It’s Friday morning and we are back in Jinja.
We arrived back last night around 6:00 pm after spending two days in the Kamuli area. I think we were all competing for wifi signal last night so updates were difficult.
Thursday started in the village of Mbulamuti. Water’s Edge in Allen, Texas partners with the Lutheran congregation in Mbulamuti and has helped them make great improvements in the past two years. During devotions, Pastor Paul recalled preaching at a worship service in Mbulamuti in a dilapidated building where the roof was caving in around us only two years ago. Now, there is land, a borehole well, and a school that is being touted locally as a model school. The pride and joy is palpable and the 400+ students obviously enjoy being at their school.
We watched the kids dance and enjoyed dramas that referenced everything from teen-age pregnancy to HIV/Aids prevention to caring for the sick. These kids have seen and experienced more than many adults in the US and it’s amazing the things they need to be educated about at such an early age.
We met with the sponsored students inside the main hall next. Again, the team blasted into action and made the process look easy - which it isn't! I think they pride themselves on the system they have created and it's great to see it work so well!
Afterwards, Pastor Paul and Pastor Jason lead the kids on opposite ends of the hall with the stand-up/sit-down version of Allelu, Allelu, Allelu, Alleluia. They almost brought down the house! Paul also shared his fallback favorite, "My Aunt Came Back" - video is coming.
Andy walked the perimeter of the land with Henry and some of the village leaders to talk about plans for near-future expansion - a playground and school garden. It was a joy to see what can happen in a 2-year time period when people care! Thank you, Water's Edge!
We had lunch in the main hall and had the opportunity to purchase some items made by the women. Afterwards, we said our good-byes and headed to the village of Namwendwa on the other side of Kamuli.
Namwendwa has no partnership but in October, Andy, Todd, and I had requested a visit to a new village and this is where we ended up. The people were so warm and friendly and the needs so very great, we felt we had to go back. Also, the worship leader at the church is a graduate of the sponsorship program from Nakabango. Another success story!
The team enjoyed a program while Violet, Mariah, Ronald, and I attempted to organize some of the many items we have had donated recently. The team joined us as we handed out backpacks to P5 and P6 kids, and shirts and shorts to the younger ones. Of course, everyone was given candy - including the older boys watching from a distance.
We left Namwendwa around 5:00 and made it back to Jinja a little after 6:00. Discussions on the bus ranged from how much some of like Taylor Swift, to "what can we do for those people", to "what are you ordering for dinner?" I think everyone was a little bit broken by what they had seen that afternoon and it seems there is a lot of processing taking place.
A wonderful evening under the stars was a great way to end our day. Violet brought the Ludo boards so there was extreme competition at one end of the table. Hoping everyone got a great night's sleep.
Off to Butangala this morning, but the team gets a chance to sleep a little later. Violet, Andy, and I are going to investigate a school for a special needs girl from Mbulamuti today. Praying for a positive experience and a solution!
Mbulamuti - now.
Mbulamuti - two years ago.
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.