Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this : to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. -James 1:27

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Another holiday adventure!!

So, I almost forgot to share about the fun housemate weekend we had at Sesse Island. After traveling 4 hours by bus and one hour by car, we reached Entebbe to start searching for the ferry dock. As we would stop along the way the locals would say, "Oh you better hurry. They will leave you." Truly, this is the only place in Uganda that I have found does not follow African time. We reached the dock in time to literally run onto the boat. A good start to our fun adventures.

I don't know how it happened (other than God saving us some seats) but we made our way through the ferry crowd to find a bench completely empty and perfect to accommodate the 3 of us and our stuff. We were off for the third leg of our travel adventures: 3 hours on the ferry in the middle of Lake Victoria.

When we arrived on the island we were welcomed and I found the sign with my name (kind of) on it.

(This photo is for my TT friends... check out my name. Such fond memories around the table early in the morning with Andrew commenting in a funny tone every time the tribe was mentioned.)

We were able to enjoy the beautiful sunset and a short walk down the beach after we arrived. (Emily, Jennifer, Me)

The next morning we went on a "nature hike" around the island. Although not exactly what I was expecting, it turned out to be a wonderful time. We walked through the local fishing village and saw many men preparing their boats and their hooks to go out for the evening catch. There are actually quite a few islands that compose Sesse Islands. I learned that it is rare to find development on any of the islands beyond about 2 km from the water. Most island are composed of fishing villages and power is not available there. The people on the island are a cash based people and depend highly on food sources from the outside that is brought in on the ferries.

As usually, our white skin drew the attention of many village children. The guide was wonderful with the kids and drew a game in the sand to keep them occupied so we could make our getaway without a parade of small people following us.

I did learn that the culture on the islands do not highly value education. It is rare to find a school on the islands, so most children grow up to take over the family fishing business.

Our nature hike did actually lead us through a rainforest. This was the most amusing part of the journey, seeing as we were with 6 Ugandans. Most had never been in the forest and I have concluded that most Ugandans are extremely afraid of caterpillars. Seeing as we were in the rainforest, there were tons of little black caterpillars crawling all over the place. Squeals, jumping, shouts, crazy arms running through their hair in fear that one fell on them, and lots of, "Please!! Let's just get out of here quickly. No! Don't stop again. Let's just go!" It made the journey quite amusing.

At the end of the rainforest walk, we ended up at the top of the island's peak and were able to view the other nearby islands. It was beautiful.

After the walk, we spent the day relaxing in the sun, swimming, and playing cards. That night, there was a huge bar-b-que and bonfire. I can't tell you how delicious that dinner was (grilling is very rare in Mbale and I live with a vegetarian). Mmm. It was good. After dinner, we had a dance party around the fire with the new friends we had made at our hotel.

Early Sunday morning we loaded onto the ferry again (this time we didn't have to run) and headed back on our long journey to Mbale. Sesse Island was very peaceful and a great time with Emily and Jennifer. I only wish we could have stayed longer.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Other happenings...

So, I cannot properly see my photos to be able to make comments of what is happening. Brief overview: This is the last week of holidays for the kids (and me). I have really enjoyed this break and made the most of my time. Finally having some time to catch up on my reading, I have finished the first 2 books of the Chronicles of Narnia series and thoroughly enjoyed my morning coffee and time in the Word going through 1 Thes. Thanks to a wonderful care package (from my old housemate Brooklyn), me and my housemates made tie dye shirts together. It was really such a fun day. I couldn't wait to see the final outcomes at the end of the day. And, the last group of picture are from when I took the P5 and the hard workers at the Home swimming at Mt. Elgon Hotel. It was so much fun. The kids were quite brave this time- allowing Jarod and I to hold them in the middle of the pool while they tried putting their face and holding their breath under water. We had a wonderful day. And while we were there, another group of kids came (who are part of another ministry here in Mbale) and David Lucky looked over and said to me, "Look! There's my sister, Gift!" What a fun reunion.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

End of Term 1 outting

As you know, the first term of the school year is over. A few of us have been very busy with the kids doing crafts, music, and dances. Last week me and some of the teachers took the best performers of each class to Sipi Falls. Before stories and pictures from that adventure, here are the shining stars of Lulwanda Children's Home Primary School for Term 1 of 2010:

Overall best class: P2

Best Performers:
Top #1 = Samwiri (Samuel)
#2 = Esther B. (from community)
#3 = Joel
P1 #1 = Gift
#2 = Willy
#3 = Norah
P2 #1 = Sarah Khainsa
#2 = Sarah Gimono
#3 = Andrew
P3 #1 = John
#2 = Anthony Wojjambuka
#3 = Abel
P4 #1 = David Yeko
#2 = Joseph
#3 = Carol
P5 #1 = Brenda Nabwire
#2 = Brenda Namakoye
#3 = Chrispus (from community)
P7 #1 = Emma O.
#2 = Anthony Wanzala
#3 = Sylvia

Sipi Falls
Sipi Falls is located near Kapchorwa town (spelling?), about an hour away from Mbale. It is up in the mountains and know for 3 beautiful waterfalls. We started our day with a short hike to the base of the first falls.
I love seeing the reactions of the children when we take them new places. For many, this might be their first exposure to different situations... whether driving round and round to get up a mountain, to crossing a little bridge over a river, to being up close to a waterfall and seeing its force.

I saw my first camellion. Our guide spotted it and pulled down the small tree so I could get a better look (so maybe the kids are not the only ones having "first times").
I love this photo of Joseph. I did nothing to change it and I feel like I perfectly capture his discovery of the fresh, cool, droplets.

Behind the first falls was a small cave that the children got to enter. It was very fun to hear their comments as the lessons from their textbooks came to life.

From inside the cave

Emma O, Tr. Francis, Abel, Sylvia

After the base of the waterfall, the guides led us to the top of the falls. It was a bit of a slippery hike, seeing as the rains have started again.

Another bridge. They get more and more rustic as we get further up the mountain.
We made it to the top. Now time for some exploring.
"Teacha, is that a cow? I don't think it is, but what is it?"
Another student, "It's a DONKEY!!! I think"

The kids had set out that day with high hopes of adventure and swimming. Though the water was too high at the natural pool to swim, we had lots of laughs sliding (literally at points) down the mountain to go back to the van. Where we parked there was a little water divert that was not moving too fast. This would do for the beginning of their water adventures.

Testing to see how deep it actually was.

A little more brave.

And the winner... Abel. He was the first daring kid to step into the icy water.