Our Thursday night was spent at the Kyemba Sande Garden hotel in Kamuli. This is a bare-bones hotel; the power was on and off for the first hour we were there. We ate outside and many made it an early night.
Friday morning we woke up and headed to the village of Mbulamuti, where a small group of churches in the Dallas area have partnered. This village has gone from almost nothing to an amazing school in a little over two years.
There is a beautiful Hearts and Hope school, with large fields in the back for playing soccer and netball. There is a playground to the right where brightly-colored swings, slides, and more are rarely not in use.
We enjoyed a brief program by the children and then headed outside to play (packets are being delivered here by Team 2). The guys played soccer with the boys for a long time; I finally had to be the bad guy and officially call the game. Our guys, hot and sweaty as they were, would not be the ones to say it was over! Playing with these boys is such a gift to them.
Jerry and Mark played netball on the other field with a group of older girls. It looked fairly intense; that game had to be called when Mariah, a Hearts and Hope staff member, stepped in a hole and twisted her ankle.
Our next stop was the village of Namwendwa. We have been here a few times before. This congregation owns a strip of land and have started a school in a very temporary structure. We were greeted in a familiar, enthusiastic way and spent some time getting to know the kids there. We handed out t-shirts to the students and then presented a duffle bag full of books, donated by Messiah Lutheran families last year. I love having time to listen to these kids read!
There was more soccer and then lunch under a huge mango tree. It is incredible how much cooler it is in the shade. We passed out candy once again and headed to our next stop.
This was the first visit for all of us to the village of Buwaiswa. Chairman Emmanuel is from this area and asked if we would stop by. They have started a small school that meets under a blue tarp.
The village leadership presented a report and the women sang and danced for us. We were able to hand out flip-flops to most of the kids, along with more books and candy. Our visit wasn't long but it was a joy to be among these friendly people. We look forward to seeing them again.
We finally headed back to our home base - the Sunset Hotel in Jinja. We had our final dinner there that night and enjoyed meeting up with some friends from Texas and Michigan. It is amazing to hear all that God is doing in Uganda through so many!