Our final full day was spent in Nakabango, the village that Messiah Lutheran has partnered with since 2006. We were greeted by the school kids (over 300 strong) singing outside as we arrived. Such a thrill to see that many smiling, familiar faces!
We received our official greeting from the leaders and then moved on to meet with the 145 sponsored kids. They loved the packets that their sponsoring families sent along! Thanks to those who participated. It is so much fun to watch the kids open the packets and look at the pictures sent by their sponsors.
Future's so bright, they gotta wear shades
We followed that up with some crafts provided by Water’s Edge – Allen and small gifts for the kids. Everyone got new sunglasses!!!
We walked to the site of the temporary structure that Nakabango has built for a secondary school. They started a S1 class on Monday and have 8 students registered. Their goal is to add a class each year and reach a full secondary school by 2018. I love their vision!
We saw the carpentry shop and then visited the women’s sewing center to look at some of the beads they have put together since our last visit.
I am always inspired by these women who work so hard to help provide for their families. I’m anxious for everyone to see some of the new colors!
Andy and I had some meetings next while the rest of the team handed out jump ropes, soccer balls, and
“skip-its”. Toni demonstrated the skip-it with style and grace!
In our meeting with the council we discussed beginning the process of putting the concrete floor in the primary school building as well as some plans for the future. We also talked with Alex and confirmed that we will be able to purchase the land near the church for use by the Disabled Ministry members. That put a smile on his face!
Trying to get position. Is there a yellow card on the way?!?
Next up was the much-anticipated soccer match between the Nakabango boys team and the men of Hearts & Hope. They agreed to 10-minute halves; a blessing for the older team, for sure! There were easily 300 people, mostly kids, gathered for the match and it was great fun. I’m happy to report there were no injuries to either side, but I expect to hear a few moans and groans when the guys come down the stairs in the morning. I appreciate their willingness to get out there and play – the boys loved it.
The opposing teams pose for a photo after the match
One more meeting while the rest of the team got to find some shade and just relax with the kids (one of my favorite times of the day in Nakabango!) When our meeting finished, it was time to leave, so we passed out candy in a semi-orderly fashion and got on the bus.
On the way to the hotel, we stopped at Vicar Simon Peter’s house to pray for his new baby, Christina. She is only 6 weeks old and is having breathing issued. Further tests are supposed to take place next week. She is absolutely precious and it was a privilege to be in their home.
After quick showers, we headed to the Two Friends Pizza Kitchen for dinner. Always a bittersweet evening for me – it’s great fun, but also our last evening together with our Ugandan friends.
Tomorrow we will head into Jinja to the Source Café for lunch and some shopping later. While the team shops for souvenirs, Andy, Curt, and I are going to finalize the order on backpacks and shoes for the sponsored kids tomorrow morning. Thank you to all of our sponsors for making a difference in these kids' lives. Without your support, these children would not be able to attend school and prepare themselves for a better life.
The team will be heading to the airport on Saturday night. I’m staying an extra night in Uganda, but the team will be in good hands with Andy as their leader! I know that everyone on the team is exhausted, but in a happy, fulfilled kind of way. So many stories to tell and I know we're all excited to share with our families & friends.
Thank you again to everyone for the prayers during this trip. It's always encouraging to know that people are praying for a safe and successful trip.
Looking forward to seeing everyone very soon!
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.