Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Final Chapter

Tuesday 12th Jan
After a lot of days working very hard, today the team took some time off for well deserved R&R. Well R anyway. We enjoyed the magnificent Victoria Nile from the vantage of a raft as we paddled 31 km over some of the world's largest rapids. It was an exhilarating experience, as was the time spent drifting along as we swam beside the raft. One of our guides came off a little worse for wear courtesy of a stray paddle, but his temporary replacement was more fun anyway.

Wednesday 13th Jan
Only two days to go and much still to do. Nurse Judith finalised the recording of her health checks on the children, Sarah found some mobility at last and completed some recording tasks also. Emily climbed up on the roof of the brick making shelter to install the capping along the ridge and others made sure that the last of the trusses were made up for the roof. Before retiring for the day we managed to lift one truss up and into place.Dinner tonight was our last restaurant trip as we went back to "Two Friends" for some familiar cuisine.

Thursday 14th Jan
Last day at the village today. The major task involved getting the roof trusses up onto the roof and secured in place. We managed to do this and attach all of the battens as well so that it should all stay in place. People not directly involved in this made sure that the village was in a fit state for us to leave. Anne-Marie and Emily can get a job sorting out my shed any time based on their efforts in transforming the shed. The container was also put into some semblance of order.
At the end of the afternoon we arranged photos of the team and all of the village residents.After our final dinner of Posho and Split Peas we headed back over to farewell the children, Lois and Agnes, and Ivan and Robert who have been such a help to us. The children performed several songs for us and were very appreciative of the gifts that the team members had brought for them. It was a difficult time of letting go, but also we had a sense of achievement in having completed the building tasks that we were given. No-one really wanted to leave, but our need to pack before catching a bus at 6:00 am tomorrow meant that we had to.

Friday 15th - Sunday 17th
The 3 week sojourn in Uganda ended with a trip north west to Murchison Falls for a safari. The bus trip takes approximately 9 hours so it is with great relief that we were able to peel ourselves out of the bus and into the swimming pool on arrival. A scrumptuous meal had us all prepared for the boat ride on the nile and game drive in the park on Saturday. We saw Hippos as plentiful as the rabbits behind the vineyard church and had some elephants and giraffes put on displays for us.
Jackson's Hartbeest
There were many other animals to see as well, but unfortunately no lions or zebras.

Monday 18th
After overnighting in a guest house in Kampala, we left for home just after lunch.
The team worked exceptionally well together, and despite the lack of trade skills amongst us, we think we did a pretty amazing job doing the things we did. As we shared together on the last night of the safari trip, pretty well everyone talked of the ways in which they had been blessed, far beyond what we expected to be. We are all thankful that we have had this opportunity and want to encourage anyone else who thinks they might be able to help, to give it real consideration and prayer and join one of the teams that will be coming in the near future.
This sunset over the Nile river farewelled us from a wonderful trip to Uganda

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 12 - Friday
Lots of fun today unpacking the container. The crane didn't arrive until well into the morning, but we had already unloaded about one third of the stuff before it was off the truck.
The children clapped as different items came out of the truck, and especially as Emily disappeared inside the water tank to get the things out of it.

We had everything out and then put quite a lot of it back in but in a way that we could access the things we need now.
There was work going on as well around the place and all in all it was a very good day for us.

Day 13 - Saturday
We worked in teams today. One team set up the swing set and concreted it into the ground. Another set about the task of putting a new roof on the brick making shelter. Others began the very difficult process of digging a trench for plumbing and electrical work, Roger and Ron started making roof trusses and some ladies began sorting clothes and making sure the children had new clothes and shoes to wear to church tomorrow.

We worked a long day and then quickly cleaned ourselves up and walked down the road to Hope Community Secondary School where Robert, and his lovely wife Rachel had prepared dinner for us. Several suggestions were made that Rachel could get a job as a cook at YWAM!

Day 14 - Sunday
Church at a number of places today, Abundant Life with the children, Wairaka Miracle Centre with Pastor Moses and Bugembe Miracle Centre with Robert. Then the bus collected us from our various locations and took us to town for lunch at Flavours. They make good food and great fresh juices, but they take their time doing so and our whole trip became just lunch. On our way home we dropped in at the Care4Kids orphanage and spent a couple of hours playing with a different bunch of kids.

(Photos at Care4Kids used by permission of ISA)

Today we really did feel like we had earned our day of rest. It has been a very big week with little time off.

Day 15 - Monday
Into our last week now and the need to get things done was a powerful driving force. The roof on the brickmaking shelter and the plumbing trench are both almost complete. Sorting of clothes and books from the container is all done. The swing was completed and a long line of kids were able to enjoy the fun of a great new swing.
The truss making really got into gear and we can see the end of that process approaching rapidly. All of this was achieved today despite a power blackout. We were able to put the new generator to use. Of course we needed fuel and oil for this, gso Robert arrived promptly with those. A nice bottle of oil and 7 litres of petrol in a shopping bag! Most of it was able to be transferred into our gerry can before filling the generator. Some things you just can't do at home are so much more acceptable here.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Another Update

Day 9 – Tuesday
Another long and frustrating day in Kampala for Ron and Pastor Moses today. Despite meetings with the Chief Minister and Ministry of Finance officials, we made no progress at all on obtaining our container. Our hired Clearing Agent seemed not to be in control and was not getting us anywhere. We left him with instructions to lift his game tomorrow.
Back at the site, the final bricks were laid on the Admin building in the morning as well as the last of the door frames installed.

