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July » 2009 » Hope 4 Kids International Blog


Visiting the Karamojong Children
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Monday, July 27, 2009
by Claire McWilliams

This morning we went to True Vine and in true TIA style, the paint that was supposed to be delivered for our school painting project was not yet there. Instead we played Simon Says and Duck Duck Goose, and watched the kids delight in the bubbles and jump ropes that were brought for them. We also had the chance to sit in on classes in session. As we first walked into the classroom, all the children would stand up and welcome them to their class. The teacher was also quite amazing…she kept them engaged by asking “Are we all together?” to which they always responded. Once in a while they turned to get a look in at the strange visitors in the back of the class. They were learning measurement in a brick open building. Most had no shoes and only a newspaper-bound notebook which they kept in a plastic bag. The teacher used a primitive scale made of branches to show students how to measure mass and weight. When she called on a student and he or she got the answer correct, the class clapped for them. It was an amazing thing for this teacher from the land of plenty to see children still learning and gaining their education in the land of need. Andy put in the manual labor on a mud hut building project for the campus, go Andy!

Later we took a trip to Hope for Africa’s pre-school. 20+ children wearing lilac uniforms came running out to us. They touched our hair and faces, they inspected our hands and clothes out of sheer interest. They bounded up to us with big hugs, and of course, loved to see their faces on the camera display. We shopped for souvenirs from the widow’s outreach (teaches them to sew and make crafts for sale to provide income for themselves), and I met a young woman named “Clare!” She was excited to meet her “namesake” as she called me and I showed her my pictures of home and family. She was very interested in knowing more about me. Lauren commented on how nice it was to interact with the adult Ugandans since most of our contact has been with the kids.

We then went to feed the Karamajong children. A little background…every society has their labeled “low lifes” who are the butt of jokes and seen as dispensable and labeled unfairly. The Karamajong is that group in Uganda. The children normally live in the North, but due to draught and famine, they have been forced to this area. The children are sick, dirty, and wild. Since January, they’ve been given one meal a day and hold “school” under a large tin roofed patio through Hope For Africa/H4KI. Since receiving this nutrition and structure they’ve become visibly more healthy and well-behaved…a tiny dent made in meeting their needs, but change has begun. Tom warned us this would be the most “raw” of our experiences, but I had no idea just how raw it would be, and how I would react to 420 children in severe need.

When we pulled up we could hear them chanting and yelling, hooting and hollering. They were all seated in a big group. They sang a song as we approached, and all seemed quite cheerful. Then I began looking at them individually, and I felt something building inside me. Injury, distended bellies, naked and/or poorly clothed, some looking empty and forlorn…I could hardly believe my eyes. We were standing in one of those commercials on TV that most people flip the channel off right away. Their hunger, their desperation, their lack of everything…it was right there in front of us.

The food of rice and a nutritional supplement mix designed for malnourished people was distributed in an orderly fashion. I was very touched by our teen members of Team U and their smiles and encouragement as they handed out the meals. The food was consumed quickly, and at that point we began to interact with the lively kids. They were obsessed with the cameras and wanting to see themselves, and though this was fun, we saw disturbing sights around us. Many babies in Africa are watched by and/or cared for by older siblings (by older I mean 6-8) due to parent death, parents working the land, etc . After the meal, those siblings went off and left the babies on the cement. Sitting in their own urine, alone…Sharon and I watched them crying and were lost for words. Sharon reached down and scooped up the first baby and comforted her. We were both in tears by that point. A few minutes later I happened upon another baby, not crying but sitting all alone in his urine and with his eyes fluttering. I knew the look from when my own babies had full bellies and were ready for nap, but where would he nap in this concrete barrack? I sat down on the ground, picked him up into my lap, and he fell asleep immediately. I could not stop crying, and fairly soon a young group of Karamajong children put their arms around me to comfort me. Can you imagine that? They were living in a situation worthy of crying, and they were comforting me!??!

I will never be the same. I will never forget today. The suffering of children is no longer the stuff of commercials, it has been personalized for me thanks to these children. There is no such thing as “them” just “us.” We have got to find a way to meet the basic needs for all of the passengers on spaceship earth. No one deserves what is happening to these tiny humans…as our group member Bob says, “Our skin is different but our blood is the same…we are all family.”


