Our hearts are sad to leave the Village of Hope but in Ugandan Village of Hope custom the visitors were given a wonderful farewell event. It was filled with highlights of our teams efforts and work completed... re-rendering all houses, the farm house and the admin centre, driveway and garden work at YSU and the teams funded project, the painting of the inside and out with the kids decorating the inside with pictures of their culture plus things that are important to them...
its been a great trip with a great team.
This journey has left a great impact on us all...
We pray for a safe journey to Kenya and then on to home in a few days where we look forward to seeing all our family and friends.
Update of our activities since our last blog update...
Thursday after doing some craft activities at the village we headed out to the women's prison where we were all challenged and blessed abundantly. There are so many people waiting for their appeals to be heard and many with limited help from family or social supports we would expect at home was a real challenge. On a brighter side, their worship was incredible and their genuine sense of real worship was awesome. We tried our best muzingo and realised we needed to recruit Juliette as our own worship leader and sung some of our own songs before sharing a word which was well received.
Friday we had a day off and visited the Nile and had a great relaxing lunch at the sailing club then we headed off of the usual boat ride where we got the full treatment of birds, otters, monkeys and lizards.
Saturday we spent at the village with the kids helping them paint the decoration pieces on the main hall and it's almost finished with their culture and meaningful sketches being coloured in and they love the new look. We also had a scratch match of netball where we were thanked for our enthusiasm but we're excised for the real game and that took off between the left side and the right side and it was great to watch.
Sunday was a day in church and Damian was asked to share a message, then it was off to Jinja for our last time.
The last few days seem to have flown and all of a sudden we are starting our last day here and will have our farewell later today.
When talking to our team we all agreed there are not enough words to describe everything we have seen, the beauty, the amazing culture, their happiness and yet all contrasted with many challenges as we have described in the postings on the blog.
There is much we can all do whether it be prayer, volunteering for HopeBuilders, supporting a house, supporting someones university fees, YSU attendees or the Home of Hope. One of the best things someone can do is come on a team and be inspired and challenged like this team and every team before us.
Team 27 sat around the lunch table today and without a doubt our highlight for this trip was the time we spent yesterday at the village. We all split up and were allocated a house mumma who we sat with and were taught how to make chapatis, this was a real experience as we learnt how women in Africa provide meals for their families, even the chickens enjoyed sticking their beaks in the chapati bowl much to our alarm considering we would be sharing this meal with the family later in the day.
We all remained at different houses to enjoy a meal with the house mummas and her children and what an amazing time we had. We participated in eating a meal (albeit wih our fingers.) After the meal was a time of prayer, praise and reading the bible all lead by the children. Lots of questions were asked by the children of some of us and it was so wonderful to share with them and see the enthusiasm and delight in their eyes.
Today we went to YSU (youth support Uganda) to help do some maintenance jobs around the garden and some painting.
We finished the afternoon with some shopping and eating in Jinja.
Have had a great past few days filled with sunshine and laughs.
Saturday morning, the team spent the morning painting the village main hall a cream colour. The kids ended up taking over the brushes, they did a great job!!
Afterwards we played a few team games with the kids which was quite a great deal of ‘excitement’ as the scores were announced and the rules were debated
Sunday morning we headed to church until about lunch time and in the afternoon headed back to YSU where the boys and girls showed us their hip hop dancing they had been learning.
On Monday morning we put our gloves back on and rendered the admin building with cow dung, red dirt, sand, water and molasses. We then headed to Hope Community High where Damien represented Australia in a game of volley ball against the school volley ball team- he did Australia proud!!!
Tuesday morning we went to visit Home of Hope where each of us took a few of the kids on a wheelchair ride up the road and back, it was nice to hear their laughs. The Home of Home are a great organisation where they take in and look after children/adults with severe disabilities. And spent a lovely afternoon learning to cook with the village mothers and eating with all the kids.
please put reference HCS so we can recognise your donation is for this cause.
Team No.27 visited Hope Community High today to see the amazing work that is being done here to educate children who would not be able to go to secondary school without this school and the generosity of their director Robert. This school was opened in 2008 and charges a fraction of the fees of other schools, charging only $180,000 shillings ($70au) in comparison with other schools in the area that charge between 1.1million shillings ($480au) to 2.5million shillings ($1,000 au ) per term. Hope Community school also never turns away a student who cannot pay which is unheard of in Uganda, if you cannot pay fees you cannot go to school.
Unfortunately somebody (It is suspected that someone who is not happy with Hope educating kids for small amounts of fees came in and set the school on fire.)
Thankfully the children were not in their beds at the time as this was the boarding school buildings. The children who first noticed the fire notified the teachers and with buckets of water attempted to put the fire out on their own, unfortunately by the time the fire brigade arrived the fire had already done its damage and been put out.
The damage caused to the school has been significant and devastating to see 129 senior students sleeping 2 on a mattress in 3 very small buildings because they refuse to stop their education as suggested by the government, these children want to learn no matter the cost.
With the money raised we will be able to purchase new beds for the 129 children to sleep on and also replace their silver boxes which carries their life belongings in and have also been lost.
"HOW CAN WE HELP?" So much need is before us each day we leave Suubi house. So much hunger, so much poverty and story after story of women fleeing their villages because they are being violently abused.
This morning we made our way out to Masese slum area. We went with Ivan HB Village manager and Salima our HB social worker and Jacqui the village HB nurse to greet a government official who had identified five women who were most vulnerable at this moment. We took with us rice, posha, soap, sugar and oil to give them. We listened to their stories and asked if we could pray for them. Lucy and Helen were two of the ladies and their stories were devastating and hard to take in. Lucy had 6 children but one recently died from an accident and Helen had 4 children. They had both run away from other villages to fless violent abuse on a daily basis from their husbands, they had come to Masese slum to get away but still find themselves vulnerable, alone and afraid. They go through the garbage to find scraps to sell and food to give to feed there children. Some days they do not eat but go hungry as they could not find enough scraps.
We walk past a couple of ladies who are producing alcohol from millet to earn money to stay alive even though this is fueling ongoing dysfunction throughout the community but this helps them stay alive.
The kids at the slum run up to us calling out "muzungu, muzungu" (which means white person) just wanting us to hold their hands and love on them. It truly was heartbreaking to see so much need and not be able to do much about it but knowing that we are all commanded to feed the hungry and care for the orphans and the widows. We continue to pray and ask God "show us who we need to be a blessing to today?" We take in the words on the wall at Suubi House that say:
NO ONE CAN DO EVERYTHING BUT EVERYONE CAN DO SOMETHING
In the afternoon we visited Jinga Christian school were all the primary kids from HB village attend. It was great to see the development of the school and the ongoing plans for future growth.
It has been such an incredible last few days that we have gotton to experince. We arrived on Sunday afternoon and was welcomed by some rain, this made the car ride to Suubi house an intresting one. With the wet roads came cars zooming around eachother, driving on the oppoiste side if the road and many gasp as we passed pedestrian we thought were going to get hit. It is safe to say they have their own way if driving that definitely works for them.
Later that night we went to the village where we were indroduced to all the kids. This was a beautuful moment for us as they all came to greet us, ask our names and held our hands. We then played together, sung songs and learnt some dances and others played card games.
Monday was a recovery day for us, we started the day going shopping and scoping out the things we woukd want to buy as well as seeing where the best prices were, out bartering skills were being put to the test. After this we went to a super market and picked up some foods we would give to the families we are going to visit in the slums. This consisted of pocha, rice, sugar, oil and soap. Later that afternoon we went back to the village and played lego with the children.
Tuesday was jamed packed and got all of us working hard. We spent the day at the village rendering the outside of the houses. The render was made out of sand, mud, molasses and cow manure thst had to get mixed together. This is something none of us will forget any time soon. We ended up rendering 11 houses. We were all exhusted after a day out working in the heat, but the feeling of completeing this and knowing it was helping them was definitely rewarding.