Sunday, July 16, 2017

July 16

Our last day in Uganda is very bittersweet. Nothing really prepares you for coming and nothing prepares you for leaving. As I said yesterday no matter how much is done there is always so much that gets left undone. Some I have personally stepped back from as I felt my involvement was not appropriate and better in the hands of others. Other projects have been thwarted at every turn; e.g. The visa for Kyemba. Some is because organization is so hard to come by. Non the less it is hard to leave things unsettled. Actually last night Hannah graciously packed one of my suitcases with such tender care to make sure it all arrives safely. As she was doing that I got in bed, falling asleep in my glasses with my phone in my hands. I am looking forward to my first real downtime on the plane tomorrow.

 

Yesterday Musana finished negotiations on the piece of land next to the secondary school (facing the school it's to the left; the piece with all the brick making). They are hoping to build living quarters for those who work at the secondary and the clinic. Andrea said the other people wanting the property wanted to build a mosque on the land. I am so glad the land went to Musana as they can now continue to grow without anyone in their path. I love that that different properties are connected. So again, Musana is growing in a thoughtful way! 

 

Our room, at the moment, is a natural disaster. Suitcases are partially packed, waiting for us to shower to finish the job. We brought so much stuff with us that the suitcases are fairly empty. The good news is I have been able to put my carry on inside another suitcase so I will have nothing to drag through the various airports other than my backpack. That is a plus as far as I am concerned!! Tomorrow morning early we will load up the car and head to Entebbe. After our team had such a problem getting out of Uganda, I'd rather get there way early and wait, then not be allowed to board.

 

So tonight we had our final dinner at Musana; pizza, guacamole and pineapple! It doesn't get any better than that! Then Andrea, Kristy, Erin and Kaitlin came out with a half gallon of ice with heavy duty sparklers on top. What a great surprise and we downed it in no time at all. Once Dezi came she did think it was for her and the rest of us were cut off!! We exchanged letters we had written to one another. I am really going to miss them all and hope to see them again next year in Colorado. Colleen we will have to go to Flat Irons church one Sunday.

 

I am signing off for the final time from Uganda. Thank you all for your support during this trip. I love you all.

 

Sue

Saturday, July 15, 2017

July 15

I sept soundly last night for the first time in ages. I actually didn't even stir before 8:15. Then I went down and asked both Attiwya and Rashida to draw me pictures. I am so happy I can take a piece of them home! Today is parents day which started at 9 am but as of 12:30 very few had arrived. I spent some quality time with both girls and will miss them both terribly but am eager to come home to Owen and Nora hugs and smiles!! I did go down and talk to those preparing the food. Today is a true celebration... chicken (which actually had been killed on the spot due to my seeing all the feet lying on the ground), pumpkin, matoke, potatoes, and other delectable items. The pots were probably 2 feet in diameter and I'm so happy the kids are getting a feast!! After seeing the feet I am glad we are going to Jinja for the day. I'm hoping for something a little Mzungu!! It is very hot outside and I've already gone through two bottles of water without relief. Ugh!!!

 

So the interns, two new people, Mary and Shelby, Hannah and I are heading out to Jinja. Andrea has requested a pizza be returned to her tonight so we will pick that up. I am also going to buy some earrings to sell at The Loft. Musana doesn't make anything like this but I figure the profits can go back to them! It will be really nice to spend some quality relational time with people who also love this country and Musana. We are going to try a new restaurant called "All Friends".

 

As we arrived at "All Friends" it started pouring so our timing was perfect. The food wasn't all that good although the ambiance was great. And since the service was so slow we had a good opportunity to share stories and get to know one another better. I think the only thing  I have really eaten since arriving besides my snacks has been tilapia. I can honestly say I am tired of fish!!! I am definitely ready for ice cream! We then cruised the shops in Jinja and I managed to find a few more things to help support the local economy. I did find a child's Bible for Rashida although the font is tiny, tiny. I'm really glad she is a young child and her eyesight is good!!! When she gets to be my age I hope she is able to buy one with large print!!! 

 

I am having a hard time believing we leave in one more day. There is so much we have done but there is always the feeling that there is more to do. I will miss the people so much. 

 

I love you all.

 

Sue

 

Friday, July 14, 2017

July 14

After a good nights sleep we are off and running again. Actually we are off and waiting! We headed off to the medical center to pick up Edward and then went back to Musana to pick up another social worker, Rogers! Then Betty jumped in the car as well. So we are now a full van heading into the unknown! We are headed to the police station to find out the exact location of the two kids who were left there last week. I'm so glad we are following up with them and I pray they are being well taken care of.

 

While sitting in the car with Kyemba he was telling us that he got married at 25. His wife was 14 at the time. He would go away to work and earn money and bring it back to her. She used it to purchase the land their house is now on. Next time he came home he gave the money to his mother to keep and she gave it to his wife at which point she started building the house. He since learned that she had a lot of wisdom and truly trusts her decisions. I can't imagine being married at 14! But in this culture that is very common. Even being married younger is ok. He was telling us of the hardship of women in this country. They are the ones that farm, that cook the meals, do the washing (all by hand), take care of the children, carry the water, while the men are often found doing nothing. I have said this before but it is so true... if Uganda's wealth was based on the strength of the women (physically and emotionally) Uganda would be the richest nation on earth. They do the work and they have absolutely no voice. I think this is starting to change with those individuals educated but it is going to be a long, long process! I do love that Musana empowers so many women. The women working there are strong, yet compassionate. Skilled, yet willing to train. Hard workers, yet willing to fully love along the way. 

