Reflections at the Joyful House of Refuge construction site

By Mukarabe Makinto

It's Monday morning here in Uganda. I am standing in front of a tiny flat I am renting (can't wait for the total completion of the Joyful House of Refuge so I can move in) in this particular corner of Uganda. This is my first night here, and I am stunned by the simplicity of the beauty around us. The evenings are inhabited by limitless sunsets and clear starry skies. Then, during most nights, we go to bed on the sound of rain pouring down and pounding softly on the roof, making its way to the massive water tank outside my door.

I can't explain the phenomenon, but rain comes almost exclusively in the night time. Then we wake up with birds singing and a lush of a green scenery that extends beyond horizons. A tender breeze accompanies the last drops of rain, as if to welcome the joyful noise made by kids at the local school nearby.

But this can be treacherous because very quickly the scorching sun will befall us with paralyzing heat. Good thing is that the muddy roads dry out quickly and so we don't need to worry about the heavy traffic splashing water on us. You see, we have to walk at least two miles through these narrow streets, dodging the motorcycles (the "Boda boda"), the cows, the goats, the holes,...until we reach the main road to take our "taxi," the minivans serving as public transportation.

I miss home. I miss the men in my family; and I miss my friends. Working on the Joyful House of Refuge (JHR) construction site is rather interesting; so many languages, spoken and not spoken, which are part of life in any culture.  Navigating through these communication intricacies can be tiring and trying. One needs to be humble and very patient.  People are kind and will not openly tell you that you have offended them. You have to figure that out and learn how to gain their trust. Then you are friends forever.

I am homesick but the will and the work of God must continue unhindered.

Thank you all for your prayers and your support.

I am able now to esteem the hard labor done and what is still to be completed. It is overwhelming, challenging but exhilarating. 

I am realizing that what is verbally said or even quotations given for the "completion of the work,"and the timetable communicated are miles away from reality. Culture clash: old ways and resistance to explore new ways due to fear are what I am dealing with.

The group of refugees from Burundi is doing well and trying to integrate these new realities.

They are challenged and they are challenging as well. I am realizing that I am learning to know who they really are. It's exciting and frustrating at the same time.

"The Lord is my strength" and you are my encouragers.

God bless you all!