Posts Tagged ‘Jim McCoy’

#35 – Bring it on home

The travel section of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (a local newspaper here in St. Louis) collects and prints photos of St. Louisans wearing St. Louis items of clothing around the world.  This blog’s photo of Lynne and Jim with the Archbishop Odama has been published with them.

Click here to view the photo and click the box next to “vote as best” to get Lynne and Doorways a little recognition!

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#31 – A message from Jim McCoy

Jim McCoy is Lynne’s brother-in-law, and he went with her to Uganda for part of her trip.   He sent the following message, and we wanted to share it with you all here.

From Jim:

I want to thank Lynne, Sister JoAnn and Sister Marion for inviting me and allowing me an experience of a lifetime. I also want to thank my wife Iris for supporting me to take this adventure. I thank and admire all the Sisters in Uganda who work so very hard to bring a better life to the Acholi People. I appreciate the hospitality of the Camboni Sisters where I stayed.

It was an inspiration to meet the Acholi school children along the road as they would (most of the time) be coming from or going to school. They all seemed so happy and many got some laughs at our attempts to say simple greetings in Acholi. On two occasions Lynne and I were treated to recitations of the poem Uganda, My Homeland. To one group, Lynne responded with a nonsense poem that ended with “and if you don’t believe me, just ask the blind man, he saw it all.” That sent them off in a fit of giggles.

Brother Mike the builder has a great crew working on the house that the Sisters of St. Joseph (CSJ) will be living in. I was very pleased with how well they accepted us. They are steady, hard workers who don’t complain about the heat and the lack of modern tools. I was pleased to find out that the wastewater from the kitchens and showers will be used to water the garden – they are going green! The house will be a great improvement to where the sisters (JoAnn, Pat and Marion) live now.

I had the opportunity to go to daily Mass during the build. Even though I couldn’t understand the language, it was moving to see the schoolchildren participate and hear them playing the drums. I also got to meet Archbishop John Baptist Odama. He was very approachable and friendly. He really liked the handmade pottery from Georgia that Lynne and I presented him as a gift. Overall I feel I grew spiritually because I have a better perception of who my neighbor is, what freedom really means, and how blessed I am in so many ways.

Before I left I tried to imagine what a ‘third world country’ would be like. But you just can’t appreciate it until you experience it. And I was there in ‘good times’. The Lord’s Resistance Army is not currently active in the area I was in. It is a time of relative peace, but people are displaced and there is some despair and poverty. People are afraid they will never get back to their villages. On the other hand, there is a resiliency in most of the people – like the ones I saw walking & bicycling 25 miles to bring their child to boarding school for the semester.

Before I left, I did not count on going on the Safari, but I am very glad it happened.

A lion creeping alongEven though both Lynne and JoAnn were a little under the weather at the end of my stay we all made the trip. It was very exciting and the whole Safari, including the trip to Murchison Falls on the Nile, will be something I will never forget.

Sister Pat, they are looking forward to you returning, and with a little luck you will be coming back to a new house. I look forward to meeting you some day.

Sincerely , Jim

Jim closeup

#29 – A special thanks to Lynne and Jim

From Sister JoAnn Geary, CSJ, Gulu:

What a joy it has been having Lynne and Jim with us. And let me tell you they were serious about working – and work they did. As you have probably gathered by now, to accomplish anything here is quite labor-intensive. The tools are very primitive, but they both dug in and were elbow-to-elbow with the guys. The manual labor and the intense heat brought them home exhausted but they recovered amazingly well and were ready to go again in a short time.

On the last working day they provided the food for the morning tea break. Lynne boiled 20 eggs and ordered 30 chapatis from Alice (chapatis are  a tasty flatbread). Alice has a little lean-to down the road, and rumor has it that she makes the best!

They also had something for every one of the workers – they had loaded their suitcases with builder goodies. The guys just loved having them and were thrilled with their gifts. They want to know when they are coming back – me too!

