This morning started much too early with Christopher the driver arriving at 8AM after a midnight light's out after two days of travel...you get the picture. We all had breakfast at the Adonai Guest House where we are staying last night and tonight before we leave for the village tomorrow.
We started the morning with a joyful celebration of Jorryn's birthday. She is Richard and Generous' second child and our God-child. We had a huge cake that looked like Clifford, the Big Red Dog at their home and then watched a DVD made from the kids' school play and dances. Jesse, Jorryn and Josiah are quite the dancers! Little Joash is recovering from the mumps (no vaccine here) and is looking really good from his third-degree burns he suffered a few months back when he pulled a pan of hot liquid onto himself. It appears there will be little scarring from what I could see.
At about 10am, the team split and Dale, Holly, Bill and Ashley went with Christopher and Charles and little Jesse over to Jinja to see the source of the Nile and then onto to Bujagali Falls - the huge rapids on the Nile. They had lunch in Jinja. Generous and I (Sue) went into City Center to meet with Ben Tumuhweire, the Director of Juna Amagara Ministries. It was a wonderful meeting with Ben helping Generous with things like reapplying for NGO certification and annual audits and such. We discussed our two ministries' programs and how we could right away partner to even better complete the work of God's Kingdom. We will visit the Juna Amagara school near Muko for our own orphans. Their students are out-performing some of the other schools in the area. It would cost us even less than we are paying now but more importantly, the kids will get more Christian emphasis in school and be so loved by some very commited folks. We made plans to meet up with Ben in Kabale this week. We also made plans for Ben to attend our ACT-Muko board meeting in the future as well as an ACT-Michigan board meeting in February or March! We both got excited about how we might work together and both benefit. Praise God!
Generous and I left his office and went to the fabric market in Kampala. It is so hard to describe to you how difficult and exhausting this excursion is! We got completely snarled in traffic and finally exited the car to walk on down to the market. The first store was about the size of your largest bathroom (not kidding) and there were 6 people in it all talking to me at once trying to buy this and that fabric. Generous is the queen of bargaining. How fun to watch her get annoyed and begin to walk off from the negotiations. I'm standing there thinking, "oh no! I really, really want this fabric!" But in the end she usually triumphs and we get the fabric for a song! I know the sewing group will want to know we have purchased 23 pieces of fabric so far and they are incredibly colors - some very new and different. We plan to buy a few more from Alex Twikirize's sister in Ikamiro who we learned sells fabrics and sews on a foot-powered treadle machine.
We came back to the hotel and met with Stanley Tumuwine who is the owner of the building we are renting as our office in Muko. We had very long negotiations with lots of long "ummmms" (those of you who know their speech will recognize this very familiar part of important discussions. I think I even "ummmed" myself a few times! When Richard and Charles arrived at about 5:30pm then entered into the discussions again and really put the negotiation to the test. We did agree on a very fair price, I think. Now, the ACT-Michigan board needs to determine which scenario for payment.
Next, we went to dinner at Fang Fang, a very nice restaurant in Kampala. We treated Rev. James Karibwije and his grown son, Daniel, to dinner. Rev is the Academic Registrar for Kabale University and has offered to give first priority to our orphans as they graduate high school to enter into a work/study program where their complete tuition is waived! They only need to pay for their books and boarding. This amount will be easily covered by our current sponsorship amount!!! So, our dear sponsors, you can send your orphan to college for current sponsorship amount you are paying. Boaz Twikirize is our first to approach college. He has one and a half years to go. Kapina and Mike Williamsen are his sponsors. As it turns out, Daniel, Rev's son has just finished a masters degree in China and returned to Uganda. He is working for an export service, so Bill and Holly exchanged information with him about our handcraft program.
Wow. A significant day! Our devotion this morning came to mind as I fought (literally!) the people in the market to walk through. So much humanity in one place compared to Midland, MI.
I wish you all peace and happiness as we approach the end of the year. It has been one of great growth for ACT. May the good Lord continue to bless his ministry.