 

Last night Dorcas (our cook) came into our room about ‪10 pm to bring us a Jerry can filled with water. Musana had been notified there would be no water today so she was being proactive. We had distributed the sanitary napkins kits yesterday at the prison so I decided to ask her how she controlled her period. I started by saying the conversation may embarrass her and I was right. She turned bright red but then we had a good conversation. She told Hannah and me that she has always used gauze. So we explained how the kit worked and she was thrilled to receive one. It's amazing how the small things can make such a difference!!!

 

Having given thought to yesterday at the prison I wish there was a way to distribute to the women prisoners without being approached by the guards. The word "approached" I use very loosely. More like mobbed. I know there are many guards that need them as well but it was the feeling of entitlement I didn't appreciate. On the other hand, I am sure if they didn't get theirs they would have taken them from the ladies. So I am sure it worked as it was supposed to although I'm sure the leaders are more corrupt then the women that have been charged with crimes. I am pretty sure that anything that gets left to be distributed never gets to the people it was intended for.

 

So we made it to the children's home called Kidron Children's Home. Most the kids we saw were infants, many not yet crawling. One little boy climbed right into Kaitlin's arm and just rested his head on her shoulder. My impression was that he was starved for human touch. Don't get me wrong I think the kids are well taken care of but the personal touch is hard with so many. Kaitlin put the baby down and he immediately started crying. They even came and took him back to his room and he crawled back to her arms. The sad thing is that it is a girls children home and so they try very hard to foster the boys out quickly. In our case it would mean separating the sister and brother and they are all they have. One little baby was laying in a crib with the baby bottle propped up so she could eat. Great concept but once the bottle fell she couldn't get any more. I know it sounds terrible but it was one of the best I've seen in this country. The director, Caroline, seemed to care a lot and was willing to answer all our questions but the staff is so outnumbered!! The ratio of children to staff is overwhelming. Right now I feel the two kids are doing OK. The little Beatrice still had her million dollar smile. My prayer is they stay together and find a family that will love them abundantly! Edward has told me he will stay in communication and follow their progress.

 

We then stopped in Jinja for lunch (much needed nourishment) and are now driving through the outskirts of Jinja to pick up Edward's wife and child to spend the weekend with him in Iganga. His son Austin has so much personality. His wife teaches in Jinja so they only see each other on weekends and holidays. Her home backs up to Lake Victoria and the view is beautiful. She loves teaching and I imagine she is one of the very good ones. Her passion for children is great.

 

To give you an idea of my day I started at Musana went to the medical clinic and back to Musana. Dropped Betty in Iganga and somehow picked her back up before heading to the children's home about 30 minutes outside of Jinja. Between he two we stopped at thee main social services office to find out the exact location of the kids Then we went to Jinja than back to the outskirts of Jinja to pick up Edward's family back to Musana to drop off Kaitlin and Rogers, pick up Hannah and head to Edward's house in Iganga. Left his family there dropped Hannah at Sol View to paint, dropped Edward at the medical clinic and went to the pharmacy. Bought Malaria and Typhoid strips and went back to the clinic to meet with Carol and drop off the medicine and now we are heading back to Sol. No wonder I am exhausted every night!  I still have to go back to paint one more verse on the wall!!! 

 

Came back to Musana and finished the Bible verse on the wall. Then Hannah came and added some artistic touches and it is done!! Woohoo!

 

Hannah here :)

 

Today I painted the guard house which is at the entrance to Musana. After lunch, Sue came back from her many ventures, picked me up and dropped me off at Sol View- Musana's beautiful (and delicious) restaurant. Leah and Andrea had chosen a wall for me to paint. Sol has a beautiful outdoor patio full of trees, flowers, and vines. At night, they turn on strings of white lights that are hung on the trees and the fence. I was really excited to paint at Sol for two reasons. One: Sol View is a very happening place and so I felt honored that I was asked to add to the already beautiful atmosphere. And Two: THIS WAS MY LAST MURAL!!!!! Not counting the dining hall that Emma, Samantha, and I painted, I have completed 14 murals for Musana (And Sue helped with one of those and then completed 2 all on her own with verses). I have officially passed off the rest of my paint to 2 young women named Mary and Shelby who are visiting Musana for a few days then doing some murals at another ministry. They were going to have to find and buy the paint on their own and since I don't want to take buckets of back with me in a suitcase, I have willed it to them. This will also keep me from talking myself into painting more murals. Every blank wall I see mocks me ;)

 

While painting at Sol, I met the new manager Peter. We got to talking and he ended up sharing his testimony with me. He used to live in Sudan and owned a small textile shop. A band of men came through and took everything from his shop. He had taken out a loan to start this business and after his merchandise was stolen, the bank threw him in jail because they knew he would be unable to pay off the loan. One evening he was praying and Peter told God that he had not stolen or done anything wrong. He asked God if someone could come free him by giving him a loan with lots of time to pay back. The next morning ‪at 10am, a woman showed up asking for Peter. She asked him why he was in jail and then paid his loan telling him to just pay her back when he could. He told me he KNEW what kind of God he served- a God of miracles. Once again, God answered my prayer of having meaningful, God-filled conversations with people as I painted. It was a great end to my time of painting in Uganda. I am really looking forward to coming home but also happy to have 2 more days to spend (not covered in paint)

at Musana. Love you all and see you soon!

 

Peace out dudes

- Hannah 

 

P.S. I was called a "hip-hop painter" today. Not sure what that means exactly but I'll take it. 

 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

July 13th

Today's blog starts the same as yesterday; waiting for Kyemba. Now I am at Andrews for a 9am meeting and he is no where to be found. "But he is coming," the most used expression in Uganda other than "I'm at the gate"...

