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July » 2009 » Hope 4 Kids International Blog


Over 35,000 people get clean water today!
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009
by Karen

We went to two well dedications. One at Bulundira and one at Budandu. It was very moving to see a line of 40 jerri cans waiting for the first clean water in the area. Afterwards we went to the site where they had been getting water from. It was dirty, filled with bugs, and something green and gross.

At Bulundira the dedication was done under a tree and was a very intimate and joyful occasion. There was an elderly man who kept kissing the ground and expressing that he his gratitude because he never thought he would see clean water in his lifetime. There was a small school being held in a mud hut that sang songs for us. The songs were very uplifting. This new well will serve 60 villages of upto 30,000 villagers! Amazing!

At Budandu there was a very small group of people gathered and together we hooked up the chain that pulled the first water from the well. Then people suddenly appeared from all their huts with jerri cans in tow. You could tell just how much the people were thankful for the clean water!


Kris meets her sponsored orphan for the first time
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009
by Kris-Leighton Kidder

A year and a half ago I answered God’s call to sponsor a young orphan girl in Mbale after hearing Tom’s plea to help the children of Uganda. My monies were used to buy her school uniforms and supplies. I received her picture and a short bio telling me about her. We’ve exchanged a couple letters back and forth telling about ourselves. As our bus pulled into King’s Education Centre in Mbale, I searched the crowd looking for her face. . . I recognized her instantly, and was flooded with emotion. Here was the little girl who loves to read and draw and who loves school and her teachers. Here was the little girl who lost both of her parents to Aids and is now living in a boarding school with her 7 other siblings. Here was the little girl who is able to go to school because she now has a uniform. With tears in my eyes, I stumbled off the bus, other team members asking me what was wrong. “My girl!”, I cried, “She’s here!” As I was introduced to her, she curtsied to me, then I wrapped her in my arms and said, “I’ve been praying for you!” I apologized for my tears, and Elizabeth explained that they were tears of joy. . . and OH, WHAT JOY!!! I asked her if she remembered what I did for work back in America, and she softly answered, “You’re a nurse.” She says her favorite subject in school is science, and guess what she wants to be when she grows up. . . :-) One of the many wonderful revelations of this trip has been personally seeing how our financial support has affected the lives of others across the world, and in this case, one little girl in particular. Betty is in P-4, and I don’t know for sure if she will become a nurse, or if she’s just saying that to please me. But one thing I do know, after seeing this beautiful little girl in person, I pray that God helps me to do everything in my power to give her that chance.


H4KI Team Visits Three Schools Today
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009
by Michael De La Rocha

While the team went to He Reigns secondary school I accompanied Tom, Pastor Hillary, and Dave Peters to a couple of meetings with the local representatives of the president of Uganda. They were very grateful for all the work that Hope 4 Kids is doing, and asked us to extend their gratitude to all of those supporting the cause.

After lunch I joined the rest of the team for a short assembly at Muldakori school where Pastor Godfrey presented a wheelchair to one of the girls there. It moved me so much to see how True Vine is making a difference here in Tororo. After the assembly on our way to the bus the children were all fascinated with my goatee. Some of the braver children touched it quickly which brought about roars of laughter from the others.

True Vine was our next stop where we were entertained by a choir of children. The headmaster of the school introduced us to the teaching staff in another short program. Afterward Christian and Dakota played with the children, kicking and batting a beach ball all over the field while I and some of the other kids booted a soccer ball around. Meanwhile Tom and Mike crafted the base of a chimney oven which doesn’t create a smokey room and uses much less firewood.
Kent and Tyler spent most of the day in Juba building a chicken coupe.

After dinner some of the team members went to Awinjo orphanage. I heard it was a Spirit filled time of worship led by the children singing. Sequoia shared her beautiful opera which was the first time many of the children had ever heard it. Everyone I talked to who went were very moved by the experience and all the good work Ken is doing with the children there.




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Monday, July 13, 2009
by Mike & Krista Williams

Another GREAT day in Uganda! We started the morning with family time, where pastor Dave taught us about being disciples. We definitely got the opportunity to put that lesson in action today.

The medical professionals of the team (Deb, Angela, Mary Jo, Mary Anne and Dave) went to the medical clinic at True Vine to meet with their staff. Kent, Tyler, and Earl went to Juba to build a chicken coup for Pastor Peter. And the rest of our team went to visit the 42 acre fish farm that Hope 4 Kids has just established.

