Sunday, May 26, 2013

Uncle Sam

A week ago last Wednesday we traveled to attend another burial.  We have been to a few of these now and are always struck by how the reality of death is so stark here. Mourners stay up all night after someone has died and the burial is almost always the following day.  This time it was the mother of our friend Uncle Sam who heads up the accounts department at New Hope. His daughter Stella has become a good friend of our girls and so they came with us to support her. We traveled with a group of people from New Hope for many hours over dirt roads stopping often for directions.  When we arrived we aroused the usual attention and waded through the crowd looking for Uncle Sam.  Burials attract huge crowds of curious spectators, many of whom seem more interested in the free food than in comforting the family.  Uncle Sam spotted us and in his gracious way made us welcome and ensured we were taken care of.  In the midst of grief, his quiet dignity and trust in God was so evident.  As we stood by the burial spot and saw his tired eyes fill with tears we understood a little bit of the strain he was under.  We were thankful for the New Hope friends who supported him through this very difficult day and pray that God will comfort him in the days ahead.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Road

They've graded the road that runs from the New Hope site to Luwero the town where the paved road to Kampala begins.  Rumor has it that the president may be coming this way.  Whether that's true or not, we've certainly been enjoying the somewhat smooth surface because we know it won't last for long.  Rain and sunshine will soon have it back to its usual pot-holed condition.  Trips on this road involve lots of lurching forward and backward as the driver tries to avoid chickens, children and cow horns.  On one of our recent trips the roadside was lined with children and adults collecting ants in plastic cups. (The kids have tried these local delicacies but I'm still dubious.) 
There isn't any need for amusement parks in Uganda.  Just jump into a motor vehicle for the ride of your life and if you're hungry, munch down on a flying ant!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Special Needs Community Outreach

I spent last Friday in the special needs program during one of their community outreach days.  The Community Outreach sessions are open to people in the community whose lives have been affected by disability. At these sessions, disabled individuals and their families receive input from a physiotherapist and a chance to encourage and share struggles with one another over a good meal. They invite a different speaker each month, sharing on topics such as ‘Feeding and Nutrition,’ ‘Epilepsy,’ and ‘Communication.’

Here are a few snapshots of my time:

She sits cradling the boy.  I wonder what thoughts pass through her head.  He is her grandson, one of seven who she cares for.  She digs to have food for hungry mouths and occasionally has a little extra to sell.  This boy is totally dependent on her.  He cannot even sit without help and his cries are his only means of communication.  He's growing bigger and he's heavy.  I watch her hoist him up and support him with the help of another grandchild.  Later as she sits and listens to the speaker I see the weariness and marvel at the fortitude that keeps her going.  A wheelchair is her only request. 

A boy arrives supported by his mother as he takes faltering steps.  Later I watch the joy on his face as he pushes a walker down the hall.
Her face is filled with love as she looks at her child.  I see her nod her head in agreement as the speaker touches on the pain and stigma these children and their care-givers face.  How glad I am that she hears the message that her child is not a 'burden' or a 'curse' but a gift to be treasured.

Monday, May 13, 2013

'Monkey' in a Tree

One of John's favourite places is the avacado tree outside our house.  Sturdy limbs and shady leaves make it the perfect get-away.  An added benefit these days are the fresh avacados he's picking from the tree. 

I've prabably eaten more avacados in the last few months than I've eaten in my whole life.  Another taste advantage of living in Uganda.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


We've thoroughly enjoyed having my nephew working here at New Hope over the last three months.  Our kids have loved getting reacquainted with their cousin who they hadn't seen for three years.  Every week brought fresh stories of African adventure from boda rides to giant cockroaches and through it all Jonny's good humour shone through.  He worked hard on a number of construction projects both at Kasana and the New Hope camp.  He has also led devotions for our family group sharing his love for God's word and encouraging the kids to follow God in their lives. 

We have seen him grow in many ways not the least being his ability to cook a first class meal.  Last Saturday night he treated us to a fabulous pasta dinner.  We'll miss him but are excited to see where God will lead him in the future.