Friday, July 22, 2011


A couple of times many years ago - back when I was a young footballer trying to find his way - I had the pleasure of hearing the late Allan Jeans deliver some coaching addresses. Apart from the fact that he did not pronounce "perform" properly (it was more like preform) I remember him stressing the importance of teamwork and of each member of the team doing their job to ensure that the team 'preformed' to its maximum.

Over the last two months the whole teamwork thing has been very evident here at Village of Hope. We have had the pleasure of a number of 'visitors' (although we don't call them that here) coming to spend time at the village, each one bringing their different talents and putting them to good use.

First off we had John & Judy Fooks and Roger & Sandra Beimers for two weeks in June. They were the first people to stay in the not quite completed at the time Suubi House. They worked very hard to assist in getting a number of things done both at the house and at the village. We have cupboards in the kitchen, a roof on house 5, a much better sorted office just to name a few. As well as that they did their part in refreshing us, both with the beautiful Aussie lamb and real cheese they managed to import for us and the week that we were able to spend with them at 2 amazing game reserves in Kenya. Of course the real highlight of the trip was 'Mama John's' Sunday lunch for all at the village.

A couple of days after returning from Kenya we welcomed John's sister and brother in law Louise and Hank Noorbergen. Louise put her nursing background to good use, not only in treating many people from the community and a couple of village injuries, but she also did a power of work researching the best way for health to be improved in the area. As a result of her searching people out and using some of Anne's contacts, she was able to get important people together to develop village health teams which will lead to local people in a number of the surrounding villages being trained in first aid and as the first point of call for anyone needing medical attention. Meanwhile Hank went quietly about his business working on a water plan for the village. One of our biggest challenges here at the village is having a consistent and adequate water flow. In the process of his work, Hank discovered a large water leak that we had no knowledge of that was consuming about one half of the water use at the village. Having fixed that, he then developed a plan to make a sustainable, consistent water supply for the village. He got so enthused about this that he has delayed his return to Australia by about 10 days to get as much of it in place as he possible can. So by now we have a new tank delivering water to all of the houses and soon this will be being filled from a large tank that collects rainwater from the roof of the houses. Not to be outdone by her brother, Louise and Hank also prepared a meal for the village before their departure.

Then of course we have had the last couple of weeks with the wonderful team 9 led capably by Andrew Boonstra. These guys really did demonstrate what a team can do when it functions well. In their just on 2 weeks here they managed to complete the brickwork of an entire house. Other teams have gotten as far as the ring beam, but these guys timed their day off to go white water rafting to perfection so that the ring beam could be done and then they used the next 2 days to complete the top courses of bricks. And it wasn't all building. Andrew barely got his hands dirty as he was very tied up doing all of the things the other board members had set him to do whilst he was here. Fortunately he had a trusty lieutenant in Jordan who cracked the whip on the building site and kept the others working. Stan made himself incredibly useful, doing many other tasks around the place as well of being busy with the mudbricks, and Hetty discovered the sewing machines that we have here, dusted them off and began again the process of teaching the mothers to use them for repairing clothes and making new ones for the children. She also helped our budding cook, Lucy, in preparing some of the meals. All of the team made a great impact with the village community and also with some of our neighbours, and all were amazingly generous in many different ways.

And now, the mzungus have all gone, but still the team grows. Today, Robert and Millie moved their belongings from YWAM which has been their home for the last few years to the Admin block at the village. They are becoming the new Village Managers and a very important part of the team. We are looking forward very much to working with them in the coming months as they step into this role and we step out of it. I will 'introduce' them more in a coming post.

So, teamwork is a good thing, and Allan Jeans was right.

In fact I think someone talked about this stuff a few years before.
In 1 Corinthians 12: 12 and following, Paul wrote: The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. . . .
Thank God for the many parts of the body and their contributions to this village, not only those mentioned above but everyone who has and will play a part.

Some more of the teamwork that goes on here - and afar.

The local team, in uniform of course, who worked tirelessly to build Suubi House.