Mud Huts, Duck Duck Goose, Hope for Africa Nursery School & Feeding the Children of the Karamajong
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Monday, July 27, 2009
by Chrissy Krum

I am so thankful to finally be here in Uganda with Team U! After leaving Phoenix Sky Harbor at 10:30 p.m, then having an 11.5 hour layover in Detroit, and onto a 5 hour layover in Amsterdam, and finally arriving in Uganda at 2 a.m. on Monday morning, I can honestly say I have never been more excited to see familiar faces. It was a very long journey but I can already say it has been far worth it. Today was simply amazing. We went to True Vine where it was my first encounter with the children. Their little faces are priceless. After playing with the kids there we went on to a preschool where the kids just ran up to us in the cutest purple uniforms just wanting to be loved. We got to shop a little in the Widows Outreach shop where I got a few gifts for friends and family who helped me make this dream a reality. Following this, we fed the Karamojong children. This was the most shocking moment of the day. There were hundreds of kids waiting to get their food. It was so depressing because these innocent children are suffering from starvation. I was so touched it was unbelievable. It was so hard to leave them. We then returned to True Vine after lunch to paint the school, but I just playing with the kids more. I made many new friends who will be in my heart forever. There was one thirteen year old girl who asked to go on a walk with me and the whole time she held my hand and just told me about her life and how both her parents passed away. It broke my heart. All of the kids’ frowns turned into smiles instantly when we would hold their hands or hug them. Who would ever think that such a small gesture could change someone’s day? It was such an amazing day, some parts were hard to handle, but I cannot wait for the rest of the trip, considering this is day one for me!


Observing Ugandan Church, Tour of State Medical Hospital
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Sunday, July 26, 2009
by Andy Oliphant

Today was a good day. Actually got to go for a run and do something active besides sitting in a bus. After breakfast we went to observe church service “Ugandan style” at True Vine in Tororo, and this organization is the one we will be volunteering with all week. Immediately the bus was swarmed by children. They grabbed our hands as we walked off on our tour and Tom Eggum, CEO of H4KI gave us a tour of the grounds. The music was lively and the whole congregation danced and some women waved branches and threw leaves into the air. During church they celebrated everyone’s birthday for the month of July. I was one of the three mzungus called up. The pastor’s wife made a cake and cut it into little pieces for the birthday boys and girls. I helped serve cake to the people. We saw the True Vine clinic in the morning, and it a huge contrast to the dirty, crowded…like a field hospital in a war zone. There were roaches and aunts, and families had to bring food to their loved ones who were patients. Most people were suffering from Malaria. Only a few others were there for tumors or broken bones. Most everyone in the hospital was there because of a completely preventable disease. I felt like I was able to stay calm, but Hailey got really upset at first, and each member of Team U had a different reaction and way of handling what we were seeing. We were invited to observe as members of H4KI ministered to the patients. We all chose to jump in and hold the hands of the patients. We were told about some local folklore where the touch of a mzungu helps them heal. Many patients asked us to come and hold their hands, and to take their pictures. It was completely foreign to anything you would see in an American hospital. On a lighter note, later we went to watch a local Ugandan football (soccer) game and watched some girls play “net ball” which Emily liked better than the soccer game…the girls did a victory dance with every point. It was a fun day though, oh and Mom, this is that one email you said you were expecting from me. I love you mom. Lauren finished off her evening with a run-in with two bats flying down the hotel hallway. TIA.


Uganda From End to End, Hope 4 Chickens, Welcome to Tororo
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Saturday, July 25, 2009
by Ross Stewart

We left Mountains of the Moon at 6:30am, and noticed the rising sun was very pink in the sky. We were happy that there were less speed bumps on this route, and our fellow passenger DJ counted over 70 sets of 4 bumps out of boredom. Just out of Fort Portal we pulled over and our driver “Bobby” (local Ugandan who is expert at navigating the crazy roads!) bought a chicken from a street vendor. We then realized that the dangling upside down chicken was STILL ALIVE. Claire looked out the back as he threw the chicken in the trunk of the bus and told us she wanted to start an organization called “Hope 4 Chickens International.” J The houses and buildings started to look a little more modern as we got into Kampala, after a couple of short calls we stopped to get food. There were lots of open markets and stores with shoes and clothes. Ugandan vendors came running up to our bus with water, bananas and chicken legs and chapatti. Mom and Claire took a pass on the chicken on a stick, but I liked it just fine. There were so many people in Kampala; it was busy and chaotic. I am surprised no one gets hit on the streets with no lights and people dodging big trucks. More people had cars and even a few Mercedes. That was unexpected. The girls did not like short-stopping in a sugar cane plantation. All us guys wondered what the screaming was about. We ate and continued toward Tororo and the Rock Classic hotel. We saw many red-butted baboons along the road and stopped to throw them bananas. We finally got to our new home after a whole day of travel. We get to sleep until 7am which is a big upgrade from the last few days. Emily was not feeling well earlier today and I am glad to say she is feeling better this evening. She probably ate something weird or was affected all the traveling and speed bumps, maybe it was the chicken on the stick?