It was incredible to see the ponds that were completely dug by hand to hold the thousands of talapia and catfish at the farm. Once fully grown,
these fish will be sold to sustain the ministries of True Vine and the other African partners that H4KI has here in Uganda. They even demonstrated for us how they pull the fish out of the ponds — this definitely was a little more involved than we all imagined!

After the fish farm, the medical professionals joined us for lunch on the bus on the way to Hamasanja for a well dedication and widow’s outreach.
When we arrived at the village (by way of dirt roads!), we were greeted with the most joyful welcome! The women of the village were singing and dancing for us. It didn’t take long for us to join in the dancing! I think we all learned a few new moves!

The well in this village was desperately needed. These people were collecting their water from the rice fields, and many were getting diseases from drinking this infected water. They shared with us that they have lost 18 children to disease in the last month. This new well not only brings them clean water, but it brings them new hope for a healthier life. It was very emotional for us all to watch the children drinking from the well today.

Once the dedication was complete, we made our way to a shaded area to begin our tea party with the 21 widows who were invited for a time of pampering and appreciation. We served them juice and cake, and soaked their feet. You could tell that this was the first time any of them had truly been served. We then let them choose a color of lipstick and nailpolish and gave them a mini-makeover. Even before the make-up, these women were beautiful, but you could tell that they actually felt beautiful today. We left them with gifts of beans and a garden hoe, which they loved. After more singing and dancing with the women, it was time for the mazungus to head back to the hotel.

We were so blessed to be the hands and feet of Christ to these people today, and we can’t wait to see what He has in store for us in the days to come!



First Team Dedicates Kitchen & Dining Hall at True Vine
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Wednesday, July 08, 2009
By Michael De La Rocha

Today our first stop was the main site at True Vine. When we arrived several women on the team were fitted for dresses by Tom’s daughter, Nora, while the rest of the team purchased items from the widows. Several team members delivered medical supplies to the hospital which their churches had donated.

After this we all made our way over to the new dining hall and kitchen for a dedication ceremony. The True Vine teaching staff and children were present. They sang very joyfully and were very grateful to Hope 4 Kids for the new facilities donated.

Our next stop was Smile Africa where I was reunited with several of my Karomojong friends. It was a great feeling to greet them all and see their smiling faces. The team heard them sing and them helped feed them their afternoon meal.

Lunch was the next order of business, which we enjoyed at the Rock Classic Hotel. After this we headed out to Malaba where we visited Pastor Joseph’s secondary school “He Reigns”.
Several women ministered to a group of local women, while the rest of us gave testimonies to the children. Once again we were blessed with beautiful and spiritual African singing by the kids. A short reception followed with cake and drinks. The finale was a brilliant soccer match “African style” between the “He Reigns” team and a Kenyan team. It was an even match that ended one all with some spectacular close goals.

Some team members went to Joseph’s home for dinner. The rest of us ended another blessed day here in Uganda at the Rock Classic.


We made the long journey from Fort Portal to Tororo
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Saturday, July 11, 2009
by Natalie D. Eggum

Today we made the long journey from Fort Portal to Tororo. It took nearly 9 ½ hours in a crowded and hot bus; nevertheless, it was a fun adventure and a great opportunity to get to know fellow team members. Our driver, “Shake and Bake” Bobby, navigated the busy streets of Kampala like a true professional. Ugandan drivers’ use hand signals to communicate road conditions and upcoming traffic to one another. It was very different from the “hand signals” used on the highways of America. We got to experience chicken-on-a-stick and delicious chipate (similar to a tortilla) which was sold to us by Vendors who came up to the bus windows.

The highlight of the drive was seeing a troop of baboons by the side of the road near Tororo. We had bananas to throw to them. One got overly anxious and tried to hop in the seat with Tom, but we closed the window just in time. Finally, we arrived to the Rock Classic Hotel to settle into our rooms. We made it through all of the roadway police stops to Tororo without even having to offer any “soda” (money) to the officials.

