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.

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