A Christmas Day like no other

Christmas morning in Uganda during the hot dry season, guaranteed to be dry with clear blue skies, or not! It was raining again! I’m not really moaning though as it has been a relief to me to have the temperature slightly lower than it would normally be. I was just imagining waking up to wall to wall sunshine but instead the rain was hammering on the metal roof and I remembered I had lent Innocent my raincoat when he had to leave here in a storm a few days ago! Oh well its only water and it is guaranteed to be followed by red hot sun anytime soon!

I had prepared for the day last night packing for a day that has been carefully organised but would certainly not go to plan so had to prepare for every eventuality including needing the loo so my camping toilet was the first thing in my rucksack along with a good supply of water!

James and I went to catch a taxi bus to Kamuli Town but the usual stream of fast moving overcrowded vehicles were nowhere to be seen. It must be one of the only days of the year when this happens. We waited and waited and James was just about to phone for two piki-piki when over the brow of the hill came our transport.

James put out his hand but I thought the taxi must be full as it wasn’t slowing down until it was almost on top of us! I always stand well back from the road as many of these drivers are maniacs! The taxi only had a few passengers so we sat in relative luxury!

I persuaded James to walk from the town to the church instead of getting a piki for the sake of both our backs and it was a good decision as many people greeted James and he was obviously pleased to see them. The church we were going to was near the school where he had been head master for some years and the one he resigned from when he decided to help the children of Nakakabala. For those at Vernon and other schools in the UK, it is where the traditional dancing was recorded that I use when teaching African dance.

Many of the locals who stopped were past pupils of James and he enjoyed hearing how they were getting on.

We eventually reached the Noah’s Church James had chosen it for the liveliness of the worship. The church was very new grand and felt very unlike a Ugandan church, it was empty and quiet! The few that were there welcomed us and we were led to seats on the stage next to the pulpit kept for ‘special guests’. James looked a little embarrassed that it was not what he had hoped for.

Members of the congregations were coming forward to give testimonials which of course I couldn’t understand but I was quite happy to sit a while beside a window with a cool breeze blowing. When I had first spotted the church I realised that it was right beside the Kamuli Baptist Church which I always refer to as Maria’s Church as this is where the late Maria Maw, the wonderful lady who is my inspiration for all I do in Uganda, used to take the orphaned and destitute children in her care.

I felt a little guilty as I passed it by and hoped no one had spotted me! I was wishing we had gone there instead but then the church exploded into life!

The three drums that were right beside us were being hit so loudly they could have ‘woken the dead’! Ladies in beautiful Gomez leapt from the choir and started doing the fasted dance I have ever encountered with the men and children following. It was incredible. I don’t know where they got their energy from but they put the smile of relief back on James’ face! The photos probably won’t do it justice but I did manage to video some so will put it on You Tube when I am back in the UK! The whole service was a mix of sermon and prayer intermingled with the lively dance performed only feet away from us. cont….

sorry about the blurred photos but I hope you get the idea. I will put some video on YouTube as soon as I am able which I hope will give you the real atmosphere of the church service!

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