We then went to the main True Vine Ministries site, which has been the primary focus of Hope 4 Kids efforts in Uganda. For those of us who previously have been on Uganda teams, we felt like we were home. We were greeted by joyful faces and kids beaming with excitement. Watching people meet and take pictures with children they sponsor was a touching moment.
Personally, reconnecting with friends made on previous trips made me remember why I come back to Uganda each summer. I got to reunite with the boy I sponsor. We reminisced about past summers together and the letters we have written to one another. I felt like a proud mother when he told me his marks in school were the third highest in a class of 64 students. When I met him, he was socially withdrawn, barely spoke English, and looked rather depressed. Since coming to the True Vine boarding school, he appears to be a completely different boy. He now aspires to become a doctor. His is just one of the many many stories of lives changed by God’s work through Hope 4 Kids, True Vine, their donors, and team members.

While on the True Vine site, Tom shared with us the history of how he became involved in Uganda and developed a partnership with True Vine Ministries. The area started as a land filled with bandits and the local people were worshiping in a shack that was nearly falling down. He told us how the Ugandan people touched his heart and that he felt compelled to do something to improve their conditions. On other occasions, I have heard him say, “This is the purpose for which I was born.”

Five and a half years later, the site has developed into a beautiful campus. Initial promises of a clinic and water well have turned into a hospital, orphan center, school, dormitories, church, farming land, a guest house, housing for staff, a kitchen, a basketball court… the list goes on and on. We also were astounded at the progress that has been made in the year since I was here and how Hope 4 Kids has moved beyond the borders of the main site to reach out to members of other villages and partner with additional organizations.
What will come in the years ahead and how many more lives will be changed? Those of us who have been called to action can’t wait to see!


Second Team has an amazing safari!
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Friday, July 10, 2009
by Meg

Our second day in Africa commenced before the sun rose with the Muslim call of prayer in the town and the rooster crowing loudly outside of our rooms at the Mountains of the Moon hotel. We enjoyed Ugandan coffee and sweet bread before heading on the bus with our fearless driver, Bobby. He brought his niece Trina and sister Lydia along with us for the trek to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Bobby delivered all nineteen of us safely to the park with other tourists and Ugandan school groups, where we explored the lodge and surrounding savannah. Our van, successfully repaired yesterday, conquered the safari roads.

In order to get the best views of hippopotami, elephants, and crocodiles, we boarded the Simba, a name adept for a green boat. Robert, our boat guide, informed us about the wildlife species that we could see on Lake George and Lake Edward and the connecting channel. About an hour into the voyage, we saw elephants on a hill approaching the water. As we continued on the lake, we saw a group of elephants bathing and drinking at the lake’s edge. A male bull defended the rest of the herd as they escaped quickly to land shortly after we arrived. He put on a performance for us, trumpeting and stampeding in the dirt. We were able to get up close to the action and many of us captured it on film.

The boat portion of the safari concluded with a sighting of a baby elephant, surrounded by the herd. As we munched on fish and chips at a local restaurant, a warthog chowed down alongside. I even walked out of the bathroom and my jaw dropped as the warthog, thankfully an herbivore, grazed outside the door.

Our day concluded in the van for two hours, anxiously awaiting a lion sighting. Our guide Ven promised us that he would do what he could, but nature was unpredictable: you never knew if she would show up for the appointment when you were waiting for her. We had many false alarms along the way (anthills resemble sleeping lions when you stare at them long enough). After venturing off road, we spotted three lions resting in the shade. They could only be seen reclining, until we got up close and personal, and one male opened his mouth and yawned. Much to our amazement, there were three rambunctious cubs in the branches above, waiting out the midday heat. All day long, I felt as though I was on the set of Disney’s The Lion King, with the sunlight bursting on the plains and animals running freely. The lions made the scene even more of an experience for all of us.

Before leaving the large expanses of savannah, we witnessed the kob meeting grounds. Males would prance around their territories and try to impress females in heat. One of them even went so far as to lose his horn over the practice. Our trip back to Fort Portal was highlighted by crossing the Ugandan equator. As we head to sleep tonight, tired from the sun and concentration required of the safari, we are thankful for our first two incredible days spent in Africa.



Second Team has a big day in Fort Portal
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Thursday, July 09, 2009
(Second Uganda Trip 07/07 – 07/20)
by Angie Simon

The second team is he-yere! Our team arrived on schedule Wednesday evening. Robert Wandera, Klephus, and Andrew greeted us at the airport. We headed for the Andreita Beach hotel which is located on Lake Victoria – just minutes down the road. Andreita Beach is a comfortable hotel and we all went sound asleep listening to the crashing waves on the lake. It was if we were at the ocean!

