This week we wrapped up home visits and had a staff meeting between PY staff and our partner organization St. Emmanuel CDI. We talked through issues with some of our kids and with some of the schools our kids attend. We discussed issues in our programs and worked together to find ways forward to improve and strengthen our programs. After a long meeting it was time to join together for a meal to celebrate all that has been accomplished this year and to pray for all that is to come. After our meal, it was time to head out because the next day we had to travel to Kampala to finish our time visiting our feeding program in the Acholi Quarter. Then we say “see you later” because we NEVER say good-bye. It never get easier and it’s always hard to leave the village.
It was one last stop at our building to check on the progress, the guys have been hard at work and now we have the beginnings of a roof. Together with our social worker we walked inside and wrote scripture on the bricks before they put the plaster so our building will always be built on the foundation of God’s word.
On the way to Kampala we stopped in Mokono to visit the home of one of our longtime friends, Moses, where we shared a meal and met his family, including his newest little one. We loved getting to visit with them and get to know them. Once we made it to Kampala, we checked into our usual hostel and caught up with our friends who are on staff.
The next day it was off to the Acholi Quarter, where our feeding program is. We reached early and found our cooks busy preparing porridge and the community kids starting to line up. Our primary cook Agnes always has the biggest smile on her face when she sees us, she is one of the hardest working women I have ever known. She is tiny and older, but fierce and strong. We found our secondary cook Doreen inside the community building lining up cups, preparing for all the school children who would be coming in for porridge during their morning break from school. Currently our program is feeding 200 children in the community and 350 from the three surrounding schools.
Our program coordinator and long time friend, Santina, came in with her new baby girl and she is just the cutest little one. And before too long Mama Oyet and Jennifer arrived and there were lots of hugs and catching up. Knowing these amazing women over the last 8 years, I have grown to love and respect them for all they have overcome in their lives and how hard they work to have a better future.
After the school kids came and got their porridge and all was cleaned up, it was time to meet with our staff to see how the program was going; if there were any concerns and if anything needed to change. Aside from needing some new supplies, all is good in the program and we are proud of the impact it is having. We also distributed the clothes that were donated by the Red Bird Project to hundreds of kids in the Quarter.
We spent the next couple of days visiting the Quarter, and one day our friends Geoffrey, Joel, Tendo and Vicky joined us to see our program. The kids love when we have visitors. They quickly gathered and taught our friends some local games.
We took some time on Saturday to travel about 2 hours away to Buwama where our friends Joel and Tendo have their project called Tuzuule Art Project. When we arrived the kids were finishing their devotionals and preparing for breakfast. I had the opportunity to serve the kids alongside their staff and then it was time for games. Lots of games. We had stopped along the way to pick up some sweeties (candy) so the kids were excited to compete and play for them. Before long it was time for lunch and as the kids prepared for their art lesson, we had to head back to Kampala. I am so proud of Joel and Tendo for the way they are loving and serving the children there and can’t wait to see how their project grows.
Sunday was family fun day, my big brother David joined us at the hostel for some swimming and hanging out. Then we headed to Ndere Cultural Center where we got to experience tribal dances from all around Uganda which was amazing. After 8 years of loving this country, I still experience new aspects of the culture. At the beginning of the show the emcee asked where everyone in the audience was from…so many different countries from around the globe were represented. Throughout the show so many different tribes from across Uganda were showcased. At the end of the show the emcee said if all these countries can come together to watch a show and all these tribes can come together to perform then we should all come together to dance…so we did! While we were down on the dance floor one of the performers started showing me how to do different dances, it was so much fun. We danced together long after almost everyone else had left. It was the perfect way to end our trip…reminding me of all the reasons I love this amazing country.
Today we make the trek to Entebbe, our last day is always planned by our friend Job, who does everything in his power to make sure no tears are shed on our last day and keeps us laughing right up to the point where he leaves us at the airport gate….until next time my beloved Uganda.