 

Andrew and I met and talked about the situation taking place at the clinic where the nurse was recording one price in the book and another on the receipt. He was really appreciative that we brought it to his attention. He said that a lot of people had complained about the prices being so high but they he no receipts to show him. And of course when he looked at the books the prices seemed reasonable. He showed me the receipts in their book and she not only was changing the price but also recording false names. I assured Andrew how much I appreciated his integrity and his willingness to rectify the wrongdoing. So I received a refund from NLM. I also had a chance to see the new oven they are building. It is mimicking Musana's although on a smaller scale. The man building it was amazing to watch. He was so intent on it being perfect... must be a type A personality. Andrew said by changing their cooking system it will cut their feeding budget (because of the cost of wood for burning) by almost 50%. That is money that can go somewhere else!!

 

I did get to see Liz again and she has the most beautiful smile. She is a perfect version of Ruth just in the mini form. She is the sweet child we are sponsoring through NLM and her smile just melts my heart. Now I am heading to the secondary school to pick up Hannah as she's been painting their dining hall all day and it is blistering hot. I am sad to see our days coming to a close but am anxious to see my family.

 

We just came by the secondary to pick up Hannah (saving her walking home with all the paint cans) and I bought a beautiful picture from Isaac, the art instructor. It is a beautiful drawing of a zebra done in charcoal. Hannah has finished another mural. The problem is once she's done one in an area they all want more, more, more!! She has now crashed and is napping until we head out to the prison!!! She might want to spend the night there to get some rest!!

 

On the way to the prison we picked up Stephen Baidu (he coordinated with the prison director) and Bridget (who use to teach at Bulubandi). It was good to see Baidu again and he was very helpful in getting us through the prison system. The prison director, Nicholas, was very nice but the people under him hadn't learned his kindness. First, no cameras were allowed so I used my James Bond moves and used my phone. Then we were not permitted to take the sanitary napkin kits in being told they would distribute them later. When we mentioned this to the women they assured us they would never receive them. So we went back in and retrieved them from the main office, deciding it was better to ask forgiveness then permission. No one even gave us a second look until we started distributing them. Then the guards came out of the woodwork with arms outstretched. Everyone received a kit and the women were so grateful!! Kathy what you are doing is an amazing blessing and I thank you for your heart. Andrew approved going to the prison and the remainder of the kits will go to NLM where Bridget will give them to those in need.

 

 

Hello- Hannah here again :)

 

Going to the prison today was really hard. Some of these women are in for really minor offenses. Others were not even sure of their crimes. They seemed to be stuck in limbo - caught in a crack of Uganda's justice system. When we came to visit them, a woman from Kenya was also there because she preaches to them once a week. She was a very forceful speaker and shouted at these women that they were loved and God had a plan for their life. It was overwhelming- but many woman were touched and encouraged. I am so glad we got to hand each one a sanitary napkin kit. Each kit came in a beautiful handmade bag and contained a couple pairs of underwear, 2 or 3 hand sewn pads and 7 or 8 inserts that are held in the pads. These inserts are made of a special liquid-resistant material I believe. These were beautifully made, practical gifts. I was struck by how much care and love was put into making them. The women in the prison will not leave my thoughts soon. My verse for them tonight is Psalm 73:25&26

"Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

 

I love you all,

 

Sue

 

 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

July 12th

So we are off to Kampala in the pouring rain. Hannah is staying behind (not sure what she will do if the rain doesn't stop... maybe rest). She literally painted yesterday for about 8 hours and once she sat down she realized just how tired she was. Kyemba, Denis and I are off to the US Embassy to see about Kyemba's visa and then are going to enroll Denis in University. He has done all the leg work so it appears he really wants to further his education. He wants to be a social worker and good social workers are desperately needed in this country.

We sprang Alisat from the hospital last night with some serious concerns. Her roommates in the ward have actually expressed their frustration at the lack of care by the mother. I'm seriously afraid that once back in the village her mother will not invest in her and she will get sick again. This is the part of the system that really hurts my heart and why I believe Musana is so well run. Medical care can't be provided on a one time only basis. There needs to be follow up both with the patient and the parent. I know in my heart I have done what I could but it just doesn't seem enough. And that is so sad! Yesterday at the feeding program children's vitamins were being distributed to everyone who passed through. They were even being given to very young children with no adult present; and I mean children as young as 3. They were explained to take one a day but does a three year old understand that especially when the vitamins look just like candy??? There was one very sick (very malnourished) baby and even though the mother AND grandmother said it was Ok to take him to the hospital we did not because the father (who was not there) did not give his permission. Later I learned that because no permission was granted if the baby passed away we would be held liable! It is hard for me to see especially in light of how well taken care of and loved my own two grandchildren are.

This has been a very difficult trip for me because my eyes have been opened in ways I never anticipated. The culture has been established here for centuries that the white man is rich and expected to give, give, give. I think we have done a reasonably good job with this but I do see that better boundaries need to be set. I love to give but I want to give to people and things that are going to thrive. Not just a handout! And I want to know that people are happy to see me as a person and not as a wallet. This is where Musana excels. It is relational always!

Between the trucks on the road and the bathroom stops for the boys we are not moving very quickly. Slow and steady is the motto for the day. The traffic makes Highway 281 looks like a race track. Between cars, big trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and people walking the streets are packed. No one stops at cross streets they just merge into traffic. You had always be prepared to slam on your breaks. Needless to say, the biggest car always wins! Although Kyemba gives them a run for their money!

