Sunday, July 23, 2006

Uganda Week 3

Team 2 have been with us for a week now. The kids love them and relationships with children and teachers have deepened since their arrival. The teachers (Hamis, Stephen, Joseph, Coach Carter) have given us so much love and it is going to be so hard to leave kids like Sam, Kenny, Emma Jane, Joanne and Dennis come the end of the week. It's amazing how quickly you can adapt to a new place and come to love new people. I wish my time here wasn't drawing to a close.

Yesterday was the hardest day of labouring that I have ever done. All the lads are shattered today! We have the four houses almost up and are now building a kitchen so all the children can be fed at lunch time. There is so much need here it is hard to know which area to target financially. What they have given us is of the soul and is greater than any material offering that we can bring to them. However, we pray that in some way we can raise their standard of living to something closer to that which every person deserves.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Uganda Week 2

The first team left us yesterday. I'm left with the other leaders for two days relaxation and reflection before the second team gets out. We had a fantastic two weeks exceeding all of our expectations. It may be a drop in the ocean but in this little community what they acheived was very evident. A river.

We are working at a little remote school in Jandira an hour outside Kampala. We're building accomadation for the teachers, and have also run a clinic, held a kid's club and 'coached' sport. Already relationships have been built with teachers and kids and it's not going to be easy to leave these wonderful people at the end of the month. In the meantime we are trying to figure out how we can set up something permenant and sustainable between our church and this community. I don't want to be part of another 'hit-and-run' team.

I have tried not to process too much of what I have seen here so far. Africa throws so much at you on every level. I feel that if I go too deep into my thoughts I won't find the way back to the surface. And anyway there is nothing from my own background that I can relate what we see here. There is no reference point.

Two experiences that stand out are:
1. A spontaneous dancing/limbo session as the kids poured out of the kids club on the first day. Grant and I asked the drummers to set up outside and soon we had a hundred odd kids conga dancing behind us and 'limboing' under a skipping rope. This has become a daily occurrence. The rhythm of their drums, joyful laughter, and hope in their eyes was a moment of epiphany. To have the same kids reach out and pray for us was another.

2. The last day of the clinic when Joy (our medic) was informed by one of the teachers that the full row of children she was about to treat (the kids who were dancing above) were HIV+ and have never received the drugs that could save their lives.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Uganda Week 1

Week 1 of the african adventure is over. It has exceeded all expectations. In church this morning I felt so settled, like I would be happy to never leave. Building is ahead of schedule and houses could be up before second team get here! As well as labour I'm enjoying playing the old guitar with the kids and taking sports every afternoon with me mate Grant.

The spirit of the people here is overwhelming. They have nothing yet already they have given us something of their soul that cannot be valued. How can we hope to repay them for this?

Much more to say but I'm getting kicked off this comp...will hopefully get back next week.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

School's Out For Summer

Well my class left me yesterday to start their secondary school adventures. I was unprepared for how emotional a morning it would be. Having spent all day every day with the same 21 kids, trying to invest into their lives, I have developed such an attachment to them that it felt like a real loss. They wrote me some wonderful cards and notes thanking me not just for their education but for making them 'stronger', 'more confident', 'happier'. Was really moving.

In my original plan teaching was a stop-gap to bring me into educational psychology, but if this is what job satisfaction feels like then I'd like some more of it!