R&R in Jinja
Posted by Deb and Dug Benn at 16:20 on 10th May 2012
Rest, relaxation, recuperation, recreation – choose any two but suffice to say we have recently returned from five days R & R in Jinja. We stayed in a relatively small guest house with a very pretty garden and an amazing view over Lake Victoria from our room but within walking distance of Jinja town. It truly was the best of both worlds and also had a pizza oven.
We are encouraged that taking time to rest is a Biblical principle; a physical, emotional and spiritual need and part of keeping ourselves well (and so much more fun than a dental check-up)! For any of those who worked with Deb in the UK, you will be pleased to hear she is much better at taking time off than she was.
Jinja is about 90 minutes to two hours drive from Kampala – we chose the slightly longer route this time as the main Jinja Kampala road has lots of big trucks interspersed with crazy taxis (only this is not a computer game!) – or at least crazy drivers. Driving isn’t usually a relaxation here but taking the much less travelled road, meant it was relatively stress free. It was wonderful to be able to enjoy the scenery without twitching and a great start to the holiday.
Jinja has an air of faded gentility, it has wide streets with covered colonnades keeping most shop fronts in the shade. Shopping for crafts and fabric is a much more pleasant experience in Jinja than it is in Kampala. Jinja seems idyllic to us, a much lovelier place to live and we would have no objections if the BUU decided to move there! However, speaking to an ex-pat Australian who’s lived there for about twenty years, it was not always so. Jude runs Ozzies, a café selling amazing fresh bread and reasonably priced Mzungu-friendly snacks. She told us that she first came to Jinja for two years to work with a church. When the project ended she returned to Australia. However, she was asked to return to help with a new project. Jude told us that Jinja was a dying town then, both metaphorically and actually. She said that AIDS was so prevalent that almost every shop doorway had someone laying dying in it. The death toll was so huge that families could not keep up with burials. Therefore Jude spent her time driving around in a pick-up collecting dead bodies and taking them to be buried. We were really humbled by her story and it made us appreciate the peace and beauty of Jinja even more, knowing what it had faced as a town.
The day after our break, Dug was at our church, Lugogo Baptist, all day as part of a team installing the new sound system or ‘machines’. A small lockable room had been built at the back of the church to store the equipment securely. It was good to be part of something that in some ways is so much part of our church life in the UK, but much patience was needed as people’s experience and knowledge varied greatly. There was a momentary panic when someone cut the cables sooner (and shorter) than they should, creative thinking meant that all was OK in the end! The worship team and congregation were all very happy with the end result and there was great celebration as part of the Sunday Service.
We have a very busy couple of weeks ahead with a Children’s Board meeting as well as visits to Kasese in the west and West Nile in the far north west. Please pray for safe journeys and very little rain. The Safeguarding Document is almost at its final draft – we are hoping that the police will look at it for us and give us their endorsement. We are currently getting quotes for printing costs and will be looking to get a small proof run completed soon after our return to Kampala after our jaunts.