Here are 7 things we “didn’t know that we didn’t know” about Uganda:

1) The air is thick and smoky…a mixture of charcoal burning, field clearing and food cooking smells.
2) Friendliness toward Mzungus varies by town and by age sometimes. In some towns they seemed very amused and excited to see chasing the bus and waving, adults waving…other towns not so much.
3) Palm trees, pine trees, banana trees, and cactus like trees can all be found in the same place.
4) 2 barrels, a sack of potatoes, a bundle of wood, a bunch of bananas and a goat can all fit on a two-wheel bike up-hill!
5) Animals are friends and food! The family will be sitting there in front of their home with chickens, big-horned bulls, and goats roaming all around…then they become dinner!
6) Ugandan moms are the ultimate multi-taskers! They nurse a baby, have another in a sling on their back, carry water in a Jerry can on their heads and shuck corn with the other hand!
7) Ugandans have Americans beat in the hospitality department. Every person we’ve interacted with in the hotels and restaurants have been very kind and caring, and take a personal interest in our experience. Where else do people double wave and greet you when you are just driving by?


Lions, Elephants and Water Buffalo, Oh My!
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Friday, July 24, 2009
by Emily Darling

A little extra sleep came our way because we did not have to eat breakfast until 6 instead of 5:45, although the sun was still down so it did not feel that much later. We had our first breakfast at the Mountains of the Moon Hotel and it was quite delicious. They fruit was excellent as were the potatoes. However, Hailey and Lauren did not have warm water in their showers so their mornings started off with a bit of a freeze. We then loaded the busses and started the 3 hour trek to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Along the way, we got a little scare when a hissing noise started coming from the front of the bus, we stopped, the bus driver checked it, then we continued on towards the park. About halfway to the park we stopped right on the equator. We stopped and took pictures of all of us putting a leg on each side of the bar so we were in the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere at the same time. Andy even got a bit more adventurous and decided to go answer the call of nature in two hemispheres at the same time! After everyone taking pictures with the signs we loaded back onto the buses and continued onto the park. Along the way we saw some Water Bucks and some Ugandan Colbe on the roadside. We then arrived at the gate to Queen Elizabeth National Park. We got off the buses and headed to a little roadside gift shop that a young Ugandan lady was running. Some just browsed; others actually bought some souvenirs with their shillings. The shop was full of really nice stuff that was also quite cheap. We then proceeded to board a boat called Simba and put on our flattering orange life jackets. After settling down on the bottom deck of the boat our guide Bernard began telling us quick facts about what we were going to see. We set off on our lake voyage and first came to some Hippopotamus then were hiding in the water. Then we took off and all of a sudden, Barnard says he sees one of the few and elusive leopards of the park asleep in a tree!

Throughout the rest of our voyage we saw some large elephants and baby elephants at very close proximity, many types of unusual birds, huge water buffalo and even some crocodile! After about a 2 and a half hour boat ride we return to the docks and reload the buses to head to lunch. We had the choice of chicken or fish and both came with fried potatoes and a very salty slaw. We sat on an outdoor patio and there were two warthogs dining right next to us. We then hit the dirt roads to continue our bumpy safari through Queen Elizabeth Park. We saw lots of Ugandan Colbe and antelopes. What we all wished for finally happened…our scout found a lion! We follow her off the road (and we are not supposed to) and travel through knee-high grass. Then we spot on another sickly lioness! Unfortunately, this lion had been attacked by a bull and you could see her bones exposed and cuts everywhere. Then, we spot a mother walking away with a bloody animal in her mouth. Then we see three little cubs following her for their dinner! We stop only about 20 feet from the mamma lion and the cubs! We took picture quickly and then quickly left, we did not want to get stopped by the park rangers. We eventually make is out of the 2nd largest national park in Africa and started to head towards the hotel; However, the hissing in continuing in the front of our bus. The hissing then turns into a loud pop so we have to pull over to the side of the road. We break down on the edge of a town and it starts to get hot inside the bus while the boys are trying to fix it (with the little pocket utility knife Claire’s dad gave her for the trip!) so we all get out and stand on the side of the road and all of a sudden a bunch of kids start to gather around us so we start talking to them and asking them if they were coming home from school because they were in uniforms. And then all of a sudden Andy says “Hey Claire, look over there.” However, I turned around first, as just as I did I see an adult Ugandan male chopping off the leg of what looked like a goat. It was completely traumatizing. Then another crazy thing happened! After another 15 minutes they say we are good to go, so we load back onto the bus. But, as we do, someone throws an empty water bottle out the window and the children flock to it like its candy. So we then decided to throw all the empty water bottles out to the kids so they could fill them up. It was so sad to see a bunch of 6 and 7 year olds fighting for an EMPTY water bottle. We threw out many and a happy frenzy ensued.

