Saturday, June 21, 2008

Nicole's June 2008 Update

Greetings all. We are now approaching the six month mark of my stay here! But time is not the only thing moving!

Being a relatively new base, there are always changes, and there is always construction going on! Since I’ve been here, a crew has been working on putting up a dorm across the valley particularly for DTS students who are here three months out of every year. Students started arriving yesterday for the DTS and we were fortunate enough to have the building just finishing so they could move in and I have also moved into one of the rooms. I spent the day yesterday moving all my things across as the construction crew were still laying cement down around the verandah! Though living across the valley has some challenges, (no tap to access water, no electricity), it is actually so beautiful there and much quieter (save for the construction :)). Eventually we will get solar power there and some kind of access to water.


The last few months have been a bit slow for us as schools were out on term break. So I took advantage of the down time to take a small trip to Jinja and Kampala with a fellow staff member, Regina. We stayed at the YWAM base in Jinja, saw the source of the Nile and the Bujagali Waterfalls, then went to Kampala for a few days to enjoy ice cream and seeing a movie in the cinema! We had fun but were also glad to get back to our village after the bustling chaos of Kampala!

Now things are beginning to pick up again here, with students returning to school and the start of DTS (Discipleship Training School) here on base. We have some new people and a new routine to get accustomed to. I am not officially staffing DTS, but I am helping out as needed.


After a long break, we finally got to see our students again at the secondary school in town. They were also very pleased to have us back, even requesting we make our program twice a week instead of once. This is so encouraging to us as we can see they are interested and eager to learn! We did a review of first term’s lessons and they really retained the things we taught! So now we have some discussing to do with the team about the feasibility of going twice a week.

The YWAM base here in Arua has been in operation since 2003. As part of moving out of a pioneering stage and into more of a developed base, the leaders have introduced Phase 2, a program for new staff to get a better understanding of why they are here and how they fit into the vision of the base in their own unique way. Six of us meet every week to discuss things like, vision, finances/budgeting, newsletter writing, community living etc. The topics are good to think about; I appreciate the time we have to consider these things and the interaction with my fellow staff members. I was even recruited to team teach one of the topics (newsletter writing) which I enjoyed.

Thank you for reading my news and being part of this journey. I appreciate all the facebook notes, emails, pics etc.

If you’re the praying type, please consider these things in your prayers:

-a sustainable source of water for the base. Often our tap, which is meant to bring us water, fails and the department of water is struggling to figure out why. It has been dry for the last week now!
-health: being the rainy season, malaria instances rise.
-creativity to reach out to the young people in our HIV/Aids program


Thursday, June 19, 2008

How Many Hours Does It Take To Drive 2 Hours??

Pastor Sam Abuku, or Papa as everyone affectionately calls him, is one of our base leaders. He and his wife, Agnes, have been in the UK for the past three months staffing a Leadership Development School. They arrived back in Uganda last week for a YWAM conference in Jinja. Then, they were going to travel back to Arua with their vehicle, about a 7 hour drive.

We got a phone call Monday evening that they had broken down and were stranded about 2 hours from Arua and in the middle of the game park. Sharon, one of the staff here who has a vehicle, decided to go pick them up. She took with her Alex, who is from the area they were stranded in, and Samuel, a mechanic from Congo, and me, because her car is automatic and so I could drive if necessary.

We left around 8:30 and made great time out there. An hour and a half! Samuel assessed the problem: radiator tube was leaking and dirty radiator. The car was drivable after some bungee cord and water, but only for 10-15 km. Then we had to stop, let the car cool down, and refill the radiator. It was a beautiful night. The moon was full and bright enough for us to see well, the air was cool, the roads were empty. But that sentiment faded after a few hours of driving, stopping, driving, stopping. We wondered if it would be quicker to tow the car. So we attached the tow rope to Sharon's car and Papa's and drove at 20 km/hr for a while until we thought Papa's car was cooled down enough. Then we went back to driving, stopping, driving, stopping. Sometimes losing the radaitor cap becasue it shot up into the air from the pressure. I drove when Sharon got tired. We continued like this for hours! Sharon, exhausted, let me take over and I drove the rest of the night, helping Papa and Samuel everytime they got out to refill the radiator.

I couldn't believe it when I checked the time upon entering our compound in Arua. 5:50 am! It had taken us 9 hours to drive a 2 hour route! We all fell into our beds exhausted and slept the morning away. I was so glad we made it and even more glad I had decided to go so I could help drive and now I absolutely have to learn to drive a standard so I can do more driving! :)