There is so much to capture from the past 48 hours! This team has been able to successfully cram a LOT into a day. Very grateful for their flexibility and willingness to try anything I ask.
On Tuesday, we traveled east on Iganga Road. Our first stop was the new Lutheran seminary. We toured the campus and met briefly with the 23 seminary students. We delivered 4 boxes of books sent with us by Immanuel Lutheran Church in Brookfield Wisconsin and were on our way again.
We had the privilege of visiting a village where Hearts & Hope has never been before. Itakaibolu is a small congregation where around 70 people attend worship on Sundays. We also passed by Nakavule Lutheran Church on the way; it is the larger Lutheran church in the area. We met with them in a small mud structure - similar to the structures where we have always met congregations for the first time. It was obvious that some of the younger ones don't see a lot of Mzungus! The road was rough; there was rock along the way, similar to that you see at Elephant Rock State Park in Missouri.
We delivered t-shirts to around 120 people and played a lot of games. It was a great visit and a wonderful way for the team to see how the villages that Hearts & Hope partners with all began.
Our last stop of the day was a bit unusual. I will outline the entire project in a future blog post but the highlights are that two girls were removed from the grandmother's home in Nakabango and no longer attended school. I knew these girls and they are bright little half-sisters. The thought of them never getting an education and working as house maids at the age of 10 was more than I could handle. We have made arrangements for them to attend boarding school in Kawete, where Violet works much of the time. We had purchased some items for them that morning and decided to deliver them to the step mother's home, where they were staying. Seeing their precious faces was a magical moment for me! The team dug some balls and games out of the bus and entertained 30-40 onlookers while we visited with Mirabu and Racheal. Truly one of my favorite hours of the trip and another awesome way for the team to see a little behind the scenes work.
It was a long Tuesday but one that touched a lot of lives - on the team and among those we saw.
On Wednesday we were heading to Mbulamuti to deliver packets to 80+ sponsored students. We first stopped in Jinja to pick up Betty, another special case handled by Hearts & Hope. Betty is from the Mbulamuti area. She has cerebral palsy and had been left to mostly fend for herself a few years back. Grant and Tonya Ehlmann felt lead to do something for her and for the past three years she has attended a boarding school in Jinja that is set up to offer physical therapy and job training in addition to traditional academics. It's always a thrill to be greeted by Betty!
We arrived in Mbulamuti and enjoyed being part of a parade to the school structure lead by the local Boy Scout troop. We enjoyed some entertainment and then delivered packets to the sponsored kids. Some of the older girls went for Days for Girls training while the younger ones made a craft for their sponsors.
Afterwards we had the chance to enjoy the massive playing field behind the school. After lunch it was time to head back to Jinja, but first, we stopped by where Betty stays during her breaks from school. The small structure she had been living in had completely collapsed. The decision was made that we will work to construct a new structure for her on the same spot and give her the opportunity to use the independence she has gained! Thank you, Grant and Tonya!
When we arrived back at the Sunset, it was time to pack up some bags. We will check out of the hotel later this morning and travel to Kampala. It has been a fantastic week on the mission field!