23 December 2008

Jeff’s Top Ten for 2008…

…reasons why blogging is getting harder and Uganda is getting better all the time…

For those who have followed the stones from the beginning the first 3 years in Uganda have been a roller coaster ride of highs and lows in the journeys of one famiy’s triumphs and trials in the third world…

But as I reflect back on my writings in 2006-07 and compare it to 2008 it seems I’ve gone from spicy salsa to ketchup… the blog has lost its zip and sting…

But what is bad for one blog has been great for this family… the blog was my place to blow off steam and try to make people laugh… instead of screaming or jumping on the next plane home…

Things have changed… 2008 has been a year of Uganda becoming home… and no longer do I feel a need to vent during another sleepless night… now its just a fun place to update friend, family and e-stockers who have joined our journey along the way…

So here are my 10 Ten Reasons why 2008 was a great year for the stonesinuganda…

10) Health – few things are more fun than self-loathing on the blog about malaria, brucellosis, dysentary, jungle fungal and mysterious 40 day illnesses that can reduce a man to 170 pounds and hourly appointments in the water closest… but one of the things that has been much more fun has been a year of health… I take my vitamins… I'm 90% organic - although not by choice… and I like exercise - or at least running… and if nothing happens in the last week of 2008 this will be my healthiest year in the last 3 decades… plus Christine and the boys have remained healthy as normal...

9) Utilities – I have never been one to back away from a rant about the lack of electricity and internet in Uganda… but this year Umeme kept the power flowing and we made the switch from UTL to MTN… not only do they provide reliable internet but they also have decent customer service… but the real benefit of these utilities is the opportunity to stay better connected with family and friends who live one webpage or skype call away…

8) Ugandan Friends – loneliness can cause any good missionary to retreat to the solace of their laptop and internet friends… but having friends who don’t live a high-speed highway away can cure a case of loneliness any day… and I’m learning to enjoy Ugandan humor and cultural event… even the ones that can last 6-10 hours…

7) Friends in Uganda – I think there is pressure for new-comers to try to make all Ugandan friends… but Africa is tribal and the Mizungu are my people… so no longer do I feel guilty about boys lunch on Tuesday, house group on Wednesday or a weekend activity with friends… time with our tribe gives us encouragement to survive the daily struggles in the jungle… and being one of the long-term missionaries now also brings with it the joy of commiserating with and counseling the new tribe members who are fresh off the boat…

6) Enculturation – they say there are 5 stages of enculturation: 1) Every thing is great 2) Everything is horrible 3) Some things are good, some bad but that is the way it is 4) You are a part of the culture 5) You have become one of them… my students say I’m in stage 4 but they are my students and want an A… but I am at least confident that we are in stage 3… which is a great improvement over the 18-22 months that I loathed in stage 2…

I have much more to say about my Top 5 – 1… but I also love cliffhangers…

To be continued…

2 comments:

Sallie said...

I can't stand the suspense! What are the top 5???

Mom

Jen said...

I have to agree, this year's blog has been much more upbeat. It's good to know you guys are happy.