Our last few days at New Hope were spent saying good-bye to our many friends. We have been so blessed to be a part of this community again. Catriona, Christina and John have connected in their own ways with different people and thoroughly love being here. Catriona and Christina spent Saturday mornings baking bread with the David family girls and have grown very attached to these girls. There were quiet tears on both sides as they said good-bye. John has had a fabulous summer living outdoors as much as possible exploring and playing with his friends. The pictures reflect just a few of the people we have come to love. As we leave there is no doubt that we all carry a little bit of Uganda in our hearts.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
One of our hopes this year was to see our first sponsor child again. Nagayi Zipporah had left New Hope by the time David visited the first time three years ago. Following quite a bit of searching he did manage to meet up with her. Last year we were able to find her quite easily in Wobulenzi where she was living with her husband and young son. This year we didn't manage to reach her by phone but went with her brother in the hopes she was living in the same place. She was very surprised and happy to see us and we had a visit in the courtyard outside her home. Everyone lives in close quarters so we had many interested onlookers as we visited with her. John kept a group of children entertained by taking pictures and videos and then showing them the results. We were thankful to be able to continue our connection with her.
Monday, August 22, 2011
We returned to New Hope in time for a yearly celebration of Thanksgiving. Each year one Sunday is set aside as a Thanksgiving day to celebrate all that God is doing at New Hope and in the surrounding community. This year the leadership decided to pattern the day after the Old Testament feast of tabernacles and encouraged each family group and ministry to construct a booth in which they would share what God had done. Following a parade around the central circle in family groups we gathered in the church for worship. To highlight the diversity of people groups represented we sang praise songs in 12 different languages. People waved tree branches and danced and jumped in time to the music. The outpouring of joy was moving to witness. We heard testimonies of how God is working in various ministries and then we toured the various booths set up marvelling at the creativity and thoughtful expressions of God's goodness. It was a truly memorable last Sunday at New Hope.
We decided to take a short trip down to Jinja a city in the eastern part of Uganda for a few days to see a little bit more of the country. We drove past large plantations of sugar cane and tea and also through a forested area which is in the news here because of plans to cut it down to extend the sugar plantations. Jinja is located on the shores of Lake Victoria near the source of the River Nile. We spent our first afternoon at Bujagali Falls. These falls will soon disappear when a new hydro-electric dam is constructed. The next day we went horseback riding along the banks of the Nile with some Ugandan guides. The view of the river and the Bujagali Falls was fantastic. We also provided some entertainment for a group of road workers who stopped to take pictures of us on their cell phones (tourism in reverse). We spent part of the afternoon on a boat trip seeing many different birds, some monkeys and monitor lizards. We finished the day at a restaurant that served wonderful milkshakes and my personal favourite a mango smoothie.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Jiggers (chigoe flea) are little parasites that live in the soil and sand and like nothing better than burrowing head first into a warm blooded host. The female jigger starts off quite small (1 mm) but after it has burrowed inside its host it grows and grows its abdomen filling with eggs. Many villages in Africa are infested with them and if left untreated people are often unable to walk. The process of digging them out, hopefully with egg case intact, can be quite painful. Last year we were spared an encounter with these little critters but this year Christina ended up with a swollen bump on her little toe which turned out to be a jigger. She was quite brave having it dug out by Auntie Joy (pictured above) and we're watching carefully for infection. We're thankful for the clinic that helps many children and adults deal with jiggers before they cause serious harm.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Look up the passage and you'll understand why this verse is painted on the wall at the New Hope vocational institute. For children whose gifts are more practical the vocational institute offers a way to train them in a skill that they can use to support themselves and their families when they leave New Hope. We enjoyed watching a girl working on one of the looms to create a custom ordered piece of material. It was also interesting to see the tailoring class where students use old style treadle sewing machines (very useful in an area where power is so unreliable). Students from this class learn to make school uniforms which every child attending school must wear. The vocational school also trains students in carpentry, metal work and car repairs.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
We spent an interesting afternoon touring the local Kiwoko hospital with the mission team from England that is currently at New Hope. The hospital which is affiliated with the Church of Uganda has the motto "We treat, Jesus heals." Dr. Ian Clarke a northern Ireland doctor came to the Kiwoko district in 1988 after hearing about the plight of people in this region at his church. From the beginning the goal has been to provide quality care in Jesus' name. The hospital has been blessed by support raised in many countries and is well known throughout the country for its level of care and nursing training program. Meals are not provided to patients so there are small vendors and shops lining the road to the hospital where relatives of patients buy food for those in hospital. We toured several wards and were impressed by the facilities. They have a neonatal department with incubators for premature babies and an ultra-sound machine. While we were visiting the pediatric ward a woman asked us to pray for her child. The two year old boy had been operated on at another hospital for swelling on the brain. He had appeared to be doing better and the mother had returned home to Kampala. Sadly a fever developed and the swelling returned and he has now be admitted to Kiwoko. Our hearts went out to this mother, who is seven months pregnant, as she sat on the floor beside her son's iron cot. Her love and concern were heart rending.