|Today was an interesting and exhausting day! It started by going to church. As most of you know I am not the most religious person, but seeing how different cultures practice their traditions is always a great experience. The headmaster and his wife from the secondary school we worked at last year, and will be going again later on this week, had invited us to come to their church with them. Church in Uganda is not an in and out hour thing like we have back home, it goes until whomever is speaking is finished with their testimony(s). The first part of the service I really enjoyed. The music was great, everyone was dancing and it was such a happy place to be.
Unfortunately the second half was not so great. There was a visiting preacher from Kenya there to deliver what he said would be 3 testimonies. Two hours later his backwards message had rubbed everyone the wrong way. At first I thought maybe I was just misunderstanding what he was saying between the accent and different way of speaking. I soon noticed other members of the team having the same confused look on their faces. Any religion I can think of basically has the same underlying message - be grateful for what you have, be a good person, and help those in need. Well according to this man, the way to be happy and receive God's blessings is to keep your preacher happy. There are many ways to do this - all of which involve giving whatever money you have to ensure that he and his wife are taken care of. The amount you give shows how much you value your preacher. As I said before this went on for over two hours, and I won't even get in to the details of his so called "testimonies". All I will say is that there were multiple collections taken and at anytime not enough people came forward to give he would yell over and over "In Jesus's name, I am waiting!" While the members of this church are not the poorest people of Uganda, they still do not have a lot of money. Soon after the service was over and we were back I the comfort of our bus we were relieved to see that the Ugandan members of the team felt the same way we did! I am glad that he wasn't a member of their church because I really liked everything up until that point.
In Jesus's name, enough about that!
We stopped quickly back at the hotel to change into our painting clothes and head back to Kagoma Gate and gather all the clothes to distribute to the village. While some helped finish the painting of the outside, and the artists of our team completed the beautiful mural on one end of the school (great job Toni and Katara!) others helped to get clothing and shoes to as may people as we could. This is never an easy task and usually the most chaotic day of our trips. I had originally started out in the clothing room but I quickly became overwhelmed and had to get out of that craziness. Crowds like that get me too anxious! It was soon discovered that two other villages had heard about what was going on and they were showing up as well. Luckily we had Moses to help and the members of our team with the strongest wills and most patience were able to give out so many things. Babies got clothes and blankets. Boys got t-shirts. And the little girls all got sack dresses made from pillow cases that are the cutest thing ever! We had a random mix of adult clothes, but I think the biggest hit was all of the jersey's University at Albany had donated. All the young guys were so exited and even posed for a "team" picture!
Finally we arrived back at the hotel, had dinner and that brings to where I am now.... bed!!! Goodnight!