End of July 2012 Travel Team Blog
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Reflections from Uganda…
This is our second to last day in Uganda. We leave tomorrow (Sunday) evening at 11:30pm! Tomorrow morning will be spent with some of us going to church with Richard and Generous again, some going with Curt to preach to the street children ministry and some of us just hanging out for some much, much needed R&R. We will finish packing all 22, 50-lb suitcases full of baskets that we are allowed. This was told to us by 3, yes, 3 different Delta agents. There was a bit of variation of what they said but we are praying we don’t have to spend an hour arguing like we did in Detroit coming here. Oh my, can’t the airlines get their messages straight???
Today, the team, without Dale and Sue, went to Jinja to see the Nile headwaters which has become a bit of a disappointment in that the Bujagali Falls (rapids on the Nile) are now gone due to the building of a dam for hydro-electricity. They planned a stop on the way to Jinja to connect with a young woman and her new baby who has been sponsored through another program by a friend of Karen Viele’s.
Sue and Dale got up this morning and looked at six huge, empty suitcases, even after shopping at the Kampala market yesterday and in the village over the last two weeks for baskets and jewelry and could not bear to not fill them to bring back the maximum number of baskets. Generous walked here from her home and after she and Sue made a walking trip to Barclay’s Bank to discuss the variance in exchange rates with our wires, the three of us called the woman who we buy the most baskets from to see if she could hire a boda boda (motorbike with her riding on the back) to come into Kampala from her village to sell us more baskets! She did and we met her at the empty market compound (the market is only held on Fridays) and went through the storage locker and managed to purchase another 100 baskets! Dale and Sue came back to the hotel to finish packing and weighing all the suitcases. Phew! Now, everyone please pray fervently for KLM/Delta to honor all the information they have shared with us for checking in!
We had Charles Tuhaise, Lydia Komugisha (our new Board Chair), Generous and Richard, Martin – the villager who is going to complete our building renovation and travelled all the way to Kampala to meet with Dave about details, our team and a young German husband and wife who are staying here that we have adopted, for dinner here at the Adonai House – our hotel. We had a wonderful, wonderful meal and great fellowship. After dinner, Karen led us ALL in a rousing bunch of songs playing the handbells while she accompanied us on her violin. It was great fun! What joy her music has brought us on this journey and what a delight Dave has been with all of us, teasing us and entertaining us. Curt brought out his light-up thumbs and we all played catch with them. (I’ll have to explain later!)
Last night, Sydney and Karen were very sick to their stomachs, likely food-poisoning, and Katie and Dave stayed with them while the rest of us met Honorable Minister Henry Banyansaki at the Ndere Cultural Arts Center. He treated us to a buffet dinner which was so generous, although out of the 12 or so chafing dishes, about 3 had food left in them! Then we sat at tables on a tiered outdoor theatre to watch a wonderful program of dance and music performed by local instruments. The troupe danced different dances from each region of the country. It was marvelous. The final dance was these young women who danced while they balanced 9 clay pots stacked one on top of the other on their heads. Their whole bodies were moving except their heads – amazing!
The Ugandans are so talented…so warm…so gracious. I am always so sad to say goodbye to our friends. Our goal this year is to try, once again, to bring Generous and hopefully Lydia too to the U.S. We drove by the U.S. Embassy today and I prayed a small prayer for them to finally allow Generous a visa to enter our country. Dale and I sat with Generous and Lydia today for several hours to discuss a long list of things about our programs and hopes and dreams. It was fun but overwhelming how big this effort has become. We come home with lots of new ideas, lots of confirmation about how well things are progressing here and anticipation for what God has in store for all of us down the road.
We are all weary, ready to be home, yet not ready to say good-bye – full of mixed emotions. We thank you each for your prayers and thoughts and support by reading this blog. Any of you who are not yet involved in ACT, please consider becoming involved. We have so much yet to accomplish!
We will see you soon. We love you all.