Saturday, July 23, 2011

From the Archives: First Night in Igamba

Back in 2007, we made our first visit to Igamba. It's a village about 75 miles from the capital city, and is now one of our favorite places to visit. It must be one of those "God things" because my first encounter with Igamba was a bit of a rough one.

We were with a team that year, and six people were chosen to head to Igamba early while the rest of the team stayed in the city and would meet up with us a few days later. As we arrived at our guesthouse, we all were given our room keys and shown to our rooms. My parents and an older man, Jimmy, had rooms in the main house. But my roommate Madie and I and another one of the guys were led outside, through lines of hanging laundry, down a narrow sidewalk to our room.

It was still light out, but the sun was soon to go down. We tried to get into our rooms but they used skeleton keys which made it very difficult to get in. We kept trying and trying. We finally made it into our room which had two beds and only one mosquito net. So we talk to the worker and ask for them to bring another.

As we wait, we start to settle in and check everything out. I was walking around and really needed to use the bathroom. I remember praying, "Please Lord just let there be a toilet." I strolled into the bathroom. And good golly the Lord answered my prayer. But have you ever had a situation where God shows you his sense of humor?

There was a toilet. But no seat.

And when I went to flush, there was no water.

I believe so much in life involves how we react to our circumstances and that day Madie and I chose to laugh about everything (because otherwise we might cry), which is good because it was just getting started.

The manager of the guest house came in to hang the second mosquito net. She brought a ladder, hammer, and nail and was trying to drive the nail into the ceiling. She didn't have much luck. But the light in our room was hanging from a pole so she just tied the mosquito net to the light.

Madie and I just chuckled. When she left we started to joke about the mosquito net bursting into flames (don't worry, it didn't). I said, "Well at least if the net catches on fire we can climb out the window." This was another joke because all windows in Uganda have bars on them to keep unwanted guests out, so there's no climbing out of them.

But the joke was on me, because I went to go pull apart the curtain to look outside. But I couldn't see anything. It was pitch black. I thought it was strange because it was still light outside. Then I saw a little candle burning, and I heard pots and pans clanging really loud. Then I heard someone talking as they walked by me. I ran over to the bed while whispering, "Madie, I think that's the kitchen in there." She didn't believe me at first, but we both soon agreed that it was definitely the kitchen.

We get ready for bed and tuck ourselves into our mosquito nets. And because we're not used to the whole mosquito net thing, we forget to turn the light out so we have to get up and turn it off and re-tuck ourselves in. Our nets have giant holes in them and bug guts all over them. And really, it doesn't matter whether it's clean or dirty, I don't like it when the mosquito net touches me all night. So I'm sleeping on my back, with my hips twisted to the side and my feet tucked up and my arms as close as they can get to my side.

We eventually fall asleep until


What on earth? Plink....Plink

At first I think it's our sink leaking, so I thought about getting up to turn the nob and stop the leak. But then I remember we have no water in our room. (I should mention that everyone else on our team had water except for us). The sound is coming from the kitchen and it can't be stopped.

Eventually I fall back to sleep until just before the sun is about to come up when suddenly the voice of a man chanting comes screaming into our room. It sounded like the guy was in the room with us. We both sit straight up wondering what on earth is going on. It was the Muslim call to prayer. There must've been a mosque next door.

Finally the alarm goes off and we have to get up and get ready for the day. We still have no water so we proceed to wash our hair by pouring bottles of water over our heads.

And now everytime Madie and I get together all we have to say is, "Remember that first night in Igamba?" And all we do is laugh (because otherwise we might cry).

Madie and I in 2009. The roomies will reunite on August 3 when the team arrives in Uganda. I'm looking forward to more fun adventures to laugh about. (You can click here or click here or here or here to read more about my adventures with Madie. There's never a dull moment with us!)

- Aly

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