Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What Caught My Eye

work-worn hands baking cake on a charcoal fire
As 2014 comes to an end here are a few of my favourite close-ups from a year spent experiencing life in Uganda.
chapatis rolled out at furious speed 
a shaker ready to blast my ears with joyous sound

a mat woven by the hands of a jajja

a juicy ant ready for consumption

sweet potatoes harvested in Dec from John's garden

a chameleon walking daintily across my path

a tiny hand of a treasured child

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Ready for Christmas!

Excitement is bubbling up around us as we look forward to celebrating Christmas together tomorrow.

We've had lots of fun decorating cookies with our friends big and little and loved their descriptions of the cookie cutters.  Those festive ornaments did you know they're actually 'Christmas pots,' and those bells with fancy bows well those are 'Christmas dresses.'

 This morning we got a kick out of watching Oboi carrying the Christmas chicken on his crutches.  (Oboi is from our Kobwin site but is staying here at Kasana while he recovers from surgery on his leg).  Full of spunk he brings a smile to our faces every time we see him.  So even as we miss friends and family back home we are reminded of how blessed we are to have so many friends around us here rejoicing together at the birth of our Saviour.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Belt Anyone?

Anyone still looking for that last minute Christmas gift might want to consider a snake-skin belt.  We have a lovely one available.  As you can see from the pictures below we had an exciting day yesterday.

On our way to the office to send out our Christmas letter, we discovered our neighbours out waving sticks and peering somewhat gingerly down a culvert near our house.      

"It's a cobra," we were told. After hurrying back to find our own hoe handles, we returned to the scene.  David helped collect dry grass to throw into the culvert and then after dousing it with paraffin the grass was set alight.

Then the waiting game was on as we eyed the smoke waiting for the snake to emerge.  It finally did appear, head raised and obviously not in a friendly mood.

It was greeted with several blows to its head and body. The head was soon crushed but we were amazed how long the rest of the body still writhed.  Ugandans are trained from an early age to take snakes seriously.  We certainly were thankful yesterday that this early training paid off.  And that belt...well maybe six feet of imitation leather would work just as well.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

'Home' for Christmas

As the Christmas season approaches many of us
think of going home to visit family and friends. It is no different here. December is the time for 'moving' as staff and children at our centre leave to visit relatives.  Our ministry seeks to have the children maintain contact with family in a culture where family ties are so important. While many of the children approach this time with anticipation, there are others who are very apprehensive.  This past week as we said good-bye to some of them that sense of apprehension was palpable.  They venture into the unknown; some to relatives hostile to their faith, and others to situations where the reminders of all they have lost will be stirred up again.

Then there are our precious special needs children who we pray will be cared for as they should be.  At times my heart also breaks for those who desperately want to go but who have nowhere safe to go.  As with much that goes on in orphan care there are no easy answers.  What is 'best' is often far from clear and so we commit these lives into the hands of the One who knows all things, trusting that He knows what is best.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

20 Years!

Today we're celebrating 20 years of marriage.  Our kids created a slide show of pictures using Steven Curtis Chapman's song The Great Adventure and so the words have echoed in my head all day long.
 Jinja, Uganda

Saddle up your horses We've got a trail to blaze
Through the wild blue yonder
Of God's amazing grace
Let's follow our Leader
Into the glorious unknown
This is a life like no other
This is the great adventure
We'll travel over, over mountains so high
We'll go through valleys below
Still through it all, we'll find that
This is the greatest journey

That the human heart will ever see
The love of God will take us far
Beyond my wildest dreams, yeah
Oh, saddle up your horses
Come on, get ready to ride

There is no doubt that 20 years ago I never imagined I'd be living in Africa  serving with David.  The love of God has certainly taken us far and we have been so blessed by all of you who have been a part of our 'Great Adventure."

Saturday, December 6, 2014


It's the end of the school year here and so this past week has been filled with end of the year celebrations.  Last week I attended a birthday party/going away party for one of the teachers.  Everyone will miss Aunt Sylvia's warm smile and infectious laugh.  One of the boys in our family group is in her class and so he and his friends came to my house to bake cakes for the party.  We used a few more eggs than we intended but the squeals of delight as they cracked them were worth it.  Parties here invariably involve a 'program' involving speeches of welcome for honoured guests and expressions of appreciation for those who helped make the event happen.  This birthday party was no exception as child after child spoke words of appreciation for the guests and their teacher.  Food is never served until the formalities are complete and then is consumed with great delight.

On Friday we attended the banquet for the S4 students.  This is the final year that our secondary school offers and these students have sat national exams to determine whether they can continue to finish secondary school.  It was especially nice to see our sponsor child's older brother and cousin receive their certificates and celebrate with their mother and grandmother.

I also attended the formal end of year party for the primary school.  Each class recited, acted or sang for their family members and the staff.  Again there were many speeches of appreciation for a year of hard work.  As I glanced around the audience I was most struck by the faces of the 'parents' of these children.  The majority are grandmothers, often widows, who have been left with children to raise.  My mind drifted away imagining what life must be like for these women.  The endless toil just to survive is beyond my understanding.  I was thankful that for a few hours they could sit, be entertained and fed.  The formality of this event seemed somehow fitting for the quiet dignity of these women.