Enjoy these thoughts, memories and reflections.

OUTSIDE: Not How I Planned It - a memoir series

My First Computer

My First Computer
Apr 05, 2024 by Leoma G Gilley
Today, we can barely imagine what life was like without a computer. When I first moved to Africa and began linguistic work, I wrote by hand or typed on a manual typewriter. Living in Juba, Sudan didn't place me at the forefront of technology. In 1986, a colleague discovered that the Sharp computer company wanted to get rid of  many of their "computers" to make way for a newer version. This colleague brought 15-20 machines to Juba and offered to teach any of us who wanted to use them. The machine had an 8-line screen, used dot commands like .pa for paragraph. It had a built-in printer that used thermal paper, and a memory bubble with 128k storage. It was not exactly portable, but more like luggable. It was also the first machine I had that I told to do something, but it said, "NO".

Life in a Tumble Dryer

Mar 14, 2024 by Leoma G Gilley

After a year of work, Life in a Tumble Dryer, Working in the World's Hottest Capital, has been sent to the publisher. There's more to do before it comes out in July, but those are simpler tasks than completing the manuscript. You may wonder what that process is like. Well, here was my process for this book.

First, I used the relevant stories from my original book, Every Day But Not Some. It was published in 2006. However, when I finished running those stories through ProWritingAid and improving the style, language, and use of commas (my weakest point), I only had 50,000 words. I wanted the book to be 70,000. So, I pulled out the letters that I had written to my parents over those years. I discovered I had forgotten many details. In November, I wrote up new stories and ended up with 40,000 words. Whew! All the editing pared down the word count to 75,000.

The Shilluk King

Dec 21, 2023 by Leoma G Gilley

I'm writing the second book in the Not How I Planned It series. This book is currently titled: Life in a Tumble Dryer. Here is part of a story about meeting the Shilluk (Cøllø) king.
We learned that the king never looks behind. So, it was with great interest that we watched how he would sit down. He backed up until he was standing on the leopard skin rug in front of his chair. Then someone made sure to position the chair where the king was about to sit. I don’t think the person placing the chair would have had his job for long if he had miscalculated the location of the chair and allowed the king to crash to the ground.

Into the Unknown

Dec 08, 2022 by Leoma G Gilley
The first book of my memoir series is Releasing the Known before Launching into the Unknown tells the story of my unexpected adventure. Using a letter writing format, I share my experiences with my family back home, and also now with my readers. I think you will enjoy this examination of the world outside my normal boundaries. Laugh and learn with me about how different and yet how similar life in another culture can be.

Not How I Planned It

Not How I Planned It
Nov 06, 2022 by Leoma G Gilley
In my 20s, I thought I had life figured out. Don't we all? But God had other things in mind for my life, and when I gave control over to God, strange things happened. I found myself with two degrees in Speech and Language Pathology and a comfortable job. The next thing I knew, I was studying linguistics in Texas and shortly after that, on my way to Africa. Who would have thought that!? And so life has been one adventure after another. That's why I titled my new memoir series: Not How I Planned It.

A New Series Is On The Way

Aug 29, 2022 by Leoma G Gilley
I'm excited to announce that my previous book about Sudan, Every Day But Not Some, is growing into a series. At nearly 500 pages, it was bulky for a travel book, and the print was small (otherwise, it would have been bigger!). 

Living in Lockdown in Uganda

Living in Lockdown in Uganda
Sep 08, 2021 by Leoma G Gilley
We had all just arrived and settled into the Lweza Training and Conference Centre. There were 27 students and about seven staff members. We were beginning an intense eight-week course with the Institute for the Development of Languages and Translation in Africa (iDELTA). The COVID-19 situation in Uganda had been getting worse, but it was still a surprise when the government ordered a lockdown. Public transportation was stopped. Private cars had to have special permission to travel. We were well and truly staying in Uganda!

Life is like a box of chocolates...

Jun 19, 2021 by Leoma G Gilley

I admit it; I was too confident. I’m fully vaccinated. I tested negative when I got on the plane. Then I got to Uganda and was in contact with two COVID-19 positive people. Sometimes I had failed to wear my mask, after all, I’m vaccinated. Right? Wrong.


For the past few days, I felt achy and lethargic. I dragged myself to class, returning to my room to collapse on my bed. My allergies started kicking in, so I started treating them. Then I got the “runs”, which I still have. I think that may be giardia (my not so favorite friend and frequent companion in Africa). Today the tiredness was just beyond what I could stand, and just walking around made breathing difficult. I felt like I had a low-grade fever, so asked Margaret to give me a COVID test. Yes, I’m positive. I’m the 3rd teacher on the course to fall to this.


Jun 19, 2021 by Leoma G Gilley

When we chose dates for the iDELTA course six months ago, we had no idea that the evening after the majority of students and staff arrived, the country would go into lockdown! Wow! Talk about timing!


A second wave of COVID-19 has hit Uganda. Each of our staff and students have been tested (sometimes several times) and found to be negative. The conference center staff are staying on the center, and so not exposed to outside factors. There are quite a few protocols in place like wearing masks, socially distancing, washing hands, using sanitizer. We even provided face shields for students who wanted to be even more secure. We have spread the students out as much as possible in the classrooms, so we feel we are being reasonably safe. Our tea breaks and devotional times are held out of doors in a very beautiful setting. The weather is very pleasant, feels like a lovely spring day.

Friends don't give friends COVID-19, do they?

Friends don't give friends COVID-19, do they?
Jun 09, 2021 by Leoma G Gilley

As you can imagine, preparing for a course with students coming from eight countries and staff from several more countries, there is a LOT to do. We went into the office on Tuesday and met the staff working there. We enjoyed a nice meal at what is currently my favorite Entebbe restaurant called Muti. They have wonderful juices as well as delicious food! It is a bit pricey, but at least I know what I’m getting.

Richard caught me up on the plans that have been put in place and we also prepared for the teacher briefing to be on Thursday and Friday. Tuesday was a short day, and I was ready to go home and lie down on my bed. It definitely needed to be an early night.


Going to Uganda in a Pandemic

Jun 03, 2021 by Leoma G Gilley
Every trip has its challenges, and this one was no exception. First of all, there is a pandemic of COVID-19. Thankfully, I’ve had access to the vaccine and am an FVP (fully-vaccinated person). I’m deeply grateful that I can claim that status, as where I’m going, very few people can.