Nov
2006

09
Wednesday November 8
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Today, Elizabeth our orphan program director invited all the staff of our Uganda orphan program to the hotel for a day of relationship building and exchange of information. They had discussions, worship, dance and a presentation of gifts.

Elizabeth had been told that their Thanksgiving is January 1st. They all gather and present gifts to one another. So today, for the men she laid out shirts and ties and had one person at a time choose a shirt and tie and present it to one of the other men. They laughed and celebrated as they gifted one another. For the girls, Elizabeth had chosen an outfit ahead of time according to their sizes.

Darrin and Don came back to the hotel for lunch and were involved in some of the fun

Back at the site Darrin and Robert started the lighting project in the hospital and assessed what needs yet to be done. They also checked everything out to make sure it’s all in working order. They fixed some plumbing parts in the toilets and worked on the float system for the water towers.

 

Nov
2006

08

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Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Darrin and Robert ordered materials for the hospital today. That is almost a ritual as they drink sodas and discuss with the owner of the electrical shop their needs and if they have such supplies-whether or not they can get them. . . While working at the site they had a few kids following them around. Darrin was so happy to see the generator is hooked up and working.

Elizabeth & Don went with the orphan workers to visit sick kids. One was hospitalized with infection that spread to the bone. She had surgery and needed the bandage changed so they went out to buy new dressings and then had to bribe the nurse to change it. I’ll be so glad when our hospital is finished!

They visited several other sick kids in their homes who were overjoyed to see them. One girl’s mother was off making bricks but ran home to see the team. Their roof was banana leaves and was leaking. She showed the team the graves of her husband and all the other men in her family who had succumbed to AIDS. She told them that their visit brought her hope.

Another boy was in high school. His dad died and then his mom left so the boy was really living in poverty but is still attending school and so proud of it. When Elizabeth asked him how he was doing in school he smiled: “I’m doing wonderful! I love school!”

One of the people Jane and I visited today was Jacinta. She and her husband are HIV positive. Last time I was here her husband was extremely sick. Now he’s doing well and is strong. I was amazed to find they had a new baby. I asked Jacinta if the baby was HIV positive and she said she hasn’t had him tested yet. I asked if she was nursing because even if the baby is born without AIDS they can get it through the mother’s milk. She was told she could nurse until the baby is three months old. Then if he tests positive she can continue. If he doesn’t she needs to stop nursing.

Please keep us in your prayers.

 


Monday November 6
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We were so happy when Elizabeth, Don and Darrin arrived today. We all talked at once and had a great time catching up. While Elizabeth met with the orphan workers, Don and Darrin toured the site with Robert.

I went to meet Pastor Ruth who has an organization she calls “Smile Africa”. This woman has an incredible heart for troubled people. She talked about how in 1993 when people still believed you could catch AIDS from touching the doorknob after someone with AIDS touched it she felt God calling her to reach out to this isolated, friendless population. She said, “They die a lonely death. Even close relatives don’t want to be near them. When I first began I didn’t have anything-only a heart to help the suffering.”

Pastor Ruth began her ministry by placing a box in the corner of her house and told relatives and friends if they had anything they could give to place it in the box. She would give the items to those she found in need. Soon the box was overflowing and the path to her door was wearing out so she prayed for a building and found a place to rent in a poverty stricken area of town. Next she noticed small children roaming the streets during the day so she started a nursery school. Today she has 80 children who come everyday and could have more if she had the room and staff. She teaches women tailoring and gives them a place to come to feel loved. Her doors are open to all. At lunchtime the street kids arrive and she feeds them. I sat with her for over an hour listening and marveling at this unbelievable woman of God. She told me of her vision of buying land and building a dormitory for the street children and giving the girls a safe place to live-to protect them for being sold to Kenya for sex. She talked about a place for HIV positive babies to be cared for. Her dreams are big but I told her, “God didn’t take you this far to stop now.”

Pastor Jane began driver’s training today. She was so excited. I went with her for her first lesson. Sitting in the back seat watching her was such fun. She kept smiling and saying: “Rachel. I’m driving!”

 

Nov
2006

06
2nd Sunday in Uganda
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Today was a great day! I met with the women before church and they decided they would take a collection for the triplets and their family and a delegation will deliver it on Friday.

