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Uganda » Hope 4 Kids International Blog Deprecated: Function split() is deprecated in /home/h4kidream/ on line 427
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Baby Tender
Posted by
August 4, 2011
by Jeff Rogers

It is not uncommon for mothers in the village to ask us to hold their babies. They lift and pass them over to us…especially to the young women in our group.


They are beautiful little ones.


Even Cameron got in on the baby tending action today.



Bukirayi Well Dedication
Posted by
August 4, 2011
by Jeff Rogers

Today we went to another village, about an hour and a half away, for our final clean water well dedication this trip. This was Pastor Wilber’s home town (the True Vine Church pastor). The village sponsor was Robin, a person from Texas, who has visited Uganda and this village often and become a sponsor for their new well.

We were greeted by children singing.


There was a brass band and grass skirt dancers. The was a red carpet runway with fabric arch and flowers (like a wedding) for our arrival. The village community, especially the women and children, were very happy and excited about our visit. Again, many government dignitaries appeared to be noticed as Water4Kids did the dedication.

We walked to the original water source and then went to the new bore hole to dedicate and bless the well.



The children were asked to make the first pumps and then they filled their water jugs and bottles.



We enjoyed another village made lunch of goat, beef, chicken, rice, and chapatis.


Kachwari Well Dedication
Posted by
August 3, 2011
by Jeff Rogers

Today some of us went to the True Vine center for medical outreach. Over 400 people showed up to be seen by the two doctors who are in our group. Amy and Anette are sisters who volunteer their physician services and administer diagnoses and medicines.

Others in our group went to True Vine to interact and play with the children. The students had just finished exams (like finals) and were on holiday starting today. Our group played basketball, volleyball, painted nails, drew pictures, jumprope. A few of the girls in our group had their hair braided by the Ugandan children.


Another team went to dedicate a clean water well in Kachwari village about one and a half hours away. When Water4Kids (an extension of Hope4Kids) shows up to dedicate a well they are never sure how the village will have prepared to welcome them. For today’s welcome the village pulled out all the stops.

We were greeted by cheering and music by women and men dressed in exceptionally bright matching dresses and fabric.


They had many homemade instruments including foot bells, flute, guitars, violin, shakers, etc.



They also built a xylophone from wooden planks and placed them on palm tree rails over a dugout pit. It was over eight feet long and was played by five people simultaneously.


They made a lunch for us and insisted we stay to eat. It is always a little dicey for Mzungu to eat food made in the villages. Remember, no electricity, refrigeration, no well water yet…you get the picture.

Nevertheless, we had a delicious meal of rice, banana mash, meat (beef), and chicken. We used only our fingers to eat it. They also served this meal to the entire village after we were served. Angie said it is a rare occasion that the entire village would be fed. Most people here have any meat maybe once a month.

They had many dignitaries from the district and government levels of leadership since this was one of the first wells in this district.

We walked to see the original water source and then we dedicated, blessed, and began pumping the well before turning it over to the village for use and maintenance care.



We received a goat and turkey as an appreciation gift from the village.


God is Good!!!
Posted by

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

by Darlene Skarda
I’m supposed to be home but yesterday didn’t end quite as I had hoped – sleeping at home in my own bed!  We had a nice flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, customs was fine.  Immigration threw away an apple I had left in my carry-on bag from our 2 day stay in Amsterdam 2 weeks ago and then it was downhill!  I arrived at Gate A 20 for 3:58 pm flight to Phoenix – looking forward to the last leg of my trip.  The sign at gate indicated that the flight was delayed, coming from Seattle, and we would leave at 5:20 pm – 1 1/3 hours late but not bad still getting us into Phoenix about 6:45 pm.

