Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Settling back in

After having been home for a whirlwind spell of 2 weeks, including a three day trip to Iceland (for Dad's 60th), coming back to Mbarara meant I was, ironically, looking forward to a bit of a rest. I got that at the AIM conference in Jinja, staying at the beautiful Mto Muyoni and going to Kingfisher resort every day for conference, and as it also had a pool, there were a few times when the more boring sessions (business, policy etc..) required missing to make time for a dip before dark. Shaking off the remains of the snow in my bones with some choice sunbathing also did the trick!

There was a great speaker, Rene Schlaepfer (yes, his real name, and he is a he). I was a little dubius when he spent most of his first talk making us laugh and cry almost at the same time, but not looking at the Bible much, but it turned into a v refreshing course learning about how Biblical characters dealt with problems like stress, pressure, huge tasks and self esteem. Nothing intense, but plenty of reminders of God's faithfulness and how we should remember we can't do anything without Him (but can do amazing things with Him).

The conference had a sad note in that we heard of the loss of baby Amy while we were there. This was especially hard for the Ward family as they had cared for her for two months and weren't able to be back in time for her funeral. We took the time to have a small memorial between ourselves, and thanked God for her life and the time we got to spend with her.

Now I'm settling back into life in Mbarara, though it's not quite 'normal' as the students aren't back yet so there's not tonnes to do in the evenings yet. I've managed to catch up with two of the girls already, in Kampala and here, and it was lovely to see them but reminded me how much I miss them all. 6 weeks is a really long holiday for a mid-year holiday! They're likely to either come back refreshed or worn out by family time, so we're going to try and have a big get-together as soon as possible so they can chill out and have some fun before settling back into uni life.

Church will start back up then, too (yes, it stopped while the students were away, as not many other types of people attend!) and I'm planning on joining the choir, which should be brilliant fun but a challenge at the same time. I'm more interested in spending social time with the choir than the music, mainly as a lot of it focusses too much on what God does for us rather than praising Him for who He is. That, and the sound system is so loud it's hard to hear them most of the time! I'll need stamina for it, too, as they start at 9.30am on Sunday and go non-stop until 11 (the service starts at around 10.30). I may moan, but I am excited (why else would I join if I'm just going to complain?), as I already know about half the choristers from Saturday girl studies and Navs, and this will be valuable time to spend with them all in a less formal context (i.e. I won't be leading).
My personal crusade to see the music more God-centred may see fruit and may not, we'll see if He has that in mind!

Work has started back well, and it's lovely to see all the staff again. We've settled back into daily friendly banter and I'm frequently targeted by a humour I can't always understand! I have a new timetable, which will see me learning more about malaria and TB as well as the hi-tech stuff I'm doing now, and I'll also be moving around the clinic to understand better how it all works. My machine is driving me around the bend, and as soon as one thing is fixed, another goes wrong. I don't know how Emily (the only staff member in the immunology dept and also the head of the lab) gets everything done, as even with me there doing all the lab work she doesn't leave until 6 some days. I'll be sad to leave her to all that again, but I really do need to start rotating.
Tomorrow my day will include de-rubbishing the lab computer, as it's stuffed full of viruses, stupid game  downloads and other misc junk, and apparently I'm the only person who knows how to do that sort of thing!

Thank you so much for keeping me in your prayers. Prayer letter is finished and should be out soon! Right now I'm heading to the market to see if I can find some nice t-shirts for under 60p.

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