Saturday, July 4, 2009

A party and a funeral

Happy news first: yesterday Michael, the volunteer coordinator, graduated from university with a Bachelor's in Development Studies! We went to the ceremony, which was long and boring- some things are universal! Then we went out to the village where he grew up and his parents still live for a celebration luncheon. My host mom did the cooking, so of course the food was amazing. It was really cool to meet the rest of Michael's family. I'm pretty sure he is the first out of his family or his wife's family (IE who I stay with) to graduate from university so they were all very excited for him.

We happened to mention to her on the way home that we really liked the way the rice was prepared, so she taught us how to make it for lunch today! I'm going to try to make it when I get home, along with some of the other foods I've learned to make.

In sadder news, we also attended a funeral this week. There was an old American named Clifford that lived across the street from us and ran an orphanage. We met him on our first full day in Uganda. He had been here for a couple years and said that if we needed anything we should ask. He got very sick last week and was taken to the international hospital in Kampala (IE the best hospital in the country) but he still passed away from kidney failure.

He had requested to be buried here in Uganda, so his son Darryl flew out here and Clifford was laid to rest just outside Iganga. It was unlike any other funeral I've ever been to. They don't believe in denominations here, so it didn't follow any kind of a service; several pastors simply got up and talked about what a good guy Clifford was, and then told everyone that they should follow Jesus like he did by going to whatever church that particular pastor belonged to. Weird! Darryl also spoke about his father (that part was sad) and pledged to continue supporting the orphanage. The only part of the funeral that was familar to me was the "ashes to ashes, dust to dust" when the first dirt was thrown onto the coffin.

In other news, this will probably be my last update from Africa, as we leave Wednesday afternoon to begin the journey to Entebbe, then to Amsterdam, Chicago, and finally Detroit. I will be home sometime early Thursday evening, and should be decently well recovered by Friday. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone, having some variety in my diet, and sleeping in my own bed. At the same time, I am going to miss some things about Africa, especially my host family. They have been absolutely amazing and unfortunately none of them use email so I won't have an affordable way to communicate with them after I leave.

See you soon!