About 4:30 pm they announced that our plane was on the ground, they would deplane and clean it and we would be off – maybe even before 5:20.  About 5:00 they announced that our plane had been struck by lightning coming from Seattle and they would need 4 hours to check it out or find another plane.  About 5:15 they announced that the flight was cancelled and we should all go to Gate A43 to get re-routed.  It was a mad scramble to Gate 43.  We waited in line about 2 hours – standing the whole time as there was no place to sit. I was rerouted at 8:30 am Tuesday morning to Salt Lake City and then transfer to Phoenix and should be home at noon.  They gave us hotel vouchers for Best Western Gateway Inn in Romulus, MI and there was a shuttle to/from there and $6.00 vouchers for dinner and breakfast.

The hotel is decent – has a nice pool but I only have my carry-on luggage and very bare essentials.  Delta did give us “survival” kits so at least I could air out the clothes I now had on for almost 2 days and had a T-shirt for pj’s.  I went to the airport early and was amazed that the hotel shuttle was totally full with  people standing for the  trip.  The good news was that they assigned me seat 1A so I had breakfast in First Class on that flight.  We got to Salt Lake City in plenty of time for the flight to Phoenix and the gate was right next door.  That flight was supposed to leave at 11:20 am and get to Phoenix at noon.  About 11:15 am they announced that a light had come on in the plane and they needed to check it out and we would leave at 1:00 pm.   I thought here we go again!  I went and had lunch and came back at to see that the 1:00 pm departure had been changed to 5:00 pm.  I did not want to spend the night in Salt Lake City.  I talked to the agent at the gate and told her I saw there was a 1:55 flight  to Phoenix and could I get on that.  She did get me on that so I finally got home to Phoenix about 2:30 pm and amazingly my luggage beat me to the airport and they were happy to get it out as it was taking up a lot  of space with two 50 lb. duffle bags.  One bag belonged to Hope4Kids and was full of a lot of other  duffle bags that are used to take the  dresses to Uganda.

One final note:  My daughter Amy was not feeling too good the last few days in Uganda – figured she had contracted some “African revenge”.  I gave here Imodium and that helped but she still said her stomach hurt.  When she showed me where I told her it might be a gall bladder problem.  She went on Tuesday and had an ultrasound and sure enough it was.  She had surgery yesterday (Thursday, July 28).  It was outpatient surgery but still serious.  We were all just so very, very thankful that it didn’t come on her the first week of the trip and that she could get home to get help.  God is good!!!-


Posted by

Monday, July 25, 2011

by Darlene Skarda
We arrived at Schipool  Airport in Amsterdam about 6:30 am this morning.  Nice flight – I think I slept a couple of hours and feel pretty good.  Amy, Tristen, Andrea and Sydney fly to Minneapolis from here and then home while I fly to Detroit and then Phoenix.


Go with the Flow – TIA ‘This is Africa’
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Sunday July 24, 2011

by Darlene Skarda
We’re packed up and ready to head home.  The two weeks has gone amazingly fast.  Our bus with Paul is to leave Rock Classic Hotel at 10:30 am.   We had a nice visit w ith Tom over breakfast.  Our Skarda group was on time and we leflt at 10:27 am.

Our first stop was at Jinja, the mouth of the Nile River where we went on a 30 minute boat ride to see the beginning of the Nile -  the longest river in the world.  There were Ugandan “gift shops” on the walk down to the river.  Seeing the Nile was a nice bonus to our trip.  The gift shops are like Mexico – everyone is selling the same things.  At Jinja we met up with Liz who joined us on our bus to the Famg Fang Chinese Restaurant in Kampala – the largest city and capital of Uganda.  We had a nice Chinese dinner and back on the road to the airport.  Before we got to Kampala we stopped at a roadside village and had “chicken on a stick” – 1/4th chicken on a stick and grilled.  It was definitely the best chicken we’ve had here and about $1.50.  I had a front 1/4th – white meat and wing – my favorite.

At the Fang Fang Restaurant in Kampala they checked our purses etc. before we were allowed to get on the elevator to go to the restaurant.  It was a nice place and the  food was good – one of the regular stops for teams returning through the airport at Entebbe.  Before dinner we spent about ½ hour shopping at an outside mall again offering the Ugandan crafts.  Again, they were pretty much the same as we had found previously.

