Monday, July 16, 2018

Uganda Team 25 - Day 15

Day 15....

Waking up for the last full day in Uganda when it only seemed like yesterday that we arrived. Being Sunday, it meant that we could have a little sleep in before we set off. We all got our nice church outfits on and walked up. Today was men’s worship day, meaning that only men were singing songs at the start. Andrew then stood up and talked about Joshua 3:1 and how we need to always keep our eyes on God. 

After the service, we walked back to the house and some people started packing bags in the spare time. An hour later, we walked up to the Village of Hope for the last time. The kids were excited as always to see us and so they had put on a little farewell celebration for us which consisted of dancing, singing, speeches and snacks. Each team member received a certificate for our work with the village and we were all so grateful. Some people also receiving little heartfelt goodbye notes from the kids, Piper getting five! All the kids were also given a soft drink each and let’s just say that they got wild on the sugar! It was then time to say our goodbyes and there were some tears going around. We let with heavy hearts and with the kids waving us away. We arrived back at Suubi house for our last dinner in Uganda, we can all testify that Uganda has been a fantastic experience and are all sad to leave! 
Tomorrow, early…we begin our ‘slow’ journey towards home, stopping in Sth Africa to enjoy a couple of days R&R and seeing some of the wildlife.

A few pics below..

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Uganda Team 25 - Day 14

Day 14

Today started really early!!  We got up at 5.30 to make the hike up ‘Monkey Mountain’ to watch the sun come up. It’s about a 40 minute walk along a bumpy road in the dark!
But whilst we were confronted by clouds, it was still an amazing sight watching the light come up behind the clouds and looking down towards Village of Hope.
After sitting and admiring for a time, we decided to trek back down to a yummy breakfast of ‘Rolex’ – yum.. We have been so spoiled with the food at Suubi!
Philippa led us in a devotion to round off our breakfast time.

Then it was time to head up to the village to introduce the kids to LEGO!!  We had 2 huge suitcases full of Lego for the kids to play with, along with 4 specially made ‘mats’ to play on that double up as bags when you pull the draw strings – ingenious.
What a hit!!!  The kids loved it and got right into it with the help and instruction of the team… Our 2 lovely social workers and Samuel the Village coordinator helped along to be able to supervise future Lego times..
There were so many ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the kids and creativity only took about 3 minutes to emerge with some of the creations. They didn’t want to finish and can’t wait to play with it again!!  Thanks to some very generous donors and supporters in Australia!!

After play, it was back to Suubi for some lunch and a rest. Lunch was a lovely mix of mince and vegetables that Juliet made that was very nice… This was followed by a quiet hour and half as we rested, getting ready to head into town to do a boat trip to the Source of the Nile.
We all piled onto a boat and headed out with William for an hours boat trip on Lake Victoria.  Educational and scenic were the words to describe the trip.  We saw amazing birds and also were told how the Nile begins its 3-month journey here on its way to Egypt. Pretty cool!!!

To top off our day we headed out to a place further up the Nile called ‘The Black Lantern’, a place to sit and enjoy a few drinks and eventually a meal, except for Josh it was more than ‘a’ meal.. He had a full rack of spare ribs that came on an oversized plate, and still hung over the edges! He tried valiantly to eat everything on the plate and almost did – pretty well done. We all had lovely meals and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and location, accompanied by a few monkeys in the trees!!

Tomorrow is our last day here, and we are definitely ‘not’ looking forward to that!! L
We will have a farewell at the Village which will be fun although a little sad…
But for today…. What a day!!

Pics below..


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Uganda team 25 Day 13

Today our lovely Juliet cooked up a treat with a range of scrambled eggs – plain, plain with herbs and some with fresh tomato (the freshest some of us have ever tasted!) and some toasted rolls and bread. They were polished off with lightning speed with Josh cleaning up the last in pretty quick fashion! We have been so blessed by Juliet’s cooking and the way she has catered for a couple of us (weird ones), who have had some dietary needs has been wonderful. 
Elisha bought us a devotion based on Ps 46:1 and having faith in our Father. Elisha spoke from her heart about the deep faith in Christ that has been evident in our travels. Elisha was reminded of Edith’s story and how her deep faith in Jesus has seen Home Of Hope come to be. On one of our bus trips we sang and heard the story of Horatio Spafford who penned the heartfelt Hymn of Praise “It Is Well” after deep loss and suffering. A great reminder that even in our own trials, it is in these trials that our Faith is strengthened. Definitely a theme in some of our devotions and discussions. 

