Oct
2008

23
Our Last Day in Africa
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Sunday, October 19, 2008
by Angie Simon

Is it time to leave already? It can’t be. We just got here. In some ways it feels like we have been here a month and other times it feels like we got here yesterday.

Last night Andrew, Andrew & Samuel brought over six Raggedy Ann dolls that the widows made for the team. They looked great! They made them with traditional African dress material and sewed little red felt hearts on each and every one. They were precious and they went like hotcakes this morning.

We gathered all of our belongings and headed to True Vine for our final hours at the site. At 9:00AM, Lynette spoke to the English morning service and gave a sermon. Around 10:00AM, we danced our way into the church and set towards the front. Pastor Wilber introduced Tom and Tom spoke about how much he loves Africa. We worshipped together and danced with chairs on top of our heads! If only we could worship like this in America! Daniel, Wilber’s worship leader gathered the Orphan Choir together and they prepared a special song for the team. They sang the acapello Gospel version of “I Still Haven’t Found What I Am Looking For.”
It was so wonderful to hear the orphans sing along with Daniel and Judith. Daniel explained to us that singing this song gives that extra drive for the orphans to “seek more”, “become more”.

Time was running away and it was time for us to leave. Many tears were shed as we said goodbye to our friends and got on the bus for our 43 hour journey home. It was a wonderful trip and we thank everyone for their heart and passion for making a difference in the special nation of Uganda.

 

Oct
2008

21
Moses & Mumutumba Gets a Visit from the Team.
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Saturday, October 18, 2008
By Angie Simon

This morning we traveled over an hour to visit one of our favorite villages called Mumutumba. Mumutumba is a villaged sponsored through our Adopt a Village program by Seaside Church in Huntington Beach, California. Mumutumba is our model village that has a church, pastor’s house, two-room medical clinic, a well, public latrine, various crops, piggery and a poultry project. We toured the beautiful grounds and then we were on our way to our friend Moses’ house a few minutes down the road.
Moses is one of the most joyful, gracious people we know. We originally met him while Mumutumba was under construction when he helped us out with many of the projects of the village. We dropped in his beautiful compound to say hello and he greeted us with open arms.
Moses gave the team a tour of his compound, introduced us to his family, showed us how to prepare cassava and even gave us an example of how to use the kitchen, the shower area and even the toilet! Moses was definitely a surprise highlight for the trip. We headed back to the hotel for lunch stopping at various water sources on the way for Nate to take different water tests. Most of the team decided to hang back and relax at the hotel while the other prepared to go to Agree’s for some chicken! We ran into a rainstorm on the way to True Vine and waited it out before we drove to Agree’s for dinner. The Brown’s, Lynette, Diane, Patti & Rolfe enjoyed their first taste of the chicken and all the wonderful dishes Rose Mary prepared for us. After an evening of great food and fellowship it was time to return home but not before we pushed the bus. The rain created a lot of mud and we got stuck again. More tree branches and we were on our way. It was just like being in Africa!

 

Oct
2008

19
Project Living Water: Well Dedication for Paya Village
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Friday, October 17, 2008
By Angie Simon

Although everyday gets better and better, today is the day we have been looking for! Team Africa from Rancho Solano was headed to Paya village to dedicate their well and medical clinic. Nate raised money and awareness by doing different drives during Hope 4 Kids week at Rancho’s Hillcrest campus. We learned from local officials that wells and medical clinics are desperately needed in this area. There are eighty-one villages in the sub county of Paya with only four medical clinics serving those villages. The LC shared that they still need at least another five more to serve he people of Paya. The government provides three bore holes a year but many times politician have them put on their land. Also, if a bore hole was dug and they do not find water it still counts as one of the three. Last year, only one bore hole was successfully provided to Paya by the Ugandan government.

The dedication began with kids singing and widows singing. Imagine that? Pastor Wilber fed us with some great words about the well and how it was the “living water”for all of the village. We turned it over to Nate to let him explain Project Living Water and to present the plastic hands that they were to make imprints into the cement. Nate brought hand impressions from different kids at Rancho so he could match them up with hand prints from kids at Paya. The kids loved placing their hand on the clear plastic hands! Mark had the process on lock down and the village kids enjoyed making the impressions. Pator Wilber, Tom, Pastor William from Paya and the Local Chief presented the well to the villagers.

During the well dedication, we had a simultaneous medical outreach in our new medical clinic. It is a two day clinic and villagers walked miles to receive some basic medical care and prescription medications. They were so excited about our new medical clinic was officially open!

The parachute was a huge hit. The teachers had a great time introducing the parachute to them. The kids especially loved dancing and jumping around underneath the parachute. It looked like a mosh pit under there!

