Nov
2008

13
Hope Festival Begins
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Our group of about 25 packed into a bus with beach balls, crafts, hygiene kits, teaching materials, reading glasses, acupuncture supplies and more and headed to Smile Africa for the first day of our Hope Festival.
We were met by 420 karamojong children standing and singing songs of greeting. The air was filled with excitement as tents dotted the grounds to house the youth and pastor’s wives who were arriving to learn from the Choose to Wait program; our medical team presented health and hygiene classes; there was a Bible study and singing. Each of the pastor’s wives received a hygiene kit and a mosquito net. They were served tea and donuts and a wonderful lunch prepared in the new kitchen.
The children sang; were told Bible stories; played with beach balls and partied.
Last year Carolyn Griebe realized the widows were struggling each day over open fires to cook for the 420 Karamojong children and when she saw the smoke polluting the air around the women and children she asked if she could raise money toward a state-of-the-art kitchen. We dedicated the kitchen yesterday and Carolyn brought a sign to hang over the door (created by her Pastor Leland). It reads “Marty’s Kitchen” in memory of Carolyn’s husband Marty who died of cancer two years ago. It was a wonderful celebration as we all rejoiced together and marveled at this new smokeless kitchen which uses half the wood as cooking outside.
We also had a lot of activity going on in the newly built/not quite finished Bethel Medical Center. Another US medical team (www.helptheleastofthese.com ) was on hand with two doctors and other medical people. We teamed up with them and used every room in the clinic. We began with the children who were weighed and had their vitals taken. Adults sat under a tent waiting their turn. The doctors examined patients; prescribed meds and prayed over one before sending them to the next rooms where there were temporary pharmacies, Mae’s eye clinic; Dr Victoria’s acupuncture room and the balloon animal room next to the exit.
What a great festival! We are looking forward to tomorrow!

 


Grace’s solar oven
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Helping women with business opportunities is one of the functions of Hope 4 Kids women’s concerns dept. Grace has been in our hearts since be began our work here in Uganda. She is a widow and HIV positive—two stigmas which causes her to be an outcast. We provided her with a home and placed her children in boarding school. She receives HIV medication. Each time we return we check on Grace.
Several months ago her four-year-old grandson, whom she is raising found matches and practices lighting them while Grace was working the fields. She returned to find her house on fire. The house withstood the flames but all the furnishings were lost. Fortunately a H4KI team was there and a team member paid for new basic furniture.
Mark H brought a small solar oven to show to Smile Africa and True Vine with the idea of them getting large solar ovens to bake bread and items to sell. He wanted to give the small oven to a widow and when I told him about Grace he decided she should be the recipient.
We arrived at Grace’s home and after many joyous hugs and greetings Mark brought out the solar oven. Grace watched in amazement as Mark explained how to use it and showed her the bread pans. He talked about banana bread which Grace had never tasted so I promised to return on Friday with the ingredients and teach her how to make it.
Mark poured water into a pan to demonstrate how it heats up. Fascinated, Grace brought out greens and cooked them for her lunch. If you look at the photo gallery you will see more pictures of Grace being trained by Mark and her first meal of greens.

 

Nov
2008

10
Hope 4 Kids on Safari at Queen Elizabeth National Park
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Sunday, November 9, 2008
By Angie Simon

Wow! What a safari! Our team of nearly 50 headed over to Queen Elizabeth National Park for our Hope 4 Kids excursion of an amazing African safari. For the first part of the safari we divided into two groups for the boat tour on Lake Edward. Fortunately for us all of the animals were out getting their water for the day. Immediately we saw a herd of elephants and multiple schools of hippos. Matiya spotted several large crocodiles resting on the shore. It was really interesting to see the hippos intermingled with the buffalo and crocodiles. All of the animals seemed happy living so close in proximity to each other. It was a perfect day for a safari; it was overcast and we had a wonderful breeze. After our two-hour boat ride, we landed on shore to eat some yummy made-on-the-spot peanut butter sandwiches: Tablecloth compliments of Michael! He graciously gave up his fresh shirt so we could have some place clean to make sandwiches. After lunch it was time to look for the lions. We hopped on the buses and took our first trip around the lion area to see if we could locate any. At the entrance of the park, the park rangers said we would be lucky to see a lion one out of four days. In the paper today, it said the lions were close to extinction at Queen Elizabeth Park. There are only around fifty and recently a couple of lions have been found poisoned. Regardless, we had our hopes up and shared with the team other lion sightings from past safari trips. At last, two lions! In the distance we were fortunate to see two female lions sunning themselves in the mid-afternoon sun. Just as fast as they appeared, they were gone! A rainstorm came and the lions headed into the bush for cover. Overall, we had an awesome safari! On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at the Uganda Equator for some creative pictures.

