This is Home

Our first month in Uganda

Uganda update number 1!

I remember when our first child, Chloe, was born. The hard pregnancy, the intense labor, and then finally one day, BAM the baby was in our arms. Once she was here, things were much harder than before. Things weren’t worse, but you go through an exhausting labor and instead of being able to sleep and recover, the doctor hands you a newborn who depends on you for everything. At first, things don’t feel better. They are harder, exhausting, and more challenging. Trying to learn how to keep your new baby alive is a learning experience for everyone. Am I ready for this? Am I qualified? There are other moms and dads who would do a much better job than us. But, God had picked us to be this child’s parents.
We have found this transition to moving to Uganda a lot like becoming a first time parent.  We have waited for this transition, dealt with the good and the bad of moving, and BAM, now we are here. God walked with us and our firstborn Chloe as we learned (and are still learning) how to parent, just as He is walking with us here in Uganda.

A lot has happened since our last update. In March, we had to say goodbye to all of our family and friends, our church, our Crossfit gym, our small group, and all the people that we love so dearly. You have supported us, prayed for us, and been dear friends to us over the last 8 years in Greenville. We are so thankful for all of you!

 

On the 27th of March, we took our 28 bags, 5 kids, 2 strollers, 3 carseats, 6 carry-ons, and 6 book bags on a 20 hour flight across the world. This event alone was the most terrifying for us because we have a two year old (add dramatic sounding music). If you have ever had a two year old, then you know small cramped spaces with people all around you is SCARY! But, you must have been praying for us, because ALL of our kids did GREAT! They handled the flight like pros.

Once we got into the Ugandan airport, it was 10:30 at night. We were exhausted, hot, stir crazy, and extremely overwhelmed. God provided us with some amazing missionary friends who are here in Uganda that picked us up and basically helped keep us alive those first 2 weeks. Ugandan time is seven hours ahead of North Carolina time, so we experienced major jet lag, especially our six month old Martha.

We stayed in Arise Africa International’s guest house that first night, but the next morning were able to go to our very own home. Praise the Lord, Alex had already successfully purchased us a house, car, and 90% of all our furniture when he came in February. This meant we had a place to sleep and were able to get our things in order right away. We have spent the days of April trying to unpack and adjust.

Everything is different (no surprise there), but it does take time to adjust mentally, emotionally, and physically.

One of the biggest changes for all of us is the food. The food in Uganda is very good, but it is very different. And while we enjoy it, our kids do not. Our five year old, Ezekiel, is our picky eater. He misses hotdogs, chicken nuggets, and cereal. Ugandans live off of rice, beans, greens, potatoes, and posho (which is a boiled corn meal brick…yummy!?).

Food is much harder to get to as well. They have a “market” here, which is a lot like a farmers market in America, and then they have “supermarkets”, which are a lot like a small gas station. We are learning how to grocery shop at the local Ugandan version of “Sheetz” without all the variety and choices. It’s definitely a learning experience!

We have met some amazing people already. We are constantly having people in and out of our home everyday. We are trying to find our new normal, but even in the chaos, God has brought us so many new friendships. We live right next to the slums and have become friends with many of the people there.

This is home.

We ask that you continue to pray for us as we adjust! Pray for us as we begin homeschooling soon. Pray for our neighbors, and us, as we try to help them. Some of them are starving.

Every prayer and every dollar that you give to us is a true gift from God and is going to help us be the hands and feet of Jesus here! You can read more about what’s going on here in Uganda and continue to partner with us through our website, www.reallifehardings.com. Internet issues have made it hard for us to edit our website but we are working on it and a new updated site will be up soon! Thank you for loving us. And thank you for helping us serve and love the people of Uganda.

 

With Love,

Alex, Beth, Chloe, Penelope, Ezekiel, Malachi, and Martha Harding