It was a great day for all especially for Nate. His vision to bring fresh safe water has now become a reality. Thousands of villagers will be able to drink from this well without having to worry about getting sick from an unsafe water source. Nate’s compassion and dedication is an inspiration to us all. Just think how a vision from a 13 yr old can create such a ripple effect. He reminds us all that we all have the power to make a tangible measurable impact in this world.
Go Nate & Rancho Solano!

 


A New Home For Grace
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Thursday, October 16, 2008
By Angie Simon

It was a scorcher today! The sun was out in full force when we arrived at Grace’s, one of the cooks for the Karmamojong children. After family time, the team worked together to construct a new house for Grace. Everyone took turns digging a 2ft. trench around the house to prepare for laying the foundation. We mixed cement and carried hundreds of bricks laying each one down with care. Lisa B. and Lynette placed a bible in the foundation of Grace’s new home. The team worked really hard and many commented it felt great to get out and do some real hands on work. Jessica’ hard work mixed in with the heat from the strong sun caused her to feel light headed and came close to fainting. She took a little break and is good as new! During the construction, Angie met with Pastor Ruth and our customs clearance agent, Hussein for nearly four hours about the process of how to successfully ship in our food while avoiding the pitfalls. Hussein is a total blessing to Hope 4 Kids. He’s angel that was sent to us. Pastor Ruth says, “God will take care of this food because it is for his children.” Hussein whole heartedly explained the shipping process until we understood every last detail and he did it with a smile on his face. We feel confident that we will be able to receive our food without any hiccups. Hussein has already explained ways how we can save a couple thousand dollars for future shipping. What an eventful day and we haven’t even had lunch!

After lunch, most of the team headed to our animal farm project while some of the girls relaxed at the hotel for a little R & R. We presented Inno’s mom, Anna Rose with party dresses for her own dress rental shop. She was thrilled to get them and it will be fun seeing how her business takes off!

We continued down to our agricultural farm project off 200+ acres. Lisa, aka Village Girl was happy sitting with the village kids and cows. Patti, Rolfe, Diane, Mark and Tom walked along different plots of various crops. Rachel frolicked in the sunflowers and Lynette prayed a special blessing over Eric Sabitti. On the way home, Nate gathered water samples for his special science project. He is testing water samples from various water points throughout the district to test if the water is really safe enough to drink.

 


Smile Africa & The Karamojong Children
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008
by Angie Simon

What an amazing day! The team started their morning by visiting Smile Africa under the care and guidance of Pastor Ruth Kahawa. The widows greeted us singing and dancing. Ruth told us her personal story and how she came to Christ. We visited for a while and the team purchased hand made crafts from the widows. We presented the widows with Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls from Angie’s grandma that they will reproduce in the own native attire. They were so happy to receive them!

After Smile Africa, we visited the Karamojong children. The children greeted us with singing that sounded like bees buzzing in the air. As Lisa said, we could hear them before we could see them. Just looking at all 420 children sitting down together was so overwhelming. Their needs are so great. Most have only threads for clothes, no shoes and some sores afflict their bodies.

Feeding the kids was so amazing and overwhelming. I couldn’t help but look into the eyes of every child I served and thought “unto you Jesus.” I thought about the 15 months of food for every child with every passed bowl of pousha and beans. After we served them lunch we passed out cupcakes and blew up thirty-six beach balls for them to play with in the field.

Grace and Catherine were preparing the pousha and beans in their new kitchen! They were doubly excited when we presented them with chef coats, aprons and kitchen tools!

We were celebrating Nate, Pastor Ruth and all of the Karamojong children’s birthday today. We brought 30 pounds of cake mix and Patsy baked 500 cupcakes in her little easy bake oven!

During the after noon, the team returned to True Vine to play with all the friends they made over the last couple of days. Every day is the BEST day!

 