A eam of ladies in Melbourne have made quilts so that each of the children and mothers could have their own handmade quilt.

Even giving birth here is a team thing. Anne got to be very involved in the birth of Racheal and Robert Kafeero's new son, George William.

The mothers being a team during the farewell dinner for Luke.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The picture above shows the finished product as of yesterday lunch time, the official end of our 'work' tasks at the village! We were able to get the house to the top of the windows and more. We were able to get the ring beam in place and all the door and window lintels, then lay the four courses of bricks above it. It is now ready for the roof. Of course the clean up took quite some time too, as working with mud and mudbricks creates heaps of dirt and rubble in the house.
The team is doing well. We went to church this morning and then this afternoon was spent in town picking up souvenirs and paintings that were ordered.
This evening we will eat with the children of the village and say our farewells. This is always hard on the children as they bond pretty quickly to the teams. They all have written us letters and drawn pictures for us to remember them by, and we will give them replies to their letters tonight.

There are som many stories to tell and individual experiences.. way too many to put up here. I encourage you to ask one or a few of the team members to tell you what they experienced and get a glimpse of what it's like being in Africa.

Tomorrow we pack and clean Suubi house and leave for the Capital Kampala. We will spend a night there before catching a very early flight on Tuesday to Kenya. We will drive from Nairobi to the Masai Mara, where we will spend 2 days at a safari park. This will be a time of relaxing but also exciting as we will see the many animals of the African savannah. We are all looking forward to it.

Some of us are still struggling a bit with stomach upsets so we'd appreciate your prayers for that as we travel, but otherwise we are well.
The blog will not be updated from Kenya as we will not have access to internet.
Thank you for your prayers and support! They are appreciated and felt.

Team 9

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The girls celebrating the end of the day!

Monday of the second week, and the goal is looking more realistic. It's hot and steamy and we haven't had rain since we came, but the team is doing a great job. We are enjoying the help of a few excellent Ugandan workers too. Today we were able to mount the windows in and begin to brick the walls up around them.
Yesterday was a special day for us and the kids of the village. In the morning we went off to their church and enjoyed a typical African church service. Lots of clapping, singing and dancing around. Many moments of raising our voices to glorify God and to top it off some of our kids sang some item songs up the front. Us white people are amazed at the parts of the African body that can shake and move during dance!!
The afternoon was spent taking all of the children in the village out to a resort swimming pool. No mean feat, organizing 32 small and not so small children into bathers and into the pool. Some of the children had been before and some had not. Africans don't usually swim, so it was a thrill seeing the small ones get so excited, although some of them were so frightened.
We finished the afternoon off with sodas and cookies as a treat before the kids all went home tired and satisfied, and we the team went and sat at a restaurant by the Nile to have dinner.

Most of the team are doing well except for a few tummy bugs and slight nausea. We are tired by the end of each day but well satisfied.
We value your prayers heaps and look forward to telling more stories as the days go by.

Team 9

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Team 9 update

The new SUUBI (hope) house

A fresh update from team 9 in Uganda..

Well, we're a week in (sort of). Today we finally got the house up to window stage! This is half way to roof belt height which is our goal!

Last night we had the opportunity to have supper with the children of our village. We split the team in half so that half of us had supper with house 1&2 and the other half with house 3&4. After supper the whole village got together for devotions. We were treated to a fantastic, refreshing time with God hosted by our wonderful children. Most of us went home humbled when we compared our children's passion for God and how they express it, with our own!

Instead of me writing heaps this time, I've asked a few team members to write some reflections for you to read, and of course check out the photos below...

Keep up the prayers! We are well aside from a few tummy bugs, and we are safe......



The last week has been a steep learning curve, but incredibly rewarding! From never laying a brick in my life to working 8 hour days laying bricks. The physical aspect of our days is tough but the relational parts are incredible. The friendships that have developed within our team are life long and the interaction with the children are always a highlight to our days! My highlight so far is participating in worship and devotion with the kids. Their passion in praise and worship is inspiring and a lesson we could all learn.


