Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Island Life, Part 3 - "Dos and Don'ts"

(This is the third in an occasional series about life on Lingira Island. For part 1, click here. For part 2, click here.)

Life on an island can be an interesting experience. But maybe you have already figured that out if you read the first two posts in this series. This post is about the "dos and don'ts" of life on Lingira.
  • We do not have vehicles on the island, perhaps because there aren't roads, only paths. There is one motorcycle, which was given to the police, but they wondered what to do with it without roads to run it on. So someone is using it to ferry people and loads, for a profit, on one of the more level paths that runs between two villages. SHIM has its trusty "car," an orange wheelbarrow, which comes in very handy for transporting things around our property, or down to the school or boat. On Wednesdays, I would frequently load up the wheelbarrow with several computers, the generator, extension cord, power cord, and my teaching materials and wheel it all down to the school for classes.
 David and Andrew enjoying some time in SHIM's island "car."
  • You do not pass someone without offering at least a simply greeting. You do say something like "Oli otya," a combination of "Good afternoon and how are you," or "wee bali" ("thank you"), or "jee bali," which means "well done." You say the latter no matter what the person you pass is doing, even if they are just sitting there. : )
  • As noted in other posts, we do not have running water here. We do have three water tanks, however, which hold rain water caught off the roofs. Whether you are washing dishes, bathing, washing clothes, mopping, etc., you must first get your rainwater, putting it in a bucket or basin. No indoor plumbing also equals no flushing toilets. We have some nice pit latrines (outhouses) though. ; )
Workers last year building our 7,000-gallon tank for catching rainwater off the roof of the admin. building.
  • Though we don't have running water, we do have Internet. There are priorities, you know. : )
  • There are no electrical instruments or equipment used in our island church, but honestly I don't think we need them. In a recent conversation with one of the island teachers, he commented that those things were missing, therefore I might also miss them. No, I said, if I had to choose where to worship in Uganda, I would choose our simple, but exuberant island church. I love the combination of the traditional drums, the rythmic clapping, the deafening shouting, the joyous dancing and the overall enthusiasm of the people to be in God's house. A keyboard or mics maybe would add something, but in my opinion they would only detract from the island people's wholehearted gift of worship and praise to their God.
This video is actually of another island church, but the exuberant praise and worship is much the same as my own church.
  • We do not have supermarkets on the island, but we do have simple island shops where you can buy the basic items - flour, soap, sugar, soda, biscuits (cookies), etc. By the way, soda and biscuits are necessary items, especially if visitors land on your doorstep. It is customary to give them something to eat or drink.
  • We don't have apples or grapes, but we do have pineapple, mangos, papaya, oranges, lemons, as well as tomatoes, eggplant, lettuce, maize (corn), pumpkins, watermelon, passion fruit, sweet potatoes, millet, sesame seed, cassava (a root, like a potato) - all grown on this island! Much of these things I mentioned are grown in the SHIM gardens. It is like living in a fruit basket!
A glimpse of SHIM's flourishing gardens. They are under the oversight of the visionary and talented Julius Twali - our "agriculture man." He is shown in the top and lower middle photos. Justus, a helper, is shown on the left in the lower photo.
There are other island "dos and don'ts," but they will have to wait for a future post. I do have other work to get done, so I don't get behind. :)


  1. Wow, those gardens look amazing! I also love the picture in my head of you loading up the orange wheelbarrow with computers! (-;

  2. Thanks for sharing Ruthie! I am really enjoying learning about your life in Uganda! :)

  3. Your comment re: "well done" is something that Dave and I always chuckled at when we were just hanging out on the porch or standing around and the passer-by would say that.

    What you were describing is so familiar to my heart. And, I too, preferred the drums, clapping, etc., instead of our "modern" instruments, which occurred far more often in the Kpla area. Too noisy; not real enough for their lives.

    Good goin'.

  4. Hi Ruthie! I finally make it over to your blog again... (well, I've read other posts, just haven't commented. :) Love all the "do's and don't's"!

  5. Lauren, unfortunately, those photos were a tad bit old, so they didn't really do our gardens justice. The gardens look even better in reality! I really wish I had someone take a photo when I was wheeling the class to the school. Maybe next term. ;)
    Bonnie, thanks for reading and commenting! I love giving people a glimpse of my world here. :)
    Joanne, yes, the "well done" comment really got me at first, but now I use it quite naturally. It is one the few Luganda phrases I know, so I use it a lot.
    I guess the reason I really love the worship of the island church is because it is authentic and is so representative of the culture. When I see churches here swaying to the western influences, it makes me so sad. Their culture should be preserved for God's glory!
    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. Thank you, Sarah, and "welcome back." :)

  7. I LOVED the picture of David and Andrew in the wheelbarow!! So sweet!