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