On Wednesday morning, we checked out of the Sunset Hotel in Jinja and headed north to Kamuli. This village is where Hearts and Hope is partnered and there are over 100 children sponsored. Several of the team members, including myself, have sponsored kids there and we were excited that we got to spent the entire day with them.
Because of some progress in the paving of Kamuli Road, we made the trip in just over one hours, according to Violet’s best efforts at setting her stopwatch.
The school kids were playing all over the field when we arrived and came running as the bus turned in. Most of the team had left the bus by the time I got off and one of the first little faces I saw was Jerry and Amy Mayo’s sponsored child, Jacillin.
didn’t see much distance between them the rest of the day.
I say it a lot – but it really is about the relationships.
We gathered inside one of the classrooms and enjoyed the privilege of having a chapel service with the students. Jason had a great message about not being afraid and it was obvious the kids were hanging on every word.
We met with the sponsored kids next, handing out packets and taking pictures with each of them. This is when a team always shines – everybody pitching in to do whatever is needed. Blessed by this hard-working team!
It is always a special time when anyone gets to meet their sponsored child for the first time. Sam sponsors a boy named Jonah.
So much fun to watch them sit together and open his packet – even when there was a Red Sox hat involved. Jonah wasn't hard to pick out of a crowd the rest of the day; he wore that hat with pride!
Lynn, Kim, and I found one of our friend’s sponsored child, Daphine, and took some pictures with her. She is a beautiful little girl who seems to smile all the time. It was a blessing to watch her take each item out of her packet and see the look on her face. She seemed to especially love her turquoise and hot pink bandanas!
We met with the P3 class next and passed out books. Listening to them read was a highpoint of the day! Looking around the room and seeing each team member sitting with a group of kids made my heart ache; I wondered how often these kids get that kind of attention.
My family’s sponsored child, Matia, read through a book about construction vehicles that took me back to listening to my own son when he was learning to read. It has been interesting to think about the content of children’s books through the eyes of a Ugandan child! It made me wonder how well Barney and Baby Bop translate…
Lunch was next and then it was on to bead-making for the women…and Jerry. What he lacked in quality, he made up for in speed and the women were impressed. We had a chance to purchase some of the paper bead necklaces as well. I’m thankful that Edith took the time to show the team how they are made.
The remainder of the afternoon was spent just enjoying time with the kids. David, the Advanced Sponsorship Coordinator for Hearts and Hope, refers to it as “time for interaction”! It’s a bit less formal than that, but one of my favorite ways to spend my time!
Some of the guys played soccer with the kids, while Tom and Ronald set up for some more relays. The rest of us found a nice patch of ground to sit on and were soon surrounded by kids. Lots of pictures and giggles, and a really interesting flower-headpiece for Sam at one point! Carrie was able to coax a conversation out of some of the older girls; Paul discovered Ugandan kids know all about playing Uno. The only part he could teach them was how to shuffle the cards.
Later in the evening, Charles brought out two decks of cards (Titanic-themed) that he had brought along. Our Ugandan friends taught us to play a game that is basically Uno with real cards and a few rule twists. The twists, surprisingly, seemed to
occur whenever Violet was losing, but I'm sure that is just a coincidence! Clubs are referred to as “flowers” and Jacks are referred to as “J’s”. That took a bit of getting used to but the entire process made us all laugh until our stomachs hurt. Such a fun evening!
Prayers for continued safe travel and healthy team members are appreciated. It has been a wonderful trip!