#5 – Life with the Sisters of St. Joseph

From Lynne:

I’m here, and I’m settling in with the Sisters of St. Joseph (CSJ) .  Life is very different here in Gulu, Uganda.  The Archbishop’s guesthouse is a little humbler than one might think.

The Archbishop's guesthouse with the CSJThe electricity is very iffy, and malaria is rampant, thus you see me in my mosquito net with a headlamp for reading at night.

Lynne reading by night with netting

I love to read before bed.

The yard is full of farm animals, including about 15 pigs of varying sizes…

Pig on CSJ grounds…and the baby donkey, Joseph, who was born just last week.

baby donkey Joseph grown up a bit

He grew so quickly!

There is a special coop along the roof of the garage to accommodate the pigeons (why, I do not know)…

Strange pigeon coop

They like to provide housing for pigeons.

…and a shed for the mean dogs which are let out at night to protect the compound.

The house is four rooms with a concrete floor. Most of the fixtures are 30’s era, and it, and the entire compound, are really dilapidated. There is a huge bunch of people working here including drivers, a guy to watch the pigs and many others, but for the most part they just sit around. This is one thing I learned immediately: the whole country, especially the north, is in disrepair. The wars have gone on for so long that no one feels like doing much of anything. There is a general malaise for fear the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) will come back (more on that later), and there have been times not so long ago when even this compound was under siege. Lots of people have been killed and displaced. Fortunately, Joseph Kony (the leader of the LRA) is in Sudan or Congo and peace talks have been underway on and off for years, but the poverty, lack of infrastructure, impact of AIDS and the wars and overall lack of opportunity hav resulted in relative paralysis from a development perspective. One of the priests explained that the years of fear and trauma have resulted in a people who are just waiting for someone else to do something.

Our hosts (the CS) have been here 18 months. JoAnn works at a clinic where she sees pediatric patients and diabetes patients – more about that later. She is the first white person many of the children have seen and one asked her translator “why did God take her color away.” Marion works with the catechists and pastoral workers.

Dining area at CSJShe and a former member of the group, Pat Murphy, have come up with money for children to go to school – about $1000 a year each for 50 kids (there is no government-funded education) – and three of her kids came by today to be informed that they had been accepted for scholarships. As you ride down the dirt roads everyone is walking, but among them are hundreds of school children in their colorful uniforms.

A bicycler in the countryside in Uganda


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mary Sue on February 12, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Love your head light! Let’s figure out a good time to skype (cp to cp). Can’t wait to talk to you and Jo…lots of love – be safe!


  2. Posted by Mary McGibany on February 12, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Hello Lynne,

    I am a long time friend of D-Ann Kimbro and she sent me pictures of Jan, Jim, you and D-Ann at the event in St. Louis. I asked who you were and she sent me the site and your pictures/comments. I enjoyed it very much and would like to continue to get information about your experiences which are so far removed from mine.

    Thanks for sharing,


  3. Hi, dear . . . enjoyed your background account about the people you are sharing these days with. Your blog now appears on my hotmail, so it very easy to access. I love keeping up with what you are doing. Please give love to Jo. Love, Cec


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