Hope4kids traveled to Uganda and set up mini spas in the bush for widows. The women soaked their feet in a basin of soapy water while munching on donuts and sipping tea. They were given manicures and foot massages by hand and with portable foot spas. Their beauty treatment included lipstick, new scarves, nail art, clothing and purses. After sharing the love of Christ with these women we sent them home with saucepans, rice, soap, garden seeds and other practical items. Our goal was to pamper them for an afternoon and let them know God has not forgotten them.
Good morning from Amsterdam. Most of the final team should be home by now. Some of us took advantage of being out of the country and took side trips or delays.
I’ve posted the final photos of the trip. what a month this has been. Thank you to all who participated by either going, sending or praying for our teams. These teams did so much toward education, helping the orphans and widows, building homes, improving our hospital, participating in studies and loving the people of Uganda. Watch for exciting things in the future.
Thanks for coming along. Rachel p.s. Did I mention our daughter, Lisa and granddaughter, Jordan were on the final trip? And that three of Tom’s kids, Natalie, Stephan and Nick were there too? It’s a great way to have a family reunion. You might see some pictures of them in the photo album-it seemed like Jordan appeared in MANY photos!):
The last two days of shopping can compete with any holiday shopping. I, along with Sam and Kathee, have been struggling to by almost 3 million Shillings in textbooks and supplies. I think I have spent 16 hours in two days in downtown Tororo looking for just the right books and the right price, which we did.
I want to formally say to those that have invested in aiding the dreams of students and teacher alike in their pursuit for a better educational system here in Uganda . . . thank you. You have made a difference for all.
A little girl told Pastor Mary the other day that she found promise and hope in her education. The same promise and hope that would come from a child of America, Great Britain, France, or China.
As we finished purchasing the last of the textbooks and supplies, a journalist from one of the local newspapers sat down with Kathee, Joseph Wanjala, and I to interview us about our work in the schools here in the area of Tororo. He wanted to know why we were here and why we were doing what we were doing. I shared with him that a student in my classroom in America or in Wanjala’s classroom in Uganda should have the same opportunity to receive a first-class education. I went further to say that I hoped that one day these same two students could work side by side together in the same office.
The journalist asked what I would focus on after textbooks.
Accountability! Parents holding administrators accountable for inspiring their staff and students to soar; administrators holding their staff accountable for using the new textbooks supplied and always looking for a new way to make learning possible for all students; teachers holding their students responsible for using the resources at hand and helping students discover their own learning as a means of a safer, stronger future; And finally, all citizens holding their government accountable for funding all levels of education in their amazing country.
Additionally, I asked that the government and administration see a school as not a watered down daycare, but as a place of justice and equality, where classrooms maintain enrollement around 40 students, clean water is supplied, every child has adequate nutrienance, and teachers have the tools to do what they do bestteach.
Everyone I came across here have been very grateful for the service and friendship of Americans. They welcome us back into their country and homes anytime.
In final, I bring home price lists for pre-school, elementary, and secondary national, standard textbooks. With the support of friends, churches, and/or businesses, we will continue to shop, build, and press the government of Uganda to allow their youth a competitive chance to compete at a global level in the world.
It’s been a great trip. In this past month we’ve seen over 100 Americans arrive in three back-to-back teams. I’ll give the final wrap up and more pictures after we return to the States.
The team spent the day wrapping things up, tying up loose ends and meeting with people.
Pastor Bob and Pastor Galen spent the day teaching and preaching in the villages. Team members went with Pastor Galen to paint a village church built by Southside church in Spokane. Then they stopped by Pastor Justis’s church and were greeted with great celebration of balloons, dancing and cheering.
Kiki and his team visited the schools playing, teaching and singing with the kids. The team made wish lists for the schools and is hoping to solicit funds and materials in the states to raise the standards of some of the schools.
Natalie wrapped up her study of child resiliency. I asked one of the children, “If your friend received a gift of a ball would you be happy for him?” “Yes. I would rejoice because maybe God would give one to me too.” What are some of the things a child worries about? Not having anything to eat. And either themselves or a family member dying of sickness.
I may not be able to post any more after today as we will busy Saturday and will be leaving Sunday morning to begin our travel home.
Please pray for our team as we journey toward our loved ones.
After one week of visiting various schools around Uganda, I am seeing simliar problems from top to bottom. There is little to no funding.
A Ugandan man in a sharp suit told me today that Uganda is all backwards. He stated that his people and government have refused to make the changes necessary to help the sick, poor, and the uneducated. It was obvious to me that he was very frustrated.
