Well, so much for ‘follow my trip on my blog idea. No Wifi for an entire two weeks ensured that there would be no blogs; there would be no emails, no updated ADVANCE, and no connections with family other than scattered and very short phone calls.
But I’m home now, and catching up. Phew!
It’s the middle of the night in Vancouver, Canada, but my body is still on Uganda time, so here I write – as it is really the middle of the day – wink, wink.
There was a strange feeling of entering another land once I truly realized I would be without Wifi. For starters, time slid by oh so slowly. And while I did manage to add another 30k words to the rough start of a book I’ve been working on, it truly took me a few days to settle into the fact that I was not going to be online for some time (and to stop even trying).
A friend awhile back had mentioned that nothing works in Africa. This trip, I got to experience this full-on.
I had made all the necessary preparations. I’d budgeted for the wifi modem for my computer, budgeted for the generator necessary to keep my ‘machines’ charged and topped-up ready. And I had my Ugandan phone with airtime all set to head off to the village.
But things didn’t go as planned. I’ve lost track of the exact rhythm of mislaid plans, but it goes something like this.
First day in, the computer runs out of power.
We wait on the generator to arrive.
I have the generator, but it needs petrol (gas in Ugandan English).
We wait on the petrol to be fetched.
We have petrol and the generator runs for a tiny bit, and then dies.
Oh, we need oil.
We wait on the oil to be fetched.
The oil arrives, we can charge one thing at a time (I only have one adapter, note for next time: bring three adapters on a trip) and it takes 5 hours and $5 of petrol to charge my computer.
The day is now gone, my computer is charged but the phone is not, and we wait for another day.
Another day arrives, but the boys are at the garden. We wait for them to come home later in the day so they can begin the generator.
The generator won’t start today – send for the technician.
Meanwhile, I work on my writing, and get a lot done, but the computer is now out of power once more.
– Repeat in alternating and various order for every day of my stay –
With my phone it was much the same:
I have airtime, but there is no network in the village half of the time, due to storms and cloud cover.
Oh the network is on, and I make a few short calls home just to say I am alive and well.
I run out of airtime.
Next day we go searching for airtime, but cannot find the kind I have in the village.
A few days later, we switch networks, and get new airtime.
But now my phone is not charged any longer.
I wait on the generator, (see the story about the computer), and a few days goes by.
My phone is now charged, but no one knows my new number.
And now the network is down.
Another day or two or three passes… with about 12 hours in-between each of these things… truly I tell no lie.
There is no way to exaggerate these delays and difficulties.
The point of all this: I don’t know.
What I do know though, is that for me, it was a gift. A tedious gift, but a gift nonetheless. And though my blog readership is down for this month (nothing to read after all), and though I must catch up on emails (that I am still afraid to open and process), two weeks offline did its work in my heart and life.
Though this trip was a bit of a blurr and it will take me some time to process it all, I know there was some deep work done. Both in my life, my kids lives, and in the life of Capturing Courage International, and for the work and people there in Madudu.
Somehow, the time spent in hours of heart depths and inner thoughts rendered well, with prayers and pleas for many, I am pretty sure that the hours and hours without, will prove to in fact be, hours and hours invested; a turning point that I will look back on and be forever grateful.
I can feel it, I just can’t all the way explain it.
But I do know, that when things don’t go as planned (despite our best planning), that there is usually something better in the mix.
So in (best that I could manage) casual African style I settled in and rolled with the punches, and despite my driver personality, (or maybe because of my driver personality) still managed to come out of the slowest whirlwind of my existence, with something to show for it.
(I feel like I’m babbling, and most likely am, lets just blame it on the jet-lag, and trust that you just might get something from this post for yourself.)
If nothing else, remember, that when things don’t go well, there are still gifts to be gleaned in the mix. Dig for gold baby, it’ll be there!