Monday, November 25, 2013

Rubble Rousing Rebels

Teargas near our offices as there are demonstrations in Kampala
by Glenn Broce
Today, there were numerous demonstrations that the police had to quell, with force and tear gas. The Lord Mayor of Kampala had been found guilty of 8 of 12 charges brought against him last week. This morning, the city councilors held a vote as to whether to remove him from office or not. The vote was 29 out of 32 in favor to remove him. He and his cronies have been in direct opposition to the Executive Director (ED) and have been battling it out over the last couple of years, hampering progress. The President had hand picked the ED to bring transformation to Kampala. They are called technocrats, whereas the Lord Mayor and the other Mayors (5 divisional mayors) are the political side.

You can see the rocks left in the street too
The Lord Mayor is known to cause a ruckus, and today was no exception. He is allied with an opposition party and its former leader and they constantly stir up the idle youth to demonstrate and cause general mayhem, such as looting, throwing bricks and stones at passing cars, moving large rocks into roads to block or slow down traffic, throwing rocks at people and buildings, etc. Most times, the police are prepared and today was no exception. The riot police quickly responded with force and tear gas. Some of this happens in Old Kampala, which is where the church and our offices are located. Thankfully, we have a good perimeter wall with razor wire on top and a good metal gate to protect us.

People are fleeing from town center as Police fight back
No matter what you do, someone always wants to tear it down. No matter how much you want to bless and benefit people, someone will always be jealous and stand in opposition. Just look at Nehemiah and the walls of Jerusalem. Perseverance wins the day though!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

"You Cut Off the President's Toilette!"

by Marjorie Broce
Yesterday, I was on my way to teach the ladies English class at church and as I
was driving, I heard the loud honking type sirens that told me some police were trying to pass. So, I slowed down and allowed them to pass and then I heard another, and I allowed that truck full of police pass too. I then proceeded to the round about only to hear a LOUD and DEEP, HONK! HONK! from behind me! Not only that, but the police in the back of the truck that I had just allowed to pass me, had long sticks in their hands and they were shaking them at me like they wanted to beat me or my van. It was actually quite hilarious looking and I could not help but smile and laugh.

I had obviously cut off (turned in front of) a big truck-like thing that was supposed to be part of the convoy that the police were escorting. The brief look I had of it reminded me of a big armored truck. Well, the street policewoman up ahead did not allow me to escape unnoticed and so she had me pull over all the way onto the sidewalk. She could not believe what I had done--and I was not quite sure what I had done....

She said, Do you know what you did? You jumped into the president's convoy! You cut off his personal toilet! (Wow, the president has a personal toilet that follows him on a truck?)

She said that I should know those honk-sirens by now since I have been here for 20 months. I told her, Nyabo (madaam), I let the loud ones by and did not know that there were more in the convoy. Usually, they will have a loud one at the end of the convoy too.

She said, they were preparing the way. You need to notice these things....She said that they had already dropped the president off at the airport and they were on their way back.

She asked for my license and said she would fine me. I said, OK, but Nyabo, in America, if someone sincerely wants to do right, and makes a mistake, the officer gives a warning instead of a fine.....

She went on about how I should know the sound of the siren (they all sound the same to me...). I jokingly asked her if she would record that particular siren and send it to me so that I'll know it. She laughed at that and thought I was funny. "This one, she is funny," she said to another policeman. (I never know what they will think is funny.)

She told me that those police shaking their sticks at me will often get out and beat the car tires until they are flat and beat the car as well....Thank God He protected me from that!

Eventually, she let me go with a warning. I had her name written on a paper in my car so that next time I drive by I can yell, "Thank you, Ajak Harriet, for not fining me!" She thought that was funny too......

Thank you Lord for your favor even in my mistakes!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Snapshot of Life in Uganda

by Marjorie Broce
Life in Africa: Things become so normal after living here that I forget to tell you things that might be interesting. Here are a few off the top of my head:

1. My neighbors just squeezed maggots out of their puppies' sides.
2. Driving at night is a bit scary. There are no street lights but there are always people walking on the streets. The car lights are blinding. We DO NOT like driving at night and only do it when we absolutely have to.
3. The churches have adopted our Thanksgiving celebration and usually celebrate sometime around the beginning of Dec. I'm invited to one that starts at 7 am and goes til 4 pm!
4. The boda drivers (motorcycle taxis) all have a particular stage that they operate from and they now have to be registered with the city.
5. The dogs around here are just street dogs and they don't get fed by anyone. Most are weak, are losing their hair, and have no energy to bark.
6. There are many shops that look like a shambled shack on the sides of the road where
people sell their fruits and veggies. The guy who makes Chipati (like a fried tortilla but thicker) does it under a big beach umbrella.
7. The children in the city are much more used to seeing a white person but still enjoy a little attention from us, whereas in the village, a white person can feel like a celebrity.
8. School fees are on the tip of everyone's tongue. Most parents would rather go hungry than to not be able to pay school fees for their children. I would guess that most of their meager pay goes towards school fees and the rest they used to barely survive.
9. Rent is not paid month by month. It's paid 3 months at a time. For the "houses" that are just $40 a month, they might have to pay 3 months in advance but then they allow them to go month to month. That kind of house is what many Ugandans live in. It's one room. Not a big room. And a whole family lives in that one room, plus maybe more. No running water. No toilet. Hopefully the neighborhood has a good latrine (squatty potty) nearby that everyone shares.
by Marjorie Broce

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Once every 500 Years

by Glenn Broce
Rare Solar Eclipse

The last one happened about 500 years ago and then next one wasn't supposed to happen for another bunch of years.

On November 3, 2013 we had an "hybrid solar eclipse". Most Ugandans didn't really know what to expect and hadn't seen one before. Astronomers from all over the world descended upon Uganda, as it an optimal viewing location.

Marjorie and I had our "Eclipse Glasses" and were enjoying looking at the eclipse and sharing with Timothy, our guard that day. Then I decided to go out on the street and share with some "neighbors" our glasses.

From kids to adults, moms & dads,  they all got a big smile on their faces to see something they've never seen before. It was fun for us to provide fun for them!