The rest of the team went on to Muko. Ashley and Holly began their visits to orphan homes. Again, in each visit, we attempted to get more information about the orphans and their lives that led them to Muko HOPE. One story was particularly sobering to all of us. One of our orphan girls had been born to a woman whose husband had recently died. The villagers did not like this woman who was ready to deliver a child at any moment. They chased her to get her out of the village. She took shelter in a banana plantation (field) and delivered her baby girl. She was so distraught thinking the villagers were coming to kill her that she buried her infant baby girl (alive). She made a bad decision is how the Ugandans describe it. Some other women villagers saw her do this and severely beat her and the aunt of the child rescued the baby girl. She is now thriving and healthy and in the home of her aunt as her guardian. We will inform the sponsor family of who this child is upon our return.
Concurrent to Ashley and Holly visiting homes this morning, Bill worked with Alexander setting up a system for inventory of the handcrafts on the ACT laptop. When Charles and I finally arrived from Kabale, we all took Dale to the ACT gardens to work with Tito. He had really done amazing things in the gardens. He has trained the orphans in the planting and maintenance of the gardens. When it is time to harvest the crops, he distributes them to the orphans and their guardians. He is growing cucumbers, radishes, lettuce, Kale, beans, beets, etc. Most of these crops came from the H.O.P.E. Seeds project that we sent. Dale had a productive afternoon working with Tito learning more about his challenges and sharing her knowledge as a Master Gardner.
Bill, Generous, Alexander, Charles and I struck out to try to cover more of the orphan homes. We managed to get to 8 homes in the afternoon. Pretty amazing considering how far apart they live and how much we had to climb to their homes! Between all of us, we managed to visit 24 of the 59 orphan homes. It is hard to describe how difficult it is to reach where they live. One example, a young girl (about 14) brought her brother, a Muko HOPE orphan to the orphan distribution on Tuesday. They live in the parish of Kaara which is a three hour walk to get to the ACT office! We gave them some money to buy food for their journey home. 6 hours of walking to and from the office to receive their sponsor gift and the dental assessment. These Ugandans are so resilient. At the same time they praise God for their blessings. What a witness to all of us.
We met back at the ACT office and packed up all the baskets we had purchased the day before to bring back to the US. Alexander came to Kabale with us so that we could purchase a bicycle for him. He was denied his permit for riding the motorcycle due to his having lost an eye in a childhood accident with a stick. He had already paid all his fees and simply lost them. He is incredibly dedicated and hard-working and since he could not ride the motorcycle, we decide to get him transportation like we did for each of the volunteers in the 7 parishes. Sue and Christopher and Alexander went at dusk to purchase a bicycle. It was an adventure but we managed to get him a good mountain bike. He was thrilled! It is strapped to the top of the van and we will take Alexander and the bike back with us tomorrow morning to visit the ACT office for the last time.
We will leave Muko for Queen Elizabeth Park to spend half a day seeing lions, giraffes, etc. in a very different part of Uganda. From there we will leave on Saturday at noon to travel back to Kampala arriving very late. Sunday is our last day devoted to purchasing more fabric, packing everything up to leave and hopefully visiting Father Bruno at Milagro Hospital in Kampala. He is apparently admitted with some neck problems. We will hopefully be able to visit and pray with him before leaving for the Entebbe airport for our long journey home.
We miss you all and are anxious to be home. At the same time, we talked at dinner tonight about our sadness of having to say good bye to such a loving, welcoming people.