Well the Embassy was a bust. We made it through security and to the main window but no further. I wasn't surprised but I was disappointed for Kyemba. He really is a good man.

So we continued in to Kyambogo University to enroll Denis. Again we made it through security, although no one even blinked an eye as we passed through. We made it to the main window and actually walked down the hall to admissions where we were not greeted favorably. The admission list will NOT be out until Friday she said and turned away to talk on her phone. But you all know me! I can be a little persistent when need be so I continued to ask questions. Jack, she estimated the cost of schooling to be about 1,500,000 shillings per semester not including boarding. There is no boarding on campus so he will have to find a place to stay. So all in all except for the conversation between the three of us today was totally non-productive. When we go to the airport on MondayKyemba will bring Denis back to the school to figure it all out. Meanwhile I can update Pastor Andrew so he can take charge when I leave.

Tomorrow I am planning on going to Pastor Andrews in the morning to finish up some discussions and then we are going to
visit the women in the prison. I just heard from Edward and we are going to do a follow up with the two little kids that were dropped in the prison last week. I am so glad I can see them and where they are before I go.

So everything in Uganda is a surprise. On the way back Kyemba stopped on the side of the road. I had no idea why!! And then he pointed out a camel walking up the street. So in natural Uganda form we  each got on and took it for a spin along the main highway. I'm sure that was a sight for sore eyes. The Mzungu on camel. Only in Uganda. What a treat!! Hannah is going to be sorry she missed the adventure but she will get to experience Trivia tonight at Sol! I can't wait to see what masterpiece she has created today!!!

We stopped at the Source for lunch (no food since last night is not good for the soul) and ran into Peter and Kenneth Isabyre. Both were very nice and friendly however Sandy Merrick was with them and she was not quite so welcoming. She made it perfectly clear that I was not welcome at the children's house!! I find it so incredibly sad that they aren't really concerned about the kids welfare but I feel I can now close the door on that ministry. I am so thankful for the kids we have moved and the love and support they are receiving! Thanks to those of you who are making this happen!! By the way, there is one more child, Augustine Lemukol, who is wanting to enter Senior 1. We have talked to Andrew about letting him join their program (he was a child at Phil's) but are looking for a sponsor. The cost is $50 a month, although the first payment could be a little higher as they will need to purchase him a uniform and bedding. If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please let me know. He has pursued me for a year in interest to continue his education so I know he is serious. I would sponsor him but Steve and I already sponsor three others.

Hello (Hannah here)
I am tagging along on Sue's blog. She always has much more varied days than me so I graciously let her blog most nights ;) Today I... drumroll please... PAINTED!!! I know it doesn't sound very exciting but I am having a lovely time painting and chatting with Musana's staff as they come up to watch me work. I asked God at the beginning of the week to give me the strength and creativity to complete 3 more murals- as of today I have completed 10! It has been so rewarding to see the campus slowly come to life with murals as the week has progressed. I know God has really blessed me this week with an extra portion of strength and creativity.

Finally, tonight I ordered the whole fish at Sol View tonight-head and all! It was delicious :) I also really enjoyed hanging out with Dezi (Andrea and Haril's daughter) this morning while I waited for the rain to stop. We listened to music and danced and ate goldfish. It was a great day at Musana.

That's all for me tonight!

Signing out - Hannah

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

As I write this it is 12:25 pm. We got up early thi

As I write this it is 12:25 pm. We got up early this morning to say goodbye to the Colorado team and then waited for Kyemba to come. Part of me loves the fact that Uganda has NO sense of time and part of me starts each day frustrated and behind schedule. Our first stop was the clinic to check on Alisat. When we arrived I was told the doctor was still on rounds and could I wait 40 minutes. Instead we went into town and bought her some onesies as the mother wasn't covering her at night which was not helping her pneumonia. When we returned about 15 minutes later the doctor had been called into an emergency with no knowledge of when he'd be out. So we headed to Kokombo for our 11 am meeting with Pastor Wilson although by now it was 11:45 (which by Uganda standards is early). Now it is 12:30 and we are no closer to the village then when we started. But we've picked up 4 extra people I've never seen before and I'm told there are no more stops along the way. Well that was wrong we just stopped again and Kyemba hopped out... my stomach is in knots as we have a commitment at 6 pm tonight and we are moving at a snails pace. Then after that we have to pick up the baby and take her back to Kokomo!!! I see a very long day in my future! This stop was for chapati so it isn't all bad!!!

The two women we picked up are nutritionists and will spend the time educating the mothers on properly feeding their kids. We also have a midwife with us.

So it became a little more than Wilson's feeding program. We gave children's vitamins to everyone who passed through and prenatal vitamins to many pregnant women. To start the clinic we had to wait for the community leader to come and speak. Then there were introductions followed by a short sermon from Wilson. This was followed by education from a midwife, a talk about AIDS and farming and the best foods to feed children. It was at least an hour before the medical part of the day even began. We had only three children that qualified for the plumpy nut and that was a blessing. But this was a village where medical care is rare and so many showed up. The clinic was held in a classroom that resembled a barn and there was a poor teacher actually trying to teach over the crying and screaming. I am now trying to round them all up and head them out. Easier said then done!!!

While I was gone Hannah painted two murals today. They are both amazing and she is now exhausted. Tomorrow while I am in Kampal she is going to paint more! God bless her in this hot sun!

Hannah, Kristen, Kaitlin and I walked to Sol View for dinner where we met Kyemba, his wife, Hadija and Said. Dinner was wonderful and Julie Page you should know Hadija is now calling her baby Julie in honor of you. Pretty cool. We had a good time and h e returned to no electricity so I am off to bed.