 


Sunday in Tororo
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Mark went to the village his church supports, Mumutumba and preached on what it takes to be a Christian. People came to be prayed for. They were all excited to see him. Pastor Justin attended and Mark spoke with him about starting a men’s ministry and will share materials with him later in the week. After ward he walked around and was updated on all the projects and had lunch at Pastor Jessica’s house.
He was able to check on a man whose wife left him with seven children. Mark and his wife Desiree fixed up his home in July. It looked good. The children have been going through treatment for scabies and looked happy and well.
Wendy, Carolyn, Donna, and Rachel attended True Vine. We loved seeing all our friends and some of our sponsored children. I saw my friend Grace who is doing well (we wrote about her in our book, God, Why don’t you hear their prayer—have you read it?).
This afternoon we all worked on organizing items for our hope festival.
Elizabeth called from Kenya where she is visiting orphans and we are anxiously waiting for her arrival tomorrow as well as the rest of the team who will be arriving from Ft. Portal.
We’ll be having updates from all of them in the next day or two so keep checking back!

 

Nov
2008

09
Four arrive in Tororo
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While the rest of the team went to Ft Portal four of us climbed into a van with some of the team luggage and headed straight for Tororo. Carolyn, Mark, Donna and Rachel decided to go right to work and prepare for the week ahead.

Upon our arrival we met up with Wendy who has been in Tororo for the past 12 days preparing for our Hope Festival. She has rented tents, chairs, and a ton of other necessary equipment as well as ordering food and making sure all is in order.

Our Hope Festival to be held at Smile Africa Ministries was dreamed up by Carolyn a number of months ago. Carolyn has worked tirelessly volunteering many hours of her time to organize a three day festival for the women and children. She also collected hygiene kits, vacation Bible school supplies and raised the funds to put on the festival. She recruited team members to carry supplies and sign up for duties.

We decided to add a fourth day to the festival and hold a conference for the men when Mark asked what we were going to do for the men. Mark, Robert and several of the guys will team up with Ugandan men and have come up with topics about men in the family and what it means to be a Christian husband and father.

One of the young men for whom Wendy pays school fees showed up at the hotel and patiently waited several hours for Wendy to arrive—she was painting a widow’s home—just to show her his school certificates and grades. He was proud to show her he is in the top of his class. If Wendy hadn’t come along to pay his school fees he would have been forced to drop out of school and to face a bleak future. Now this bright young man can work hard and dares to dream.

We went to dinner with Pastor Ruth and Patsy and talked about last minute details for the festival and when jet lag set in all retired for the evening.

 

Nov
2008

07
We Are Her-ya!
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Friday, November 7, 2008
by: Angie Simon

We made it! Gosh, it feels like I was here two weeks ago. Oh, that’s right, I was! After traveling thirty-some-odd-hours we are all settled in the Gulf View Hotel in Entebbe, Uganda. The team members made it one piece, in great spirits and out of fifty-five people we are only missing two Hope 4 Kids bags that missed a connection. Many of the team members who have traveled to Africa with us before were excited to see old friends like Pastor Wilber, Hillary, Agree, Isaac, Michael, Bobby and Godfrey when they greeted us at the airport.

We have alot of luggage! It took a few minutes to divide up all the luggage that was traveling to Fort Portal and Tororo. We barely made it back to the hotel before we got hit with a welcomed rainstorm. Tomorrow, most of the team leaves early for Fort Portal where we will visit our sponsored kids at The Sunrise House. Rachel, Carolyn and a few others will head to Tororo to get ready for the much anticipated Festival of Hope! We will enjoy “laying on our ribs for the night.”

 
 
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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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