With full bellies, we headed off to Home Of Hope for our final day of painting and design work on the internal walls. The space itself is the end result of a couple of years of fundraising by Leonnie, her friend Tina and a bunch of friends. Tina had initially been to Home Of Hope and on return discussed with Edith what she and her team dreamed of for the children. And so, the play space journey began! Tina and Leonnie worked with Johann Poppenbeck and many discussions later fundraising efforts such as tin shakes on intersections, a trivia night, a very special women’s afternoon, exercise classes and a host of other initiatives over time, finally raised the funds needed for the space. Through discussions and planning, it was important for the space to provide an inclusive, functional space for kids with a range of disabilities to have access and for the space to be inviting, fun and vibrant. It was also imperative that the kids could spend time in play, away from the Home, where they spent a large amount of their day. 
And so, the funds have built the covered outdoor area, a swing set has been constructed and painted and the ground between the Home and the play space has been levelled to make the ground more accessible. Raised garden beds have also been constructed to help kids in wheelchairs to touch and feel and see the growth of herbs that are now being used in the day to day cooking at the Home. 
The final touches and amazing art work that was from the hearts of Liesje, Phillipa, Hillie, Piper, Josh, Monique, Elisha and Shae was completed today and we’re sure you’ll agree, this space is bright and reflective of the Joy that God feels for these precious children. Being fun, inviting and vibrant is a win for the fundraising team too!
The back wall as seen in the pictures, has been inscribed with “Rejoice in the LORD always” which has been sung in wonderful Spirit and harmonies by the team over our time here. And to see the Joy on Edith’s face and to see how much this space means to her, is a true testament of seeing her hopes and dreams realised for the lives of these kids. 
Inasmuch as there is still some work to be done to sow grass on the levelled ground for the swing to be fully erected and one wall has intentionally been left blank for the next team (thanks UG26!), to design a sensory wall filled with items of different textures along with some mosaic work, we leave Home Of Hope knowing that this part of the journey for Edith, Tina, Leonnie and friends as well as the amazing team that have bought this to life, is complete. This space will continue to grow and evolve into a space where all kids with all disabilities can enjoy the kind of play some of our own kids take for granted. And what a blessing it is know the foundations are in place for kids to flourish!
After a lightning quick change of clothes, we headed into town and had a great lunch at “The Keep” and then we hit the shops! And boy, did we hit the shops! The bags of wares were opened up when we got back and fair dinkum, it looked like our own market stall. Perhaps we could even start our own business!
We are about to experience Juliet’s lasagne which will be a treat and for the weird ones, we’re have shepherd’s pie!!
Till tomorrow, love and peace from all of us! J

Pics below..

Friday, July 13, 2018

Uganda Team 25 - Day 11 & 12

You might have noticed that we didn’t share a blog yesterday… this was because the group split into two – half of us going white water rafting on the Nile.  We were waiting out the front to be picked up by the driver – and two drivers from two different companies turned up.  Andrew had to make a quick phone call to check which driver we were meant to be going with, and it turned out that a new start-up company was poaching clients from the company that Hopebuilders have been using for years!  Only in Uganda!

It was a super fun day – Josh went on a boat that tackled the most difficult part of the rapids, while Leonie, Monique, Liesje and Philippa went on a medium difficulty boat.  Phil was the only one who ended up in the water, and it wasn’t too traumatic.  We loved seeing this stunning country from the water- it is so lush!  We ate out lunch with all the boats tied together and jumped in the water and let the current take us down the river.  It was just cool being on the Nile River!

The others spent their day sleeping, shopping, eating out for lunch sleeping again, and generally relaxing, which I think was much needed.  The power was out for most of the day, which meant that no one was able to use the internet, and Elisha actually started to read a book!

Today we had a late start – Juliet excelled herself again with delicious half cakes for breakfast – we found some cinnamon and they were so good with butter and cinnamon sugar.  Bananas and peanut butter is a bit of a hit too!  Josh led us in devotions – reminding us that we each have an ‘account’ with 8 400 seconds in it each day and that we are accountable for how we spend each of them, but also that there is time for each different activity under the sun.

YSU was our first stop this morning – a few of us had clothes made by the girls there, so we had a fitting and hung out there for a while, finding out more about the program ‘Wise Choices for Life’ and chatting with the people there.  Luke took us for a walk around the fishing village by the side of Lake Victoria which is right near his house.  Next, we went to Jinja Christian school to join the kids in their chapel time, once again enjoying the amazing voices of the kids, who led us in worship.  Far out, they can sing!  A few kids shared testimonies, we all introduced ourselves (again!) and Andrew shared a brief message.  Once chapel was over we came back to Suubi for lunch and an hour rest before going back to Jinja Christian School to join in sport with the kids.  First, we spent time with the P1 – P3 kids.  Liesje and Hillie entertained them with some singing – ‘I Love to Play the Old Banjo’ and ‘Rejoice in the Lord’.  The kids sang the Ugandan anthem and their school song to us.  We tried to play ‘Octopus’ with them but it was general mayhem trying to get them to understand the rules, so we played ‘Duck Duck Goose’ instead, which generated a few laughs, especially when Josh tapped a whole heap of heads in a row with ‘goose’ and had a flock of kids chasing him across the oval. Once the little kids left, we played soccer and netball with the older boys and girls (with the only two balls in the whole school!) until the end of the school day (4.30pm here).

Suubi is such a great place to ‘retreat’ to… it’s so comfortable, we can all fit around the big dining table and eat together, the doors open wide at the front to let a refreshing breeze through and at the moment we’re enjoying watching one of the dvd’s that Andrew purchased in town yesterday.    We are so blessed!  I can’t believe that another day has slipped by, and there are only three days left!

Check out the pics below.....