Love you all.
Sue


Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, July 9, 2017

This has been a really fun weekend. I'd like to say

This has been a really fun weekend. I'd like to say we worked hard but the truth is we hardly worked. Yesterday morning the secondary had a sports day with all the track and field events. They used the field behind the elementary school where we watched the soccer game last year. Musana actually marked the field with lanes for all the running event. And they also had long jump, shot put, javelin (a long stick) and high jump. The first event of the day was the 10,000 meter (in excess of 24 laps). They started with 8 participants and by the end there were only 3 left. The others gave it their best shot but dropped out before finishing. One young boy ran slow but steady but with everyone dropping like flies he came in third! I would have quit after the first lap and I was so proud of them. I The secondary was divided into teams and the winning team at the end of the day got a goat to eat with a party this coming Saturday! It was hot but so much fun to watch the competition and how the students rallied around each person. As usual Musana did a great job and it was fun to be a small part of it (even if we were just the cheer squad).

After lunch the team from Colorado, Hannah and I went to the sail club in Jinja and took a boat tour around Lake Victoria. The boat was standard Ugandan style and it was so quiet on the lake. After the tour we ate dinner outside with the lake as our view. I had talapia and it was wonderful. In front of the restaurant was a huge statue of a tyrannosaur Rex. A little odd but I know Owen will love the pictures!!

Today we got up early and headed back to Wild Waters Resort with Leah, Umar, Kristy, Kaitlin, Erin, Hannah, Kyemba and myself. It rained on the way but once we got there the sun came out and it was beautiful. The Nile was so much lower today then last week and I was blessed by Hannah taking me on the last site Haril took our team too. Oh my goodness, it was phenomenal. The view was amazing and there was literally a gap where if you stepped into it you would fall into the Nile. The current of the water was so fast that the water was splashing up in the air quite high. We did have a relaxing day. We actually sat and read for most the day but also had a chance to have some meaningful conversation. On the way back we have stopped at a Mexican, yes Mexican restaurant for dinner. The food is in an out of the way location but the food was good. Even Kyemba ate Mexican; a chimichanga...

Please be in prayer for Kyemba. He has been diagnosed with typhoid and has not been himself the last few days, though when we ask he says, "I'm fine mum". He has been receiving treatment at Musana's clinic but is still not feeling great. Hopefully tomorrow will be better! We are hoping to go to Kampala tomorrow to get Dennis enrolled in University and to stop by the US Embassy to see if we can help with Kyemba's visa. I'm not very encouraged that it will happen but we are going to give it the old college try. From what I have heard getting a visa out of Uganda is extremely difficult if not impossible! Hannah will stay behind and paint the next building! Yeah Hannah!!

It looks like Kampala is being pushed back to Wednesday. I am waiting on a letter from Haril regarding Kyemba and want to go with the best ammunition I have.

I love you all!
Sue




Sent from my iPhone

Friday, July 7, 2017

U'ganda love this blog

Hello Friends and Family!

I hope this blog post finds you all well and happy. Today I finished up a big mural that I started yesterday. The mural is an African landscape with waterfalls, forests, mountains, Ugandan houses, and little gardens. I should be starting another after the weekend is over. All of the primary school buildings are painted different colors. So far I have had a bright blue and green canvas. If my next building-canvas is a soft color like purple then I will be painting a space scene full of planets, stars, and nebulas.

 

Yesterday I had a wonderful day painting and talking to Musana's staff as they came for quick visits to watch me paint. Two young women and I had wonderful conversations about our families and what our relationships with God look like. I was brought to tears by one of my new friend's stories of God's faithfulness in her life. One of my prayers in going to Uganda this time was to have deep, meaningful conversations about God with people as they came up and chatted with me as I painted. I finished up yesterday going to the staff's Thursday night Bible study which I absolutely loved. The church I attend at A&M has a college student Bible study on Thursdays that I attend, so I thought fondly of my college friends last night.

 

Today, Sue was out and about on a couple different trips with one of Musana's social workers. Over the last couple of days they have been driving to a couple different villages to check in on a couple kids. I am sure you will hear some more details from her later on.

 

Well, I must sign out for the day.

 

Thank you for reading!

 

Love,

Hannah

 

 

 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Rooster Death Threats

Today started with the idea that Hannah and I would go down and paint. She has the final wall on the cafeteria to paint, but instead skipped to another building that Andrea was anxious to have painted. I have to say I was a little out of my comfort zone, but it didn't last long. Edward (the social worker for the Musana clinic communicated that he would like to go back out to Kokombo to see the baby we took to the clinic last week. And so I gathered up Erin to take to the clinic and picked up Edward. In the process, I gave Carol (the hospital administrator) a bag of marshmallows. She was in seventh heaven and giddy! We then headed out to Kokombo where we saw the baby. She was still wheezing; not quite as badly, but her breathing was still difficult. Edward evaluated her and decided we would go back tomorrow and see how, and if, she is progressing. If things haven't taken a turn for the better we will head back to the clinic for further medication. On the way back, Kyemba found another scenic route!