The team woke up early the next day and headed straight to Fort Portal. Bishop Kamanyire of the Sunrise House greeted us at the restaurant for lunch. Evie from Outreach to Africa made a special appeareance with Mwakwa – the chief of the Pygmies. He traveled here from the Congo almost a two day journey by motorcycle, boat and van. Two ladies from his village are coming later on today but one of them had motocycle problems. Mwaka stands less than four feet tall but has a personality big as life. He is a total character and loves to demonstrate how he and his tribe hunt and kill elephants!

After lunch we headed to Evie’s medical clinic in Fort Portal. It was exciting to see all the services she is providing for the villagers in the area. She has hired some of the best medical staff possible and her clinic is overbooked with patients waiting to receive the much needed top medical attention. We continued our journey to her brand new boarding school located just minutes away high on a prairie. Her two story boarding school is so cheery and filled with hope and opportunity. Beautiful murals are painted on the school from two of her sponsored university students. All the girls were dressed in bright yellow tshirts and the boys were wearing all red tshirts. Our team and her students gathered together outside where they treated us with special songs of how they were growing up to be professionals. Some of them were wearing hats that signified of their aspiring aspirations to grow up to be doctors and and lawyers.

Our day continued as we journeyed up the road to Busoro village to dedicate our new well. James, from the Sunrise House was our project coordinator on the ground. As the team gathered together around the well, James and his brother Peter ushered in the Local Chairman (LC) 1 & 2 of the area, the Pastor of the village, Bishop Kamanyire and Tom to give the team special thanks for providing them with fresh water. It was an amazing day!



Construction Day at Lumino
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Monday, July 06, 2009
by Amber Moritz

Today part of our team – Tom, Pat, Diane, Sharon, Kathy, Drew, Michaela, Haylee, Kim, Holly, Keira and I went back to Lumino to paint the church. Half of us stayed at the church and the other half went to Pastor Justus’ newly built house to help paint there. It was a comical event as we splattered paint everywhere – mostly on ourselves. Tom painted the signature purple stripe on the church as the rest of us painted the main body. Drew was so enthusiastic that he was painting with a roller in one hand and his using his arm as a roller on the other side.

We got a chance to play with the local kids, teaching them some of our American games like Duck, Duck, Goose and Red Light, Green Light. We even did the hokey pokey with them. Then they sang us some songs about Jesus! We got tons of pictures of them, since they all love to see themselves and we got video too…you can imagine the squeals of delight when they saw themselves in video. We all ventured over to Pastor Justus’ house where his wonderful wife, Jane, made us a fantastic lunch. Holly got to help them prepare the meal all day and learned first hand how they do things in Africa. The Southside team turned over funds raised (over a million shillings!) to Pastor Justus to purchase goats and cows for their church.

Mark went to True Vine and held a men’s ministry while Char toured the True Vine campus. Wendy, Carrie, and Sam went to meet Sam’s Compassion sponsored child and spent the day with him. Shawna and Christy spent the day volunteering at Smile Africa. Mike stayed back at the hotel with a stomach bug. Galen went to Namaingo to teach and preach and ended up with a broken down ride part way there…eventually he made it and met us back at Pastor Justus’ house and we blessed his home and family.

All in all it was another beautiful day here in Uganda!



Pastor Justin preaches for the team at Butacho
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Sunday, July 5, 2009

by Gene Toth
Today, we visited Butacho with Mikhaila, Robin, the cousins Shawana & Kristi, and Gene. Mark spoke and exhorted the church to be responsible for their Christian walk, and I prayed a blessing over Butacho (Col. 1). It was a long, bumpy ride to get there and back, but worth every inch!
Afterwards, we had lunch at the house of the mother of pastor Justin. Justin’s wife and family served us fruit, rice, avocados, beef, pork, chicken…and some soft drinks – Stoney’s and Krists. We were surprised at how clean and modern the house was.
We were in awe at the quick maturity of the church of Butacho. The pastor preached – and I mean PREACHED – with authority and power, the worship was wonderful, and the children (about 25) were absolute angels.
All of this topped with 2 hours of travel-time fellowship…always a plus.
Can’t wait to see what God will do tomorrow, and the next day, and the next… — Gene

The rest of the group went to Lumino for the day for church and women’s ministry.  Pastor Galen from Spokane preaching at the Sunday service in Lumino at the church and afterwards everyone served the women with a spa day treat of a foot bath. Even Tom :) Lumino showed hospitality towards the Hope 4 Kids mission team and really appreciated everything!!

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