Wednesday, March 3, 2010

You are most welcome here

I remember as a prospective college student visiting Auburn University learning about "Hey Day". Basically, everyone took a day to walk around and say "Hey!" to everyone else on campus.

We have experienced the Ugandan equivalent to that this week.

Yesterday, ready to meet new friends, we took markers and paper to our katoobe. Though I am probably spelling it wrong, a katoobe is a gazebo type structure that is used as a place in which to greet visitors. As our katoobe has no poles or traditional banana leaf roof, the only greeting that goes on there is saying hello to our neighbor's goats that think that it is their katoobe.

Once we shooed the goats out, we set out paper and markers, ready for our first friends. However, it was only 4pm, so Ugandan primary school was not dismissed yet. The goata returned this time being chased by an older man. He seemed to say that he was trying to grab the rope attached to the male goat, so the kids and I did the neighborly thing and chased the goats with him. So, while Lilli and Patton followed the curious Botu (our 10 week old puppy), I swung a broom towards the wayward billy with one hand while holding Aidan in the other. Eventually, our tactics worked and our neighbor went back to the compound of his family homes. And we followed...

After exchanging the four Lebwisi greeting words I knew, I shared our names. Then our neighbor and the three women with him proceeded to tell me wonderful things of which I have no clue, but I did the proper Ugandan thing and agreed with them in the three customary ways: raised my eyebrows, lifted my chin repeatedly, and made the "hmmm" sound simultaneously.

Eventually, the neighbor children did come home from school and our kids greeted them in the goat-free katoobe. Patton immediately connected with a young boy named Charity who played soccer with a volleyball while Lilli was surrounded by lots of little girls who liked to draw together.

"Hey Day" continued as I took an afternoon walk down a lane by a primary school. After chatting with children walking home on the same path, I turned to head back home. Once I had started my walk back, the oldest of the girls yelled down, "Madame, I will be your friend!"

And then today, we enjoyed the chapel talk centering on servant leadership given by our teammate Scott at Christ School Bundibugyo. As we met each of the teachers, they graciously said, "You are most welcome here."

So, here we are...exchanging the beautiful sing-song greetings as we walk around the town, meeting neighbor children, chasing goats, and being welcomed by new friends.


  1. amy,

    i am so encouraged to read of God's faithfulness to you as you begin life in uganda. i will thank Him for such abundant provision as i pray for you tonight!

    thank you for sharing. sending love & hugs to you & yours from all of the jacksons!


  2. So wonderful to hear about your new life and God's blessings! Also, I heard you connected with my aunt and uncle - great! I hope you are all doing well! Love you!

  3. LOVE reading your updates. I can almost hear them saying 'You are most welcome here'. Continuing to pray for your transition, new relationships and new home in Uganda. Take care...

  4. loved the auburn shotout. war eagle! i'm having fun catching up with the johnson transition via the blog. looking forward to april with you all.

  5. Amy and Travis,

    Although it has been many years since I have seen either one of you, you have always been dear to my heart. You and your families have meant a great deal to me and it has been a tremendous joy to connect with your lives through this blog. I love reading each post. Your children are beautiful and the way that you live out your love for each other and the Lord is an immense encouragement to me as a young parent.

    I look forward to reading each new post. Your family and your work remain in my prayers.

    Andy P.