Home Alone: Random thoughts from a Saturday.

Our work centers around South Sudan and its borderland regions.
Our work centers around South Sudan and its borderland regions. We live in Entebbe, Uganda.

Saturday Blog

21 Sept 2013

Thanks to all of you who are praying for my health.  I’m much better today and I attribute it to your prayers. I have a good African doctor (she looks about twenty but knows her stuff) and good medicine.

But prayer is the best medicine of all.

Also, as I write this, a couple we work with is trapped inside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.  Gunman attacked this popular mall about lunch today.  Our friends are separated, locked inside different stores, but safe.  Please pray for all involved.

On Saturdays, I’d like to review the week, comment on what I’m reading as well as what movies I’ve seen.

My reading list:

Africa by reader Cover


Just finished: Africa: A Biography by John Reader.  an exhaustive book on the history/culture/people of the continent. Takeaway: Don’t try to put Africa in a stereotypical shoebox.  She’ll fool you every time.

The Celtic Way of Evangelism  a neat book on how St Patrick and his followers converted the Irish island in a generation.  Good reading for those interested in reaching people groups.   Takeaway: we must learn and respect people’s culture before we can win them.

The Discovery of the Source of the Nile by John Speke. I’ve always had a weakness for explorers and their tales.


Home Alone 

One of the biggest changes in our Africa lifestyle has been being home every night.

Because of the dangers of robbery, we are safely inside of our gates long before dusk.*

Most of the jobs I’ve held (coach/principal/camp manager) involved working at night and being away from home.

However here, getting home before dark is part of our job description.

In addition to theft, there is also the added night time risk of being involved in a traffic accident.

Africans wearing dark clothes are hard to see.

Bicycles have no lights and often neither do motorcycles.

Cars drive with their lights off until absolutely necessary. I’ve been told they’re convinced burning headlights use extra gasoline.

So when it nears sunset, we are safely at home, multi-locked into our second story apartment safe with our guards. **


With our location near the equator, daylight seldom varies.
With our location near the equator, daylight seldom varies.

We don’t have a TV and sometimes don’t have electricity.

But we do have Amazon Prime and make use of it. We’ve lived through WWI with the haves and have nots at ‘Downton Abbey.’

We’re currently trying to straighten out the (liberalism) of the Jed Barnett White House with ‘The West Wing.’  (couldn’t resist that one word addition.)

But best of all, we enjoy a movie night once or twice a week.

DeDe pops a pot of real popcorn (no microwave corn here) and we snuggle on the couch and enjoy a good show.

This week it was one of my top 5 movies: “The Green Mile.”

Why is it a top favorite? Let me count the ways.

1.  Tom Hanks.    He carefully selects good roles and has been his mark on classics that will endure forever.

What are your favorite Tom Hanks roles/movies?

2. It’s a strong story. It’s from a work by Stephen King.  We forget sometimes that he is more than a horror writer.  The Green Mile has all of the features that a great story possesses:

3. A cast of memorable characters.  You don’t get better than John Coffey (“Yes Boss, name’s John Coffey.  Like the drink but spelt different.”)

Bruno, the giant but kind guard.  Jan: Hank’s wife.

4. Two of movie’s greatest villains`;   the despicable William “Billy the Kid/Wild Bill”  and sadistic prison guard Percy Whitmore.

5. It’s about relationships and the connection between Paul (Hanks) and John Coffey touches my heart with each viewing.

How do you rate a movie are really good?

Here’s my yardstick: if in the coming days, if I find my minding wandering back to the movie, I know it’s a winner.  I replay it in my mind.  Wonder how the story could have gone differently.

Green Mile Triva:   Name of the mouse in the death row cellblock.

Where was the mouse going after Del’s execution?

Memorable lines:

“What happens on the mile, stays on the mile.”

“I tried to help them boss, but it was too late.”

“I smells some cornbread.”

“You’ve got to admit, it was original.”   Paul’s (Hanks) remark to Bruno after Billy the Kid spews a chewed up moon pie in his face.  It’s worth a You Tube look.

What is odd about the setting (state and name of prison)?

What is John Coffey’s greatest fear?

What illness is Paul suffering with?


*We live on the equator (just a few degrees north) so our days are nearly always twelve hours long. Our Ugandan friends are amazed when I explain the variations between light from December to June.

** There’s a saying in Johnannesburg, “One third of the people work protecting one third of the people from the other third.”   The final third is too high. Most Africans are as honest as the day is long. In Entebbe, with a high UN presence and other aid workers, a large number of residents work as guards and security.




  1. Amanda Sanders Bishop

    The Green Mile is one of my favorite books and the movie was just as good. I love Tom Hanks and he did a great job at playing Paul.

    Now for the trivia 🙂

    1. The mouse is named Mr. Jingles.
    2. He’s going to live in Mouseville. It’s a tourist attraction in Tallahassee, Florida.
    3. The prison is called Cold Mountain Penitentiary, but it is located in Louisiana.
    4. John Coffey is scared of the dark.
    5. Paul was suffering from a urinary tract infection.

    I enjoy reading your blog. My husband actually worked in Africa for a couple of months back in April. I hope you and Mrs. DeDe are both doing well.

  2. Loved reading this today. Had you both in my prayers as I saw news of the mall attack. Praying your friends are safe. I like how you described how a movie was a good one… when you keep going back to it to re-direct it… I agree! I’ll have to think about what are some of my favs. Give that beautiful wife of yours our greetings and lots of hugs! praying always with you.

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