Saturday, June 26, 2010

David Family








Last night (Fri.) at devotions we were humbled to hear expressions of thanks for our time here at New Hope. Tonight as we gathered over a shared meal of matoke (bananas), rice and beef (a special treat) we were reminded again of the wonderful feeling of family which flourishes here at New Hope. We have been welcomed with open arms and it will be very hard for all of us to leave the people we have been privileged to live among the last seven weeks. We hope you enjoy these pictures of our friends from the David family. We have so many stories to share but for now we'll let these photos to the talking.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Burial


Yesterday (June 23rd) David and I attended a burial for the grandfather and uncle(father figure) of three of the children from 'David' family. We had been praying for this man at the David family devotions. K. (who is pictured here with David) has been so gracious to us; happy to show us what work we can do in the gardens and translating for us as we lead devotions. When he dropped by the house on Tues. to tell me of his uncle's passing I was struck by the depth of his faith. Several of the staff here travelled about 30 minutes away to where the burial took place at the family home. A large crowd of family and members of the community had gathered to eat together. A local pastor preached and then the body was wrapped in cloth, placed in a simple wooden coffin and then carried a few steps away and buried under coffee trees. I would ask that you remember these three young people in your prayers as they cope with yet another heartache.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On the Banks of the Nile






The afternoon of our second day was spent on a boat cruise down the Victorian Nile. We saw many, many hippos cooling off in the water. The crocodiles sleep with open mouths to regulate their body temperature. I couldn't resist singing an old Pioneer Camp song to the kids.
Oh she sailed away
On a sunny, summer day
On the back of a crocodile
"You see," said she "it's as plain as plain can be
I'll ride him down the Nile"
The croc winked his eye as she waved them all good-bye
Wearing a happy smile
At the end of the ride,
The lady was inside
And the smile was on the crocodile!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

On Safari




After stopping for lunch in Masindi we took the longer route to Murchison Falls driving through the Budongo Forest Reserve. The reserve is the largest area of unexploited mahogany forest in East Africa with huge trees growing up to 60 m high. We then travelled along a rough road up the escarpment over-looking the rift valley with views over Lake Albert into the Republic of Congo. Part of this route was through sugar cane plantations and trucks loaded with sugar cane squeezed past us on the narrow track. Groups of children followed these trucks picking up the pieces that fell to the ground. We reached the ferry and then crossed the Nile to reach the Parra Safari Lodge where we were staying.
The next morning we went on an early morning game drive accompanied by our driver and a guide from the National Park Authority. We saw many many Ugandan kob, warthogs, African buffalo. We were also very excited to see many of my personal favourite the giraffe. Our most exciting sighting was definitely a lion. Persistence, our driver's willingness to risk the shocks on his van and David's eagle eyes all added up to us being 3 feet from a majestic animal. What a thrill!

Meeting Obama



We left New Hope early on June 17th to travel to Murchison Falls National Park. We began our trip with a visit to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. Due to the civil unrest in the 1970's, rhinos were poached to extinction. In 2004 four white rhinos were reintroduced to Uganda from Kenya to begin a breeding program. In 2009 the sanctuary welcomed the first rhino calf born in Uganda in at least 28 years. Our guide clearly expected us to be most impressed that this calf was named "OBAMA!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Visiting S.


On Sat. afternoon we walked into the bush with our sponsor child's mother to visit him at his home. As we walked along K. our interpreter from the David family chatted away effortlessly in Lugandan and English. Along the way we saw many little huts and answered the call of "Muzungu" (white man) from little children with waves of our hands. When we arrived at S's home we were greeted with welcoming hugs from all the family. We were invited into the hut and David and I were given seats of honour on two plastic garden chairs. Everyone else including S's grandmother sat at our feet on woven mats. They were overjoyed to have us. S's Mom had tears in her eyes and thanked us over and over again. We got a great kick out of Grandma who laughed and laughed when we handed out toothbrushes as gifts. She pointed to the one remaining tooth in the front of her mouth and shook her head as much as to say "What in earth do I need this for?" As David had noted on his previous visit the home was beautifully kept. Cooking is all done under a thatched shelter and I can only imagine how hard that must be when the rain comes pouring down as it has done so often during our time here. A local pastor has lent them some land for a garden and they are working hard to clear it and use it for growing maize, sweet potatoes and beans. What a lesson in courage and trust.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Making Friends



One of the things we have discovered is that children have an amazing ability to make friends even when they don't share the same language. This morning John had a marvelous time playing with a group of children who came by our house. They couldn't speak English and John couldn't speak Lugandan but they could all laugh and that seemed to be all that mattered.