We then take off and about 10 minutes down the road we break down again. We get out, although there are only a couple of kids around this time. Lauren and Hailey make friends…again. We play some silly games and then all of the sudden the bus is filled with smoke from the broken radiator hose. As this happens, typical teacher Claire passes time by asking one of the kids if she can see his school books to see what he is learning and talks to him about his school. Lauren and her new friends then start making funny faces and taking pictures. We load the buses again and Andy says “I give it 3 miles to break down again.” Less than a mile down the road, it breaks down for a third time! This time was much quicker. We didn’t even get off the bus. We then make it all the way back to the hotel and everyone is starving and needing a bathroom. We were all covered in a coating of dust and had enough of the 5 speed bumps in a row every 40 feet on the way home…back of the bus…we were airborne sometimes! This was probably the most exciting day of our trip so far! Heading off to Tororo tomorrow! Good night all.

by Renee Roberts:

Today was so exciting because we were able to stop at the Queen Elizabeth National Park on our way to Torroro and True Vine. There at the park we had an all day safari adventure! I wasn’t sure what we would be seeing, but I’d heard a lot of great things about this location. Apparently, it is the site that Disney modeled the Jungle Cruise after. Let’s just say that Disneyland didn’t do it justice!

We first went on a boat ride around Victoria Lake. We saw so many hippos, and elaphants, lots of water buffalo, worthogs, all kinds of beautiful birds, and we even saw a leopard sleeping in a tree (which we were told was very rare)! Next was safari on land in our buses. This terrain reminded me a lot of “The Lion King”, a lot more dry than places we had been so far. Here we saw a lot of antelope, which were beautiful to see running along our bus. The most exciting part of the land safari was when we saw lions! We had to go off-roading a bit (but if any Afircan officials ask you, we were on the road the whole time… hehe) to see them; I saw two females, and two babies. One of the females was eating an antelope. Nature at it’s finest! :-) All-in-all, the safari was a once in a life experience that will be fun to relive when we get home as well and share all of our amazing pictures!


Off to Western Uganda: Smile & Wave, Schools & Orphanage
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Thursday, July 23, 2009
by Lauren Madden

After waking up at 5:30 this morning and eating a more than decent breakfast at the Anderita Beach Hotel (pineapple and bananas are great!), we got on board the Hope4Kids bus and headed out towards Fort Portal. The five hour drive was a piece of cake compared to the 30+ hour flights the day before. We got out to make a “short call” and Claire was forced to conquer her fears and, well, you know…outside for her first time! We were all congratulating her when a Ugandan field worker yelled hello at her in the bushes! We stopped at a market in Mumbede and tried chipati, which is a tortilla like flat bread, and so delicious! We were approached by many interesting vendors tapping at our window. After some more driving, we went to The Gardens Restaurant and had a great lunch including some of the most fresh avocadoes I’ve ever had! On the bus ride we also brainstormed a list of “life’s simple pleasures” that we haven’t really taken note of until this trip. A fresh shower, a bed to sleep on, a cool breeze, and just stretching are a few of the things we realized made us feel so much better after all of the traveling! Next we went to the Outreach to Africa clinic. I was so shocked by the conditions these patients are faced with – such small rooms and inadequate supplies. None of which would be available without American-based charities. It really made me realize how lucky we all are to have the medical advantages that we do. We then left for a school that Hope4Kids sponsors. On the way there, we were increasingly feeling like celebrities as all of the children and even some of the adults waved down our bus and screamed “mzungus!” They were all so excited that we were there. We enjoyed giving and receiving the famous Uganda “double wave.” Before we even pulled into the school’s yard, we could hear the children screaming and soon saw them running and jumping towards the bus. By the time we stopped, they were crowded around the car waiting for us. When we got out they shook our hands and hugged us, and one little boy held onto my hand the entire time we were there! The children loved my camera – they were taking pictures of themselves and their teachers. We then came to our second hotel, Mountains of the Moon, which was such a great relief from the time-warped and strange Anderita Hotel. This property is absolutely beautiful and we are all so fortunate to be here. Endless green grounds with pine trees, palm trees and banana trees all in the same place, cool breezy patios, and even a luxurious pool. We rested for a bit, and then headed over to the Sunrise House, an orphanage nearby. We all set up a volleyball net donated by some CA teenage H4KI travelers there and played volleyball with the children and the teen orphans requested a volleyball duel with the mzungu teens. Then we handed the first of the backpacks we raised to them and they were so grateful. It was so rewarding to finally see these backpacks handed out after seeing them pile up in our classroom for almost a year! They walked around wearing them proudly and one girl said to another, “I look like a real student now!” It was tough to see other little children crawling out of the woodwork as word traveled there was “free stuff” being given out…if only there were enough for everyone. In Africa, there is never enough, no matter how much you bring. The children then performed a very unique dance and song to thank us. Hailey and I posed for pictures with some of the boys in the orphanage who asked us about life in America. Back to the hotel for dinner – after such a long day, everyone is exhausted! We are all looking forward to the safari tomorrow. Hope we see some lions like the last group.