We arrived at the airport about 8:00 pm for the 11:30 pm flight to Amsterdam.  Again my ticket (for the 3rd time) caused problems trying to get checked all the way through to Phoenix but finally got it done.

We have had a wonderful trip – not something everyone would want to do but we enjoyed it in spite of rough, dusty roads.  It was fun to be with Amy, Andrea, Tristen and Sydney.  It has been totally relaxing.  You just have to go with the flow – “TIA” Time in Africa.  No one gets too shook up about anything.

One interesting item at the airport in Entebbe was that while were there (approximately 7:30 pm until our plane left at 11:30 pm) the lights went out at least 6 times.  Apparently that happens quite often as no one seemed alarmed when it happened.  I was just hoping that  the control tower would be operational as we were taking off!


Children’s Games
Posted by

Saturday, July 23, 2011

by Darlene Skarda
We had our last “family time” this morning as some of the groups leave at 7:00 am tomorrow to catch flights home.

We went to True Vine where we met our sponsored kids and gave them gifts we brought from home.  We gave Joseph a Bible, a red and a blue shirt, navy cargo shorts, flip-flops with a  sport motif, a Frisbee, a slinky and a small truck/grader set with about 6 pieces.  His English is still quite limited but he appeared to be very thrilled with his gifts.  We also met his older brother, Peter who is in P-7 and his last year of school at True Vine and his younger  brother, Junior who has been in the Nursery School at True Vine and now is in P-1.

The kids all got new shoes today and Elizabeth took lots of photos to update the sponsors.

We went back to the hotel which is about 2 miles away for lunch.  Several of us had ordered “beans and rice” as Beth, one of our Team members had had it a previous day and was telling us how delicious it was.  I normally like beans, took a bite and thought “what is good about this?”  I continued to “pick” at my food which is abnormal for me but I didn’t want to complain.  Then Beth said they “burned the beans” and I knew it wasn’t just me.  It was just one meal . . .

In the afternoon we went back to True Vine for the H4K 1st  Football  Tournament.  It was a   big deal and down to the final 2 teams after I think 18 teams had started out during the week.  They used a Soccer ball and I think it was Soccer but they call it Football.

While we were waiting for the game to start a good sized group of small children had gathered.  I suggested to Sydney that she and I lead them in a game of “Ring Around the Rosie”.  They got the idea of joining hands and we formed kind of a circle and I sang “Ring Around the Rosie”  When I sang “we all fall down” and I went down a little they all hit the  ground and thought it was so funny.  It was quite warm so we did that about 20 minutes and then I reclaimed my chair under the awning in the shade.  We sat there quite a while waiting for the game to start and I actually took a short nap sitting in a plastic chair!

After the game we went to the True Vine Guest House where the ladies there prepared a nice dinner for our whole team.  They worked very hard on it especially when you consider that they cooked it all on their little charcoal stoves or a wood fire.  We had a delicious assortment of rice, spaghetti, squash, potatoes, chicken and another meat I think was  goat.  We also had fruit and I think the pineapple is the best I have ever tasted.

We left after dark.  I was disappointed t hat I didn’t get to see Joseph again as I thought there would be an opportunity to see him in the afternoon.  But the boys weren’t allowed to leave the True Vine campus and it was quite a walk from the soccer field back to True Vine so I just waited and took the bus back.


100th Well Dedication
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Friday, July 22, 2011

by Darlene Skarda

Today we went  first to the village of Buwoyi for the dedication of the Skarda/Lorfing well in honor of parents John E. & Darlene Skarda.  We were met by a group of  children singing and dancing.  We then walked quite a way to the original water source which was a dry mud hole.  I don’t know how far the people now had to walk to get water – maybe over 5 miles one way.  On our walk we encountered several cornfields, gardens with tomatoes, eggplant and sweet potatoes.  These are all common items grown in Uganda.  The well dedication was quite touching as I realized that this well would be here serving people long after I was gone.  We passed out mosquito nets to the boys and dressed many girls with the “Dress A Girl” project.  They were so thrilled with their new dresses.  Then Tristen tossed out a soccer ball and all the boys were running after it.  The people were very nice and not grabbing the dresses as we had encountered a previous day.  It was a good feeling as we left.

