Friday, May 17, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dear Friends and Family: I am sitting on the front porch of the Jopfan Hotel in Kabale looking over some beautiful mountains having a peaceful moment thinking of our fabulous day. The Bible tells us that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and today was a perfect example of how true that is! We were welcomed so warmly, it felt like we were coming home. The whole team is flying high after meeting our staff at Muko and experiencing the first day of carrying out some of our goals. I cannot emphasize enough to you all how life changing this is and I hope that some of you will also consider coming to meet our “other family” here in Uganda. We began our day at the village happily meeting Josiah, our Operations Manager and, for the sponsors, the man who works most directly with our orphans. We also met Tito, our Agricultural staff member and Justus, who came with us from Kabale to work with John, Michelle, and Tito on Agricultural goals. We met Alexander, our MEP coordinator and teased him about his upcoming wedding on May 25. We also met Herbert and gave him our condolences since his wife passed away since the last time we were here. Everyone was in good spirits and happy to be together again. We unpacked the suitcases with the gifts for the orphans and lined them all up in six groups for the next day. We unpacked all the musical supplies and games and toys for the days with the kids. Let me describe our newly renovated office: The first main room is the office with a long table, two long benches, some chairs, and the computer. This is where the staff works together. The middle room at present contains all the new mattresses and storage trunks for our new kids who will begin school on May 27th plus mattresses stacked nearly to the ceiling so the children who come from far away for the two days of activities will be able to sleep over. It looked like a scene from “Once Upon a Mattress”! Adjacent to this room is a “secure room” which is padlocked and safe for keeping our valuables inside. The back room, which is next to the porch, has a display area for the baskets and crafts. We brought some colorful posters about music which were hung on the wall in here transforming it into a craft/music/arts room- wonderfully appropriate!  Dave came in and said “Karen, you have to take the poster off the outside wall on the front of the office. It is going to blow away”. So, I went out….. and there was Josiah who insisted that he wanted it right there! And it looks great! We were so surprised to find power lines erected straight through the village- sending this message especially to our Board Member, Ced Currin….They are expecting electricity in the village sometime in August! Ced’s specialty is solar power and he has made several trips to Uganda. We had a wonderful reunion with Francis, our orphan who survived the Rwandan genocide. He hugged me and hugged me and was delighted to meet “Big Dad”- Dave. I introduced him to another “Mom” – “Mom Elizabeth” who was so warmly embraced she immediately felt as if she’d gained another son. After a great morning of planning together John, Michelle, Justus, and Tito drove off with Christopher to consider and measure various plots of land for purchasing for demonstration gardens. Word got out that we were looking for land to purchase and the team was approached by others who wanted them to buy their land. Finally, they had to say that they would only be looking at the land on their list. John was very happy with Michelle’s work and complimented her on her ability to make friends with the people, clamber up steep hills, and accomplish so much in one afternoon. Karen spent the afternoon with four excited violin students: Haward, Francis, Boaz Twikirize, and Saddis. They made fabulous progress in one afternoon- all documented by Elizabeth and assisted by Kelsey. Elizabeth, Kelsey, and I were all treated to a local lunch- matoke ( a steamed, mashed green banana that doesn’t taste sweet or at all like our banana), rice, a delicious bean sauce, two kinds of rolls and g nuts ( a ground nut purple in color and quite delicious on rice) Josiah and Alexander brought this into the office and we all had lunch together. We bought a 32” flat screen TV and DVD player and Josiah asked me if we were taking it back to USA! Dave spent some time in the afternoon trying to figure out how to hang it and get the DVD working. Alexander constructed a Phillips head screwdriver somehow from scratch when we discovered we needed one! The team had to leave the village a little earlier than we had hoped because Justus needed to return to Kabale for a meeting. Josiah and Alexander rode back with us in order to purchase the food for the orphans’ meals the next two days. Christopher dropped us all off at the hotel and then took John, Dave, Josiah, and Alexander to the grocery store. This was an experience in itself! Alexander negotiated the price of all the food. John reported that the meat purchase was a special adventure including a visit to a butcher who took a large machete to the meat via Alexander’s instruction to leave only the best sections. The girls stayed behind at the hotel to write the blog, in journals, order dinner and relax. We had all agreed to leave the hotel by 7 a.m. the next two days for our time with the children. Josiah asked all the orphans to arrive in the village by 8 a.m.! Whew! News flash: Dave was informed that he will be preaching at the Ikamiro Church on Sunday! I have a feeling there will be a call to Kirk at Holt Pres in the next few days! When we were talking about this in the van on the way back to Kabale, Justus said to Michelle “Then you must preach at the Catholic Church!” In our training we had prepared the team for the possibility of speaking at the churches and I am guessing our members realized we weren’t kidding. What an honor and opportunity to share the love of God with our friends here. Here are our phone numbers in case of emergency: John’s 011 256 077 507 25  24   Dave’s 011 256 077 507 2710  Elizabeth’s 011 256 078 580 5148 We miss you all and send our love- Karen

1 comment:

  1. I will need a copy of that sermon! God Bless