Thursday, March 23, 2006

Settling into Lui (Thursday, 23 Feb.)

Folks going to Lui need to anticipate some physical/biological adjustment time. Maybe it’s the jetlag, or maybe it’s something else. I had never traveled across so many time-zones before, and the first day in Lui, while I wanted to “hit the ground running,” I had to admit I was not up to par. One of the issues for me was water. I was drinking water constantly – way more than usual for me – but I kept feeling thirsty, and my head felt “fuzzy.” I also felt very congested, as if the Missouri sinuses were working overtime. And I had a raging headache that lasted into the second day in Lui. I wonder if part of the issue was altitude, but I have not been able to find any information about what's the altitude in Lui. For now, I’ll just encourage other team members to plan for some discomfort in that first day or two. I wish you could plan your trips so that the first day or two had lots of “down time,” but I bet that will never happen.

There is no map of the Diocese of Lui! There are no maps showing the villages and “roads.” From what I heard, no census has been done. Thus, they really don’t know how much space the Diocese of Lui covers, nor how many people live within the diocese. Deborah has hand-drawn a map (showing roads/routes, locations of villages, etc.) as best she can. Sandy traced that map, and Archdeacon Robert took a digital photo of it, so we can bring it back to Missouri for our reference.

This made me realize how much I take it for granted that we know things like what our population is, how far it is from one town to another – things they do not and cannot know! This is yet another indication of the complete lack of infrastructure in Lui.

I don’t know what kind of schedule other groups will have, but ours was (to me) somewhat head-spinning. We arrived in Lui in daylight. But by the time we did all our festivities together and then were led to our tukels, it was dark. Our hosts had placed our baggage in the compound and in our tukels, but some of us had a very hard time finding the essentials (soap, bedclothes, and flashlights). Future travelers: be sure to pack so that you can readily lay your hands upon these things even when there’s no moon or stars or other light source. (By the way, I trust everybody has already learned that there's no electricity and no running water in Lui.)

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