Robert was to give a lesson to the men. When he arrived there were only about six men but by the end he had a crowd.

The father showed up with his three babies-the first time he had been to True Vine church. The mother remained home since she is still quite weak. When the pastor asked those who wanted to accept Christ as savior to come forward the father hastened to the front. After they prayed with him to receive Christ, Pastor Wilber asked the women to bring the babies forward. People started rushing to the front to see the miracle babies. I have a feeling the people of this village will do all they can to help.

Tonight Robert and I were invited for dinner at the home of the owner of the electrical shop in Tororo. We fell in love with their daughter Flo a couple years ago. They said all day she was telling people she has two mommies and tonight her mommy from America was coming.

 


Saturday November 4
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Yesterday when we arrived at the site it was all-a-buzz with news of a woman “producing” three babies-all at once! Most have never seen triplets. They kept talking about the miracle that had taken place. The babies were born at home in their mud hut with only the father to assist. The mother was not doing well so the nurses from the clinic went to her home and connected her to an IV. The father along with two neighbors carried the babies to the clinic to be checked and weighed. There are two boys named Apio and Odongo. The girl is Akello. They weighed 2.1 kilograms, 2.7 kilograms and 2.4 kilograms. Jane and I went to see them and found the Mom was extremely weak. She’s thirty-one years old and these triplets make eleven children she has delivered. She had nothing in her breasts so the women were dropping glucose water into the babies’ mouths with a spoon.

Today Jane and I returned with formula and three bottles. Jane went to great lengths to explain they should boil the water before mixing the formula and talked about sterilizing the bottles between uses. She prepared three bottles to demonstrate and then fed little Akello who drank very little before falling back to sleep. We also brought the mother a nutritional drink, Reliv, which she loved and drank down. She seemed a bit stronger today so we left enough nutritional drink to last until Monday and told her we would check on her and her babies then.

Robert has been working very hard on the property troubleshooting and fact-finding and ensuring the wiring has been done properly and the work areas are safe. He’s so pleased to see the Ugandans taking such pride in the complex as they strive to make things look good. There’s been an unusual amount of rain lately and one small crew spends it’s time making sure there is no standing water for mosquitoes to breed. Everywhere you turn people are working on projects. This place is really going to be a showplace by the time the team arrives.

We are looking forward to welcoming Elizabeth, Darrin and Don tomorrow.

 

Nov
2006

04
Uganda – Useful Links
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Like many of you, I have been following Rachel’s stories from Uganda. I realized that I did know enough of the history of Uganda. So, I have added some links to the stories from Wikipedia and will include some below.

Uganda – Wikipedia

Uganda – CIA World Factbook

Uganda – Google Map

Tororo, Uganda – city where the H4KI team stays while ministering in Uganda.

Idi Amin – deceased Ugandan President

Ugandan Rebels – Lord’s Resistance Army


If you would like to experience Uganda first hand, Hope 4 Kids International will be taking 5 trips next year. 

  • 4/11/07 – 4/24/07
  • 6/12/07 – 6/25/07
  • 6/20/07 – 7/03/07 (FULL – Seaside Church)
  • 6/28/07 – 7/10/07
  • 11/07/07 – 11/20/07

 

 

Nov
2006

02
Refugee camp in Soroti
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November 1, 2006 Refugee camp

Today we went to Soroti to a refugee camp. These people have fled the rebel army in Northern Uganda and from Sudan. We were told there were sixty families in this camp so we brought enough rice, beans and soap for 60 households. When we arrived we were told there were 118 families and around 800 people in all. I looked at the people who were waiting so expectantly and gazed at the amount of food. All I could do is turn away from them and cry.

We have so much in America. We don’t really know suffering as we strive to get bigger houses, newer cars, vacation homes, motor homes, more toys, good food and on and on. I don’t need to tell you how blessed we are as Americans. Then I come to Uganda and see how the people suffered under Idi Amin and now the rebels. . .

I interviewed a lady who looked old, but she said she was fifty. She’s been in the camp for three years. Rebels beat her so badly she is unable to walk so relatives helped her escape. She said she almost died. Before the insurgency she said life was good. She’s a Muteso and enjoyed working the land growing many types of crops. She talked about how life was then, how they cooked their food, how they entertained visitors and then broke out in song as she demonstrated how a new wife was welcomed into their tribe.

