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A mobile phone, easy as 1, 2, …1,000,000

We stopped off to visit the supermarket – “Shopright” – so I could pick up some water, some cash (it’s amazing how helpless you feel when you have no money), and a SIM card so I make local calls without paying a million pound an hour. This Arthur warned, could take a while. Sadly he was right. We took a ticket and stood in a queue, which preceded to remain static for the next 25 minuted, which the screen randomly called out various different numbers with different preceding letters before them, it what seemed to be no logical order.

Ten minutes later, with Arthur feeling a little impatient, we decided to pick up the the water
From the supermarket, and then return to see what progress we had made. A few other random numbers had been called, but, assuming they were in some kind of word, our number was still rather far away. We needed to get the SIM card cut to the right size for my phone, so we popped over to a different branch of MTN, and decided to join the queue here instead, as the door man told it wouldn’t be too long and would be much quicker than the other store. So we sat down and 45 minuted later, still hadn’t moved.

The culture is very laid back here, which Arthur seems to struggle with more than me (a great exercise in patience, which he didn’t seem too pleased with when I told him!) after about an hour, a lady waved me over (still my ticket hadn’t been called), and agree to sort me out. She processed the paper work, in about 10 minutes and then helped me setup everything on the phone and add some credit onto the number. I was up and running! Arthur laughed when I told him in the UK all we had to do is walk into a shop and buy a SIM card, easy as 1, 2, 3.

Profile: Arthur – Youth Pastor

Arthur works part-time for New life Baptist Church as the Youth Pastor. He’s also in the process of developing his replacements in the worship team, where he has previously led worship for the church. The rest of his working time is taken up as a TV Presenter for the national broadcasters. Arthur does two shows, the first is a story time, the second is pretty awesome. Kathmandu is a big place, and children can often get separated from their families and unable to return. Arthur takes children who have become lost, and uses TV as a medium to help reconnect them with their families. The success rate is about 50%, which I thought was pretty impressive, and a great practical mission.

Arthurs parents died when he was in his early teens, and at a similar time he met Richmond (now Pastor Richmond), was invited along to church and shortly after gave his life to the Lord. Mummy Richmond (or Mummy Andy as she now likes to be called), took him in and he became part of their family. He continues to live with Mummy Richmond, where I am also staying for the first part of my trip, in Bajjo ku majani (Bajjo is the area, and ku majani means “near the tea”, because the land used to be a tea plantation).

Arthur has a big heart for the youth of Uganda (here youth refers to age 14-30ish), he’s 34 himself so just moved out of that category, but the population of Uganda is one of the youngest, with approximately 60% of the population being under 34.

He’s in love with a beautiful American girl from Ohio called Bekah, who’s been in Uganda for just over a year and is now working with a great ministry in the process of being a NGO (Non-Govermental Organisation) that works with young girls stuck in sex trade.

Even in Uganda I…

It seems that even travelling 6000 miles to a different content to, they still think long hair means I am a women! When I arrived at Entebbe Airport it took an hour to queue for a visa, and, after looking at me, and then to my passport photo, and then back to me, the only response I got was:

“You look like a women”.

No emotion, simply said like a statement of fact. Being the polite British young man that I am, I simple replied with “Why thank you”, paid my entrance fee and headed over to the baggage reclaim.

Now I haven’t written a bucket list, or a list of things I want to achieve in life (bucket list implies I’m dying soon, which I have no plans to do). One of those things was ticked-off as I left the airport to see a large crowed outside by the arrival exit (it was very kind for them all to come to see me arrive, but not really necessary!) A young gentleman was standing with a big sign with “Andrew Galpin” written on it. I felt like a celebrity! I introduce myself to Arthur, who turned out to be the youth worker at the church I would be based with – New Life Baptist, Kampala.

Arthur had braved four hours of Kampala traffic to pick me up (thanks again, it would have been very awkward if you’d given up half way), but had still managed to arrive over an hour before I came out of the airport (I blame the visa queue, personally). The journey back was set to take around two hours in the current traffic, which was significantly better than Arthur’s first journey, but not unusual  for Kampala. This served as a great opportunity to find out a bit about Arthur, his story and the church.