One might think that with all my comings and goings in and out of Uganda, I would quickly acclimate to the common “inconveniences” associated with life in Africa, but somehow that is never the case. 3 days out of the past 7 without power, yuck! 4 days out of the last 7 without hot water, yuck! Where’s my new best friend, Apple Pay? Drive throughs? Window screens? Target? Instant downloads? haha! I do have the world’s best pineapples and bananas and I’m blissfully warm again (after Peru), so why am I complaining? Guess it’s just human nature to miss the comforts of home! What I really need are WINGS! I cannot imagine how many air miles I have traveled since May or how many hours I have spent in airports looking for a warm spot to nap or a friendly face to chat with. As many of you already know, Erin passed away in May and I rushed home as quickly as possible. Thankfully I was able to arrive a day before the funeral. I still grieve for her, I can’t bear to delete her last facebook message to me or erase her number from my ‘recent calls’ list. My Outlaw, she was one of a kind….unique in ways I often admired….she shot straight from the hip! Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her, especially when I scroll through my iTunes playlists and listen to all the songs she just knew I would love. I hadn’t been in the states more than 2 weeks when an emergency called me back to Uganda. I had opened a mobile money/airtime/phone sales shop with my friend, Hassan. It had been robbed, he had been poisoned and I felt I had to be there. The police were of no help whatsoever, ‘requesting’ cash to pursue the case. No fingerprints were taken, no attempt was made to regain the $2000+ in merchandise that was stolen. Fortunately Hassan recovered in about 2 weeks and we hired an armed guard to stand watch during open shop hours. I stayed in Kampala 2 weeks and then headed back to the states to prepare for my trip to Peru with Allison to hike the Inka Trail. We had quite an adventure! One I would not recommend to just anyone….haha. Thousands and thousands and thousands of stone steps up Andes mountain passes and down Andes mountain passes from somewhere around 11,000’ to 14,000’…..grueling 11 to 12 hour days. We dressed in 4 layers in the mornings and peeled them off and stuck them in our back packs during the day, just to put them back on during the late afternoons. Did I mention that my rented ‘down’ sleeping bag was definitely not ‘down’? i froze at night in our 2 man tent, especially the night when it rained and the tent was covered in ice when we awoke. We did have an AMAZING ‘chef’. We both felt sorry for him because we asked him to prepare vegetarian, gluten free, non dairy food! (We both have food issues!) His meals were awesome considering he cooked on two small camp stoves in a tent! At first I thought that maybe we were really just hungry, but no…..the man was a genius! I carried a banner with me to Machu Picchu…for Erin. I was told I couldn’t photograph anything resembling a flag. I said “Try and stop me!” Fortunately no one tried….there was something about those words that just had to soar up to heaven! (They were the lyrics from a song played at her funeral.) When we returned to the hotel in Cusco, we both just collapsed (after HOT showers). We slept for 12 hours and then winced with pain every step we took for 2 days. We shopped and dined with some of my old friends there and had a delightful time reliving the adventure from our big cosy warm beds or over meals at one of my favorite Peruvian restaurants, Ama Lur. It has been 12 days and we are both still recovering from “THE WALK”. Next year we head to Brazil with Sharon, and a boat trip down the Amazon River….sounds a lot warmer and a lot more relaxing. My trip back to Uganda was a marathon….2 and 1/2 days….Cusco to Lima, Peru to Atlanta to Amsterdam to Kigali to Entebbe. I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream, I DIDN’T want any more airplane food! haha I’ve been doing a lot of relaxing since my return….reading, video gaming….and letting these old muscles recover while I adjust to East Africa time and local sounds, smells and sights. It’s hot and windy and oh so dusty. The mosquitoes are thick in the air from late afternoon till morning. I’m spending most of my working hours in the Kisenyi slum visiting with the patients at Faith clinic….paying medical bills and buying food and clothing. Plans are underway to open a Shelter for street children, a monumental task but one that will be so rewarding. We will feed about 200 on Sunday after cleaning and bandages wounds and sharing the Gospel. I must find the time to drive to western Uganda to pick up a cow which was donated….that in itself sounds like an adventure and also take a street child, Alan, back to his home in Masaka. Fuel prices have increased tremendously, though the shilling is worth less and less all the time. The visa fee to enter Uganda was raised from $50 to $100….all previews of bad economic times ahead. I’ve been spending lots of time talking to God lately. Sometimes I think he must shake his head, sometimes I think he must laugh. I tell him I just don’t understand His plan for Uganda…..why there are so many homeless, hungry children while the rich are getting richer and the poor are dying from malaria and HIV. He says “FAITH” over and over. He says “MY PLAN, NOT YOURS….JUST DO THE BEST YOU CAN.” That’s the hard part, when your best just isn’t good enough. 🙂 But I am so very thankful to be useful and to be serving Him…..I am blessed!