Friday, June 11, 2010

8 X 7 = 56



I'm continuing to help out at the school teaching math to small groups of children. The children in the early grades are taught in Lugandan. By P5 they are taught primarily in English. It's rewarding to work with these children because for the most part they're eager to learn. I never thought multiplication tables could be so much fun. Last Sat I had quite a few children drop by our house for extra help. One boy I'm working with comes to school at 6:00 a.m. to do his homework because it's too dark in the evenings and his grandfather can't afford money for a lantern. The classrooms have few supplies beyond textbooks and exercise books. Some manipulatives for teaching math have been donated to the school but the teachers will need to be trained on how to use them. When we travel outside of New Hope we see many, many children who are obviously not in school. While education is in theory universal in Uganda it is not feasible to make it compulsory and so many children fall through the cracks.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Computer Bugs


You think you've got computer problems! When C. (one of the missionaries) turns on his laptop cockroaches crawl out. Gives a whole new meaning to the term computer bug. We have been amazed however, by how 'beautiful' some of these 'creepy-crawlies' are.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Thoughts


I have become increasingly aware after a few weeks here of how difficult it is to protray what life is like for the majority of people living in Uganda. As I have travelled back and forth to Kampala on shopping trips I have been struck by the conditions that most people in the country live in. Just outside the gates of New Hope stands this dwelling which is home to the children in the picture. There is so much need and how thankful we are that the children living at New Hope have food, housing, education and the opportunity to hear of the fatherhood of God.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Chronological Bibles


How exciting it is for us to see people reading their Bibles with enthusiasm! New Hope has just launched a program based on reading through the Bible in chronological order. Everyday between 10:30-11:00 a.m. everything stops and everyone on site be they adult or child reads the passage assigned for the day. The smaller children at the school gather outside under the trees and are told Bible stories. Seeing the commitment to place God's word at the centre of their lives has been a wonderful blessing to us.

Friday, May 28, 2010

"Good morning class"


School started again this week and I've been helping in the P5 class for a few hours in the morning. The majority of the students at the school are from villages around New Hope which provides a wonderful opening to share the gospel with children from the wider community. Children walk as much as 8 km each way to come to school. Sickness, family emergencies etc. will often interrupt education and so several children in the P5 class need some extra help. It has been a pleasure working with small groups of children on their math skills. I taught them some songs to help them remember their multiplication facts which brought gales of laughter from the children and the teachers. The children in the picture were thrilled to be able to use white boards and markers. "Thank you Auntie." "Can we use them again soon please Auntie?"

Helping Hands



John has been keeping a diary during our time here and I loved this entry about 'Auntie's' buns. Auntie J. comes four days a week to help in the house. She is a fabulous bread maker and the smell of her freshly baked rolls is well worth the trip to Uganda! She sweeps, mops and does the dishes as well. I'm going to miss her when I get home. The money she earns helps her to pay school fees for her family of seven. She is a joy!




Everyday but Sunday is wash day in Uganda. Clothes are all washed by hand and most of the missionaries employ someone to do the laundry. I'm blessed to have J. who comes four days a week to wash and iron our clothes. She uses a charcoal iron to press the clothes. Looking smart is highly valued in Uganda. I was told that if you accidently splash someone while driving down the road you're obliged to give them money to buy a bar of soap.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Moving Day


On Sat. we moved into one of the missionary houses here at New Hope. The house is adjacent to the ‘David’ family and we’re enjoying getting to know the children that belong to that family. Everyone here loves to greet newcomers and keeping all the names and faces straight is challenging. One little boy thought he’d be clever and kept telling me a different name every time I saw him. The missionary family who live in the house lend their books to the children so we had lots of children dropping by Sun. afternoon to exchange their books.

We went to the local market again on Saturday to buy the Ugandan staples of beans, rice and posho. I wasn’t quite so sure about the slab of meat that a man takes a whack at if you’d like a piece. It’s best to get that early in the day my friends tell me. I never thought I’d be so thankful for Wal-Mart and Superstore!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ugandan Petals




We have enjoyed seeing many beautiful flowers in our walks around the grounds of New Hope.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy Birthday John!


We celebrated John’s 6th birthday under beautiful sunny skies here in Uganda. John had invited some of his new friends to his afternoon party and we had lots of fun playing games and opening presents under the shade of a big tree. John received a kaleidoscope as one of his presents and the Ugandan and missionary kids had fun trying it out. I made my first African pumpkin cake yesterday at one of the missionary’s homes and it was enjoyed down to the last crumb by the crowd that gathered to wish John happy birthday. We particularly enjoyed watching the little girl in the picture eat her piece.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Snakes and Telescopes


(Monday) The primary and secondary schools are on a break just now but will start up next week. We’ve been trying to do some school work each morning. There is a nice big table in the guest house with room to spread out. This morning we had a couple of interruptions. The first was a cry of snake from the man working in the garden across from the guest house. He found a puff adder while cutting grass with a hand tool and quickly dispensed with it. It’s good to know that no one has ever been seriously bitten here but it was an important lesson to be on guard. You can add snakes to your prayer list for the Mortons. Our second distraction was a large telescope being put together (the generous gift of an Irish doctor visiting here). It will be exciting for the children here to be able to use it. It is dark by 7:30 and on a clear night the stars are incredible.

