The Art of Boda Riding
If you live in Uganda, even if you have a car, riding a boda is a regular occurrence. What is a boda? It is a motorcycle taxi, more stable than a sports bike, and a very fast and inexpensive way to get around town, or back roads. I ride one, several times a week. I often have to go on very bumpy dirt roads that are hard to drive on in a car, so I jump on a boda and for less than $.30 I get where I need to go. Boda riding looks easy, but it does take some skill to do it well. And after 3.5 years here, I think I have acquired some boda-riding skills. It is always best to ride a boda in jeans, but it is possible to do it in a skirt. I prefer riding straddle than side-saddle, though. I have found that you can use your feet to make the ride a little less bumpy. You can sit like a sack of potatoes and get bounced all around if you want. But if you would like a less jolting ride, it is better if you scout for the humps and bumps and potholes, and bear some of your weight with your feet while you go over them. It becomes a fun obstacle course ride, too, even as the passenger. There are always people to dodge, other boda-bodas passing by, chickens, dogs, ducks, children, and countless other things to go around on the road. It often reminds me of horseback riding…
31 and Counting…
We now have 31 kids in Asifiwe Child Care. It is amazing to think that it has been over two years that we have been caring for children. When I look at the kids that have been with us since the beginning and I see how they have changed, I am amazed at the evidence of what the Lord has done. He is always faithful.
Here is an excerpt from my personal journal of an encouragement the Lord gave me in March, at which time we had 26 children.
“And although there were so many, the net was not torn.” John 21:11
The fish were many, as directed by Jesus. On a normal day, the nets would not have been able to hold 153 fish. But because God ordained that net to hold those 153 fish on that day, it was strong enough to haul all of the fish to the shore without breaking.
Often, I get overwhelmed with the number of children we are caring for. Twenty-six children seems to be so many. How will we manage more than that?
But I think this story could be considered a promise. When God ordains a ministry, those He has called to that ministry will be sustained, no matter how many people or how much work is involved in the ministry.
I will not be torn, even when there are many more children to be cared for.
July is a big month for birthdays among the children. And since it is my birthday month, too, I threw a party. I bought a bunch of chickens and the kids eagerly butchered them. We grilled them up and had a fun time playing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey and getting temporary Cars tattoos while we waited for the chicken to roast to crunchy perfection. After that, we cut a big cake and made sure we ate all of it before the day was over. We also had fun playing football and dancing to lively music. I love celebrating life and especially the lives of these children. Each child received a birthday gift and to my surprise, I was showered with gifts from each of them. They are so sweet in their innocent generosity. Some of the kids even wrote “Happy Birthday Aunt Julianne” on their faces. I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off my last year as a twenty-something.
Okwanjula – A Traditional Ugandan Engagement Ceremony
I was honored to be a part of the traditional engagement ceremony of my dear friend, Jane. It was a fun day of dressing up with up-dos and makeup and fancy traditional dresses.
In Uganda, the groom must pay a dowry for his bride, because traditionally he is taking a major contributor to the family. Women often did much of the gardening and housework in the home in Uganda and when one got married, the family felt the loss. Thus, her fiancé is expected to give the family gifts that will help to lessen the loss. These gifts can include food such as rice, sugar, flour, butter, bread and tea. It can also include household materials like soap, floor mats, pots, etc. The dowry often includes some sort of livestock, as well. Jane’s fiancé brought all sorts of gifts for the family, including a young cow and two goats. There were also several sacks of rice, sugar, and flour and various household items. Her fiancé did a great job of appreciating the family and showing that he will be able to provide for his wife very well.
My favorite part of the dowry was two suitcases. The groom purchased and packed two suitcases of clothing and accessories for the bride-to-be. These are special clothes that will make up her wardrobe as a new wife. Most of the dowry goes to the bride-to-be’s family, but those suitcases are a special gift just for her.
Throughout the ceremony, the bride-to-be cuts a cake with her elder brother and the groom gives her a ring, and the engagement is official. In the Ugandan culture, this ceremony is the first phase of the wedding and the man and woman are considered to be traditionally married.