We have searched for a puppy for our children in Uganda. Everyone we have contacted says the mama’s are still pregnant. It is rare to get a pure breed German Shepherd but that’s what we decided would be the best choice to guard our family.
One night Robert and the boys heard someone running through the compound. That’s a scary feeling. Another time Robert saw someone had climbed high up in to a neighboring tree to be able to see into our compound and understand what is happening there. Since we moved into the area we transformed it from a quiet spot into a place with noisy sounds of children playing. I think it sounds wonderful! Maybe we’re not such a blessing to all the neighbors, or maybe they are just curious. We don’t welcome night time visitors though and that’s a primary reason to get a good guard dog.
It takes some time when you move to a new area to get to know the neighbors. It seems that there’s no trust among strangers. I understand that now after my boot camp education with fraudsters. The ulterior motives behind every conversation I have in Uganda wears me thin. I can sense them immediately and I just want to blurt it out, “what do you really want from me?” Being direct is so American and it embarrasses Phiona terribly when I do it, so I try so hard to keep a lid on those impulses.
Auntie Julie doesn’t allow the children to leave the compound except to go get water. There are children everywhere playing, running, and having football matches in bare feet. I asked Robert, “have our children met any friends in the neighborhood?” He said, “no we discourage it because of the language we hear the local children use. We are trying to protect the innocence of our kids.” I’m definitely fine with that. There’s plenty of play and fun that sixteen children can have together. I also know the team wants to encourage our kids to use only English.
I don’t think we appreciate how challenging it is to have a language that is local and used at home, then to go to school and be told they must learn a very complicated language that they hardly ever hear except in school. That would be so very hard to do. I am always impressed when I am around bilingual people. I am usually a little jealous as well. I’ve dabbled in French in college, and spent a few years trying to learn Spanish but fluency escapes me. The children in our home have improved their English so much they were able to converse well with Jack! I am able to pick up more and more Lugandan with each visit. I’m developing an ear for it. The usefulness it has for me though is mostly just to entertain the local people when it falls out of my mouth. It always generates a big laugh, probably because I slaughter it, but also because the posh thing is to use English. Why would I go low and use their language? Well, I would rather stoop lower than rise higher. I believe the saying “you are never as tall as when you are on your knees”.
A puppy is going to be a great celebration in the family when we can finally secure one. The kids ask weekly when it will come. I was so disappointed I couldn’t participate in welcoming it home when I was last visiting. One person who said he had purebred puppies keeps trying to get us to take one but he evades the requirement for us to meet the parents of the puppy. He asked for a down payment before we ever saw a whisker. He skipped appointments with Robert and refused to bring us to the home where the puppies were bred. Here’s a guy who probably is out to steal a puppy and sell it to us cheaper than the regular rate. That’s no surprise to me any longer. I actually am able to sniff that nonsense from the first hello. Again, there’s no trust among strangers. And if we want to do anything in Uganda we always have to sift through the liars, thieves and fraudsters to accomplish the simplest task. It is no wonder I am so exhausted when I return home from a visit in Uganda. All we can hope and pray for is that our children will not learn these local business practices! We are going to set the new standard for honesty and integrity and we aim to drive it in so deep to these children that they will send it forward to the generations after them. They will one day stand and preach it themselves!