Karuma – “Restoration Gateway”
It is raining as hard as I have ever heard. Tonight, as I sit here typing in the kitchen, I am at Restoration Gateway! There are no lights available because we are running on solar power. I arrived in Karuma in the middle of the afternoon. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. The kids were out playing “football” and I stood on the sidelines and talked to the group of kids who had gathered around to watch the game. It was very peaceful.
The bus ride that found me heading from Kampala to Karuma was anything but peaceful. The marketplace and bus stop in downtown Kampala was aggressive and made me feel that I was going to be attacked at any moment. “Mzungu”, they yelled as I briskly walked past, trying to find the right bus. Thousands of people packed the streets as person after person began to grab my arm. I felt like I was running the gauntlet or back in my military days experiencing a “shark attack” from the drill sergeants. I had learned several days prior from a local missionary that “Mzugu” was what they called the white person. They would say “I found your bus”, or “I have your ride” and begin to pull me in their direction. I had a large trunk that I was bringing in addition to my gear which forced me to move in slow motion as the attacks came. I was relieved to finally make it to the correct bus and seat but it was just the beginning of an uncomfortable ride. I sat next to a man that seemed very suspect. He asked me all types of personal questions regarding my laptop, two cell phones and money. I became very creative with my answers so as not to lie but neither to give him very much information. (While I was told to be careful of thievery, I would find out later that I was quite lucky to pass through without being robbed). As soon as I was off the bus, alone and in the village I was prepared for the worst, but to my grateful surprise, the people of Karuma were not aggressive and I was soon picked up by a missionary who was kind and refreshingly soft spoken.
Tonight, I was able to hear the story of how God called a missionary couple that was stateside, who had already served for over ten years overseas in Nigeria, to begin what they said was “the work for which God had prepared them for all these years”. There they were in their fifties, thinking that they would retire and share Christ with the retired and wealthy in Belize when God was calling them into the bush of Uganda. It was an incredible story as God showed up time and again during their desperate need.
I am staying in the home of the missionary couple who I was supposed to meet here. Please pray for their continued healing as they recover together from the illness. From the balcony of this home there is a beautiful view of the Nile River. Tomorrow morning I will be thrilled to be out there enjoying a cup of (instant) coffee and the sunrise, as I praise God for another day. My plan is to be here the next several days to shadow several of the partners here and learn about agriculture sustainability in third world settings.
Written by Gabe Llewellyn