Monday, August 27, 2012

Musana Camp: Part 1

We spent the last week at Musana Camp a 900 acre property on the shores of Lake Victoria which New Hope Uganda began in 2009.  At present the camp serves as a retreat centre for groups from New Hope's children's centres and also for other church groups and ministries working with children.  We travelled to the camp with Uncle Sam who heads up the accounts department, his 11 year old daughter Stella and Margaret another member of the accounts department.  David was asked to come and assist and we were only to happy to come along.  We left Kasana around 12:00, did some errands in Kampala and then headed for the camp.  The last few hours of the trip involved some of the most challenging driving conditions we have ever experienced here.  At places the road has ruts of about two feet deep and in wet weather is virtually impassable.  We marvelled time and again at Uncle Sam's ability to maneuver his mini-bus around ruts and muddy patches all the time avoiding bodas, bicycles, cows, children and the occasional large truck coming in the opposite direction.  We passed by large sugar cane plantations and had some stunning views of the hills and valleys in this region.  We arrived safely around 6:00 and gazed out in awe at Lake Victoria spread out before us.

 The sun set as we ate dinner at the camp site and then as darkness fell hundreds of little lights began to appear on the lake as if a whole city street had suddenly materialized on the water.  These lights are actually the lanterns of small fishing boats.  When moonlight is scarce these small craft spend the night on the water fishing for small fish called mukene who are attracted to the light of the lanterns.  It was truly a magical sight, too difficult to photograph with our camera so you'll have to imagine the scene. There is a small fishing village in the cove bordering the camp property.  The vast majority of Lake Victoria-Uganda fishing communities are located directly on or adjacent to landing sites. Most people live in houses of simple mud-and-wattle construction, thatched with grass or reeds.  These communities are sometimes squatters on private land and the health and social problems in these villages tell a very different story from the idyllic picture of twinkling lights.  As the camp has worked to resettle and compensate the squatters on their property the desperate needs have become very evident.  We pray for wisdom for the staff as they seek to share the love of Christ with the people in this community.

view of fishing village adjacent to the camp property

small fishing 'canoe'

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