Our Monday began like every other day; we ate breakfast and then gathered for a morning devotion. Many thanks to Pastor Jason Auringer for leading these each day. It also gives us time to reflect on the previous day and make our plan for the day ahead.
After purchasing more bottled water for the team in Jinja, we headed straight north towards Kamuli. Along the way, we packed 200 bracelet kits to pass out to the kids.
We enjoyed a beautiful welcome and some entertainment by the kids. For the third day in a row, the team got to join the celebration by dancing along. Watch for YouTube posts very soon! :)
We delivered packets and loved seeing some more of our sponsors meet their sponsored student. MIchelle, Julie Ake, and Lauren delivered Days for Girls kits and conducted another training session. If you don't know about Days for Girls, check out their website: www.daysforgirls.com
Lunch was next and then some time to spend playing games with the kids. Lots of activity on the playing field outside the school.
We were lucky to have three of our good friends join us for the day - Abraham, Ashfar, and Daniel. These boys used to live on the streets of Jinja; their stories are heart wrenching. Messiah Lutheran Church has done a lot for them over the years and it is a joy to see how they are growing up.
The boys joined us as we boarded the bus and headed towards Namwendwa. This village has no partner but proceeds from Party With a Purpose were used to install a borehole well earlier this year. We are used to seeing aroun 60-70 people when we visit; yesterday there were easily 400 faces waiting to greet us when we arrived! We loved our time with these joyful people! Some team members had the chance to purchase beads, purses, and hats made by women in the community. We passed out the bracelet kits and played a lot of games with the kids before we got back on the bus for the trip home.
Along the way, Abraham asked if we could stop at the place where his father used to own land. After his father passed away when Abraham was very young, a family friend was supposed to take care of Abraham and his brothers and sisters. (His mother died the day after his father passed.) Instead, the so-called friend ran them off, even threatening to kill them. He sold a large portion of the land, and has enjoyed the proceeds ever since. This is one of the reasons Abraham lived on the streets for so long. The pride in his voice about the land was evident; he was even able to show us where his father is buried. I encouraged Abraham to take the time to write his story some time. It needs to be told.
We had time to shower when we got back and then boarded the bus for a quick ride to the All Friends Restaurant. We were fortunate to have much of the Hearts & Hope staff join us, as well as the new LCMS missionaries, Mark and Megan Manley and the Bishop-elect of the Lutheran Church in Uganda, Pastor Charles Bameka. There was much conversation and many laughs during the evening!
When we returned to the Sunset, the 3 boys asked if they could sing and dance for us; we never turn down that opportunity so there was a bit of a party near the restaurant last night! It was so fun to watch them and see the pride on their faces. I am hoping these 3 are a success story! I think they already are.
Today is a visit to a new village. Looking forward to learning more about the community and meeting the people there!
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.