Tuesday, July 17, 2012
“Sheka” like you mean it! Sheka means laugh/smile for a photo. Lazara and the rest of us got a bit silly (not a first, believe you me) while visiting with Alexander and Generous at the ACT temporary offices. It was near the end of the day and we had finished our activities and were waiting for Karen and Dave to return from Grace Kihembo’s home and Dale and Tito to return from visiting one of the gardens. Alexander, our 25-year-old Muko Empowerment Manager, is a doll. The girls were trying to get him to smile really big for a picture. At the same time, they were all eating fresh sugar cane which Lazara, with her Cuban background, wielded a machete to peel and cut up.
I am typing this as we take the winding 45-minute ride back to Kabale for the evening. It is 6:05pm and the sun is setting over the mountains. We are all a little quiet with sadness that our last day in the village is tomorrow. For now, we are meeting Rev. James Karibwije, the Registrar for Kabale University, for dinner tonight. We will talk with him again about prioritizing our Muko HOPE orphans into the work-study program at the University. In one year’s time, we will have two of them ready to move on to University, assuming they pass the entrance exams. One is Boaz, Kapina and Mike Williamen’s orphan and the other is Francis, Janice Smith’s orphan. Please keep them in prayer for their studies this next year.
We arrived in the village about 10am and there waiting for us was Ben Tumuheirwe, the founder of Juna Amagara Ministries. They, very much like ACT, started with a partnership between Ben who is from Bifundi SubCounty (next to Muko SubCounty) and the Glen Ellyn Presbyterian Church in Illinois. We have gotten to know them and I am convinced that at some point we will be in partnership with them for at least a project or program. It was good to see Ben and we will visit him again in Kampala on Saturday with his wife Lillian at their home.
It’s Karen! I offered to relieve Sue of the responsibility of finishing the blog tonight. Let me tell you about a couple of orphans with whom I have had the honor of working…..
There is… Andrew who has the biggest smile you ever saw. Every time I have arrived at Kigezi for their recorder class Andrew has met me at the gate. The orphans always offer to carry the violin, the music bag, or the suitcase full of their recorders.
There is… Frances, a refugee from the Rwanda genocide who doesn’t remember his survival when both parents were murdered. Frances speaks very good English and, at age 19, is very happy to have a Mom again. Frances has helped us to understand how our kids feel because he is very talkative! Most of our kids are extremely shy and polite. They respond to most questions with a one word answer or a quiet “Yes”. For all our wonderful sponsors, you must know how much you mean to these darling kids. Katie and I made a little video of Frances that you may see in August when we present our trip events.
There are… Rachel, Onez, and Charity who just learned today that they have American parents. I wish you could have all seen their happy faces. These three were the last of our seventy orphans, now all sponsored. Rachel, Onez, and Charity have been receiving the benefits of Muko Hope orphans with the knowledge that no one has yet chosen them so we are meeting our goal of coming home with all orphans supported with American families. Thank you to everyone who sends their support. The children especially love receiving pictures of you, your families and pets.
Our music students are doing well. They have NO problem with rhythm! Most of our kids know how to play B, A, and G on their recorders. Josiah has been an eager learner and assistant – interpreting and playing along. He will help the orphans to continue their music studies when we return to the USA.
Let me describe two African homes we have visited in Muko. One had lovely landscaping around a wooden rain trough, shaped like a canoe. Inside they hang decorations from the ceiling. They have newspapers on the walls at eye level, usually including one of Museveni. They have multiple rooms with dirt floors- separate bedrooms, living room, storage room and “kitchen” which holds pans and bowls for cooking. Sometimes we see things here that remind us of America in the 1700’s and1800’s like two men working a saw pit, and a young boy rolling a bicycle tire with a stick. All sewing machines are the old treadle type operate with your feet, as there is insufficient or no electricity available.
Sue, Dale, Dave, and Generous went up to the Ikamiro Clinic today to assess the need for housing for nurses and to gather information about moving the clinic up to a higher level of care. To get to the clinic, there is a challenging drive with extremely bumpy roads, deep ruts, and steep cliffs. Our driver, Christopher, feels his way through and everyone arrives in complete safety- a challenge of trust and faith!
We hope everyone at home is well and staying cool in spite of the hot weather we hear you are still enduring. We are enjoying beautiful misty mornings, warm sunny days, and cool evenings. We send our love to you all!