We met another woman who is 60 years old and seems years beyond that age. She too talked of how good life was before the rebels came. Women could do any kind of work, including build a house. They saw to it their children were well fed, bathed with clean noses and to grow up in a good atmosphere. I wondered what she meant by a good life when she told us she had four children but three died when they were young and the fourth one is blind.

When I asked her how she came to the camp she said: "I was getting water from the river and the soldiers (Ugandan) came and asked if I knew where are the rebels. Then the rebels came and killed all the soldiers. I fell down and stayed until they were gone then I got up and walked to Soroti with only the dress on my back. Now I stay here and for a mattress I collect grass to sleep on." Her brother’s children were all abducted and have disappeared.

Our guide was abducted by the rebels and after three weeks managed to escape. He was one of the fortunate ones. He said when they abduct children they usually immediately make them participate in massacres. Some actually go crazy after seeing the horrible things the rebels do. Others become monsters like their captors. Many would just like to go home.

Continue to hold us in your prayers

 


Visiting the Widows – Day 2
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Tuesday October 31, 2006

What a day! We were back visiting the widows. This is Jane’s passion as she cites verses such as:

James 1:27 – Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

These past two days of traveling to the oldest and poorest widows have been such a pleasure.

Today we met Regina who is around 103 years old. She is the grandmother of our friend, Wandera and when his parents died of AIDS she took him in as well as his five siblings. She was a peasant, living off the land, and selling what she could spare for a little money. Wandera learned to fish and helped support the family by selling fish to a market.

Regina hadn’t seen Wandera for a year so she was elated when we arrived with him. She shared that when her mother was a girl, families would fight one another with spears-killing one another. I couldn’t get what the point of the fighting was-but then I never have. They wore animal skins for clothing. When Regina came along the fighting had stopped. She talked about families having an old woman-probably the grandmother stay in a hut with the girls. Little did parents know the girls weren’t safe because a boy could bribe the grandmother with a little money and she’d allow him to come in during the night and carry one of the girls off, rape them and bring them back before morning. Now they say they can be prosecuted for rape, but it continues to happen and often goes unreported.

Next we met Wandera’s 110-year-old maternal grandmother, Natocho. She was delightful! She showed me her basket/bowl used for food. They wove the basket and then sealed it with cow dung. You couldn’t wash it because the cow dung would soften so they just banged the bowl upside down when they emptied the food. When the bowl got too dirty they’d reseal it with more cow dung.

Before we left Natocho she said she wanted to accept Jesus as Savior. Imagine! You’re never too old for God’s mercy. Isn’t that wonderful? She was filled with happiness.

Everywhere I go people talk about Idi Amin and the terror of his regime. Today we stopped by a river and our driver told me, "This is where Amin’s soldiers would dump people." Amin ordered his soldiers to take no prisoners because he wouldn’t feed them; so one of the atrocities by the soldiers was to round people up for no reason. If they didn’t shoot them on the spot they would pile them into a dump truck, back up to the river and raise the truck spilling them into the river. People didn’t know how to swim and if they had it wouldn’t have helped because the soldiers stood on the river banks ready to shoot anyone who surfaced! What these people had to endure is beyond our comprehension! They said they never knew when they woke up in the morning if they’d be alive at night and when they went to bed at night they didn’t know if they would be dragged from their beds to be raped and shot.

We met up with two other widows today. One was 86-years-old. The other was in her 80’s also. I didn’t get a good look at her because she was lying in bed inside her dark hut. I could make out her image with the little light that sneaked through the doorway. She said, "I don’t want the Mzungu to photograph me." I agreed I wouldn’t although I really wanted to! She stood up and shrieked with happiness when she received her gifts and although I always stand back and Jane gives the gifts she showered me with grateful hugs as well as Jane.

Robert is here too. I’m just so excited about the honor of meeting these elderly women and hearing their stories that I’ve not gotten many stories from him. He is however working very hard and enjoying it. I’ve included a picture of him and Waterman. Waterman is modeling the new uniform Robert brought for him. His name isn’t really Waterman but when Robert gave him the job of "water monitor" he said, "I want to be called Waterman." Who can argue?

Tomorrow we head for a refugee camp. Keep the prayers going.

 
 
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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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