Oct
2008

16
Visting True Vine Borading School
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008
by Lisa & Brook

This morning, our group woke early for breakfast and met together for family time at 8am. The morning was beautiful, so, we were able to sit outside together and hear from Tom about how True Vine came to be. We were also fortunate enough to hear from Pastor Wilbur about his amazing life and how he came to be involved with True Vine. After family time, our group headed to True Vine for a day that we’re sure was life altering for each and every member of our team.
At True Vine, we were introduced to the Headmaster, who was kind enough to give us a tour of the campus. It was awe inspiring to see the amazing developments at the campus that have happened over the last two years as a result of the love and generosity of the Hope4kids community. This is truly a nurturing, safe, beautiful place that will no doubt offer opportunity and hope to thousands of children in the years to come.
Following our tour, we were blessed with the opportunity to observe classes being taught. We were all moved by the love, dedication and patience shown by teachers faced with classrooms with as many as 60 students in them, 1 textbook for every five and next to no additional resources aside from a chalkboard. Children were seen happily engaged, singing with their instructors, up and out of their seats dancing on occasion, and, very obviously, learning. The teachers were so welcoming and the children in each classroom rose to meet us with a special greeting each time we entered the room. Nate planned a special activity with a few of the classes. The Rancho Solano students had prepared letters and pictures for our African friends. The children enjoyed writing to their new friends in the U.S. They also included pictures so each student will be able to see what their new friend looks like.
It was around lunch time when our teachers saw some of the preschool/Kindergarten students out enjoying the beautiful day on the playground during their recess time. We decided to take advantage of the moment and join them in their fun! We giggled and laughed as we pushed them on the swings, hung from the monkey bars or used all of our energy to push them on the merry-go-round. After spending time playing with them a few gathered around us to take pictures or admire their smiles at the pictures we took of them. This was a great opportunity to just “be” with the children!
Our next adventure was to view the rest of the campus. We were able to get a hands-on look at the new addition to hospital facility and two new classrooms in addition to the orphan administrative center and dormitories. After our tour we continued on to visit the church where they hold their elaborate celebrations. This is a beautiful church which everyone in the community is proud of, and rightly so!
After our tour, we had a quick lunch break and then returned to the campus to visit with the teachers and talk about education at True Vine. This was a rewarding conversation for the teachers from both the US and Uganda!
We broke from “adult time” to once again enjoy the kids and a wonderful program that they had prepared for us which included beautiful singing and dancing, a presentation from their scout troop and a play which demonstrated the effective leadership of Kendra, a Peace Corps volunteer, in education the children about HIV/AIDS.
We had an unfortunate quick ending to the program with another major thunderstorm which sent us all running for shelter. Huddled up in the Headmasters office we began wrapping up our day with a presentation of a US Boy Scout Troop manual by Nate to the school scout leader and a presentation of handmade ABC & 123 books to the Headmaster by Jessica Kammeyer.
Our great day at True Vine ended with the wonderful opportunity for some of the child sponsors on our team to meet and visit with their sponsored child. This provided the rare chance for the sponsored students and adults to share their life experiences with one another.
We could not have asked for a better life experience. What a wonderful day!
Brook & Lisa

 

Oct
2008

15
Our 13 Hour Journey to Tororo
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Monday, October 13, 2008
By Angie Simon

Today our journey started early today. We left Fort Portal and headed to Tororo for a 13 hour bus ride. We ran through Entebbe and stopped off at the airport to pick up Brooke’s luggage. She has been without luggage for the last few days. While we waited for Tom and Brooke at the airport, the team stopped for lunch at a great Indian food restaurant.

Hillary visited with us along the way and told us about the history of his family name. Malo means king in his native tongue of Kenya. Hillary’s grandfather was the king of the village. He had 18 wives and every wife had at least 11 children. If you do some quick arithmetic, that’s 198 aunts and uncles for Hillary. He said “we were UCI.”

On the way, Tom got an emergency phone call from James from the Sunrise House. Today, two boy’s dorms caught on fire. All the boys are fine and no one was injured. James rescued many items but a lot of mattresses and personal items were lost. We don’t know the exact cause of the fire, but James thinks it was due to faulty wiring. We also haven’t determined financially lost either.
God blessed us with a safe journey to Tororo and we are happy to be in the hotel!

 

Oct
2008

14
On Safari at Queeen Victoria National Park
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Sunday, October 12, 2008
By Diane Helmbrecht

After a good nights rest, we headed out on SAFARI! We traveled about 2 hours to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Once we arrived, we boarded a boat, named Simba, for a tour of the channel that runs between Lake George and Lake Edward. Along the shore we saw many schools of hippos. As we navigated the channel, a storm blew in. It was windy enough that they beached the boat in the reeds. Someone wrote TIA (This Is Africa) in the steamed up awning windows! After about 25 minutes of holding down the awnings that line the side of the boat, the storm let up and we moved on our way.

There were also water buffalos, crocodiles, and a varied of birds including a fish eagle. Above the shore we passed a fishing village with their boats lined up along the water. A little farther down the channel we came to some fisherman and we pulled along side of them. They brought some of the catch on board and that include an ugly looking Lung fish. As they were trying to show us this fish, it wiggled around enough, that they lost their grip on it and it was flopping around on inside the boat. That caused quiet a commotion! The Lung fish was eventually recaptured and that moment of excitement was over.

Once we got off the boat we went for lunch. That took quite awhile as we all ordered fish or chicken. We think they had to catch them both before they could cook them. We were entertained by some wart hogs that were wandering outside the restaurant. Rolfe Gomer was quite intent on calling them closer. Funny thing is, they listened to him and were following him around. Not necessarily the best thing when you are talking about wild wart hogs with large tusks!

