Monday, February 12, 2007

African Update #2

Kenny and Albert at the EntebbeZoo under a very intersting tree and admiring the chimps playing around in the trees.
Dear Friends and family, Feb 12, 2007

It is almost a month since arriving and we are still going through major adjustments. One of the biggest adjustments is going without water and electricity for long periods of time. We were without water for the last few weeks which, we are told, has been quite rare here. It was quite a trial with bathing, flushing toilets and all of the other daily chores and activities that a family has. Fortunately there was water nearby that we could fetch. We are SO thankful to have our water back. Life is so much easier. Of course there are also the usual power outages (it’s called load shedding here as I think they don’t have enough electrical capacity for the whole country). It’s usually about 48 hours on then 12-24 hrs off.

We are happy to tell you about an answered prayer. We had been praying for a good helper for around the home. Jane has been burdened with a lot of work – especially washing clothes. On last Thursday Vicki came with a friend from her church, Judith, who brought her after hearing that we were looking for house help. Vicki comes with her Pastors recommendation so we trust that she will be a trustworthy and reliable helper. So far she has been just that. We are praising God for her. Pray that she will remain reliable and upright. She fell sick last night with malaria, she had a temperature of 103.5F. So far she is recovering well, although she has very little energy. Please pray that she will feel well soon.

We also thank God for keeping us generally in good health. So far the boys have been quite healthy although we have noticed again how easily wounds become infected. Please keep Jane in your prayers as she still has some of her same health struggles.

We have started in with our work with OKM and Bushfire. We went with the OKM families to the Entebbe Zoo for their annual family gathering. It was quite an adventure (sometimes closer to a trial) with being packed into a crowded bus with the all the kids on our laps. We enjoyed watching the beautiful countryside as we drove west from Jinja towards Kampala and Entebbe (Entebbe is just south of Kampala). We showed the kids the beautiful sugar cane and tea plantations as well as the national forest that we pass through called Mabira Forest. Another adventure was our trip through the city. We really got different view as we passed through residential and industrial areas in order to avoid the chronic traffic jams of the city’s main routes. However we ended up having to back track at one point after coming upon a street wide pothole that was about threefeet deep at it’s center ( we couldn’t see just how bad it was as it was filled with muddy water, but other vehicles that went through were definitely at risk of taking water into their engines). Upon arriving the children were organized into age group w and we washed our hands and began lining up for our lunch. It was the boys first time to eat with their hands since coming back so it was another new thing for them to get used to. We then sang some worship songs and then we had a chance to share with the families our vision for Orphans Know More and to tell them about ourselves. Then the
families had a chance to introduce themselves which was quite a process with many of the families being between 15 – 25 members (this includes satellite families which are widows’ families that are attached to the main families). After the introductions we had a chance to go into the zoo with the family. WE had a great time watching the lion, the chimps, zebras, ostriches and many other animals including the monkeys that had free range of the zoo grounds. Then we had another long trek home, reaching at about 9pm.

I also had a chance to go to Bushfire and start planning for the upcoming growing season. Bushfire recently bought a piece of land that is 75 acres. This will be possible a future site of another children’s home but for now we will be using it for growing food for the current Bushfire Home. Over half of the land is lowland /swamp which we plan to rice and vegetables but for now the heavy Elnino rains have flooded the swamp. We will develop that land during the next
dry season when it will hopefully dry out. I also had a chance to tour this land and we made arrangements to hire a tractor to start plowing as soon as possible. The rains will begin seriously just before the spring Equinox. photo: At the new Bushfire land with (l>r) Apollo (in charge of farming,), Moses (Home Manager) and a local official.

As we mentioned to some of you we would like to purchase a newer, larger vehicle for our family. Our pick-up is now 22 years old, although it is in relatively good condition it is in need of more mechanical work and it is too small for our family and quite a rough vehicle to travel in for the family (leaf springs all around). If you would like to donate towards a newer vehicle we already have a vehicle sub-account (fund) with Equip to which you can direct funds.

We want to really thank all of you for all of your prayers. We have already passed through many trials and difficulties and we want to remain focused and positive despite what we may see around us.Photo: the dusty road to and from Bushfire
We would love it if you could continue for the following
Safety in our travels
Health and protection from disease
effectiveness in our ministry
good relationships with our Ugandan friends and workers
Closeness to our Lord Jesus
Wisdom in handling the many complicated situations we encounter

We love you and thank you all for your love and prayers. We’d love to hear from any of you who have time to write.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Orphans Know More visits Entebbe Zoo

Last Saturday we had the pleasure of joining with the OKM families for their annual meeting which we had at the Zoo in Entebbe. It was quite an adventurous day. Jane was suffering from an eye that had mysteriously become very swollen. She looked like someone had boxed her in the eye (not me!!). We had a crouded and bumpy 3 hr trip tpo Entebbe (which is aout 130km from our place), We had to hold the kids in our arms -- one of the girls held Isaiah and Jane and I held Kenny and Albert. We were sitting on the jump seats that fill the aisle up between the main seets. It was definitely a Ugandan inititiation for us and the kids (if we hadn't had enough initiations already). It was nice to watch the passing scenery with the kids and explain to them about tea and sugar plantations and Mabira forrest which we passed through. We had to pass through Kampala which was also an adventure as our buses were trying to avois the ever present traffic jams in the heart of the city. We ended up on one road that we had to turn around when we discovered that there was a street-wide pot-hole which the center part looked to be two to three feet deep (it was hard to tell with the muddy water it waas filled with, but it seemed to be quite deep as other vehicles seemed to swimming thru the pothole).

We finally arrived in Entebbe at around 1pm. We startd by having lunch, which was the boys first time to eat with hands since coming back.Then we sang a few songs led by our friend Sosthanes(who is from Central Africa Republic). Then Jane and I shared our heart for the ministry and were formally introduced to the families. After that all of the families introduced themselves. These were big introductions as some families were well over 20 people.

After our introductions we went in to the zoo, The boys really loved the animals - especially the lion and chimps. There were lots of other animals to see including a shoebill stork, ostriches, a croc and monkeys who had free run of the whole zoo.

We had another long trek back but it seemed to go a bit better. We got home at around 9pm and were very tired. It was a good but exhausting day.
We now know many of the families and kids in OKM and we will now be meeting the families individually.