Then we went to the village of Sinde fot the 100th well dedication fort Water 4 Kids, Intl.  Angie had a nice banner made and it was quite the celebration.  The people here seemed even poorer than most of them we had previously encountered.  We sat under a large tree and were served soda.  One of the leaders speaking was a Muslim and Tom and Angie said he’s quite a “Christian” Muslim and very probably might become a Christian except that it might have bad consequences for him.  He was a politician but told the people that what Hope/Water 4 Kids was doing was very good as their own government was not doing it for them.  The crops appeared to be very dry and much in need of rain.  As we  were sitting under the tree the storm clouds were building and just as were about to get on the  bus it started raining – what a blessing?

As we were driving out a car in front of us got stuck in the muddy road.  Bobby, our bus driver, got out and helped push the car and after they were stuck again a couple times he got in the car and drove it out for them and then came back and drove our bus out.  He is a good driver!

We stopped a couple places along the road and dressed little girls.  One was about 18 months old and she had on a very ragged top and no bottoms – dress African style!  Angie got out and dressed her in a darling little 2- piece outfit we had in our bag.  That really felt like what “Dress A Girl” was meant  to be.

We drove a couple hours and got to our Rock Classic Hotel in time to shower before dinner as we were all covered with red dust.  It was a great day!



Last Day in Uganda
Posted by

Sun Nov 18
Our Last Day
Today was our last day in Tororo. These two weeks have flown by. We can hardly believe it’s already time to return home. What an amazing trip! The last day is always very busy finishing up last minute details before the long journey home. This morning our teams started out the day worshipping at different churches. George and Donna went to Pastor Justice’s for service and presented a Proclaimer to his church. Elizabeth, Carla, Bonnie, Angie, Chris, Dena went to Pastor Peter’s for a 4 1/2 hour church service. The rest of the team went to True Vine to worship with Pastor Wilber. Pastor Wilber has started a men and women’s prisoner ministry so when we leave, any clothes donated by the team will be given to the prisoners.

The team got an opportunity to meet with their orphans at True Vine after church during the afternoon. Kelsy got to spend the day with her orphan Evelynn who is actually two years older than she is! Some team members helped Carla, Elizabeth and their field workers finish presenting shoes, goats and toothbrushes to the orphans at True Vine. We finished training the field workers on the Palm Pilots that they will use to monitor the children in the sponsorship program.

In the evening, Mr. Grograni hosted our team at the Tororo Country Club for dinner. Yonah and Eric from the CHDD joined us for dinner along with the pastors of True Vine. We played snooker, darts and had a great time fellowshipping together. It was a wonderful way to commemorate our time together in Uganda.

Mon Nov 19
From everyone who has been given much, much will be required.
We are packed and ready to begin the 40+ hour journey home. During family time this morning, Tom shared with us the effects of re-entry when we return to our families especially this time of year with the holidays.
From Luke 12:48 “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even more will be asked.” He challenged us to see how much we could be and how God wants to use us after visiting a country where so many are affected by extreme poverty and disease.

Today, we left earlier than we usually do, because the Queen of England will be visiting Uganda tomorrow. They blocked off many roads to Kampala to ensure the roads are safe for the Queen. On the way to Entebbe, we visited The Nile River for a boat ride and shopping and we ate the famous “chicken on a stick,” the best chicken in Uganda, next to Pastor Agree’s.

Well, the time has come. It’s time to leave the country and the people we love. Our time here is precious and always special. Amazing memories filled with little God moments have been made and will forever be cherished. Our team got to experience things that pictures and words cannot do justice. They got an opportunity to leave their imprints in the hearts of the Africans. They have created long-lasting relationships separated by miles but bonded by God’s love.

