Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Team 14.. our final day before safari..

So today was our final day in Uganda!!!  :(
Some of us got up at 5am to trek up monkey mountain and check out the sunrise....  It was a while in coming, but eventually we saw the sun popping it's head up.  While waiting though, we enjoyed a magnificent view!!
A quick breakfast where some of us enjoyed our last rolex's, then it was up to the village for a prayer walk around the village and to chat about our reflections!!
Then it was off to town for our last quick shopping trip.  This was to get our last souvenirs, hit the banks for some last minute cash and have a relaxing lunch...
After getting back to Suubi house, we got together for a debrief session.  Considering some of us are staying on for a few days or doing different stuff, we wanted to spend some time together to listen to each other and hear reflections of our time..  It was so nice to see and hear how close we had grown together, and how much we were able to achieve in just a short time together.  Suffice to say that we will always share a special bond as Team 14!!
Later in the afternoon, we headed up to Village of Hope to see the kids put on a great program fo dance and song and ceremony.  We had speaches, thank you's, sodas,  food and as we said farewell lots of tears and hugging.  Letters were exchanged, facebook addresses were exchanged and promises of emails were made....
Back at Suubi, the big pack and clean began (and is still going as I write).
Tomorrow morning at 5am we'll hit the road and head on to Kenya to the Masaai Mara.  Hopefully we'll see the 'big 5' animals and have a relaxing time.
For me (the Author) it has been a privilege to lead this amazing team.  Motivated and hard working, passionate and compassionate are all words that describe this team!!

We have appreciated your prayers and ask you to keep praying for safety as we travel and as we head home soon

As usual, check out the photos below....  adios!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Team 14 update.. the end draws near!!

Sunday today...  that means a sleep in and a later start!!
Off to church for our 2.5 hour service..  Lot's of singing,  clapping and dancing.  It's always fun for us to see our children leading in worship and praising God the way they do!! And, we even had our very own JaJa John sing for us too!!!
After church and a quick lunch, we headed to the village to play with the children at Village of Hope, and hand out the Hygiene packs donated for each child by Hallmark Cards.  It was so much fun to see the children's excitement as they received a toilet bag full of things they can use.  They were so blessed with such a small gift...  truly humbling!!
Tonight we went to the Black Lantern to celebrate Corey's birthday just gone and Nikki's coming up.  A wonderful relax before dinner looking over the Nile river, than a great meal to end off the evening.
Tomorrow is the last day for most of us, so we'll be doing our last minute shopping tomorrow, doing a team debrief and spending time with the village kids to say farewell...  Then it's off to Kenya at 5am Tuesday morning.
It's gone so fast, and yet we have been able to do so much.
We're well aware of God's protection and care that we've been blessed with during our time.  We're continuing to pray for the rest of our time here in Africa and especially as we do a lot of travelling.
We appreciate all of you reading the blog and really appreciate your continued prayer...

Got a few pics for you today...

JaJa, rockin it up in church!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Team 14 news catch up....

Time to catch you up on the last 2 days....
Yesterday began with us visiting Home of Hope, which is a home for severely disabled children.  For most of us this was very confronting.  Edith, the manager has a disabled child herself, and felt that God called her to help other children as well.  They have 26 children living at the home full time, and they visit many more in their homes helping the parents to learn how to cope with their disabled children, and trying to develop micro enterprises and training to help them earn money.  Their goal is to encourage parents to actually 'keep' their children and not leave them at a home.  We began by giving them 4 large bags of gifts and clothes donated by Casey CRC, which was hugely celebrated.  Many of the children had their new clothes fitted right there and then!  Huge excitement!!  Then we were able to put the children into all sorts of wheelchairs and take them out for a walk.. That was enjoyed by both the kids and the team.  Again, it was a confronting and impacting time, but we were glad we'd been able to be a part of it.
The afternoon was spent at Jinja Christian school, doing sport with the children there and having a tour of the school.  After that we enjoyed an afternoon tea provided by Anne and Ron.
For supper we went to Robert and Rachael's home and enjoyed a great meal supplied by them and head from Robert of some of the needs and challenges for Village of Hope.  Again, a really nice night!!
Today was our last day of work at Village of Hope.  Some of us were helping to clean the building site, and some of us helped Ivan in planting seedling trees around the village.  Each tree was assigned to one of the children to help looking after it. 
This evening, we had our movie night at the village.  Hallmark cards donated a projector and screen, so we were all able to sit in the community hall and see Lion King 2.  So great seeing all the children watching the big screen!!!
We're in our final days here and doing lots of wrapping up things.....
Keep us in your prayer as we wrap up and prepare to travel to Kenya.

Lots of pics today.. check 'em out!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

A different day for team 14!!