 

Edward was also telling me about two little children whose dad left them with a friend since he was being sent to jail. The friends turned out to be witch doctors and abused the kids .A neighbor reported them and the local police came and took the children away to the police station where they have been since Tuesday. To put this in perspective the children are about 3-1/2 and almost 2 .Edward got a call about them and Musana is trying to get all the legal paperwork signed so they can help. The children had been burned and beaten during their brief childhoods. So we bought a mosquito net (they are both sleeping on one mattress on the floor) and food for them to have lunch. Later in the day we went to the market and bought the little boy, Karon, a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. The shorts were from the gap and cost a little more than a dollar. We also bought a set of sheets for the bed. My prayer is that the food actually goes to them and that some prison official doesn't decide to eat it himself. Both kids need medical care. They were taken to Iganga Hospital yesterday to have multiple testing done, but Edward said after waiting over three hours they had only been tested for malaria. This afternoon we headed into Idudi to try to find a relative that would be willing to stay overnight at Musana's clinic while they get treatment! Sadly, by the time we got to the police station in Idudi they had no information. We couldn't locate the neighbor who turned them in because he was renting his house and therefore there was no contact information to be had. Our attempts at talking to the dad (who is in prison) were thwarted because it was after visiting hours. So, we went back to the prison in Iganga to see if anything could be done! Sadly, we are on hold until tomorrow. Today I was in two different prisons a total of three times! And I didn't even do anything bad!

 

Meanwhile Hannah has painted another beautiful mural. She worked until 12:30, came up for lunch, and then returned to continue. What talent she has!! She painted this afternoon until 4 when it started to rain. She put the paints up and had the opportunity to go to chapel with the staff. She is now painting a beautiful picture for Dorkus and has written Psalm 25 (Dorkus' favorite) over the picture. I guess I don't have to tell you how beautiful it is! Dorkus is going to love it; and it is a great way to thank her for all she has done for us! Tomorrow, we are headed back to the village to pick up the little girl to take to the hospital and then we are going back to the prison to see if we can help these little kids.

 

The Rooster and I are on first name basis. Seriously, if he continues waking me up before 6 a.m. I AM going to eat him for dinner!

 

I love you guys. Sue

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

There's no place like home

Homeward bound!

The Fabulous Five have made it back on Texas soil! We are in route to SA courtesy of Ken Rameriz driving a decked out RV! (Shout out to Melanie and Frank Bass!)


We were blessed with one more night in Entebbe at the Airport View Hotel. We highly recommend this hotel to anyone traveling to Uganda, especially if you need a shuttle to and from the airport. A very hearty breakfast was provided before we began our alternate travel plans home. 


Words cannot express our sincere thanks to all of you for your prayers! Please continue praying for the two remaining teammates, Sue and Hannah, who are staying an additional two weeks. 


God bless America! ❤️ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

God bless Uganda! ❤️πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¬

Hail in Uganda

Hello everyone! Hannah here J

 

You haven't heard from me in a while because I have not been feeling well since Monday. Thankfully, I am almost at 100% this evening. These last couple days have been a bit frustrating for me. I want to use my time well while I am in Uganda, and laying on my bed for 3 days did not qualify as time well spent to me. However, it has been a blessing in disguise. Both Sue and I were able to have some much needed down time. Even if I had not been sick, some heavy rains would have kept us indoors anyways. Apparently God wanted us to rest J

 

Sue and I woke up to our very noisy rooster friend today. Sue swears she is going to eat him before she leaves Uganda. I am not opposed to some fried chicken and some quieter mornings. Even though I was still feeling a bit sketchy this morning, I decided to try and eat some breakfast and then go paint with the help of Sue. We were able to complete our small mural in about an hour. It is on a wall facing the school's entrance. Sue helped me by painting "You are very welcome" in both English and Lusoga. I added some trees and flowers and other little decorations surrounding our welcome. I was spent by the time we finished and went up to our room where I took a 2 hour nap. Sue headed into town with Kymba to get some pictures developed and printed to give to some friends here. While she was in town, a huge thunderstorm blew in. I sat in the doorway of our room and listened to the rain, wind, and thunder. After a few minutes, I was surprised to see hail bouncing off of the red dirt. After the storm, Sue returned home and we were joined in our room by 2 of Musana's interns. One of the interns got food poisoning last night so we got to take care of her and distract her a bit from her stomach. We had a lovely time getting to know these two young women better. We ended today eating dinner at Sol View and getting to know the team that arrived Monday night. Now that I am feeling better, I am so excited to get back to painting tomorrow. I am thinking that a mural full of stars and ringed planets might be next on the agenda.

 

I am thankful for all of the prayers and encouragement I have received while I have been sick. I got to practice being patient with myself and was able to enjoy spending time with the people I happened to be around. Despite all of the sickness that seems to be going on around here, it has been a really relational couple of days.

 

Hope everyone back home is doing well!

 

And in honor of my brother Tyler's birthday this week, I will end this blog with this nerdy farewell:

 

May the force be with you,

 

Love Hannah

 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Celebrating July 4th in Uganda

Happy 4th of July! I hope all of you are enjoying your day off! Today has been another semi-lazy day. I got up early this morning and headed back to the pharmacy to purchase the remaining medications we needed for the clinic. We pulled up in front of the store about 8:45 and it wasn't yet open. Seems all the employees were there, but the owner with the key hadn't shown up yet. So Kyemba dropped me off and I waited. Meanwhile he took one of the interns to the market to shop for our 4th of July celebration tonight. It is always good to have a local with you for insight but also so you don't get the Mzungu price (that happens all the time)! After about 15 the man with the key showed up and I was able to order what we needed. Then it was a waiting game while they filled the order. Fortunately, the market took a while too so by the time they returned I was ready to go. We headed back to Musana and Kyemba took the medications out to the village. Unfortunately, we forgot to pack the suitcase with the gloves and malaria testing equipment so he had to come back before the clinic could begin… Nothing in Uganda is easy or fast! I'm afraid the clinic didn't actually get started til mid afternoon; frustrating for all, the medical team and the villagers! I've asked Kyemba to bring back the remaining medicatons so I can account for them. I'm curious to see how many actually make it back to me!