I still believe in my heart that education is essential for Ugandan’s and Africans to that matter to climb from the pits of starvation and poverty. With the little donations that I was given by friends in Arizona, California, and Washington, I was able to begin placing the rungs that lead to a stronger tomorrow.
Through Hope 4 Kids International and the help of about 3.8 million shilling ($2300), I was able to purchase curriculum at True Vine Schools for three pre-school teachers, offer 250 sheets of poster board, add one teachers addition and 10 textbooks for grades P1-P4 (like 1st grade – 4th grade) in math, science, social studies, and English, and allow the director of Hereigns Secondary and Limino Secondary to purchase various curriculum, which they do not have at this time, for their advanced students.
I have noticed that schools in Uganda are like churches in America . . . you can find them at about every corner. There are so many children here. They are everywhere. And, they must go to school.
I pray that this sponsorship for these students is just the beginning. I pray that others will reach into their pockets and assist programs like Hope 4 Kids and Invisible children paved the way for a smarter, brighter, safer future. I also pray that the Ugandan government will look for ways to answer the cries of its teachers and students.
Case in point, at Limino Secondary, the headmaster, Peter, has been described as a radical thinker. Why is that? Well, his 1260 students, which is the largest in his district, leads the district in performance. The school has a staff of 32 teacher with only 12 paid by the government. The other 20 teachers are paid by donations from parents. In fact, most of the classrooms were built by the parents. This school is one of the few in the area that I have seen with this level of pride in its community.
Like the sharp dressed man I am frustrated, but i lean on the words of Bono for strength: “You cannot help them all, but the ones you can, you must.”
Once again we had a great day. The team at the government office finished their work. I’m still trying to track down pictures of their work there.
Kelly Kiki took a group to schools where they met hundreds of children. Stevie was able to teach a group of kindergarten children songs such as Itsy bitsy spider. Using the chalk board she showed the Hungry caterpillar, using the story of the cocoon to share the story of Jesus. Our teenage girls taught older kids to do the Hokey Pokey. The team is doing a great job of getting out there to find the needs in these schools. There are no textbooks for the kids. The teacher may have a textbook and he/she reads to the kids and they write the information in their notebooks. With most classrooms holding over 100 kids it’s very difficult with no textbooks.
The medical team has everything organized and shelves are being built to hold supplies. We’re looking into getting metal bedside tables made for patients.
A group of us went to the jungle for lunch and visited one of our widows, Kina, who had accepted Christ in April. She was so excited to see us and we gave her some gifts. Kiki painted her nails much to the delight of Kina and all who watched. She loved her lipstick and the teenage girls squealed with delight for their grandmother. Kina’s son Akware spoke to all of us: “We have a saying here. Friendship begins along the road but it really starts at home.” Meaning that you can meet people along the way but that friendships solidify once you go to their home.
Natalie’s team continued interviewing kids for her study. Every kid has a heartbreaking story to tell. We’re hoping this study will help us as we continue to work with these kids, counseling them and training them to be productive citizens overcoming the abuse and sorrow.
Natalie, Jordan, Lisa and I went with Jessica to the True Vine girl’s dormitory. We had bags of clothing donated by our twelve-year-old friend, Mandy Cassarro. It was so much fun as Jessica and the school matron tried the clothes on the girls and to see how proud they were of their new clothes from America.
Please persevere in your prayers for this great team.
Happy 4th of July! We are celebrating here today too. We started the day singing the Star Spangled Banner and appreciating that we live in such a great country where we are free to think and do and create. We have great access to medical help. We have good roads, an abundance of money and many many blessings everyday. Most of all we are free to worship as we please.
Natalie and her team began her study yesterday of Resiliency In Uganda Africa. The team interviewed children for resiliency, coping and adjust to negative life events. They are also collecting data on self esteem, optimism and behavioral problems. One of the questions is “how do you feel when bad things happen?” One response was, “Good. Because I know Jesus will make it better.” Another question: “What do you do when you feel bad?” “I open my Bible and exchange positive messages with my friends and we look forward to tomorrow.” “Have you been abused?” “Yes. But I’ve forgiven them.”
Another team went to mud the widow, Margret’s home. They had such a great time and experienced a lot of laughter as they mixed mud and literally dove right in! Kerry was their adjusting the widows in between mudding. The Ugandans had as much fun as the Americans and many friendships developed. They ended the day singing and praying together.
The painters continue to work on the government building. They’ve painted six offices and the hallways. They will be replacing widows today. The talk around town is Mzungus are helping to erase the embarrassment of the government by painting offices that have not been painted in years!! They were even on the news. One of the government leaders said, “Many groups have come and SAID they were going to help. You are the first group who actually has helped!”
