Saturday, July 24, 2010


Njebele? (How are you)

Hey, sorry for some reason my myldsmail account wouldn't let me get on so I don't know what you guys wrote me over the last 2 weeks. No worries though, I am well. I saw President and Sister Jackson emailed you guys for me. The internet here was down the last p-day we were here so I didn't get to email you then either. I wanted to make sure you weren't freaking out though and knew that all was well. I'm sure you've heard of the bombings but again, no worries, I'm about 2 hours from Kampala in a village called Bugembe. It's a suburb of the city of Jinja which has over a million people. The mission president has been taking the right precautions though and we are being safe. We are coming in by 7 p.m. and are not going to restaraunts or any other crowded areas. But just know I'm safe, and worry no more.

Bugembe is interesting though. It's very tropical and we walk red dirt roads everyday so we get red dirt all over us. I was scared of how we would be living, especially in a small village like Bugembe, but we live really well. We live in a pretty large house on the hill. It's about 2500 square feet. There are 4 missionaries staying there though. My compainion is Elder W. He's from Zimbabwe and is extremely interesting. He's 27, he converted about 3 years ago, and he used to be a rapper/music producer in Zimbabwe. The other two missionaries are both from Utah. I've seen some pretty crazy stuff since I've been here, I can't even recall it all haha. The people are really nice though, expecially the kids. There are seriously just tons of kids EVERYWHERE. I don't know who even takes care of them. They just seem to roam the streets in groups. Whenever I walk by they, 99 percent of the time at least, just start singing this song. It goes Mazoongoo bye bye, Lasoga bye bye. That just means white person bye and Lasoga is the local language here. Either that or they'll just keep yelling Mazoongoo! I get called Mazoongoo probably a thousand times everyday. They kids also just love to run up to you and hold your hand. They also always ask for a biscut, sweeties, or they'll say "you give me my money." I'm not sure when I exactly borrowed money from them but I guess I owe them some. It's also interesting seeing the men around here. It's anti-gay as you know and all.. but for some reason the guys here hold hands or link pinkies whenever they're walking around. It looks extremely weird. I wanted to take a picture of this but we're also not supposed to take our cameras out now so that we don't look like tourists. Speaking of which, the other mazoongoos (white people) we've seen here are all pretty mean. You see some walking around and try talking to them but they just ignore you. There are two guys here from Utah State though who are doing a project for their bussiness degree there. They teach a few business classes at the churchs around Jinja about 4 days during the week. They go to our branch on Sundays and help us teach every once in a while. They're pretty cool. They also go to the Elder's quarom activity we have every Saturday. We go to one of the schools and play soccer on their field Saturday mornings. It's pretty fun. It looks painful to watch these Ugandans play with no shoes though! Speaking of shoes it's amazing to see people with either no shoes, two different shoes on, or sometimes they'll just wear one shoe!

But about the work here, it's going pretty well. The people are really receptive to the gospel. It's funny though, you'll ask someone to go to church and they're always like "Sunday, you will see me there!" or "I swear on my mothers grave, I will be there!" Sunday rolls around, ya they're not there. People always just say yes to anything you say here. It's actually pretty funny. That is if they can understand what I'm saying, or if I can understand them. They speak with such a thick accent I can hardly understand them. I've learned I have to talk slower and to pronounce my t's if I want people to somewhat understand me. I'm trying to learn the language here though. I know a few phrases like njebele (how are you), sebo (man), nyabo (woman), kali (ok), jumbo (hello), and of course mazoongoo.

The culture here is way different. The women will kneel down to greet you. It makes you feel a little uncomfortable when they do this. The women at the church though don't do this, and they teach the members there to treat women with respect, and to treat them as equals which is good.

Another thing totally different here is eating! It's very rude here to walk while you eat or drink something. Yet, it's not rude here to use the restroom, pick your nose, or just start breast feeding in public. The food here isn't bad actually. I love chipatees. It's kind of like a thick tortilla that the fry. I'm pretty sure the only ingredients are flour and water but they're soo good. I also like samoosas which are either cooked peas fried into dough and it's triangle shaped. You can also get meat in them too. Not a big fan of just cooking pork or beef here though. I got sick last Sunday from the pork we had. I think I'm going to follow the Jewish tradition of not eating that anymore. We also get to drink a lot of coke which just makes my day. There's no Dr. Pepper though which would make it that much better! Cokes here are about 600 shillings for a 300 ml bottle. That's like 30 cents for a 12 ounce. They have glass bottles here though which is smart, because after you drink it, you bring it back to the person you bought if from and they just keep reusing them. The money here is pretty easy to get used to. 2000 shillings here is like a 1 dollar bill. But, everything is so cheap! We get 12000 shillings a day (6 dollars) for food and whatever. That's more than plenty it seems.

Washing clothes is different too. P-day is usually the day you go to the laundrymat or whatever in the states but here, those don't exist. You have to hand wash them and hang them on a line. I just pay Sister Dorine from the church 5000 shillings to wash mine. That's way good money for the people here so all of the missionaries pay someone from the church to do it.

We're also allowed to watch animated movies here on the mission so since we're not busy doing laundry on p-days, we watch a movie. Last week I got to watch Toy Story 3! I was so happy to get to watch that. What a great movie. I was a little scared at the end though. I was like "no way are they going to kill them off." But it all worked out! So you guys won't have to worry about me not seeing the good animated films for the next 2 years.

Getting around is pretty different as well. We don't get a car, even though we're out in the middle of nowhere, where people build mud houses to live in. We do ride the bodas though. They are like bicycle taxis you can just hope on the back of. They're pretty nice but you can only do those going down hills. They also have van taxis, and a small bus that goes from Bugembe, to here in Jinja where I'm emailing. There are motorcycle taxis as well but the mission president banned missionaries from riding on them because they're not that safe. Other than that though we walk everywhere.

I'm going to try and send you some pictures right now though so you can see how things are here. Actually I'll attach them to my next email so you actually get this one. Later for now

Love you so much,

Elder Welch

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