Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Village Update from Robert & Milly - 2012 Round-Up!

Praise the Lord and happy new year. Its been a while since we updated the village blog and we are sorry for our dear friends that follow every step of our lives here. We’ve got here all the updates from then.
These are the village children on Christmas evening with the mothers in each house on their new Christmas clothes. We thank God who provided again and gave joy to us and the young ones.

Mama Agnes

This is Mama Agnes’s house, she and Mama Loyce were the first mothers in the village. The children we have Paul and Samuel who are brothers, [young]Brenda, Joan, John, Ibra, Racheal and Derrick.
Mama Rose
This is is mamma Rose’s house she looks after 8 children. That is, Peter who was may be a bit shy for the camera, Robert but commonly known as Sebbude, Micheal, Racheal, [big] Carol who is Racheal’s sister, Martha, Joshua, Steven who is also a brother to Sebudde and [big] Derrick who is maamma Rose’s own son.

Mama Jessica
This is Mama Jessica’s house which was formally Mama Persis (who sadly had to leave us). Mama Jessica is the newest mother and also the village nurse. In  the picture she had 11 children but now she’s got 9 in her house. But in the picture we have [big] Brenda, Christine who is also Brenda’s sister, Carol, Natasha who are sisters and the nurse’s daughter’s, Mark, Purpose, Angella who is Brenda and Christine’s youngest sister, Willington, Cyrus who is also the nurse’s son, William and Wilson who are twins.
Mama Florence
This is Mamma Florence’s house she is also one of the newer mammas, she has got 8 children. That is Peace, Robert, Wycliff, Juma, Aaron who is maamma’s son, Richard, John, Mariam and Irene.

Mama Ruth
This is Mama Ruth’s house she has 8 children with her son who stays at the village during holiday’s. We have Jane, Brenda, Sam maamma’s son, [Small]Esther, Sandra, Grace, Shadia, Olivia and Nuru.
Our Mothers
These are the wonderfull mothers who take care of the our children in the village. They work hard to see that these children are well and happy. We are blessed to have them. We have Mama Loyce who was the 1st mother and also the senior mother, Mama Jessica the nurse, Mama Ruth, Mama Agnes, Mama Florence, Mama Rose.

MUSIC RECORDING - We are soo thankful to God and Joyce and Melissa (our friends from Holland) for having given our children the chance of recording their music. The recording begun last week and is still going on this week and very soon you’ll be able to hear the children’s voices. This is a dream come true.
Visit with Auntie & Uncle
KIKAROMOJA SLUM VIST - We recently went with the children who originally cam from the Kikaramoja slum to go visit their relatives with a few gifts. It was such a touching moment seeing how far the Lord had brought these children from. Some of them were happy to see their relatives, but some even refused to talk to them or even stay with them for a minite without us. 

These are relatives of the 5 sisters [Brenda, Christine, Carol, Racheal and Angela]. We visited their auntie who took care of them after their parent’s death. And on extreme left, is their uncle who lives in the watoto childrens home but had also come to visit the auntie. The girls were soo happy to see him again after a long time.
Mark and his sister
Amuge & Doreen with grandmother 
This is Amuge and Doreen her sister with their grand mother. She was happy to see her grand children and they to were happy.

This is Mark and his sister who recently broke her leg in an accident and now on crutches and in a lot of pain. We prayed for her and please continue praying for her.

It was great joy for everyone in the village, both young and old when our container that our dear Australian friends sent us arrived after a long time of waiting. We are grateful to God for this success and also to the people that gave. Thank you for loving us and blessing us as well with these wonderful things.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Our last day in the village AND Safari!

Our last day in the village started off with working in the morning. We had aimed to finish the fascia on House 7, start putting the puzzle of trusses together which arrived in the container, as well as finishing off the little jobs at Subbi House (I'm still not sure how to spell that). However, it started to rain. So our plans were changed around a little. Instead of working, we went into Jinja to do some last minute shopping and to have another amazing cookie milkshake (or two for some).

We had lunch again at Subi and by that time the rain had cleared, so back to work for us. To be honest, it was quite difficult to maintain motivation on the last day, as well as the couple before that. Thanks to God though, we all kept working hard, and are proud of our efforts. The fascia was completed on House 7, and readily awaits the roofing iron to go on. The framing for the kitchen was pretty much finished, and we also cleaned up the shed (not sure how long it will stay like that).

In the evening, we had a delicious meal of rice and beans with the children and mamas. We also shared in a very special Devotions time with the village. We each had a chance to say a few words, and pretty much everyone suggested that one day they would like to come back.

I've been trying to reflect on how best to describe this trip. My conclusion is that it is too hard. The photos you have seen do not give the people, place or God's creation the justice that they deserve. Yes we have blessed the people of Uganda, more specifically those associated with the village, but they have given back so much more than I could ever have imagined. It is so clear how well God orchestrates these trips and the relationships that are made.

