One of the "blessings" of traveling for a year on furlough is all of the good food we get to enjoy. However, we travel many, many miles and that does nothing to work off all of the extra food. Needless to say, I lost count how many of our nationals have told me, "Mama Shane, you are so fat!" If nothing else, that one statement really makes you want to turn right around and head back to the States where you are sure not to hear such a crude statement from your close friends. Lest you get offended for my sake, let me clarify this - it is NOT offensive in Uganda to tell someone they are fat, but rather it is a compliment. To be fat is to be wealthy and able to take good care of yourself. When Keith lost 130 pounds before furlough, the Ugandans were very confused as to why he would do such a thing. (By the way, he has already lost seven pounds of his "furlough fat." I haven't been so successful.) To them, being fat is a good thing. However, being raised in a culture with the opposite mentality, being told "you are so fat" really helps to humble oneself.
This week Keith decided to paint our guest quarters, so once again the paint brushes are at work. One of the challenges of including the children in the work is keeping up with each one. "Mom, I can't find the scraper." "What did you want me to do with this box?" "How did you want me to do this?" "Can you come look at this?" I think I started nine projects today and totally completed only two. But what a joy for children to learn the value of working and working as a team!
One of our goals has been to eradicate our house of the rats. Thus far, we have killed seven. Every night we have to be sure that the eggs, bread, and bananas are put in a cupboard, so that there will be nothing but the trap bait for them to feed upon. Today we put poison in our attics, so we are hoping to get rid of more before the week is over.
On Wednesday we will be having a college graduation for one of our students (the last Ugandan who spoke on our dvd). In going through the graduation garments today, I realized that most of you are probably preparing for graduations, too. Hence, we have a request for you - if you have a way of obtaining tassels, caps, hoods or black gowns, we could certainly use them. (Perhaps a graduation company would even donate some!) The tassels we have had made here are pathetic. The caps are ok, but look like something from a kindergarten graduation. All of us missionaries here share the suitcase of graduation supplies, so this is an opportunity to be a blessing to many missionaries and Ugandans.
Thank you for praying for Victoria and Kristy. Victoria is still in much pain but is on her way to recovery. Because they detected the malaria early and began medication, Kristy, also, is doing better but will probably feel weak for several more days. May we all remember to pray for each other more and more.