It's early Wednesday morning and I win the prize for the first person to show up for breakfast - in the entire hotel! There were a lot of exhausted team members last night, so it may be a slow-start kind of morning. Of course, the Sunset staff, most of whom were here until after midnight last night, are hard at work all over the hotel. We are blessed by the relationship we have established with these people over the years. They take extremely good care of us.
Tuesday we spent the entire day in Nakabango, the village where Messiah Lutheran in Weldon Spring, MO has had a partnership since 2006. It's always good to bump along Kamuli Road and be surprised when that beautiful church pops up on the left!
It was only the second day of the school year, but we were greeted with several songs from the primary school kids. We toured the grounds - the carpentry shop, the sewing center, the secondary school that was just started last year, and each of the primary school classrooms.
For those of you who know and love her, Patricia was a little off her game yesterday. She didn't show up until we had been there for about 10 minutes! She was quick to the make the rounds of every team member (including Pastor Paul in the picture above) and spent the entire day with us. She even got to join us for lunch and polished off 3 heaping bowls of food, including mine.
We met with the sponsored kids first. Most of the secondary school kids were unable to be there since their school year had just started too, but it was exciting to see the primary school kids in their uniforms and ready for another year. Kim and Pastor Paul got to spend time with their sponsored student and packet distribution went as well as we ever expect in Nakabango!
One of the highlights of the day was distributing 50 more bedding kits to some very-deserving children. The kids and their guardian/parent were so appreciative and every presentation was greeted with the now-familiar shrieks of the women. I believe we were all humbled to see the reaction to such a seemingly small, practical gift. Again, Messiah, thank you for this; it's hard to describe the impact.
After lunch, some of the men played football with the boys, while Ronald, the primary sponsorship coordinator for Hearts and Hope, organized some relays with the kids with some supplies we had brought along. Even the teachers got a bit competitive during the Ping-Pong ball on a spoon relay. It was great fun to hear the students cheer them on!
We had time to just sit and talk with some of the kids today - always one of my favorite things. Lynn had a great conversation with one of the older kids about people coming to Uganda. She wondered why every sponsor didn't come to meet them! Lynn explained the cost and the amount of time away and Mariam seemed satisfied, but I think it reiterates the importance of the packets and the communication between a sponsor and their student - these kids love the connection!
After we left Nakabango, we went to two more homes to visit the recipients of the bedding kits. I'll write more about that in a separate post, but it was a mentally-draining experience for all of us.
When we got back to the Sunset Hotel, we cleaned up and most of the team headed off to the Two Friends Pizza kitchen for dinner. Another lovely evening spent basking in what we had seen that day and enjoying the time to wind down.
Other than being tired, everyone is doing well. A fantastic team of people willing to do "whatever it takes". So appreciative of that attitude.
Today we head to Kamuli and most likely will not have internet access for the next 36 hours. Much to catch up on when we get back to Jinja on Thursday night, I'm sure. Just a note, we are 9 hours ahead of CST in the U.S.
Pastor Jason helping deliver a bedding kit in Nakabango.
Another bedding kit presentation by Kim and Jerry!
Sam seems to make friends wherever we go!
The teachers enjoying a little friendly competition in Nakabango.
Tom having some quality kid time on Tuesday.
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.