 

It has been the rainiest it has been in months. When it is beautiful it is beautiful and when it is rainy it rains hard. It has also been much cooler the past few days so that has been nice. Hannah is still sick so I am hoping tomorrow she feels better so we can get back to painting. Andrea would like her to paint everything but we will take it one step at a time! Every time we talk painting Andrea just grins with anticipation. Hannah has actually given me permission to paint by numbers. She will outline and I will fill in the spots!!!

 

The good news is after yesterday's debacle with the airlines I think our team is actually in the air headed home. The bad news is they have an 8 hour layover in Qatar. The good news is that the flight from there is then direct to Houston. The bad news is that it is 16 hours long. The good news is they don't have to spend hours in the London airport. The bad news is that they land in Houston and then have a 3-4 hour drive home. The good news is that Hannah and I are chilling for the day!

 

So tonight we celebrated… and we celebrated in style! Oh my goodness, steak on a stick, hamburgers (yes, I said hamburgers), the best corn salad ever, and guacamole just to name a few. To finish the evening we cooked s'mores over the open fire. Most of the people here had never tasted a s'more so it is fair to say we made new friends. Carol, the head of the clinic was actually poking us with a stick to get more!!! Tomorrow we plan to paint and then go to Sol View for dinner.

 

I love you all. Steve-O, I miss you bunches.

 

Sue

Monday, July 3, 2017

Rest for the Weary

Today we woke up at 6 and headed out on a hike to Pride Rock to watch the sunrise. The walk was longer than I remembered, but the beauty of the sunrise made it all worthwhile. I was shocked at the amount of "development" that has taken place since a year ago. But even at 6 am the streets were full of people starting to open their little shops, most of which I would describe as a wooden hut! The young kids continually yelled, "Bye Mzungus" which is how they say hi while waving frantically. Pictures cannot do the sunrise justice and it was good to have this final moment with the team. We returned to Musana around 8:30 and Hannah graciously made us all fried eggs for breakfast. What a treat!!! And then we waited for Kyemba… and we waited. The team was supposed to leave for the airport at 10 but finally got rolling at 11 am with Sam in the backseat with the suitcases, Tamara, Julie and Laura stuffed in the middle and Emma (because of her long legs) in the front!! It will be a long drive. Meanwhile, Hannah and I have changed rooms and been to the craft room to order the stuff that wasn't delivered the first time! Now I am actually sitting with my feet up, and will remain so until we go down to continue the painting.

 

A few hours later… the painting may have to wait until tomorrow. The rain is pelting down and the sound is so refreshing. For one thing, it means we cannot paint and so I am sitting on my bed under a blanket working on pictures. Sitting outside in the gazebo we could hear the rain long before it came to us. I love the sound of rain and am really thankful we are not out in a remote village doing a medical clinic. Instead I have my feet up doing nothing. Whoop!!! I have to admit it feels great and I have been missing my Sue time. It has been a long time since I've listened to the rain and it is very calming.

 

Update…Hannah is sick with a fever but is starting to feel better. So we stayed in the room all day reading, listening to music and working on pictures. It was much needed and very relaxing. Tomorrow we are back to the grind. I am leaving early in the morning to go back to the pharmacy for more medications for another medical clinic that Andrew is doing. We won't be going to the clinic as we have committed to Musana to finish up some projects and interact with a new team that arrives tonight. So after the pharmacy Kyemba will go and transport Andrew and his team to the village.

 

The rest of the team left today for what was supposed to be a 6:30 flight. Even though Kyemba was late this morning they arrived at the airport in plenty of time; however, Qatar Airlines moved the departure time to 4:45 without contacting any of the passengers. So the team and many others missed the flight. They are now spending the night in Entebbe and will be leaving tomorrow afternoon instead. The good news is that the flight out of Qatar flies directly to Houston so they don't have to stop in London. I'm wondering why we weren't on that flight to begin with!!! Such is the life in Uganda. One never knows what is going to happen next!!

 

Love you all. It is 8:25 my time and I am going to bed…

 

Sue

Dunked in the Nile

Today was a day full of rest, good friends and incredible beauty. Our rest day was well spent in a beautiful place right on the Nile called Wild Waters Lodge. We were blessed to have good friends, Andrea, Haril, and their cute little Dezy and Edward, his wife, Damali, and their adorable little baby, Matthew Austin, join us on the adventure. The place seemed like something out of a movie, we were convinced it was a green screen. There was so much beauty, it was a bit overwhelming.. but in a good way. We got to explore and climb rocks that we probably shouldn't have climbed(but we did anyway because we're #rebels) to get the best view and were in awe of the places we found. What made it even better was that we got to have Edward baptize Laura and I for the first time and rebaptize sue and sam. We ended the day drinking coffee and eating chips at the source in Jinja. This was a wonderful way to wrap up the trip(though, sam and i are planning to "lose" our passports so we never have to leave.) and it showed us the true beauty that is Uganda. The Father was good to us today and he's bringing new seasons full of joy and full of wonder, and we're very excited about it. 

love from emma. 