Saying good bye was certainly hard. Not knowing when we would see these beautiful people again, makes it even harder. Knowing that God has the village and their community in his hands, really is a comforting thought. The hope that we have given them, by giving up our time and money is so truly appreciated by them, it is well worth it. The experiences we have had and the people we have met, have changed each of us, for the better. I thank God so much for my time and for his blessings.

As tradition, we finished our trip off with a safari. Once again, this experience showed me how amazing our God is. His creation, his design, his beauty - are just so unfathomable. It was a great chance to bond with the team, share experiences, stories and reminisce. Talking about highlights and things that challenged us, as well as encouraging each other - was really valued. We saw some of the most amazing animals in such a beautiful place. The accommodation (a tent), was far above my expectations, as well as the food. The sundowner in the Masai, was particularly a highlight for me. Watching the sun go down, taking silly photos, and spending time with my new friends was awesome.

(Thanks Ingrid for the safari photos set up)

As we started our travels home, it seemed that each flight, we lost team members (intentionally of course). It started with Mark leaving for home before safari. We said good bye to Ingrid and Michelle in Nairobi, after a beautiful dinner. Next to leave us was Glenn and Nathaniel, as they are staying in Dubai for some quality father son time, and no doubt for some well earned rest for Glenn in particular. Then there were five. Coby, Michelle V, Brad, Marty and myself, all arrived home safely this morning.

Thank you so much for reading our blog, following our stories and whats happening, as well as the encouragement and prayers that have gone up. We are very thankful for all of it. Well, until the next team, please keep praying for the work that God is doing in the Village of Hope and Wairaka.

I would really love to commend Glenn at this time as well. The way he lead our team, whole heartedly, selflessly, and so professionally (most of the time) was appreciated by all of us. He did absolutely everything he could to make it as successful as it was, as well as his list of other things to tick off whilst he was there too.

I'm sure as a team, we'd also love further prayer on settling back into what we know as reality, without forgetting or compromising the new things we have learnt and value.

Michelle B

Friday, January 11, 2013

THE CONTAINER HAS ARRIVED!!!! and we went white water rafting!

The container has finally arrived...

However, the days need to be spoken about in order. Yesterday we had a great day white water rafting. Unfortunately, Mark and Coby did not come with us. Mark (I hope you are reading this) spent his day helping out at Jinja Christian School, whilst Coby spent some time with some of the girls in re-sizing and re-purposing rather large shirts.

A few of us were quite scared about the white water rafting, but it turned out to be a fantastic day. I did learn, rather than saying, ‘Are you from England?’ to say, ‘Where do you come from?’ Luckily, I fixed that mistake quickly, although did flack a lot of cop for it. There was a scary moment, when one of the team took a little while to re-surface, and we were quite relieved when she did. It was a spectacular day, and was great to see a beautiful part of God’s creation.

Although scary, it certainly was a lot of fun. You can never get enough sunscreen on when in the water, so a few of us did have a very pink tinge by the end of the day. I personally, am so thankful to God for keeping us safe, and giving us a great day.

Whilst we were having a ball, the container FINALLY arrived on site at the Village. What a relief and such excitement all at the same time.

Today was our second last day buildering. There is so much more to do, and I’m sure many of us would love to stay to see the houses completed. Marty worked hard all day and got some of the fascia up on House 7, the kitchen framing was worked on, Brad continued on some maintenance at Subbi House and the container started to be unpacked. The girls spent time finishing off brick-laying in the kitchen and painting fascia as well. The container unpacking brought much delight and enjoyment, all at the same time, to everyone involved.

I had a great afternoon talking with Anne about curriculum, reports, discipline, uniforms, planning and all other things school related. Our time in Uganda is quickly coming to an end. I know we have all had a fantastic time and a part of each of us, will be left behind. We are looking forward to our last day building, and spending time with the kids before we leave.

Prayer for the following will be appreciated:

·         Our last day building – that it is productive

·         Safe travels to Kenya

·         The process and emotions involved with saying good-bye

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ugandan happenings of the last few days

It’s been a while since the blog has been updated, so we thought it was about time. On Sunday we had a great time of fellowship at church. Once again, it did go for a while, and finished with Lord ’s Supper. Instead of wine, we had bread and Mirinda (berry flavoured), which was a new experience for all of us. In the afternoon we spent some time in Jinja and then went back to the Village at 5 o’clock.

The time we spent in the afternoon was a challenging, but special time. We had a memorial service for Bert Van Weeghal, Coby’s husband. Ron and Mark Matheson happened to be there, and they also had been on the team with Bert, so were able to share some memories of him and what he had achieved and contributed, while here in Uganda. A lovely plaque has been made in remembrance of him, and will sit on the Hope Builders rock.

