Check Mates

If life were a chess match, I was king for a day.

I’ve been in Kabale, about 90 hard kms from Bwindi, for a brief road trip to video a primary school run by a Northern California NGO.

As a bonus, I visited three Anglican bishops, including a couple of retired mitre-heads I previously met. All were generous in spirit and hospitality. Check.

My host, chauffeur and FB friend, David, is an archdeacon in the local Diocese of Kigezi. We began the day by visiting retired Bishop William Rukirande. We met in 1996 when I was editing “The Missionary” (how appropriate) for Bishop Jerry Lamb in the Diocese of Northern California. Bishop William attended the diocesan convention in Redding as a representative of our companion diocese in Uganda.

bp william

I never forgot the name or his gap-toothed smile and being a few easy kms from his home decided to make a visit. Now in his 80s, Rukirande appears fit and relaxed. I told him several times how good he looked. His comfortable home sits on eight acres of grazeland for his 30 cows.

He and his wife served a fruit salad followed by obushera, a sorghum porridge that is, well, decidedly, not delicious.


After photos and goodbyes, it was off for the school for orphans. We were met outside by delightful kindergarteners, chanting and singing for us. An assembly of P1-P5 students greeted us with song and introductions. I got nice video from these poised pupils.

We ended the day with a short drive to see retired Bishop Enoch Kayeeye. He was one of the first people I met when I arrived in Kampala in mid-February. I could see him coming from a mile away, given his bishop’s outfit, topped by the distinctive fuschia-colored shirt.

I neglected to call to inform him of my visit so my arrival to his house was a surprise. He is a delightful man, very welcoming. We had a nice conversation and when he mentioned his work with the Batwa pygmies, I called time out.

“Can I get my camera and tripod from the car?,” I asked. He agreed and 17 minutes after I asked my first and only question, we adjourned for refreshments.

Across three continents I carried a letter of introduction from my local bishop, Barry Beisner, to Bishop George Katwesigye.

bp george

We met in his office at the Kigezi diocese’s headquarters, on a hill overlooking Kabale. He has been to Northern California several times and we have several mutual friends. We spoke of our respective ministries and discussed issues facing the church in Uganda and the US.

Like the others, he was gracious and welcoming and invited me to join him for a meal my next time in Kabale, which is likely to come in the next few weeks.

None of these visits was planned before I arrived in Uganda but through providence and prayer, friendships were strengthened and fellowship was shared.

Check mates…..