(Muko Martyr's Catholic Church and School!)
This is Sue again. We arrived in Kampala this morning about 11:30am. We left Kabale yesterday about 4pm and it is an 8 hour drive so we decided to go 2/3 of the way to Masaka and spend the night. We had daylight until about the last two hours and it was an incredibly harrowing drive in the dark. The main highway, when there is actually pavement due to construction, the road is really about a car and a half wide. At the edges is broken off pavement that creates about a 6-8 dropoff. Suredly, if you hit that wrong, the car would probably flip. So, everyone drives down the middle of the road (no lines, please...) and when an oncoming vehicle approaches there is all kinds of flashing the bright lights and honking and using the turn signal to communicate with each other. At the last second each car approaching each other swerves to the edge of the road to pass. Christopher and Charles are both good drivers but I was riding in Charles car and it was much scarier due to the small size of his car. The van feels much safer! We arrived at about 9pm and had a late dinner (becoming a daily habit) and hit the sack. We left Masaka this morning, crossed the Equator and stopped to take pictures, and drove into Kampala and exchanged some more money and then hit the bit Kampala market. Oh my gosh it's hot here! The village region, as most of you know is at 6000 ft elevation and just beautiful weather like San Diego but cooler at night. Kampala is very, very hot and humid. We bought some gorgeous baskets in the village and more in Kampala to fill our suitcases that we brought all the items to distibute in. Israel finally got his suitcase today when we arrived back at our hotel in Kampala. The first thing he did was pull out his eyeglasses and put them on! We didn't even know he was missing those all week!
This afternoon we spent a couple of hours at our hotel in Kampala meeting with Generous and Charles regarding the land for the ACT Centre. We now have 5 possible locations so we created a matrix to objectively determine which piece of land makes the most sense. We had a great discussion and outlined next steps for Charles and Generous to take.
By the way, after we left Muko yesterday, just beyond the area where we visited Habuhinga Hill (the first proposed land), there was a big mudslide which destroyed 15 homes and injured a bunch of villagers. This had happened in Eastern Ugandan near Kenya a couple of days ago and 90 people died! We felt very fortunte that we had left the area and our prayers are with those who were injured. And we thank God once again for Christopher, our incredibly capable driver.
I need to go back and describe yesterday to you in Kabale! Oh, what a day! We awoke and went to the secondary school where Boaz, the oldest sponsored orphan is attending. He is 14 years old and what a nice young man! He loves his school. We then proceeded to Horby Girls School and visited the 10 young girls who are attending there. We first entered each of their classrooms. As we entered each one, the girls stood and greeted us with handclapping and singing wonderful welcoming songs. The whole school knew we were coming and were very excited. We toured their dormitories and then they had a class break during which we gathered the orphans into one room and distributed their packages and letter from all the sponsors. The most endearing part of seeing all the orphans (girls and boys) was that they all knew your names, sponsors! For instance, we met John Bosco and he said my sponsors and James and Barbara and he struggled with Ostler! It was wonderful. I shared with all the orphans a bit of information about all the sponsors as I handed them their packets and we took pictures of each orphan with our team. They were very, very happy with the school supplies and were looking forward to reading your letters to them. I am anxious to share their photos with you and tell you more details about how we found them. Let me just say this. We were all very impressed with the schools and the Muko HOPE children seemed very happy. They are still learning to speak and read and write English. They simply were not learning that in the village. The schools and the education they are getting is light years better than the village schools. Thanks to each sponsor for making such a huge change in their lives.
We are going to start moving on the second group orphans in another term or two once we have saved enough sponsorship money to buy their supplies and begin paying their tuition.
The boys schools was also very, very nice and the 16 Muko HOPE boys were really happy.
After visiting the orphans in their schools, we stopped by the Book of Hope offices in Kabale. We have 8 huge cartons of books of Hope in the ACT office in the village and ready for distribution. For those of you not familiar with Book of Hope, it is an nonprofit started by a minister in Florida many years ago. They distribute millions of these small comic book like books about the gospel. They are appropriate for differnet ages so the kids learn the Bible. The books are free if you are trained to distribute them. This will happen soon.
We had a debrief in Kabale at our hotel about the visit so far with Fr. Bruno, Blessing, Charles and Generous. We all agreed many things have gone so well. We said goodbye to Fr. Bruno and Blessing and left for Masaka.
Tomorrow, the "boys", David, Ced (his Ugandan name is Cedraka), Tim, Israel, Charles and Richard are going to Jinja to see the source of the Nile river and Bujaglai Falls. I've been there so I will stay behind in Kampala to shop for all the African fabric with Generous.
God continues to go before us in so many ways. We know for sure that your prayers help sustain us and this mission. We cannot wait to share with you all our funny, moving, scary, endearing stories with you upon our return. Oh, and also, we have some awesome pictures! God bless each of you.