Monday, May 10, 2010

Uganda Abbreviated

T.I.A. : This is Africa, not sure where this originated but just about the time you think you have life and everything figured out here you are brought back to reality because it either does not exist in their world or they think they know what you are looking for and show you everything else but what really wanted. Or you think it might be at the next strip mall ( large storage containers lined up Side by side) you will go flying past.

Matato: These are Toyota mini vans that have been adapted to accommodate 14 passengers. Yah right, try adapted for 14 but hold upwards of 20, so far no live animals inside the van. Plus you drive on the wrong side of the road not so much at a high rate of speed but just inches from the other two rigs on either side of you going the same direction on the 2 way street, with the other Matatos, pedestrians, goats, and your occasional Watusi cow herd being driven to their feed grounds for the day. Oh, the there is the BotaBota.

BotaBota: In America, this is your classic Honda Trail 100. These guys believe they own the road only thing is they are just a step above the 3 million pedestrians wandering in and out of traffic. But they haul everything in the usual quantity your average 1 ton dually will haul in the states. Plus, they haul passengers in and out of traffic like synchronized swimmers at the Olympic games. But hey, for 15 cents you get the thrill ride of your life. Kind of like a near death experience in 3-D, however it will keep you in constant contact with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

T.I.U.:This is Uganda. What a beautiful country. This is where the water is which feeds all of eastern Africa. Only problem is they do not use it. God supplies it they just have not figured out how to use it like lets say, The Netherlands. Thing is the beauty only masks the real poverty and some of the most disgusting things you can only imagine, let me rephrase that, you cannot imagine unless you come see it, smell it, live in it.

M.T.N.: Have no idea what it stands for but that is the first place we stopped so we could get our SIM cards And buy 10000 airtime cards. You think right on 10000 minutes, naught, try about 10 minutes of actual air time. That is 10000 shillings, so sorry to all of our loved ones out there who have been cut off in mid sentence. But have no fear, there are little MTN shops everywhere where you can buy more airtime; side by side, next strip mall 200 meters from the last strip mall, in town, in the villages, in the slum, next to the church, and you can even buy airtime as you drive down the street.

T.I.S.: Tip It Straight. This was a new building term I learned here in Uganda, after all I have only hand drove a few thousand nails in my building career, but was shown how to drive a nail with my hammer (spelled UMA) that is too strong, by a local “ master” carpenter. Thus now it has become a common phrase here with the team.

L.A.M.: Look At Me. Another term I learned from the “master” carpenter. As I would stand there in disbelief at what I was unlearning, I would look at what the master was saying, trying to understand or make sense of it, and the master would no you need to look at me, not over there. Focus on me. Again, a highly used term here in Uganda.

N.G.O.: Non Governmental Organization. There are glimpses of some form of government here, but not really. There is the hand full of white clad traffic control officers, who are mostly on break or have just given up on the fact that there is NO control on the traffic here. If you have the brass to pull out onto the road you own it, take your part out of the middle and go, or stop, or just pull part way into the road so that you can create a JAM. Traffic jam that is, which is the only thing a BotaBota or bicycle cannot make it through.

T.Y.P.: Thank You Please. This is the most courteous way to say Thank you. You just add the please.

S.O.N. Shot Of Noah. Everybody needs a little shot of Noah. For you that have not been to Uganda, you can only get a half shot until you actually step foot over here. For you who have not met him, he is 6’2” 150 lbs. of shack raised, God fearing, Jesus loving, prayer warrior, who is 22 going on 12. He sleeps minutes at a time and prays for hours on end. Kind of the opposite of just about all of us. We seem to sleep or waste hours at a time and pray minutes at a time. So we have figured about the time we think we are burnt out or run down, both physically and spiritually, we would just take a shot of Noah to jack us up for Jesus. Kinda like a 5 hour energy drink without all the extra added sugar. Well mostly, he does love “Stickles”. That is Skittles to all of us, it just that Noah cannot say that word for some reason.

All in all, we have been blessed beyond imagination by these people who for the most part, actually all in part have nothing. They say thank you please for blessing us, when we give them anything, and I mean anything, down to the basics, just like a bar of soap will drive a woman to her knees with her hands raised to heaven in thanksgiving. You would’ve thought she won the lottery, as she comes over and grasps your hands and says; God bless you. Problem is you don’t know what she looks like because the tears are so welled up in your eyes. All for S.O.AP.

Thank you all from all of us.

Charlie (Uncle Charles) Brewer


  1. Oh my goodness - laugh, cry, laugh, cry! Chuck - you're writer too! Who knew all you men could write so well!

    I LOVE all of the "sayings" - crack me up!

    And I have to say that a girl like me needs that BodaBoda ride every now and again. When I would ride one I would laugh the whole time because I was so far out of my comfort zone that that is all I could do. Or I would say "weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee I am gonna die and see Jesus any minute!" - it was awesome and so the way to go!

    Love you all!

  2. This is for the whole team...Jeremy, who is Tom's colleague and friend, sent this in an email to me and asked that I share it with all of you...

    To the Team,

    I thank you greatly for sharing your daily experiences with us. Although the blog gives only a glimpse of what the power of the Spirit is doing, I know great and powerful and long-standing spiritual foundations are being laid. I've been nearly overwhelmed with the Spirit at times while reading your daily posts. My Spirit wants to shout out to the Lord in rejoicing!

    We pray that the love and compassion of Jesus continue to be received and manifest in each of you, and through that, many more will receive the precious gift of salvation. We also pray for the spiritual battles of all sorts, that all are equipped in order to overpower the enemy and continue reveal the grace and power of Jesus through the Holy Spirit.

    Philippians 4:4-5. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
    5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

    Truly, the Lord is at hand.

    Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    Jeremy Ravenscroft

  3. Charles honey, I feel a little bit more educated, thank you please. And yes, I think this is how you are going to make your million...writing a book on your experience with Africa and the Lord.When you were talking on skype with Jenay I was in the bathroom putting makeup on and listening to you tell about the 'soap' and I think I put make up on, cried, had to reapply like four times. I'm waiting for your next post. Love ya, Your sis inlaw Marlece

  4. I was envisioning so many different things as I was entertaining and sobering. Uganda sounds like an adventure, and provides some interesting contradictions! Blessings as you continue to love on people and receive the blessing.

  5. Great visual mind pictures! Praying for your safety as you experience all! The story of the woman and the soap is very touching. Why do we think we need so much stuff?

  6. Tears in my eyes too!! Can't wait to tell you to "Tip it Straight" the next time I see you with a hammer in your hand Chaz!!!

  7. Honey, You are my hero!!! I love you to pieces and I hope you bring some Africa home, and then we'll go back and get some more of it!! Love ya, Girlfriend