda, needing a bike for speed, in an emergency, to reach out for help. Angels protected John Sentamu’s mission and his mother and we can pray that the angels will protect this special mountain bike so it can be useful in Africa.
Angels featured again in conversation this week. Our homeless local told me of the angels that sleep with him at night .The cold had not bothered him and his only regret , was that the angels were not so present in the daylight hours. Whatever our faith, creed or country people see angels and know the protecting power of God , whose messengers they are.
Dreams and vision, faith and bicycles …it’s a great mix for the start of a trip to Africa , but also for the everyday routine.
I have a lot to be thankful for. I am taking a spell of unpaid leave and my colleagues are very happy for me. Which is not a given. I thank them for being so supportive.
It has caused me to reflect on the need for change , the different ways it is embraced and how it is sought out , if at all. I, more than most , perhaps , love the warmth of bed and sleep and often struggle to lift myself from its comfort. Sleepy,idle or not keen on the disruption, getting out of bed has to be done. I have even been trained to do it at very inconvenient hours. Not in a formal way as such, with advice on how best to do it , but with the shrill urgent call of a bleep calling to whatever emergency a delivery suite or neonatal unit or casualty department has to offer.
Kreislaufstoerung is a wonderful German word. Getting out from the horizontal to the vertical , to the safe to the urgent , to the known to the unknown is uncomfortable .It is also invigorating , stimulating and raises the heart beat to a new awareness of surroundings and new possibilities of being . We are created to explore and seek
So the first irritation of change can be welcomed but if we find that a struggle, a planned timetable for change can be sought out.Repeat this a few times in life and a new understanding of surroundings builds up . An new awareness of the other ways and a new resolve that flexibility can be exciting and not a threat. And this is why a period of prolonged leave can enhance an individual’s well being . It can enhance an organisation and community too.
Thank you Spectrum Wakefield for allowing me change .
( and I shall have to be changing my blog’s strap line very shortly )