As of this writing, the Carrier family has moved from Kenya to Uganda and we have been adjusting to our new home and community for about the past two weeks. For the most part, the transition has been remarkably smooth, mostly because we’ve been in Kenya already and there are many similarities. As well, Marc and Isaiah both spent quite some time in Uganda as our home was being built, so we were pretty much in move-in condition when we arrived.
We had to drive our large family in two shifts: Marc with the older children, the two dogs and three cats, and some of our household supplies and tools on trip one. On trip two, the younger children and me (Cindy) with clothes, school books, and whatever else remained of our household items. The animals needed more paperwork to cross the border than most of us people did, but they made the trip unexpectedly well and have adjusted as can be expected. Except for our big German Shepherd male, Rex…he had been in the habit of getting out of our fenced yard in Kenya in order to “sow his wild oats,” as they say. In this regard, he was incorrigible, and we were constantly repairing the fence where he ripped holes in it with his teeth or where he dug under to escape. Here, we proactively engineered our fence to be “Rex-proof,” and we are happy to report success! However, Rex is not exactly happy with the new arrangement and has taken it upon himself to chew anything and everything that gets left outside overnight. In lieu of any such items, he has consistently uprooted one of the trees in our front yard. We dig and re-plant, he digs and uproots. And repeat. But at least he stays in the yard.
We began our life in Kenya with no electricity or running water. Here, Isaiah had spent enough time before our arrival that we were wired for solar, with lighting in every room. However, our attempt at digging a borehole (which we would develop into a well) dramatically failed, so we are back to fetching water, washing dishes outside and sponge-bathing in basins, etc. Isaiah made a pretty neat set-up in our dining area for easy hand washing and also a spigot for drinking water, which adds a small level of convenience. We quickly discovered that although the locals drink the lake water, it’s really not a great idea. (It’s brown…has stuff floating in it…and is kind of swampy-smelling.) We add some bleach to it and use it for laundry, bathing, dish washing, and hand washing, but one of our neighbors gets us clean water for drinking and cooking from a local school (about 4 km away) for a decent price as often as we need it. Praise the Lord!
I’m sure the Lord allowed the failure of the borehole, as afterwards a KDM donor who had previously funded a water project in Kenya offered to assist with digging a community borehole on our property. It will be developed with a pump for clean water. That project is now underway, and we look forward to what it will mean not only to us, but our entire community.
So, yes, we’re on Lake Victoria, which is a big excitement for the kids. They spent quite a long time observing a species of monkey different than the ubiquitous Colobus monkeys of Kenya. We’ve studied all the local species of snakes (at least, until our “Reptiles and Amphibians of East Africa” book got left outside and chewed on by Rex…ugh…), and when Jonah, Micah, and Enoch went down to the lake one afternoon, they found a Black Mamba skin about 6 feet long! Though I’m glad they didn’t meet him face-to-face, we now make sure they do all their adventuring in pairs or threes. All carry hefty wooden sticks (for confirming that brush areas are clear of snakes, and for defending against any snakes that chance to be laying around!) and big kids carry pangas (machetes), just in case. Our access to Lake Victoria is disappointingly inadequate, as it is very overgrown, marshy and muddy. We’ve decided to try and have it cleared, in hopes that we will one day be able to walk into the water, maybe even from a beach, or at least launch a small boat (something all the children are looking forward to).
Our local “market days” are Wednesday and Thursday. I’m enjoying that this local outdoor market is within walking distance and on the lake. Many of the vendors and shoppers come from islands on the lake–here’s a handmade wooden boat used for ferrying passengers on shore for repairs, about 50 feet long:
The selection at the market is not really what we’ve been used to in Kenya. Fruits and vegetables are pretty limited, which I find difficult, but fish, as you can imagine on Lake Victoria, is plentiful and cheap–a welcome change! We’re having to adjust our eating habits once again as we rely on market days for fresh food, since the local shops really don’t offer much by way of variety–only staples like flour, sugar, baking powder, rice, oil, and eggs. It’s quite a trip to get any unusual items that we use with some regularity, like my instant coffee, margarine, simple seasonings, vinegar, and “Irish potatoes” (white potatoes, as opposed to the local sweet potatoes), so that’s an adjustment as well. We definitely appreciate that Ugandan food prices, thus far, seem to be better on the budget than those in Kenya.
Mission-wise, things are progressing slow-and-steady. Because Marc and Isaiah spent some time here before our move (along with our Kenya evangelists/teachers Lazarus and Nashon), there was a small fellowship already established prior to our permanent arrival. Marc has been teaching a small group of guys a couple of days per week, as well as meeting up with many of them during the week for one-on-one conversations and discipleship. Nashon has been living on our compound in one of two small mud houses, so he also visits with a lot of the guys and continues to teach seekers and evangelize in new areas locally. In Kenya, we had to start the mission with a mzungu face because we didn’t have a Kenyan partner for quite some time. It is nice that now our goal can be realized: minimizing the mzungu so that a sustainable, reproducible mission will develop–hopefully more quickly than it did in Kenya. I would say that Marc is a bit uncomfortable with the comparatively slow pace of the mission; he had been very busy in Kenya and enjoys being productive with his time, especially as concerns the things of the Kingdom. Yet I have heard him counsel many others that “sometimes you have to go slow to go fast.” Perhaps this is just a time when he needs to take his own advice!
Thanks to all those who have supported us financially and especially through prayer as we have transitioned to Uganda. We look forward to seeing what God will continue to do in this new place!