Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Snippets From My Birthday Week!

I worked the WHOLE week (Yes the whole seven days), but I still found stretches in the day to reflect on another year of life on this planet. If I'm honest I am grateful I was working, it's no secret among my close circle that I love what I do, but seeing as this was a special juncture in the year, I put aside a few minutes each day just for me so that I could write about it here, on the blog.

So without further adieu, ladies and gentlemen here are some snippets from my week....enjoyπŸ˜ƒ.

This photo got many likes on my Facebook timeline, why? who knows?

Day 1

"He leads me beside quiet waters,
     he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths"

(psalm 23;2:3) 

I woke up early on Sunday.

You know that moment when you first wake but keep your body still.
You refuse to allow yourself to move, instead you remain exactly where you are, listening to the very first sounds of the day... your closed eye lids providing that last barrier between your body and the reality of the waking world. 

I cherish those first bits of the morning. I feel like I am closest to God then. I once read in book about the strange idea of the soul taking opportunities to wonder from the body during sleep. The author believed the soul returns to heaven during the night to get some relief from the harshness of the world, and in the early hours of the morning it returns refreshed and energized, ready to take on life's challenges. 

 I like to imagine that in the first waking moments my soul still has God's ear. So I use that time to speak candidly with Him about matters that are most pressing in my heart. 

On this particular  morning, the first of my birthday week, I am asking for it to be a fruitful week.

 I am asking for His presence throughout the journey.

 I am asking not to lose sight of my purpose on this trip.

Day 2

"This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, 
for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
(Nehemiah 8:10)

On the second day of work, we meet a Nurse at a district hospital. 

It's the day before my  birthday.

 Her uniform is sparkling white and ironed so well that I wonder if it's a sign, because I am immediately reminded of my mother. She was a Nurse too. She loved her work. As a little girl I used to flip through our family album and admire  how smart and beautiful my mummy looked in her uniform, with her cap perfectly balanced on her neat Afro,
thanks to those very reliable black bobby pins.

Crisp white uniform. Smart Nurse/Midwife 

I miss my mother. 

I wish she was here, because she would be the first to call me on my birthday.

I wish she was here so I could vent unjudged in dramatic fashion about things that once I had a chance to really think about don't mean much at all. 

But these are only wishes and I am grateful that she was alive for the time that she was, maybe this was her way of being the first in family to say "Happy Birthday. I am here. I see you."

Day 3

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart"
(Colossians 3:23)

It's my birthday today. No grey hairs were found in the mirror this morning. 

I am grinding away in a refugee settlement in Arua, the heat is affecting my ability to multitask. I put all my energy into getting my work done. No time to reflect. A friend tries to call from Columbia with birthday greetings, another from Kampala but I miss the calls cause the phone is on silent and data switched off to save battery.

Boy is it hot! A litre of water feels like a box of candy. 

A family home  and some well needed shade

Part of a homestead


Just a road, a boda boda, and a truck in the distance

When my nieces and my brother call me in the early evening to sing Happy Birthday, I am happy because it's been a productive day. 

Day 4

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.

(Proverbs 16:3)

We are welcomed into a homestead with these silver glasses, so the millennial in me, takes a quick lopsided photo. Heat is still trying to break the team, and  now we have time constraints so greetings done , we start slogging away.

 I was here in the settlement last year when all this was still bush, when they were still making preparations for the new influx to come. Now I am struggling to differentiate it, from all the others I have visited.

Silver cups

The process of resettling and building a home in a new country..

Every time I come, I am always fascinated by these little houses on sticks ..why? I don't know

Day 5

The light shines in the darkness, 
and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:5)

Moyo district just struck me as the most scenic district this week. Gleaming greenery and an abnormal abundance of mangoes! I think of our mango tree at home which is always full of flowers and yet barely produces a fruit, and how the neighbor's kids climb our wall and pinch the few that do grow before we have a chance to eat them.

This district would be the perfect spot to hid away when rest is needed, I imagine I could try and figure out how to make rum out of mangoes...No? 

Trying to be creative taking pictures on my phone 
Old trees, wish they could speak and tell us what they have seen. Wouldn't we learn a thing or two?

Collecting water

What path will my choices lead me on  this year?

Thinking we need  secret holiday hideaways in Moyo district 
We cross the river on our way to Adjumani. Exhausted from the day's work, my nose full of snot because I have the beginning stages of a cold.  I have packed my pockets full of white tissue to avoid embarrassing myself with a runny nose on the ferry. 

If you'd told me 10 years ago that this is where you would find me....that Maria wouldn't have believed you. She was set in her ways like that.

Taken on the ferry from Moyo To Adjumani 

We arrive at our booked accommodation and there is a chapel in the corner of compound, I sneak in for some unscheduled time with God before going for dinner. I want to thank him for hearing my prayers on Sunday and guiding me through the week.

Chapel at Multi Purpose Training Center in Adjumani 

Day 6:

"Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint"
(psalm 6:2)

In the settlements again, it  is humid so the rain is welcomed, cause it has been a long long long week. I wasn't so reflective today though, so there isn't much to write about it. 

Child Friendly Space in Maaji Refugee Settlement

Last stop is Gulu, my body is starting to feel the strain. I have a headache which I can't shake even after two glasses of water. I run off in search of Panadol. 

Even with the trusted painkiller, the ache doesn't go πŸ˜–πŸ˜–πŸ˜–. Once our  diner arrives we merrily eat, our work is done and we shall be back in Kla tomorrow. We start to talk and share our stories. Before you know it we are laughing, and in the middle of  all the snorts and giggles I notice the pain is gone. For dessert, I buy myself a yummy chocolate cupcake and a delicious Nutella  and peanut butter cookie a  mini party for  myself  before the real celebrations
with family and friends back home.

Spotted in Gulu at the Iron Monkey, Best Cupcakes I have tasted all week!

Thanks for reading! Do drop by again soon

"Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy,
 because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done."
(Genesis 2-3)


  1. Its always rewarding whenever I read from you Maria .The stitching of your life stories and field experience is tremendous . Waiting for another story from you .

    1. Thank you for reading Wartson. Always appreciated.