Most of us spent Monday building in the morning, and town in the afternoon. The posts for the kitchen went up, as well as some of the beams. Some brick laying was also started in the kitchen as well. A great dinner of spaghetti bolognaise and then ‘Machine Gun Preacher’.

A doctor’s visit in the morning for Michelle B was an experience, as the equipment used, seemed quite ancient. All that was needed was an ear syringe and all is better now. Whilst that was happening, the beams on the kitchen and 5 out of the 6 kitchen trusses were finished. Brick laying was also worked on as well. As for the kitchen, there is one more truss to go up, one more brick wall to be finished and pitching the roof, as well as the actual roofing itself.  

The afternoon was spent on a lovely little boat trip at the ‘Source of the Nile’. Unfortunately for us, we had to pay ‘the rest of the world price’ which is a lot more expensive than local prices. A very funny sign though.

This evening was a different experience again. Walking through the streets of Begembi and purchasing food from the food stalls, was a lot different to the cafes in Jinja. So, if anyone is sick tomorrow, we can probably figure out why.

Continued prayer for the following things would be grand:

·         Finalising and delivery of the container

·         Getting things completed before we leave

·         Saying good-bye and actually leaving

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Reflections from the last couple of days

The last couple of days have been pretty full on and intense. Yesterday morning, we rose at 5 am and walked the half an hour up Monkey Mountain. At the top is a high school, which we had permission to go into and watch the sun rise over Lake Victoria. Despite the really early morning, it was a time of enjoyment for all. Watching the sun rise over Lake Victoria, was beautiful. The mist cleared up before the sun rose, and it was just a really special time. Seeing a different part of God’s creation, having a chance to reflect and spending time together was great.

We had a pretty relaxing morning after that, eating breakfast, fuelling up ready for our day’s visits. In the morning, we visited a childrens home. There are three sections; the babies, the toddlers and the older children. We just spent time with the kids, blew bubbles and blew up balloons as well. These children were quite used to mzungus, but it was great to show them some love. Many children are adopted out of this home, into a variety of countries.

In the afternoon, we spent some time with a couple from Uganda, named Fred and Judith. With Judith, we went into a slum that she often visits. The women that we visited with are a part of a HIV program that Judith runs. We were invited into their homes, and prayed for them. We also gave them practical gifts of sugar and soap. Each of their stories is heart breaking, as well as being quite similar. Often, they don’t have money for their HIV medication, for food, or school fees money for their children. A few of us, also brought bubbles and balloons and spent time with the children from this slum. Seeing their interactions with each other, all to gain a balloon, was quite sad and difficult to fully comprehend.

Both of these visits were eye-opening, as well as challenging.  Regardless of the situation these women are in, their faith in God was clear and encouraging. It was amazing to see how thankful they all were for the simple and practical gifts we gave, as well as purely for our visit. Judith explained to us, that because of their situations, they don’t get visitors. We would love it if you could please pray for these women that we met, that they can continue to love God, and know his love for them and their families as well.

Today we were back on the building site. In the morning, a few of us continued to build trusses. Some of us are even considering giving up our normal jobs back home, to get an apprenticeship in truss building, as we are so pro at it. The roof framing for House 7 is very close to being completed. We would love your continued prayers on getting the container on Monday as well, so that we can continue to work on these houses. A few of the girls got a head start on the trusses for the shared kitchen of House 7 and 8 also.

This afternoon most of the team went to the Paradise Hotel for a swim. Once again, this was a great time to relax, think, and spend some quality time with each other. Some of us were even lucky enough to get a hot shower.

We have one week left in Uganda, working with the village of hope. We would love your continued prayer for the following things:

·         The container arriving by Monday

·         Continued progress on the houses in the Village

·         Prayer for the women that we met in the slums yesterday

·         A few tired and aching bodies

Friday, January 4, 2013

Another day in the village - buildering

Today was another day of buildering, as Glenn likes to call it. The brick-laying of House 7 and 8 was finished yesterday and the trusses started going up today. The first job was to finish the two main trusses of House 7, before it took numerous people to lift them up and put them into place and brace. The three boys with trade experience are doing a great job leading, directing and giving out jobs. We are learning many different things each day, from how to actually make a truss, to nailing in hoop iron and how to successfully eat or distribute your greens.

House 7 trusses and roof work is certainly taking place. The buildering method is a lot less conventional than we are used to, but it does the job. Hoop iron and gang plates are used a lot more often over here, and the process does take a little longer without a nail gun.

A load of rock was also delivered and needed spreading out, which took a lot of muscle power and determination, but a lot of laughs was also had.

Robert K made a visit to check out the progress and his comment was, “You are very close to getting in trouble because you are working too fast”. It sure is satisfying to look at the work that we have completed at the end of the day and remember the reason we are doing it.

Dinner tonight was posho and beans – our first experience, followed by Devotions, capably led by baby Mich and ‘War Dance’, the movie.