After lunch the team took the children and mothers from the village on an outing to a swimming pool. A lot of fun was had and many sodas were consumed.

Day 10 – Wednesday
This was the dirtiest day of all as we put in a big effort washing down the walls and scraping the floors to rid them of all the excess mud. The building is now looking good and some of the top plate has been added as well in readiness for the roof to go on. Still no good news on the container, although at least now the information is back with customs in Jinja where we can try to sort it out a bit better.
Anne and Emily went off for a while in the afternoon to visit the mother of 4 of the children in the village who is very sick and unable to care for her children. It was a very moving time for them, and they were able to help bring on the operation that she needs.
It was unanimously decided that it was time for another dinner out so we made a booking at 'Gately on Nile' and enjoyed a wonderful time.

Day 11 – Thursday

Hallelujah – It has come! The container is on site. Pastor Moses' tireless efforts finally brought reward when a new agent was given the job and managed to do in half a day what the previous guy could not do in two weeks. By early afternoon the container was released and Ron and Pastor Moses rode triumphantly into the village atop the container.

Prior to that the remainder of the team had continued to clean up and move unused bricks around in readiness for the next phase of work. We look forward to tomorrow unpacking the container and using the stuff inside.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A different kind of day

Day 8 - Monday 4th
Monday began as normal and we were quickly into bricklaying. Sandra was nicely dressed in her best sandals, owing to the fact that her work shoes and older sandals had 'disappeared' from just outside her room yesterday. Derek led devotions for us at breakfast, and as breakfast ended, Ron found out that he was going to Kampala for the day to attempt to have the container liberated from its 'prison'. 5 hours in very cramped buses and people not in their offices despite prior indication that they would be meant no success yet, but very hopeful of better news tomorrow.
The rest of the team remained behind and did a lot of work so that the bricklaying on the Admin block should be finished by lunchtime tomorrow.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 7 – Sunday

Beautiful clear skies greeted us on this day of rest. After a breakfast we prepared ourselves with cinnamon scrolls and rolls from the Ossie Bakery in Jinja, we went off to church. Half of us went across to the village and accompanied the children to the Abundant Life church just down the road. The other half of us went by taxi to Pastor George's church across the Nile in Njeru. In each case the services started with our group making up the bulk of the congregation until all of the locals flocked in.They also both went for 3 hours. Despite not understanding all of the words that were being sung, there was no doubt that we were experiencing real worship, with God's presence evident.

The group that came to Pastor George's church had to put up with Ron's preaching. Maybe next week they will get a break.
Church was followed by lunch in Jinja and tonight we are guests of Pastor George and his family for dinner.

Sandra ad Emily on the way from church to lunch in Jinja. No need to hang on!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Day 4 – New Years Eve
A rain free day. Good working conditions in the morning with some cloud cover and the hint of a breeze allowed us to really push on and get many bricks laid. Once Roger finished the welding of the tie rods for the roof he started working on the door frames.. He and Sandra left us for a while in the afternoon to visit a boy they have been sponsoring. The rest of us continued laying bricks and moving scaffolding. Rodney and Adam prepared a couple of the window sills and finished them off very nicely.
After dinner we gathered up some of the fun stuff we had for the children and went back over to the village to celebrate the New Year with them. We took glow bracelets and party poppers and lollipops and bought sodas for everyone. There was lots of laughter and singing and many photos taken. It was a real treat for us, and just a chance to consider how different this new year is to the last one for these children. I don't think too many of us actually stayed up to see the new year in, though we were able to share it with some rowdy locals and others at the base.

Day 5 – New Years Day (Friday)
We're going out for dinner tonight! Much of the morning conversation centered on what we might be able to have for dinner tonight at Two Friends. We are still getting over the fish from Wednesday – even though only a few of us actually tried any. The conversation was a good distraction, and with a short spurt of a little over an hour after lunch (in increasingly steady rain) we finally laid the last of the external bricks on the Admin block. So as I write this we are all getting 'dolled up' for a night out.

The dinner at 'Two Friends' was all we had hoped it would be. Lovely food in a lovely setting and a chance to relax and chill out together for a while. We must do it again some time soon.

Day 6 – Saturday
Once again it had rained quite heavily during the night making our work site very sticky. Despite this we were very productive, finishing off several of the internal walls and repairing another which had 'shifted' a little since being erected by the previous team. The children did not seem quite as active today, and chatting with Ivan later, he explained that the mother of some of the children in the village who is very sick and in need of an operation and he asked us to pray for her, so please join us in that.
We had the afternoon off to relax around home, nothing planned, just taking the opportunity to clean up, read, talk, walk, whatever.

The building continues

The building continue to come along nicely. We have completed the 4 layers of bricks all round the building and are now laying the bricks on the top of the internal walls.
Here are a couple of photos of the last bricks being laid on the outside wall.

Just some other photos to show we have been working

And some of the local wildlife

and Roger working on door frames