Tom brought some of the top leaders of the community to True Vine yesterday who were to show what we have been doing there. They were so impressed with the hospital and were shown the ultra sound machine and actually see it used on a pregnant woman and were able to see her baby. They were amazed as they toured the campus as they thought True Vine was just a church!
Mel went to the farm and saw what he calls “a first rate pig operation.”
Kelly led a team visiting schools and will be giving me a report and pictures tonight.
Pastor Galen has been teaching Christian leaders-pastors, teachers, leaders. It’s been going really well and the leaders are eating it up. When he talked about women and said, “Jesus was always lifting the status of women” the women all stood and cheered.
Another team went with Pastor Ruth to the bush for another widow’s tea party! Thirty-five widows showed up! What a great time we had! Lisa, Jordan and Mathew entertained the children who came to watch. They had bubbles, jump ropes, puppets, beach balls, a parachute and candy.
Continue to keep this team in your prayers as we partner with our Ugandan friends.
This morning I was given the very sad news that my baby Rachel died yesterday and they had already buried her. Rachel was one of the set of triplets born last \november when we were here. I saw them when they were four hours old! They were delivered in the mud hut by their father at 4AM. The village was in an uproar about the miracle that had taken place. They were soooo tiny and the little girl who was the third to be born immediately captured my heart. I held her and said, You are my baby! Later the mother named her Rachel because as she told me, You said, ‘She’s my baby.’
We have kept an eye on these triplets and their mother, Jane since November by providing food, formula (the mother has never been able to produce milk). In April we put all three in the hospital with pneumonia. Last week when we checked on them the boys seemed to be growing but baby Rachel was still so tiny. She cried a lot and sucked on her fingers as though she were hungry. Jane told us she had run out of formula so we rushed to get some and planned to check on them again today. As we gathered gifts, etc for the triplets we were told the news of baby Rachel.
We arrived at her home to comfort the mother who ended up comforting me. As soon as I stepped from the van she hugged me and pointed to a small mound with a cross made of two sticks. “Rachel. Your baby has gone. She is there.” I knelt next to the small grave and wept for baby Rachel. For the baby who suffered and struggled to survive. I thought of our time together in April and how she cooed and talked to me. She was so beautiful. I cried for her mother who had eight other children before the triplets and how she gets discouraged and wanted to run away before we started helping her. I looked up at her and saw how tired she looked-way too tired for a 32-year-old woman to look. Her husband has another wife and family in Kenya and is often away. I wondered how alone she must feel.
This is a hard life here in Uganda. There are many baby Rachels who don’t make it to their first birthday. There are many mama Janes who need our love and encouragement and need to know that God has not forgotten them. It’s the Jane’s and babies and orphans and widows who keep calling our hearts back to Uganda.
Please pray for this family as we strive to find creative ways for them to become self-sufficient.
There was a lot happening elsewhere today with the rest of the team. The medical team spent the day in the clinic working with nurses and sorting medical supplies.
A team went to the bush to build a mud house for a widow with five children. Her house was so deteriorated we knew it would collapse any day. Tomorrow the team will do the mudding so be watching the pictures for that.
Another team went as goodwill ambassadors to the local offices of the president. The offices were in great need of paint and has broken windows so we decided to give them a fresh coat of paint as well as replace the windows. People working in the offices are so amazed that the Americans would come to do this for free!!!
Kiki led a team to visit schools and found many needs in education which he will be addressing here and at home.
There were a lot of kids around the site and we found groups sitting in the grass being read to while others played football and games.
A team arrived at Smile Africa and bought necklaces and clothing from the widows there. We also present a widow with everything she needs to start her own manicure/nail business. And all those extra purses you donated? Three widows are selling them as their new businesses. While we were there a designer arrived and bought from them and she will in turn sell them in her shop. Slowly we are seeing women empowered with their own businesses and we hope to see much more in the future!
The new team arrives! Stephan, Tom, Jenn and I went to Nairobi to meet the new team. We were so excited as this team consists of two more of Tom’s children, Natalie and Nick as well as Robert’s and my daughter, Lisa and granddaughter Jordan. This is the third and final team for this stretch in Uganda. We had such a great time with the first two groups we know that this one will be fabulous too!
We had the most awesome safari seeing up close lions, hyenas, giraffes and baboons. The videos we were able to capture are incredible! We saw lions hunting water buffalo and gazelles and although some of the guys were hoping for a kill the rest of us were not.
We arrived in Tororo last night and are anxious to get into the work of the week ahead. More tomorrow!
p.s. I heard the Sea Side group spent the night in mud huts! They had a camp fire and sang and laughed and it was a big hit. I hope to receive more pictures and a further update on that once I return home.
Please pray for their safe return to their Huntington Beach homes.