Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 4 – Canaan’s and Amani Baby Cottage

First of all, did you know that Uganda has bats? There were LOTS and lots of bats, big bats, and little bats. They are not just nocturnal, we have seen them out in huge groups (flocks? Herds? Gaggles? What do you call a group of bats?) even in the middle of the day. I can hear them squeaking outside my window right now!!
OK, so day four. We had breakfast at 9, then headed to the bank to exchange more money if needed. There is a very large bridge and dam in Jinja that not long ago, a group of terrorists tried to bomb. They took pics of the bridge then sent the pics to their leaders to plan the attack. The plan was thwarted, but from that point on no photos were allowed on the bridge. There are armed guards on each side plus video cameras that can see inside the vehicles that drive by. We were told by Pastor Isaac to put all cameras away about a block before the bridge. One of our team members had his camera on the seat between him and another person. Our bus was stopped by that armed guard and we were accused of taking pictures!! Pretty scary. But, our hero Pastor Isaac insisted “No!!!” several times, and they eventually let us go. Definitely an exciting event!!
Next, we went to the market and an internet café. It was 2000 shillings per hour to use the internet. That is less than $1.00 for an hour of internet!! There were 28 of us there, plus several other “Muzungus” and only 8 computers so I only got on for 10 minutes to update my status and send Shane a note. The rest of the time I spent sitting at a table with Pastor Isaac talking about my family and our dreams for the future and hearing this very wise man speak.
His testimony is more than incredible. In the 1990s, during Sadaam Hussein’s reign, he was shot by the Muslims along with 25 other Christian pastors and assumed dead. He was shot in his arm instead of his heart and thrown into a pile of other bodies in the forest. His miraculous story of survival during Christian persecution is just amazing. What a hero. I hope to bring home a brochure with his story to share with you.
After the internet café, we went for too short a time to Amani Baby Cottage. This is a home for children from birth to 5 years old. The facility was spotless!! We arrived while the kids were eating lunch and they were SOOO cute! We started in the toddler room and every time someone would pull out a camera they would say “cheeeeeeeeeese!” You could tell these kids were loved by their nannies and felt safe and secure. There were an adorable set of 5 month old twin girls, Mary and Martha, whose mother died of malaria 5 days after they were born. They were so beautiful!! I also learned that international adoption in Uganda is becoming more and more of a possibility. Laws are changing and these babies may soon have a chance to go from loving orphanages to loving homes!! By the way, I have a picture of the hundreds of baby things on the line outside. If I ever complain about laundry again, just show me that picture!! Unbelievable.
On a side note, it is really amazing the differences in each of the orphan homes we have visited. You can tell the difference between those who live in the loving orphanages, and the kids who are just from the communities attending school there. There is love and respect given by the kids who have seen love and respect modeled to them. Even between the loving orphanages there is truly a different spirit in each! All good, but so very different.
After heading back to Canaan’s for lunch (did I mention we got to live at this orphanage for 5 days!!) we split into several groups. Some went back to the Baby Cottage, some stayed to rest, others went with the big boys to play soccer with one of their new soccer balls and the rest of us went to town again and back to the internet café. I was smart enough to bring my laptop this time and was able to spend 45 minutes updating my blog. We saw Katie from Amazima at the internet café and it felt like I was seeing a celebrity!! We did not get to go to Amazima tonight, but we will be helping with her feeding ministry tomorrow.
We came back to the orphanage for a while in the afternoon and had a ball making balloon hats for the kids, blowing bubbles and just hugging on whatever child happened to be closest to us. At one point we sprayed them all with silly string. I don’t think they got it = ha!! Kari asked me to go with her to make a couple of videos for her blog and we walked to a few different locations to get the shots. As we finished it was time for the younger kids to head to bed (ages 4-10 or so). We carried and walked the kids to their dorm and they began their evening “prayers”. I asked if I could videotape this and they agreed. Instead of the circle of prayer with heads bowed, they started singing….and singing and singing and singing!! I have the video, and you must watch it! What a great way to end your day!!
We ate dinner then split up into groups. We will be running Sunday School on Sunday and we each had a team for a certain age group. I am with the jr high age groups and we plan to talk about the fruits of the spirit (the others had the idea too, I wasn’t just copying the Colombia team!!!) We talked for a bit, but will come up with the rest of the plan tomorrow evening.
It is almost midnight and I need to get some sleep. I have gone to sleep with the sounds of the Muslim mosque (which sounds more like a dance club) in the distance and the occasional squeaking of bats. And awake each morning to the sound of children chanting their lessons right outside my window. “Good morning, teacher how are you…good morning teacher how are you?...” also the ABC’s and sometimes things I just can’t make out. An incredible alarm clock to hear happy children outside your window! Good night everyone!! Love to you all!!!

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