Goodnight everyone!



The Long Haul!
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July 21 -22, 2009
By Haley McCue

On July 21 Team U left on our adventure to Uganda. The first problem that occurred happened before we had even left. Chrissy was packing the night before and realized that her passport was missing from its spot in the family file cabinet. Turning the house upside down did not help, and it could not be found. It was a late night for the Krumms and McWilliams, hoping to find some type of solution. The next morning H4KI’s Julie Eaton worked through the problem. Chrissy has to get her passport rushed to her and travel to meet us on the 24th. Thankfully another H4KI adult traveler will be on her connecting flights and help her through the arrival process and drive her to us in Tororo. We miss you Chrissy,a nd get wait to see you ASAP! Thanks for helping to get her to us, Julie. We were all really upset and are sad she will miss the first few days…but know she will be with us soon.

We were all so excited to begin our journey! We were all well prepared for our 30+ hour flights. We had all the physical things we needed, but we still weren’t exactly sure what we had gotten ourselves into. By our second connecting flight in Amsterdam, we were all so exhausted we were literally laying on the floor of the airport. However, we were pretty amazed with how luxurious their airport was. It had a full indoor shopping mall with name brand [crazy expensive] stores. Too bad the bathrooms were not as impressive, but we all know this trip is not about great restrooms! On our planes, we had met some very nice and curious international travelers, as our shirts and name badges opened conversations with a lot of people. A number of people seemed interested in our project and were amazed at all of the effort we put into it. One surgeon on his way to Northern Uganda even stated how hard it is on your body to fly internationally and that you have to be really committed to what you’re doing. We believe him!!!! Before we landed, we had endless meals and snacks which was a weird aspect because we were eating more than many Ugandans probably do in a week. At the end of the day, after we landed at 9pm, July 22, at the Entebbe airport in Uganda, we all agreed that flying was probably going to be one of the hardest parts. We had a few more adventures before the night was over. First Ross, Andy, and I had to climb in through our bus window to look for my lost suitcase for over twenty minutes. Of course, as I was walking upstairs I then realized I lost my backpack with all my essentials in it. As we walked back to the bus, found it, then were leaving, I happened to trip in the meantime and rip a huge hole in the seat of my pants. It was very funny, especially since we were all delirious by that point. Then, because the hotel got overbooked accidentally they tried “shipping away” Sharon, Claire, and Emily to a completely different hotel. At first, they were told it was just a different building operated by the same hotel, but when the van took them out of the gates and all the way across town they were confused. They figured out the problem, and were able to come back and stay at the original hotel where we were all together. We’ve been told about the motto “TIA” (This is Africa!) and that it runs its own unique way….this experience was a TIA!
We look forward to our first look at Uganda in the sunlight, and getting to interact with Ugandans at last!


