The team from Archer City, Texas arrived on the 10th of July and we left for safari on the 11th. It was a crazy six-seven hour drive up to Murchison Falls. The road had a gazillion pot holes in it, and by "pot holes" I mean caverns. You can almost get lost in those things. They have to swerve all the way across the road and back to miss them...which means that you often come face to face with huge trucks and see your life flash before your eyes just nano-seconds before you miss hitting them by centimeters. Then about half way there the roads become all dirt. But the dirt roads are a million times better than the "paved" road with ditches.
The safari was amazing. We saw scads of giraffe, elephants, cape buffalo, weird little deer like things with squirly horns, amazing birds....and best of all...a LEOPARD!!! The guides said that there have been only four sightings of a leopard in the last 20 years!! Kathleen saw something move in a tree and it turned out to be a leopard tail. We stopped our safari land rover and watched it for quite a while. We have amazing pictures and video of it. Can't wait to get some printed out. After the land safari we went by boat on the Nile. Tons of crocodiles, hippos...and you could see ginormous wart hogs and elephants on the shore. Way cool. Then we spent the night in tents with hippos and wart hogs roaming the camp throughout the night. Be careful on your way to the bathroom!!
The next morning we hiked up to the top of Murchison Falls. There is a constant rainbow where the spray of the water bursts into the air. It's pretty incredible.
After arriving back in Kampala, we went to a remote village called Buganga. It means "the smell of gun smoke" because there was so much fighting there during the war. Now it's mostly old people and orphans. Ed played his soprano sax for them and then improvised with them as they sang and played their big drums. It was awesome to see the little old ladies gettin' down!!! Then Roger conducted his pastoral training workshop. The people and pastors who had come from far away remote villages just to be with us were constantly saying how blessed they were by it. It was all translated, of course. Then we brought in the gigantic sacks of food we had brought as gifts. It took two men to carry each sack into the wood-slatted-tin-roofed church building with dirt floors. As soon as the people saw the food they started clapping and doing their tribal "calls." It's a sound of celebration and great joy. Then we divided it up into small sacks for each person. We spent about $150 USD and literally fed a village...for about four days! It was one of my favorite experiences in Uganda so far!
Yesterday we went to the Orphan Rescue Minstries for the first time since last year. It was sooooo good to Bishop Yusto, again (the leader of the organization). He has had to move the organization’s location twice since we saw him last year. He has now found a good landlord who actually cares about the children and is doing so much to renovate the facility so that they have a good place to live. Today and for the next two days we are building a kitchen for them. The guys are out buying supplies and timber and tin and all that stuff right now so that we can get started. Kathleen, my mom, and I are about to head out with all our day camp stuff for the kids. The children of the Orphan Rescue Ministries were so different than they were last year. Last year, they looked sad, and malnourished, and sang songs of death and dying and hopelessness. Yesterday, they were happy, and healthy and sang songs of their desperate situation, yet how happy they were because they can "take the Spirit with you anywhere." They are now in a much better facility, getting matoke (like mashed potatoes, but it's from plantains), rice and sweet potatoe every day and meat on the weekends. Half of them are going to school. When the other two rooms are built, they will have sewing classes (with the two new sewing machines we brought them), shoe making and carpentry, plus one more vocational class that is yet to be decided. They are finishing the toilets (squatty potties) and we are about to build the kitchen. I almost cried when we drove up and they were all out front waiting for us and greeted us with huge smiles and hugs as they swarmed the car. Their English is so much better than last year. It was so amazing to get to sit and talk and play with the kids that just one year ago couldn't communicate with me and were reluctant to play. And to think that it's because my church from Archer City, TX is supporting them! What an honor and a blessing!! I love my life. I really, really, really love my life!!
Okay, there's a ton more, but I have to go see the kids now. Everything is working out so amazingly well!
Posted by Vanessa