Friday, July 10, 2009

Hippo Happening - Africa

July 9th - 10th

I have been busy showing the team some new sights! We went to Bujagali Falls, which is an awesome series of rapids, not far from the source of the Nile River. Lunch in Jinji Town was fun, as it is a tourist town - African style. Usually, we stop on the outskirts of Jinja as we drive from Kampala to Mbale, but I had been in Jinja during a couple of trips, so thought the ladies would enjoy shopping. Then we were off to Lake Mburo for a safari. Highlights included having to stop to let zebras cross in front of us; watching a mother zebra feed her baby; and, stopping as a huge hippo sauntered across the road. While chugging along on Lake Mburo, our boat was driving slowly. All of a sudden there were big thumps under the boat and it tipped a bit. We had floated on top of a hippo! Thank goodness the boat didn’t go over, or we might have been hippo hamburgers.

The following might not be really worth mentioning, but we did see hippos and goats making babies today- I know, it doesn’t take much to amuse us. J

Jennifer is off to Murchison Falls, as she had been to Lake Mburo with the last team. She will return tomorrow evening. She will love the trip. It is always a favorite with teams.

The road we took back this time from Mburo wound through many, many villages. It is unbelievable how difficult life is here … always / everywhere mud hut homes. It seems everyone you see is getting water at a well, women are walking with huge loads on their heads or working with hoes in the fields; kids taking baths in front of the houses in small wash tubs; endless men pushing huge, huge loads up hills on bicycles as they struggle to walk. I saw one young boy, probably 11 or 12 years old, pushing a bike with five gallon water jugs tied to it. He had a small boy, perhaps two years old, on the seat of the bike. The little boy had his arm wrapped tightly around his big brother’s neck, while the brother tried to balance the bike, water jugs, and his little brother - while walking barefoot up a hill. I read yesterday in the paper that 1 out of 3 Ugandans don’t have enough food to eat on a daily basis. As we travel it truly is, like I have described many times, being sucked into a National Geographic video, as we see the difficult, daily lives of people here.

When we returned to Wambwa School, a young girl came running toward Jennifer and totally lit up with a smile. She was one of the children Bethany Methodist had sponsored, paying for her school lunches. Jennifer, with another team member, had visited in her home, when the team was doing home visits. As I watched the young girl, I realized how important the home visits had been to the students. Many, many thanks to Bethany Methodist for paying hundreds of children’s school lunches in the past two years. Sara Solomon, a parent at Laurel Mountain Elementary, has taken the lead in arranging these donations to our school children in Uganda. Bless you, Sara!

We also returned to Mbale High School. As we were walking up the drive to the school, one of the students ran over and asked if CJ DeHart was with us. How neat is that! I am always thrilled when people/students ask about our volunteers. It was especially nice to have a high school student inquiring. The girl said she and CJ had exchanged addresses, so she would write her soon. It can’t be said enough that the relationships we have built here are extremely important in the success of the libraries. The two intertwine.

Have a good day. We are relaxing a bit after many days of work. The team leaves in three days, so I will probably wait to write again until after that. Have a good weekend and thanks for following our adventures. I will miss playing the organ at Heatherwilde Assisted Living Center on Sunday morning. After 12 years of spending Sunday mornings with my friends there, I really miss them when I am on the other side of the world.

Remind me to bring more clothes next time! I have on some filthy white capris, a stretched out gray t-shirt, and a blouse I wear to church (to stay warm). I look like a street person! I lost my jacket in the London airport. Rather embarrassing …

Continue to keep us in your prayers!



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