Thank you to another A+ team! Your generosity was appreciated and felt by so many. Thank you to everyone who sponsored a child; supported someone to go to boarding school, fed a village, brought a smile to a child or sat and held the hand of a widow. We hope your experience has opened your eyes and changed your heart. We look forward to you or your family members traveling with us on another trip. Thank you from all of us at Hope 4 Kids International! God Bless.



Saturday in Uganda
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Bonnie Sponsors a Family to Attend Boarding School

Everyday our teams have been giving it their all physically, emotionally and spiritually. Giving 110% everyday eventually will take its toll on a body. Some of our team have become a little under the weather including Hannah, Brian, Jordan, Rick, Elizabeth and Chris. Yesterday afternoon a few of our team members decided to take it easy in the afternoon and stay close to the hotel. A little rest will hopefully help our team become fully recovered.

Today, Dena went out with Rita by herself to visit the widows. A group of women were waiting for her and sang and danced as they greeted her. The widows all had prayer requests for shelter and food. Dena and Rita handed out beans, rice and mattresses to the ladies. They also visited an ill blind widow that went out for a short call and fell and broke her leg recently. All the widows that received the mattresses gave Dena lots of hugs and smiles. She said it was really beautiful and an awesome experience!

Debbie, Rachel & Lindsey, Kelli, Kristina & Leah visited the Salvation Army kids with Patsy. The kids from Salvation Army made the kids from True Vine look like they were middle class. Many of the Karamong tribe children suffer from scabies. The team spent the afternoon cleaning their wounds. Like the Gypsies in Romania and the Untouchables in India, the Karamong tribe children are discarded, thrown away and forgotten members of society. Rachel visited with one of these kids named Rlijah who grew up in Northern Uganda. He is proud that he now attends school and helps Patsy look after the younger children that the Salvation Army sponsors.

Michelle, Brian, Rick, Jordan, Kelli, Kristina, Lindsey, Rachel, Dena & Leah all painted a widow’s house today. Bonnie and Chris went with Elizabeth and Carla for the orphan outreach distributing mosquito nets and toothbrushes. Angie filmed our sponsorship video with Tom, Elizabeth & Carla.

Four siblings that we visited today were disserted by their mother that went off digging for an undetermined amount of time. The oldest child is in P5 and she is 10 years old at the most. This girl has taken on the responsibility to care for the other three kids. Every morning she digs up potatoes so the children will have something to eat when they return from school. This is a perfect example of a situation where the children desperately need to be attending boarding school. Boarding school will provide a good education along with full room and board. Taking one child out of this situation would not be beneficial to the other children of the family. All of the children need to be sponsored to go to boarding school in order to stay together. These kids really moved Bonnie’s heart during this orphan outreach. Bonnie has graciously volunteered to sponsor all of these children to go to boarding school! Because of sponsors like Bonnie Dirks, these children will be lifted out of the plight of extreme poverty. They will now have a roof over their head, three meals a day and a good education! Thank you Bonnie for blessing these children!

Janet, the lady the girls stayed with overnight, got tested yesterday for HIV. She received her results and said “Yesterday “I was HIV negative, and today I am HIV positive.” She walked over to True Vine to inform the girls of her positive results.

Kaitlyn, Ken and Cheyrl went to Godfrey’s village for lunch today and Ken delivered The Proclaimer to him. Godfrey’s village is very remote and no evangelical churches are around. Other than the well located in Godfrey’s village, the nearest well is located over the hills. When people come to his village to get water, they will hear about Jesus. When they come to the clinic for medicine, they will hear about Jesus. Kaitlyn shared that when these villagers come for water they will get the Living Water.

Michelle, Tom, Carla, Ken and Angie finished off the evening at Pastor Agree’s for his famous chicken! Pastor Agree shared with us when he first met his wife. He said when he met Rosemary, “his spirit started jumping!”


Hope 4 Kids International is 501c3 faith-based non-profit committed to help children around the world that are suffering from extreme poverty through Dignity, Health, Joy & Love.

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