First, I must say, after two long days of work, two of our first libraries (Namirembe and Bat Valley) look incredible ... or as incredible as possible when full of books carried home to dirt homes for many years. As I went through the books one by one, I realized we have learned so much in the past seven years. For example, books about the 80s, a book listing US authors - with a short bio of each - and one about little known vice presidents would not make it into our shipment now. We want books which will make children fall in love with reading. So, lots of weeding and reorganizing, but worth it. Next year, we will take a year off from creating new libraries and do major restocking in our 24 libraries.
It is difficult for me to even write about yesterday's boda ride, as I really am trying not to think about it. Hard to imagine from me - who loves to ride bodas.
I was leaving Bat Valley (a busy part of town) during rush hour. Jane offered to pick me up, but I knew she had a busy day - so I declined. I did ask the school guard if he knew the boda driver. He said yes, that he was a good man! The man took off - as we would say, like "a bat out of hell." The first three blocks we were zooming down a one-way street - right in the middle, going the wrong way. That would be terrifying in America, but here where two lanes become five lanes - with hundreds of bodas thrown in the mix - it was simply unbelievable. It was truly a matter of dodging fast-moving vehicles coming straight at us from all sides, as well as head on.
Finally, when we were out of that mess, he flew into any space he could find - fast turns left and right through tiny spaces. I can't count the number of vans and cars that I ran my hands down that were up against each side of the cycle, thinking I might need to brace against them to jump off. One time, the driver tried to zoom up against the curb and would have hit the front of a car - but jumped the cycle up on the curb, rode it for a ways, and slammed it down back into the street in front of the car. That said - I don't know why I didn't tell him to stop and let me off - other than we were moving fast and I was really afraid every minute that we were going to crash. A bit of shock, I think.
After making it to Namirembe Guest House, I decided to take a long walk to calm my nerves. I walked for over an hour up and down dirt paths and roads, cutting between houses. Once when I was looking for a path out of a group of homes, I ran into two high school boys. I said hello. One of the young men said, "I know you! You are the one who does Libraries of Love!" It seems he was a former Namirembe Primary student. As they walked off, I heard him say, "Ahhh - Libraries of Love." Nice!
In the evening, Noah and Jane's Bible study group met at their house. I have been there over the years when this group has met, so now they are my friends as well. Part of the study was about people serving as God's hands and feet. A statement by the leader touched my heart. She said, "When Trudy is staying in this home, Jane serves as God's hands and feet - providing for her, and keeping her safe." Later in prayer, I had to ask God's forgiveness for being my usual independent self - instead of letting those he has supplied, in this case Jane - help with my safety. Lesson learned, though I know I will still need to be on bodas at times.
It is time for a meeting with our Catholic Brothers who own a carpentry workshop and prepare our timber, after which I will be in working in Ugandan Martyr's Primary for the afternoon.
Thank you again for reading and for your prayers. As you can tell, I need the prayers - and they are working. God bless you my friends.
Would you send some electricity our way?