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.