Today was a rest day for the team.
Half the Team decided on living life on the edge with a rafting trip down the Nile, while the half opted for a much more relaxing day shopping and sitting by a resort pool.
For the relaxers the day started with a late get up and breakfast followed by an hour sorting out the health packs ready for handing out to the Village on Saturday. We then went into town for banking, window shopping, and cool drinks at the Source of the Nile cafe. At lunch time we were driven to the Black Lantern restaurant where we relaxed by the pool, ate lunch while monkeys danced in the trees above our heads, and drank freshly squeezed fruit juices to views of the Nile river below us.
As the day wound to a close no one wanted to leave the tranquility of the resort or the fresh relief of the pool, but home we went.
On reflection, we felt we deserved a bit of pampering today.....

Check out the photos of our day!!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

We did it!!!!

Today was another building day at the Village. We all went with a goal to get the bricks past the window line. Hard but not unachiveable with all worked together.
What a day, it started with the whole team lining up to get bricks into the house to complete the inside walls.  Once this was completed the Team broke into three, some went to finish painting the doors and windows, some worked to make the mud to cement the bricks, and others worked to lay the bricks. By lunch we were 2 courses down and 2 courses to go, right on target.
Tired bodies came back to Suubi House for lunch, the challenge was still in front of us to walk back to The Village of Hope to complete the work. But after another great Juliette lunch, a 2 hour rest, and more supple encouragement from staff-sargent Chris, we all trudged back to start the work.
I think one of the great experiences of the trip has been the way the team has jelled and worked so hard for each other and with the Ugandan builders who were working with us. Today was a great example of this. All dropped into their tasks like a well oiled machine and by tools down the outside walls of the house had reached to top of the windows goal achieved.   
A lot of very tired bodies walked slowly back to Suubi happy in the knowledge of task accomplished.
Whilst we were busy building Helen and JaJa John (aka John Haartsen) had the opportunity to share with the HIV mothers group run by Judith.  They were able to listen to their stories, pray with them and celebrate with them what God is doing.  They were able to see how the micro finance system operated by the women works, and that it has changed so many of their lives. It was a privilege for them to see it!!

Again..... Photos below..  Enjoy!!

White man can dance!!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Team 14 Happenings...

So today started a little earlier for 3 of us (Andrew, John & Charles) as they headed off to Palissa for Andrew to see the work that has been done by HopeBuilders there as well as form a board to manage the project in a small town called Ngalwe.
The rest of the team got into it at the building site.  The goal was to get as much done as possible because we'd like to get the house up above the windows by the time we leave.  We only have a few full days of building left so the pressure is on!!
A rain shower just before lunch had us doing a panic to cover our brickwork, only to see the rain stop when we'd finally covered it all!!!
Lunch was a well deserved break than it was into it again for the afternoon.  Our plan was to work until 6 pm so that we would get heaps done, but alas, we ran out of bricks and the truck that was supposed to come to bring up more from the bottom of the block didn't turn up till late.  So, we all got into loading the truck 3 times with bricks and formed human chains to stack them.  We are ready for tomorrow now..  bricks galore!!
This afternoon we also discovered that we have a new calf.  It was born on Sunday, so we had to check it out!!
We finally dragged ourselves home at 6.30, tired and very hungry.  Lucky for us, Juliette and Alice had cooked a large pot of spaghetti bolognese for us to eat and there was none left! 
Have a look at the photos below for an impression in pics...

A brand new addition to the farm!

Human chains make work go faster!!

The completed school builing at Ngalwe

Our new Ngalwe board!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Another day with Team 14..

Today we started the day with the delicious smell of mandazas being freshly baked by Juliet and Alice, our beautiful cooks. When we finished breakfast we got geared up to go to work up in the village of hope. We only got one course of bricks up on the house today as we only worked a half day. We finished up at the work site at 11:30 and headed back to Suubi house for lunch. After lunch we got cleaned up and organised and headed to visit Fred and Judith who run divine holistic ministries to do home visits. Our team broke up into four groups and each group visited two homes giving to each home one kilo of sugar and a long bar of soap to people in need of such simple products that we take for granted back home. When we visited the homes of the people who kindly invited us in we were able to deliver their gifts, hear their testimonies and pray for them. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we all were very moved by their testimonies and how appreciative they were that we visited and gave them gifts. After the home visits we gathered with the women of the community that made everyone feel so welcome as they greeted us with singing and dancing. Everyone from the team introduced themselves and Andrew shared an encouraging message to the women of the community. We handed out sugar and soap to the women and clothes for them to have and the smiles on their faces was a truly a blessing to see. As we finished up the team split up and prayed for the women, most of them didn't speak English and couldn't understand what we were praying about but still appreciate every word we were saying. The day came to a finish and the team sat down together and we reflected on our thoughts and feelings on the day. Everyone took something different from the home visits and it was nice to hear everyone's own special impressions. I think the whole team agreed on one thing, that it was so beautiful to see the people so grateful and how far a little gesture such as sugar, soap, a visit and a simple pray can change someones life.