IMG_5883.JPG

IMG_5950.JPG

IMG_5946.JPG




Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

When Nothing Goes RIGHT Then Turn LEFT

July 3rd came and 5 of us (Sue and Hannah are staying 2 more weeks) prepared for the journey home. We did all we could to prepare our hearts to leave beautiful Uganda. The team went on a morning hike to watch the sunrise at pride rock. After that we had breakfast, took our feet in red dirt picture and said our goodbyes. At 11am (one hour late otherwise known as On time in Uganda), we left for our 5 hours drive to the Entebbe. Kymba did his usual out of this world driving and made it in 4 1/2 hours. So we arrived at the airport 3 hours prior to departure or so we thought. When we arrived we learned that they had rescheduled the flight to leave 2 hours early but did not notify us. So our fearless leader Julie was the first of many to hit the Qatar Airlines help desk. She worked her magic and got us an even better flight for tomorrow. We then booked a beautiful hotel for the night. The best part is they have wonderful showers! Due to the water being shut off in Iganga we are pretty stinky. 


All that to say that sometimes God takes us on sweet detours so we are soaking it up as a blessing. 


****Side note if we had followed Sue's fathers travel rule and arrived 4 hours early we would have made our flight. 


See you on the 5th!


Tamara

For the fantastic five. 





Sent from my iPhone

When Nothing Goes Right Them Go Left

July 3rd came and 5 of us (Sue and Hannah are staying 2 more weeks) prepared for the journey home. We did all we could to prepare our hearts to leave beautiful Uganda. The team went on a morning hike to watch the sunrise at pride rock. After that we had breakfast, took our feet in red dirt picture and said our goodbyes. At 11am (one hour late otherwise known as On time in Uganda), we left for our 5 hours drive to the Entebbe. Kymba did his usual out of this world driving and made it in 4 1/2 hours. So we arrived at the airport 3 hours prior to departure or so we thought. When we arrived we learned that they had rescheduled the flight to leave 2 hours early but did not notify us. So our fearless leader Julie was the first of many to hit the Qatar Airlines help desk. She worked her magic and got us an even better flight for tomorrow. We then booked a beautiful hotel for the night. The best part is they have wonderful showers! Due to the water being shut off in Iganga we are pretty stinky. 


All that to say that sometimes God takes us on sweet detours so we are soaking it up as a blessing. 


****Side note if we had followed Sue's fathers travel rule and arrived 4 hours early we would have made our flight. 


See you on the 5th!


Tamara

For the fantastic five. 





Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Drawing to an end

Sue Today was another long day even though we didn't show up to Andrew Wambi's till 10! Church started between 9:30 and 10, although I think they waited for the Mzungus to start!! The children started the service with singing and dancing and it is such a neat thing to watch. The benches were packed. At least five, if not more, children crammed together. Ugandan services have been known to last hours and hours. So after the singing Andrew preached and the service was over in just over 1-1/2 hours! It was a great service but it was so hot and we were surrounded by children who constantly were touching and pulling at us. After the service we were able to meet with Masiat, Ruth, Moses, Barbra and Samuel. We also had Augustine (who use to be Tule) and Dennis with us as they are hoping to move to New Life Ministries. One day this next week I will drive into Kampala with Kyemba and Dennis. Kyemba needs to go to the embassy for the final (at least that is what I am told) and Dennis needs to fill out the application for university. We also need to see what the expenses will be for a school year. He hopes to major in social work. It was just so great to see those kids that I have loved on for the past 7 years. I also got to meet our sponsored child through Andrew's; a little girl named Liz. She is actually Ruth's little sister, who's mother left her on the street about 6 months ago. She is the cutest little thing with a huge smile. Personally, I think she runs the place… much like Dezi.

 

We then took the kid's from Phil's to the Sol View for dinner. They were telling me that for every meal at school they get posha and beans so it was a good change for them and a chance for us to really talk to one another. Andrew did a great job with them both encouraging and letting them know how valued they were. He also told them that their grades were important and if they didn't do well they would be dropped from the sponsorship program. It sounds harsh but they are being taught to value the education they are given in hopes of bettering their lives for the future. Jen, Moses ate spaghetti which was so fun to watch. We then had Kyemba drive them back to their various schools and we walked home from the restaurant. It was fun to be out among the people and I was really thankful that Julie knew the way. I would be sitting on a street corner crying by now after walking in circles forever!

 

Tomorrow morning before the team leaves we are climbing up Pride Rock to watch the sunrise. It is always a beautiful moment and a good way to end the trip. Then Kyemba will drive the five returning members to the airport and they will begin the trek home. Hannah and I plan to continue painting at Musana and I have told Atwiiya and Rashida that I would come down after school and just spend time with them. I haven't been able to do that yet and I am really excited.

 

I love you all so much. Steve, Cody and Kari it was terrific talking to you tonight. I miss you all (the whole family) so much. I can't wait to see you all in two weeks!!

 

Suebee

Dunked in the Nile

Today was a day full of rest, good friends and incredible beauty. Our rest day was well spent in a beautiful place right on the Nile called Wild Waters Lodge. We were blessed to have good friends, Andrea, Haril, and their cute little Dezy and Edward, his wife, Damali, and their adorable little baby, Matthew Austin, join us on the adventure. The place seemed like something out of a movie, we were convinced it was a green screen. There was so much beauty, it was a bit overwhelming.. but in a good way. We got to explore and climb rocks that we probably shouldn't have climbed(but we did anyway because we're #rebels) to get the best view and were in awe of the places we found. What made it even better was that we got to have Edward baptize laura and I for the first time and rebaptize sue and sam. We ended the day drinking coffee and eating chips at the Source in Jinja. This was a wonderful way to wrap up the trip(though, Sam and I are planning to "lose" our passports so we never have to leave.) and it showed us the true beauty that is Uganda. The Father was good to us today and he's bringing new seasons full of joy and full of wonder and we're very excited about it. 

love from emma. 


IMG_5883.JPG

IMG_5950.JPG

IMG_5946.JPG




Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone