Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
The workers have gotten to know us and we them. So we are all more comfortable with one another - laughing and appreciating one another. Our work consisted with teasing one another and Andrew (one of our hosts) and I having a mud fight.
The one thing I have noticed since day one is a worker named Simon. Simon has been looking after me, making sure I'm not overly tired, nor hurting myself and that I'm completely safe. Today a few of us climbed into the back of a truck and went to get a load of bricks. Simon and I were part of this group. As we were on the road, Simon and I were comparing fruit and vegetables that we have in our countries. I had mentioned how we didn't have jack fruit. So at break time he walked down to his grandfather's home and got a jack fruit to share with me. The workers were so excited (clapping and yelling) the moment they saw him walking with this fruit upon his shoulder. Simon made sure I had the first bite. It tasted like a starburst or a combination of papaya and mango. It was sweet but very sticky - very sticky.
(We haven't had sweets here, except for Italian ice-cream. But dessert isn't part of the meals, or rather fruit (especially pineapple) is dessert. I haven't missed all the sweets either!)
As the day progressed Simon was asking me about if we have passion fruit and cocoa. So at lunch time he brought these things too. He wanted me to learn, and he wanted to share his country with me. I brought the passion fruit back to the house and ate it there...very good! The cocoa he cut open at the job site. It was amazing - again very sweet. It looked like a marshmallow inside. Funny thing, it wasn't until after I took a bite of the cocoa (including the seed without realizing it) and then after I ate it wrong, he told me how to properly eat it (sucking the white stuff off around the seed). I guess I gave him a laugh. Simon has shared so much with me and given me these gifts, I wish I had something to give him. But I think he just appreciates that I appreciate his culture.
I have noticed as we broke into teams, how each individual team has bonded. It is good. But then as I went over to help another team finish up their build I experienced a pride, possession and even some competition. And then I have realized just how much we have bonded with the locals at our individual job sites, and each other on our team. I have never expected to become attached to people the way I have become, or the emotions I could experience at a job site. The job was coming to an end today, and the job we were all anticipating and all looking forward to being part of is ending. I don't think anyone of us is ready for this part of our mission trip to be done. For the first time I realized that tomorrow we're going to have to say good-bye to the workers and how hard that will be.
As I walked from one job site to another, by myself I enjoyed the quiet. It was the sound of peace. I did hear different birds chattering and heard some movement in the "bush", but it was still full of peace. And then as I walked into the village I heard children singing - the sound of joy. It brought me pleasure, but oh how much more to God.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
We are about done after today's work and we all feel we are accomplishing much. Of course, we wouldn't be as far if it weren't for the "locals" (the Ugandan workers). Today I focused on a room where three groups were building their walls up on the scaffolding and it was my job to make sure everyone had plenty of mortar and bricks. It was quite tiring but I found joy in helping. My efforts were recognized by the workers and the locals commented because I was a good servant I was I must be a very good wife and mom. I came all the way across the world, without my husband, without my girls and the job I do and home is recognized! Today I'm more tired, still sore but it all feels good.
I have learned that when an African man approaches and says "You're fat!" it is a compliment. African men believe the bigger a woman, the better. Thankfully, I haven't received this compliment!
Again, the smell is getting to me today - so much pollution and so much burning today.
I forgot to mention yesterday about the thunderstorm we had at the end of the day, which stops all work. As we drove through the city the water just flowed down the paths and roads - the earth is dry so it doesn't absorb. It isn't dry because of lack of rain, but more (I think)because of the walking and driving and working on the streets. But when it rains it almost looks like a flash flood.
I'm still amazed of the traffic. Drivers drive with their horns and there doesn't seem to be any traffic laws. On many roads there are square, deep ditches at least two feel deep. There are only a couple of signals I've seen. You have to be aggressive and go, but usually the bigger vehicle wins. We haven't seen one accident, which is amazing in itself. I have admired the way our driver, Abus drives and how he can turn our bus around with traffic on all four sides of him tightly against us. And he turns it around. Only in Africa! I have learned that Abus has driven for three of Uganda's presidents.
The one thing I have enjoyed today was a new sound I hadn't noticed the past couple of days, or perhaps I thought I was hearing birds. But instead I'm hearing monkeys! They are all over but I haven't seen one yet - just their fun sound.
The girls in Gulu were fearful of the men in our group, for they have been taught to be afraid for men will rape you.
One thing I have forgotten to mention is how I have noticed and have heard stories from other teammates of the high reputation Watoto has - and especially with government officials. The other day when we were trying to see the Source of the Nile it was closed to all, however when they found out we were with Watoto they passed us right through security. The same went for those who traveled to Gulu. That gives me more of an insight of Watoto and the character they have. Ugandans, and the Ugandan government associate Watoto with Jesus, that "they" are good and very trustworthy. I recognize how God has paved His way using Watoto to transform this country and is claiming it.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
I see that when God closes the door for one thing He opens the door for something else. So because the door was closed for us to see the Source of the Nile the door was opened for us to go to another babies orphanage (one that is separate from Watoto but if they have babies that aren't adopted out they go to Watoto's care). We were able to have our lunch their as the babies were napping, but once they awoke we were able to play. The caregivers were getting out a swimming pool since it was such a hot day...oh how the kids were so excited. Kids are kids whatever country you are in...they love to play, love the water and love attention. After our tour, after our playtime with the kids we headed home.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Africa could be one of the richest nations. It has so many resources...down to the soil that is used for making bricks. But it has coffee, tea and much produce. It also has many people with many traits. I think it is the government and the division of unity because of tribes that has created the poverty in the nation...at least in Uganda.
Watoto has three villages...one named Bbira (meaning "forest"), another named Suubi (meaning "hope"), and the third is named Buloba. We will visit Suubi and see what is happening there, and we will be working at Bbira. Bbira has a primary and secondary school, and this is where our team will be building a kindergarten room and a teacher's home. Suubi has a primary school and is in the process of establishing a secondary school. Suubi also has a vocational school. This village (approximately 150 acres) homes 816 kids.
It is Watoto's goal to have 10,000 kids in their care.
Watoto is like our foster care system here in the states. So it is the government who approves each child in their care, they also have the ability to take the children away.
A Testimony to what Watoto is doing and how they are impacting Uganda...
We entered the first village - it it such a beautiful and peaceful setting. There weren't many kids seen. We toured the facility and visited with some kids and adults we had seen. We piled back into the buses and drove up the road (about 1/2 hour away) to the next village, which sits at the top of the mountain. Not only is this village peaceful and beautiful but also has a breathtaking view. We toured and a student-worker (part of the vocational school) gave me a personal tour. They teach welding, wood working, and brick making and building. Sewing is also taught in another building. All the things built in the school and built for the school (for example: the cribs).
We were able to walk around in the village where all the homes were. One of my highlights was an eleven year old girl who came up to me, grabbed my hand and took me on a tour of the homes. She made me feel welcomed, and she was so proud and thankful for where she lives. She had only been with Watoto for a couple of years, so she's old enough to know what life was like without the hope Watoto has given her. Watoto has given so many a second chance - just like Jesus. I was sad to have to say good-bye, but I rejoiced knowing that she was in such a healthy and beautiful place.
Dinner was spaghetti! The food has been really good here...nothing like I had expected. And again, Coke or Fanta is always served. Our team gathered for a time to get to know each other - where we shared our names, where we are from and our testimony of why we are involved with Watoto and now in Uganda. So many trials and so many stories were shared. God revealed that He does have a purpose and a plan. He has gathered these people from all over the world and put us together. I also think that many of the people back home think I'm here to bring light to Uganda, but I think it is us - me that is coming here and receiving light to bring back home.
People here are very friendly and welcoming. Is there bad here? Yes, but isn't there bad at home too? Where ever we may be, whatever country we are in we are people who choose our selfish and sinful lives. But it is God that changes the life of His people.
My God Moment -
I remembered how God gave me a heart for orphans back in my teenage years. God is reclaiming my heart and igniting a fire within!