Our Own Africa

After six years of growing relationships and other-worldly experiences in Africa, I am planted back in the USA. Am recreating the simplicity of life that fed me on the other side of the planet. Fortunately, I have a lot of Africa here with me.

Am happy to have my lovely companion and wife, Evelyn Akiiki, with me. Together we are raising Divine Camilla, now one year old.

We live along Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard in Seattle. Our neighborhood is wonderfully diverse and looks a lot like those places we left behind in Uganda. Somalis and Ethiopians are our neighbors, A Vietnamese woman cuts my hair just right. An African-American pastor leads the nearby neighborhood church.

Ours is a bilingual home. Evelyn is frequently on WhatsApp catching up with news from family members and friends in Uganda. Her conversations in Rutooro or Luganda are conducted too quickly for me to keep pace. We’ll trade greetings in her dialect each day, whether we’re standing side by side or conversing via iPhones. The baby babbles in an attempt to mimic both tongues of the her parents. She gets a daily earful in Mom and Dad’s native languages.

Divine is a walking dynamo, driven by curiosity to get into everything. She and Mom slow down and sit on the floor at meal time, sharing potatoes, rice, millet porridge, vegetables and anything else we’re eating. It’s a beautiful thing to see a healthy baby with an adventurous appetite.

For all the joys Evelyn brings to my life, her love of the Lord and her grasp of appropriate scripture lifts my spirits time and again. It is what really attracted me to her. We share fellowship with the Holy Spirit throughout each day and night.

We thank God for the provision made for us here in America and for what has been built for Team in Faith and ourselves in Africa.

Uganda is My Family

Been back from Uganda for about five weeks. I’m homesick.

I had a wonderful time in the Pearl of Africa. For more than five months, I enjoyed adventure, friendships and a sense of being in a place where I am loved, welcomed and appreciated. Kind of like being in the living room at a family gathering.

kida meal

Nothing was better than being invited into a home, to share a meal and time together. I felt honored to be in the midst of those with a gift of hospitality. Shared times, shared stories, laughs and food. Families do that. I’m fortunate to be considered a member of several African families.

What is it about this place that attracts me so much? Well, people are real, they’re authentic. No one puts on airs. If they want to impress their guests, they do so by extending a hand in friendship.

I learned a lot through these visits and meals. There’s sharing, there’s support, good conversation. My Rukiga improved and my appetite grew to appreciate the African diet.

The holiday season here at home is about to begin. Families will gather for their annual Thanksgiving or Christmas party. Memories will be made.

This year, you’ll have to excuse me if I seem to go through the motions. My heart will be elsewhere, longing to share precious moments with my family in Uganda.

Modern African Family

Throughout Africa, many generations live together. In this photo, the son sits next to his mother. He dresses like any Western teen, will work hard at what he can get. The mother does much of the domestic work, cleaning and cooking, filling water jars. The daughter-in-law nurses her young child before she helps with work around the family compound.

There are babies everywhere. The Ugandan family has 6.7 children per household, an unsustainable number. The Bwindi Community Hospital conducts regular family planning outreach to nearby communities.

african family courtyard

This scene was captured moments after lunch was served to me and my host, who was visiting his wife’s family.