Good morning from Uganda! What a great day in Nakabango. This is always such a special day, especially for the members of the team from Messiah.
Each morning of our trip, we set aside time with the team to reflect on what we’ve seen and experienced, and to hear a devotion to help set our minds and hearts for the day. Julie shared a moment from the day before that can only be described as a “God thing.” Before breakfast on Sunday morning, Jessica was chatting with another mission team that was staying at the Sunset. They shared that part of the work they were doing was handing out Days for Girls kits, which provide washable supplies for women so that they can still go to school while they’re menstruating. This is an organization that Hearts and Hope has also been involved in - we handed out several kits to women on our February trip, and Layet Dorothy in Nakabango is a trained educator for the program.
Julie asked them about their work with Days for Girls later on in breakfast, and they shared that they’d been praying for guidance because they were almost out of kits. It so happens that Hearts and Hope had 70 kits stored in their office, just waiting for an opportunity to be distributed. We’re bringing the kits to the team later today. Suffice it to say that there were many hugs, tears, and thanks to God for this small miracle.
Our day in Nakabango began, as usual, with a wonderful welcome from the kids and women of the village. We received a tour of the community, which included the school and church buildings and various income-driving projects like a piggery, carpentry shop, and the catering company. The caterers were inspiring to many of us - they were able to purchase new plates and new uniforms with money they’ve raised from their work. This self-sustaining model, where income is used to make their business better, is something we hope to replicate with other projects.
A little girl named Patricia is always a constant on our trips to Uganda. Patricia has a developmental disability that makes her very small, even though she is twelve, and has a hard time expressing herself verbally. Most of the time we’re in the Nakabango, her feet barely touch the ground because of all the time she spends in the arms of team members. The best way to describe Patricia is “a hoot,” and we loved spending time with her.
Programming, including songs, speeches, and poems, followed our tour. One of our favorite parts was the poem that the school choir recited about education. “Education, education, education. I am a policeman because of education. I am a doctor because of education. Education is the key to success.” School leaders presented a report of how the Nakabango Primary School students performed in 2017 - twenty-two of the twenty-three students who sat for their PLE entrance exams (to allow them into secondary school) were admitted, which is a huge deal! How exciting to see how far we’ve progressed since sponsoring Nakabango ten years ago.
Three other mission team members join us today - Pastor Chuck Schlie, Rooney, and his wife Terry. They jumped right in, and we’re thrilled to have their gifts and see our team finally completed! Abraham, Dan, and Timothy Mark also joined us, and they’re always a huge help at organizing the kids and keeping the peace.
Packets and crafts with the sponsored kids were next on the agenda. The team loves getting to sit with their sponsored kids and friends’ sponsored kids while they open their packets of small toys, letters, and photos. There are many secondary school kids that are sponsored in Nakabango, so it was a blessing to see them and talk to them about the gratitude they feel for their sponsors at home.
One inspiring part of the day was reading with the P4 (fourth grade level) children in the library. We presented some books to them, and let them select a book to read to us. The team was really impressed with the high level of reading skill, and the kids enjoyed being able to show off their knowledge.
At this point, the team feels that we could write a book about the fine art of face painting and giving out candy - we have it down to a science! We also closed out the day with the parachute, a presentation of soccer balls, and lots of hugs. We’re thankful for the time we were able to spend with the people of Nakabango yesterday, and are looking forward to two more villages today!
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.