From: Meghan Gilbert
Sent: Monday, August 17, 2009 2:06 AM
Subject: Africa Update Numero Uno
I've been in Uganda for two weeks now so I thought it a good time to say hello to everybody and let you know what I've been up to so far.
I arrived in Kampala the evening of August 4th and stayed two nights at a formation institute for the Diocese of Kampala. Then I went to stay with Fr. Francis Muhenda at his parish in the rural (VERY rural) village of Butunduuzi for a few days. I have a nice visitor's apartment there with solar power and running water--the only place in the village with those luxuries. Most of the people in the village have never seen a white person before so that's been really interesting and at times very comical. I feel like a celebrity the way people come running to the street when I'm walking or driving by! And I've almost gotten used to the shouts of "Mzungu! Mzungu!" they yell at me. "Mzungu" means white person--it's like I landed from Mars and they can't believe I'm real.
I had the opportunity to visit the Butunduuzi Primary School and speak to the children there which was quite an experience. They all wanted to touch my skin to make sure it felt like theirs! What beautiful children, though, and the smiles on their faces were so great to see. I've also traveled around with Fr. Francis to the outstations of his parish, going through the jungle was so intense I felt like Rambo! The people of these outstations are so generous and their joy is contagious. I'm honored to be able to visit and worship with them. They only have Mass and the sacraments about every 3 months so one Mass had 11 baptisms and 1 wedding. Fr. Francis said that was a "short day" so I can't wait to see a long day.
Now I'm in the town of Fort Portal staying with the Sisters of Mary Immaculate at their convent. They're so nice and funny and joyful. They've taken to calling me Maggie (Meghan is difficult) and making fun of my irrational fear of their crazy hens. "She fears the hens! She fears the hens haha!". Yes indeed, of all the things to be afraid of in Africa, I fear the hens. Sr. Elizabeth has assumed the role of my mother--"I am your mom, you are my daughter" she says to me all the time.
I will head back with Fr. Francis to his parish on the 21st for almost 3 weeks before coming back to Fort Portal to begin teaching Religious Education to the girls of St. Maria Goretti Secondary School. Thank you all for your prayers--know that I'm praying for you as well (and I have LOTS of time for prayer!). And please pray for the people of Butunduuzi village and the girls I'll be teaching at the school.