Visiting Fort Portal
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Thursday, July 23, 2009

We woke up this morning with the sun rising over Lake Victoria and to the waves crashing on to the shore. If you closed your eyes, it would easy for you to imagine you were at the beach in Mexico rather than a hotel in Uganda. We enjoyed a typical African breakfast of fresh fruit, passion juice, toast, eggs, sausage and beans before we headed to Western Uganda. “The journey was long, but somehow not so long” as we pulled up to the restaurant in Fort Portal around 12:30 in the afternoon. Evie from Outreach to Africa, Bishop Eustace Kamanyire from Sunrise house were there to greet us. We had a wonderful buffet lunch of fine African cuisine – then headed down the street to visit Evie’s medical clinic. Evie, from OTA, has a wonderful medical clinic in town hiring some of the best medical staff available in the area. Oftentimes, there is a line to visit the doctor because he is such a wonderful healthcare provider. Afterwards, we immediately went to her private boarding school the Devin Academy. Located on a beautiful prairie, Evie has recently opened up a boarding school. Surround by colorful murals and posters, this school is a happy encouraging place to learn. Later, we met up with James, the Bishop’s son at the Sunrise House. Bishop Kamanyire and James run the Sunrise House, another project of Hope 4 Kids. Fifty orphans live at the Sunrise House where their basic needs are met and where they are afforded the opportunity to go to school. They sang and danced for us and enjoyed visiting with the team members. The team also had an opportunity to visit James’ farm just minutes away down the road. He has the most magnificent farm most of us has ever seen!


You are most welcome to Africa!
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

At around 9:00PM the 3rd H4KI team of the summer walked through customs and safely stepped foot in Uganda. A total of 37 mzungus were happy to get off the plane and equally as happy when all of their luggage arrived. Matea, Amazing John and Bobby greeted them and helped them sort their luggage into the three buses. Shortly after, we drove the team a few minutes away to the Andreita hotel located on Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa. Most of the team members spent the night at the hotel while a few others spent the night in the “annex” (yeah, right!) around the corner. The team settled into their rooms until the “morning became night” and they were off again for Fort Portal at 6:30AM. Third team – you are most welcome to Africa!



True Vine School gets a creative makeover!
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Thursday, July 16, 2009
by Meg Garner

Today was one of my favorite days in Africa, as it involved continuing to build relationships with our friends at TrueVine and working on painting the walls of the schools there. We also had the incredible opportunity to serve the Karamajong children at Smile Africa, Pastor Ruth’s beloved ministry.

The day started with a thoughtful family time amongst our team. Then, we traveled to Vision Nursery School, where Pastor Peter and many of our team members have a heart for the ministry there. These were three, four, and five-year-old children who had the opportunity to attend school. The five-year-olds, for the first time, experienced a commencement ceremony. It was preceded by traditional African song and dance, as well as inspirational messages from Pastor Peter and Tom. Thanks to the Dirks family, each child had a blue and white commencement gown and black mortarboard, along with a certificate, which marked their first educational success. The families that paid their school fees on time were then given goats (that had ridden on motorcycles five at a time! Sadly, only four made it). All of us experienced the joy that each family experienced when being given the goat, which serves as a savings account for a Ugandan family.

From Juba, where the school was located, we traveled to downtown Tororo, the location of Smile Africa. We were blessed to help provide Feed My Starving Children nutritional food to about three hundred of Africa’s most difficult, aggressive children. Many are nomadic and orginate from Northern Uganda. The children were eager for our arrival and their midday meal, but greeted us with song. I took to one particular child, who appeared sick and abandoned, lying on the cool cement floor. I stayed with the child the entire time we were there, to ensure that he was eating and given attention. Many of us passed out the plates of fortified beans and rice that the children ate happily. We were able to bless many of the children there with our undivided attention, if only for a few brief moments.

The rest of the day unfolded as Natalie, Timmy, Sequoia and I started painting on a blank wall of the TrueVine preschool. Our ideas morphed into something that could be both a teaching tool and colorful scenery. We were graced with an audience of preschoolers as we painted shapes, numbers, the alphabet, and emotions that they may feel. Afterwards, children played and recited what we had written. For the first time, the school looked like an environment conducive to fun, enriching learning.
Nearby the school, other team members painted a local woman’s home. They primed the quaint but fortified concrete structure for the bright turquoise paint that would decorate the interior and exterior.

Many of our other team members participated in a widow’s outreach for Pastor Patrick’s congregation in a village nearby. The widows were encouraged not only by our team’s presence, but by the sewing machines purchased so that they can establish dignity through making their own creations. Several of our team members were uplifted by the commitment of these women and this congregation to Hope4Kids and TrueVine ministries.
We ended the encouraging, full day by swimming or relaxing by the pool, before having dinner at our hotel as a team.

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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