More than anything, I think their presence really boosted the morale of the group. The workers felt proud to be on the job. To have Lynne and Jim from the United States come to work with them  was just the greatest. A job well done on many levels – Apwoyo matek! Many many thanks!

Before Jim left we went on safari to one of the national parks. We saw great wildlife including lions. What a thrill – generally they are very difficult to find – but there they were up close and personal.

After seeing Jim off we headed back to Gulu which only takes about 4-5 hours now instead of the 8-9 when we first came. The roads are really improving!

It has been so special to have Lynne here to experience and share in my life here in Gulu – to see the clinic, meet my co-workers, meet the sisters who have been so welcoming and all the friends we’ve made. We had a very festive African meal with Sister Hellen and the sisters at St. Mauritz where I work. They really rolled out the red carpet!

We took some great walks to town and the market which is very interesting and unique. After walking to town, which took about one and a half hours the 1st time, we took a bota-bota home.  A bota-bota is a motorcycle for taxi – my first! But not alone – Lynne squeezed on with me. The next day I graduated and went by myself!

Will wonders ever cease.

Lynne M. Cooper and Sister JoAnn Geary, CSJ in Gulu

Lynne (left) and JoAnn (right) together in Uganda

All in all I feel very blessed for and grateful to Lynne and Jim.

I hope their time here was as special and  meaningful to them as it was to me.

#22 – Our last day of work

From Lynne:

It was a lot of work, but Jim (my brother-in-law) and I recently wrapped up our part of the crude labor for the construction here with the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Jim and Lynne, covered in dust

Covered in dust!

Lynne Cooper sweaty and workingOn our last day at work, Jim and I gave co-workers gifts of various tools and clothing we had brought from home, as well as a snack of boiled eggs and cipati (a fried flat bread) to go with their tea. They loved the gifts!

workers posing together

All the lovely people who have been building with us

It also happened that they caught a bush rat that day and cooked it.

three workers cooking a bush ratJim has, by now, returned to the states, and I’m here for another week until I fly back on Monday, March 8.

#13 – Meet John Baptist Odama, Archbishop of Gulu

From Lynne:

Jim and I are guests of  John Baptist Odama, Archbishop of Gulu.

Lynne, Archbishop and JimHe is a very pastoral person and spends a lot of his time on visiting the sick and others who call on him for help, and on the peace talks with the government and the revolutionaries. Here he is on his way home from the hospital on a Sunday afternoon. I have spent way more time in the company of holiness than I would have ever imagined or intended, but it is the Church that is doing anything for people in this part of the world.

The country is mostly Catholic with some Anglicans and a very few Muslims.

#12 – It is hot here!

From Lynne:

We are working hard and having a great time here.

Lynne cooling down

That's me!

We try hard to stay cool.

Jim cooling down

My brother-in-law Jim

JoAnn is a great host.

JoAnn cooling down

JoAnn is my main liason here.

Marion is very welcoming and helpful, too.

Marion and everyone here is so kind and generous.

Marion and everyone here are so kind and generous.

We work through the heat and take our breaks beneath trees, where workers sip tea and carouse.

workers sipping tea at morning breakThe animals in the yard huddle in the shadow of building and trees, too.

pig and piglets feeding in shadeDid I mention it is hot? There is no air conditioning even if we had regular electricity, and it has been 90 in our house and hotter outside! One night Jim and I asked JoAnn to take us for a ride to town just to be in the air-conditioned car! Driving is terrifying, and if there are rules, you can’t tell it. Roads are little more than paths in most places, and they are shared by people, animals and cars without much consideration each for the other.

#10 – A trip to town for clothes and supplies

My brother-in-law Jim did not get his luggage for several days, ergo, he made a shopping trip to town.

Jim buying things in a general store

Here is the local bar and hotel:

local bar and hotel in GuluAnd here is a high-rise going up:

local high-rise going up in Gulu