Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Ugandan Adventure

So, first things first: who am I, and why am I writing this blog? I’m Josh Penduck, an ordinand (trainee Anglican priest) at Cranmer Hall in Durham. I’m currently in the Diocese of Soroti in Uganda for a month, on a placement (as part of my training) observing the Anglican Church in this part of the world. I thought a few people might be interested to read some of my experiences…

Second, when I was about to start a blog, I discovered I had already begun a (very) short-lived one several years ago (2009). I had forgotten about it, and I was almost certain that everyone else had forgotten it. Nevertheless, my one-entry blog (a sermon I made several years ago) spread like wildfire through Poland in 2011, with a total of nearly 500 hits. I imagine that many in Poland have been having frequent sleepless nights, awaiting the next instalment of the mighty blog. Now, my Polish friends, I’m happy to say your ceaseless faithfulness has paid its rewards: the blog continues.

So, finally, I have the internet! I bought a dongle after a few days’ delay, and am happily working again ‘on-the-line’. This is the fifth good thing to happen to me today:

1) I had an excellent night’s sleep, the first since I have since I arrived in Uganda last Monday. This is a mixture of jet lag and heat, but I think I’m finally getting the hang of this ‘sleeping’ thing. I had strange dreams, which included me suffering from vertigo in a skyscraper in London, attempting to get a picture of the sunrise; subsequently, I was floating over the city, eating a box of marshmallows. This has improved upon dreams where I accidentally insulted someone’s face and they took me to court, or another dream where I miss my train because my brother decides to start playing the trumpet to my grandfather instead of dropping me off at the station. Ah, malaria tablets! Who needs illegal drugs when I have you to keep me entertained?

2) I had a normally heated shower. After an initial stop in a hotel in Kampala, I have been using the shower in the Guest House in Soroti, next to where Bishop George Ewau (of Soroti Diocese) lives. The Guest House is beautiful, and caters for all my needs. Unfortunately, I first experienced the shower as an onslaught of ice-cold water. The next day, I discovered I needed to turn the heat on. However, this led to the opposite: scaldingly hot water. Finally, after seven days here (who says I lack common sense?) I worked out how to get the shower to be ‘warm’. Naturally, this is an immensely complicated procedure, and no brilliant mind could have worked it out in less time… It would take hours to explain, and doesn’t in any involve turning the heat off for five minutes before I enter…

3) George cooked some excellent toast. Who’s George? He is my housekeeper. [In a sense, having a housekeeper makes me feel like I’m in Downton Abbey, except there’s no white-tie dress code, and so far I am sadly not engaged to Lady Mary]. George fries the toast with the butter already spread, turning this ancient English cuisine into a delightfully hedonistic encounter. Once the Ugandan honey or plum jam is applied, I’m sure it is categorically redefined as a ‘sin’.

4) The fourth thing is something unmentionable in public. A description would involve the consequences of being in contact with unEnglish germs. What is good about this situation is that it has stopped. For the time being.

5) I have internet. This is surprisingly difficult to get (more on that later). Nevertheless, it is got. I came, I searched, I blogged.

So, what have I been up to? In order to find out, you must check out tomorrow’s blog (I’m told short blog entries are the most successful… was this short?). But for a quick taster, the blog over the next few days involves Afro-Pop versions of ‘Here comes the bride’, ten hour funerals, the world’s biggest potholes, walking a pig, and lots and lots of starch!


  1. Hilarious Josh, looking forward to these :-) Especially having been in Uganda earlier this year, and having similar fun with a shower!!

  2. Very entertaining Josh. I am sure your Polish followers will be enraptured. I imagine by the end of your visit to Uganda you will become a cult figure in Poland much the same as Norman Wisdom was in Albania.