“You are welcome”


We were delighted to visit the ‘Jonathan Family’ for devotions and a meal Sunday evening. It was moving to hear these 16 boys and girls aged 6-20 share what they were thankful to God for. The children at New Hope are ‘adopted’ into family units with new mother and father figures. Adults are referred to as ‘Auntie’ and ‘Uncle.’ When you meet someone your hand is shaken, clasped and shaken again and you are told “You are welcome.” The children in these family groups work very hard digging in the family garden, fetching water and cooking meals. We were treated to a traditional family meal of beans, collards, rice, pineapple and posho (more about that another day). Our girls had a wonderful time teaching the girls clapping rhymes while John and I enjoyed playing hide and seek with D. The pictures show various children from the Jonathan family.

Kasana Community Church


Kasana Community Church meets in a covered shelter on the primary school site here at New Hope. We were glad for the corrugated iron when the skies opened up part way through the service. Pastor P., who came to New Hope from very difficult circumstances at age 11, preached on the second chapter of Acts. The words of Gal 3:28 “We are all one in Christ Jesus” came true for us yesterday as we worshipped with these Ugandan believers. Over lunch we heard about the work Pastor P. is doing in the village church he planted. He has also founded a Pastoral Training Institute where he trains village pastors to study and apply the Bible. He was telling us that many of these pastors need basic literacy training in order to just be able to read the Bible to their people. Please remember him and his wife in your prayers as they carry out this vital work.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Market Day




Saturday is market day in Kiwoko a town just down the road from New Hope. I went there with A. one of the missionaries here. The main road was lined on both sides with people selling various vegetables, fruit, dried fish, cloth, clothes etc. At one spot a lady was selling spices alongside bunches of small onions similar to shallots. A. is pictured here sorting through clothes to find items for her own two children. For 2000 Ugandan shillings ($1 Cdn.) she was also able to buy 4 papayas which seemed like a pretty good deal to me. Produce varies depending on the season. We’re looking forward to enjoying mangos in a few weeks. The bananas that grow locally in the gardens here are quite small with thinner skin and a wonderfully sweet taste. We’ve been enjoying them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Surrounding the market were lanes leading to dwellings made of various make-shift materials. We met one of the women who work at New Hope here. She walks to work each day, washes laundry all day by hand and then heads back at night to care for her own family at night. The money she earns at New Hope makes it possible for her to send her children to school.

Baby House



Yesterday I spent the afternoon at the baby house. At present they are caring for six babies and toddlers. The latest addition is a seven month old who arrived three days ago. He had spent the last two weeks at a police station in Luwero and the staff here suspects that he has Aids. The police were desperate to find somewhere for him since they had no formula or proper facilities to care for him. Situations like this are all too common here and New Hope is working hard to raise funds to complete a bigger building that will house more babies. As soon as we walked in the children put out their arms to be picked up. Little M. who I’m holding in the picture was very solemn at first but warmed up when I began singing and doing fingerplays with her. Her squeals of joy at “round and round the garden, like a teddy bear” were delightful. The lady running the baby house is so busy it’s wonderful to be able to help out.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

We're here!





As the saying goes ‘what a difference a day makes.’ The first photo was snapped at home a couple of days before leaving. The second picture shows our three with some of their new friends on the grounds of New Hope Uganda.



We flew to London Monday night and then headed for Uganda on Tuesday night. Stepping off the plane in Entebbe we were greeted by a wave of heat and a couple of the missionaries here at New Hope. On the same flight was a team from Utah who are here for two weeks. Our luggage was loaded onto the back of a truck and we climbed aboard a van to begin an exciting ride through the streets of Entebbe and Kampala on route to New Hope. Vans, taxis, bicycles and bodas (motor-bikes) all jockey for position with horns blaring and people dodging out of the way. The round-abouts were particularly exciting( something a-kin to being thrown into a blender.) Along the roadside small shacks line the route selling everything from bricks to bananas. The final stage of the journey was in a more rural area lush with vegetation. Small huts along the way house families who can be seen cultivating gardens, washing clothes or just chatting. We bumped our way along a dirt road to reach New Hope Uganda around 2:30 local time on Wednesday.





Within ten minutes of arriving our kids were off exploring with some other missionary children. Christina is pictured here with a boy who was abandoned as a baby and is now in the process of being adopted by a missionary family. We settled into the guest house which will be home for our first weeks here. During the first evening we were taken on a tour of the primary site and then had dinner at the home of another of the missionary families. Before falling to sleep at their table or on their couch we got back for an early tuck-in and we all slept quite soundly. Today (Thursday) we joined the Utah team on a tour of the secondary school and the enterprise farm.



All in all – we have received a very warm welcome. Thank-you all for your prayers for our safe travels and we are thankful to God for the opportunity to be here.