After lunch, we were on the road portion of the Safari. What a fantastic adventure! We came across a herd of elephants. They were grazing in the trees near the road. Just when we thought we had them all in view, more would come out of the trees. There were ones with large tusks as well as a baby ‘phant in the group. Again, amazing!
We also spotted waterbucks with very long horns, black & white monkeys in the trees, and more water buffalo. Every time we thought we saw something new, it turned out to be another wart hog. A Lisa Brown noted, when the wart hogs run, their tails go straight up in the air. They look like dune buggies with their flags flying!

Then we went in search of LIONS! But in the midst of the lion’s roaming area, the bus got stuck in the mud! We all had to get out of the bus. After a bit of pushing, and some skillful driving, we were on our way again. Alas, no lions were spotted. But what an adventure to end our adventure with! How blessed are we that we had this incredible day!

 


Observations from Africa
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Saturday, October 11, 2008
by Lisa Brown

Wow! Wow! Wow!
Awesome, wonderful, captivating, life-changing, and it is day one. First things first. Just so everyone at home is not worrying about us check www.mountainsofthemoon.co.ug. This is hospitality at its finest, and my husband and I, Mark Brown know a thing or two about service. A great hotel is just an empty shell, without a great staff. Let us just start of by saying we are honored and priviledged to be in the company of this hotel staff. They feel like the best part of one’s family that you always tell people about when you need to celebrate life. For those of you coming in here in November, you are in for the greatest treat. Look for Deo, he will steal your heart with a smile and the story of how hard he works. Delight, Delight….

We left Entebee, yesterday at 7:30 am, after a wonderful cup of coffe and great breakfast. Absolutely a great treat to ones constitution after a 30hr journey from the states. We boarded our bus and were greeted by our crew and driver. OK, we love them. They are so kind and the most captivating conversationalist. I never thought I would say this, but the thought of another 10 hr drive on the bus is exciting. Nate said it best, “This project is about connection”, but we had no idea what that truly meant until now!

City view: As we departed, Entebbe, we ventured throught the city of Kampala, we are all grateful for Bobbi, our driver and personality plus. He knows all the ins and outs of the 5,000,000 population base. Out our window we saw the marass of any city, but without infrastructure. I know that it is the farm girl in me, but it was the hardest part of the trip from the stand point of the human condition. Many little ones playing alone, of course in water, which is always the yucky stuff. In this case, drainage that is hand dug at best, mostly just the natural contour of the hilly landscape and rainwater or the path septic and trash would take. There was a surprising order to how they are functioning, however. Shaties are organized in like kinds of offerings. Ms Reid commented, “I am never going to complaining about running errands again.”

Country view: gorgeous, breathtaking, beautiful, and a power house for agriculture. The weather is entirely gorgeous. 75 degrees, overcast and lovely humidity. I never thought I would say this but it was the most wonderful 8hr bus rides of my life. Our driver Bobby is amazing. Additionally, we have the great pleasure of 3 others in our crew from TrueVine. These people are so wonderful and the most delightful convesationalist. They are course rich with history and cultural perspective. Uncommon and truly remarkable are thier personal stories and the power of hope and brave of heart.

Best part of the day, was absolutely our time with the Sunshine House, in Fort Portal. The Bishop’s story is one of world renown. Personal friend of Senator Sam Crump of Arizona, the Bishop knows that it is education that will liberate Uganda from its struggle. The profound story of his near death struggle at the hands of Idi Amini’s men, is not only disturbing, it is crucial to understand. The Bishop is housing 50 orphans and sponsoring another 250, who are not being boarded, but living off site. These amazing kids ranging in age from 19 to 4, are studying the highest level education possible. 15 year olds reading Romeo and Juliet, 16 year olds studing trig, all working to enter university. I would love to capture their committment to hard word that is so beautifully tenored with honor, respect, and kindness. “These kids are the pearl of Africa”. Nate played soccer and looked at the books, and hung out with them. I was the last to get on the bus, my heart longs to go back and see them this morning. They have captured my heart, respect, and cause me to examine those highest and best things that I know my life needs more of. This was the BEST DAY….

 

Oct
2008

10
Love From Uganda
Posted by

Friday, October 10, 2008
by Angie Simon

Hey everyone! We are h-e-e-r-ye! We had a long journey today but everyone is healthy, happy and in great spirits! All our luggage arrived except mine arrived especially gift wrapped in plastic because the zipper broke on my bag. Fortunately, everything made it!

Pastor Wilber and Pastor Hillary met us at the Entebee airport along with Bobby, Michael, Mateo & Daniel and hey helped us get all checked into our hotel for the evening.

Tomorrow we have an early start at 7:30AM for another journey to Fort Portal in Western, Uganda. We will meet our orphans at The Sunrise House and visit James’ farm.
Goodnight all!

 
 
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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.

www.hope4kidsinternational.org

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