Please settle in with a cup of coffee or tea and a blanket, while I share with you stories of the last month in Uganda. my internet access was very limited there which made it difficult to write much at all, so I will try to recount for you the highlights of my three weeks in Uganda. I must begin by praising the Lord that I didn't experience any kind of sickness at all...for which I am eternally grateful. Our time at the Makindye training center was filled with interesting experiences. The cultural differences I experienced were as I expected...the people were wonderful and I fell in love with so many people whom I didn't want to leave behind. Traffic in Kampala was probably the biggest shocker...cars, taxis, people, and boda bodas everywhere, with no lanes, no rules, and no lights. I am quite sure if I drove there I would kill somebody every day! Boda bodas are like motorcycle taxis that weave in and out of traffic and people ride side daddle with no helmet. I was warned never to ride one, however I got into a situation where it was my only choice, so against my better judgement I rode on a motorcycle in a skirt and flipflops with no helmet. It wasn't too bad and God protected me! Each day of driving in Africa was like an off-roading experience in the mountains. when I told the people we do that sort of thing for fun in America, they laughed at me.
Throughout our time in Uganda we had the chance to visit the homes of many of our choir kids in the various villages around Kampala. Many come from one room cement buildings or huts, so it was quite a humbling experience to go and visit with their guardians. Wherever we went we were treated with the utmost respect and curiosity. Children always flocked around and waved, while yelling mzungu (white person)! The guardians of our kids would kneel to show us respect and they always gave me special attention and thanks when they found out I would be educating their kids. What a humbling thing! The parents happily sent their kids off, saying this is a miracle from God that they get to go to America, and they had no reservations. What a difference from the way Western parents hold on to their kids!
Music For Life has several schools in Uganda where former choir kids attend. We were able to visit those schools and see what the kids are doing now. What an encouragement! These kids are truly growing into amazing leaders. I got 150 hugs in 10 minutes from them...and I was sore from hugging :)
Our one big tourist adventure on this trip was to the Nile River. We visited the source of the Nile (Lake Victoria) and slept at a retreat on the banks of the river. I enjoyed falling asleep to the sound of the Nile and showering the next morning with a panoramic view of the Nile! the next day we rafted it, which was a thrilling adventure. I must admit, when the boat flipped and I was thrown around underwater it was the most terrifying experience of my life, but in the end it was totally worth it!
One of my favorite days was the day we visited a home for babies...we spent an entire afternoon just holding and playing with 50 Ugandan babies. Life doesn't get much better than that. I have always thought about adopting from Africa, now I am even more convinced that I will have an African child someday.
Our last few days in Uganda were a huge test of faith. The kids were not able to get their visas until the day before our flight, but we continued on with plans and were able to celebrate and leave on time. However, Frank, our conductor was not able to get his visa then. He should be joining us later this week. The kids held a going away concert for thier families and friends, which was quite a treat. They had the opportunity to show what they have been training to do and say goodbye to their families. There was much rejoicing, good food, and a few tears. Saying goodbye to Abraham and Barnett, and Auntie Ruth and all the rest who have been training the kids was difficult.
We boarded a plane on Friday for America and kids did very well. Nobody through up and they all enjoyed the plane ride. I had to laugh as they put on the headphones and wrapped up from head to toe in blankets, the moment they sat down :) Flying is totally different through the eyes of 22 children who have never been out of their village. When Nelson was asked the other day what he fears, he replied, "airplane toilets!" I guess I don't blame him.
We flew through London and New York and arrived in Chicago Saturday to find the airport partially flooded. It was a long and adventurous journey, but we are happy to be here. This week we are at Cedar Lake Camp in Indiana, getting over jet lag and learning about American culture. Sunday we will begin our tour in Chicago! Please pray for our tour leader, Andrew who went home for a few days to be with his father who is very sick, and pray for Frank, our conductor, that he would get here quickly. I covet your prayers as well, as I try to figure out all the teaching details and help the kids adjust.
If you have made it this far and your still reading, thanks.....:) I hope you find yourself blessed today.