When I first heard that there was a mission trip to Uganda to help build a mudbrick house for young kids I thought to myself, “Who me? I'm not sure I've got what it takes...” But wow has it been an incredible experience! Working all day laying bricks, something I never thought I'd ever do, spending afternoons with the kids and even taking part in their boisterous singing and devotionals has been a truly unforgettable experience! I came here thinking I would change their lives but instead mine has been changed by their pure love for God and their beautiful joy for life, even though materially I have so much more than them. An amazing and touching first week in Uganda, one I will never forget!


Ten muzungus (white people) came to Uganda to build a house but so much more has happened! We have made some amazing friends and become part of a really special community in the short time we have been here. Yes, the house is going up, and it hasn't always been smooth sailing but the obstacles have taught us much about this beautiful place and how to adapt and work as a team. I'm loving Africa!!!


Below: 2 deep thinking building men!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It's the end of Thursday and we've been working on site now for three and a half days. We are beginning to get traction now. We are waiting for some bitumen to arrive from Kenya that has been held up at the border. We need this for the external walls so it has slowed us a bit. Not that we've not found work to do though. We've been painting, cleaning, fitting skylights, re-fitting solar panels, cleaning houses after construction, checking and making sure sewing machines work properly, cleaning out and re-organizing the whole tool shed and more!! We hope to see the bitumen tomorrow sop that we can pull up the external walls to match what we've done internally. The temperature has been high the last few days (unlike Melbourne we hear!), and the heat takes it's toll, but all in all, the team is doing a fantastic job!
It's been fun interacting with the kids as they come home from school in the afternoons too. Teaching them songs and learning (sort of!) a few ourselves. On Friday evening we'll be eating with children and doing evening devotions with them, then on Sunday afternoon we'll take them out swimming. This is always great fun and a treat for the kids. For us too by the way!
The power here is irregular. The government is having trouble keeping up with the demand which means we have power for 12 hours or a day, then not for the next day or 2. Water is also a little unpredictable, but we've had enough when we needed it albeit slow...
We are eating well, very well in fact. The weight loss some of us were counting on may certainly not happen! We have a wonderful young lady called Lucy, who has just graduated from YWAM's vocational training school, and needed to have some experience cooking for a group as she'd like to be a cook. We have enjoyed her work and will be able to write a recommendation for her CV.

We are all still well, and keeping safe. We'd appreciate your continued prayers if you're following this blog. We do not take for granted anything in Africa and know that God is with us.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

First update from team 9 in Uganda..
After a long flight we arrived together with all our luggage and yes that is almost a miracle.
We then had a long drive back to the village as there had been plenty of rain and the traffic was chaos. 120 kms in about 4.5 hours!
We woke the next morning ready (sort of!) to go for it at the building site.
The first job to do was finish off making some trusses and then clean up the site and slab ready to work on. The requisite looking for all the tools necessary took a while too.
Working hard!! The top one has a pretty lady!! (the blogger is a bit biased!)

The ladies did an admiral job carting barrow loads of mud bricks the whole length of the it's site to make stacks ready to use. The afternoon yesterday was spent discovering Jinja, getting money out of the ATM machines and checking out the main street. The day was finished off with a dinner at 2 Friends (a local restaurant) as a team with Ron, Anne, Hank and Louise. Very nice!
The new mission house (Suubi we call it) is our lodging place, and apart from a few small bits and pieces it's shaping up to be a premier place to stay.

Stan and Ron were able to fit one of the skylites we took over which made a huge difference inside. Can't wait till the second one is in. The solar power system is beginning to work and Ron's patience with the local power providers saw power being connected and working yesterday. A fridge with cool drinks is luxury here, and we sure appreciate it!
Tomorrow the walls begin to be built up higher and it'll seem like we are really moving.
The weather is hot and steamy but we are all doing OK with enough water and rest when needed
A lovely morning sunrise today!!

We'd appreciate your ongoing prayers for our health and safety, as well as for good working conditions..