Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's been happening?

The slab for the next house is now complete. Last Thursday and Friday a team of very hard working young men mixed and poured all of the concrete for the slab. Alas, they were not able to call on a truck like this one . . .

but they had to do it much harder. A couple of guys mix it all - first the two types of sand are piled up on the ground, then bags of cement are poured on top.

This is then shifted to another pile several times to mix the ingredients. Then the pile is spread out and the stones are spread out on top. Finally, water is added and then the hard work really begins. A hoe is used to push and pull the mixture to get it thoroughly mixed, then its loaded into wheelbarrows
and pushed over the rough stones in the foundations to the spot where its required, tipped out

and spread by a couple more guys.

We had a team of about 8 on Thursday, including yours truly (who spent the day pushing a wheelbarrow) and then only a small section was left to be completed by a few guys on Friday. Now its all done and dried out, ready for the bricks. Some of these workers, particularly Nick, David and Charles have been very much a part of village life whilst we have been here and are becoming good friends. Maybe soon we will tell you more about each of them in a post.

Actually the slab is likely to wait a while before any bricks are laid on it as there should be a container arrive within days containing the roofing for house 5, so those trusses will be made up on the slab where there is a nice, flat surface. Again getting the container released is proving slightly elusive, although there are few of the dramas associated with last years effort. Just waiting on a letter of exemption from the Finance Ministry, but with elections due in 3 weeks, getting someone to write and sign the letter is a tad difficult in the midst of all the campaigning.

The children are readying themselves for the return to school next week. All of the uniforms have been brought out and tested for fitting and any required repairs done by our resident seamstress ("the wife" - thats how she has been referred to on several occasions by others when introducing us or talking about us.) They have also muscled in on several of our Skype calls with friends and family at home - so if you would like to meet them, give us a call on Skype, we're usually available at lunchtime here or about 9.00pm EDT.

The next group of children are almost ready to move in. We have a couple of minor things still to do on houses 3&4 and then in a couple of weeks the village population will double. Everyone here is looking forward to that day very much. The current children in particular are often talking about how they will be able to help the newbies.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Work Continues

Since the departure of the wonderful team last week, work has continued on. The bricks above the ring beam on the house have been completed so it is now ready for roofing. A great job to have this done so quickly.

In the meantime, the foundations for the next house are well on the way. I discovered why this work is always done by the locals, not the teams - its seriously hard work! The rocks that go into the bottom of the foundations are not called "Hard Core" for no reason.

The children have coped well with the departure of the team. There was a little sadness for a while, but there is enough in their lives for them to move on quickly. They have a lot of fun playing with each other and are very creative in their games. Most afternoons a young man, Emmanuel, comes in and teaches them some singing and dancing. One of the exercises he was using was "Doe Ray Me.." This was being heard all around the village, then for their Friday movie treat, they had the chance to watch "The Sound of Music" which caused much excitement. Now they are adding "So long, farewell . . . " to their repertoire.

Rex and Robert celebrating the commissioning of the new bus as the last team members were about to leave.

The children saying farewell to the team

Paul in the doorway of the newly built house

Nick and David do the "hard core" work of building the foundations of the next house

Charles sets the levels for the slab

27 children pack into the TV room for The Sound of Music

Friday, January 7, 2011

Two weeks back,we had a very great team visit us with an aim of building a house! They have been able to do this and meet their goal in just two week, its been a unique wonderfull team full of team spirit hence they've been able to accomplish all this great work within a short time. A special thanks to all the team members who have dedicated their time, money to see this building set up!!
at the moment the team members are doing final touches on small things that need to be fixed around the village!

Yesterday we just blessed the village near by us with a mosquito net per house hold, we also said a prayer for each house hold,the people in this village really saw the love of Christ flow to them,by doing this, malaria is somehow curbed in this slum area. Hopefully next time every one will get a mozzie net so that the rate of malaria infection is prevented ofcourse as we teach them other preventaive measures to reduce malaria. Malaria is becoming a number one killer in uganda. This should not worry you since your time here you are to take anti malarial drugs.

With dedication,all things can happen and with team spirit,things go very fast! If youve been contemplating coming over here,please do,because ive seen wonderfull team who may be older than you laying the bricks and building a wonderfull house,where the kids will be staying.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas Day at the Village - a little late - sorry!!

What a priviledge to spend a Christmas Day at the Village of Hope in Uganda. After being there almost two years ago as a family, when we were with the first team that started the building of the homes, to now return and see children living, laughing and enjoying life in the homes, was amazing!

Christmas Day dawned and seemed to be shaping up to be a hot one. After breakfast at the Village together with Luke we set off for church (a short walk) together with the children. The church service was quite an experience – we had a great time of prayer and then some special items including one with a group of young children singing, this group included many of our VoH children. It then started raining with thunder and lightening – this meant that we couldn’t hear the speaker, even though he was yelling – as well as his interpreter. Then the roof started leaking and the preacher continued oblivious to all that were moving and trying to avoid getting wet. Yes this was Africa and a Christmas service not to be forgotten.

The service was followed by an amazing feast prepared by our mothers with the help of some of the older girls. The whole tribe gathered in the Admin building otherwise known as “Uncle Luke’s home” and there we had rice, matoke, cabbage, irish potatoes, beef, chicken and chapattis, and after eating we had a treat of sodas – yes fanta, coke, mountain dew and other flavours. After lunch we were feeling like a siesta, however the kids had other ideas – it was time to dance! So we were then treated to some amazing performances – these kids certainly know how to move and music and rhythm is definitely “in the blood!”

As far as the children were concerned this had been a ‘perfect’ Christmas Day especially as they had sodas, they weren’t expecting anything more, they just wanted to keep dancing and singing. So when we brought out the ‘shoe boxes’ which had been beautifully filled for each of the children, the mothers, Ivan, Robert and Michael our farmer, it was incredible to see their faces. The simplest things in these boxes were bringing so much enjoyment and happiness – WOW! Thank you to the members of WCCC and Bakers Delight in Wellington Village for filling these boxes and bringing so much joy to these awesome children.

We ar now looking forward to the arrival of the Vandenbergs (Luke’s family) tomorrow and then the Vanderzaags and the team on the day after.

The Popps are now in India - more amazing kids!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Powering on

Under Damian's leadership, the team is powering on and the walls are rising at great speed. After less than a week they are 2/3 of the way up to door and window height. I think the way some of them are going, they hope to Join Damian on his next big bike ride.
We have been helped by some new friends of ours. Emmanuel, Charles, Nick and David are all good workers who keep us going and provide lots of good conversation. They are also helping us with learning some basic phrases in Lugandan
Yesterday we enjoyed church with the children at Abundant Life and then went to town for a swim at a pool at a hotel. Lots of fun was had by all, and some of the children are learning how to swim on their own.