Wednesday, 2 October 2013

St James Team Visit Day 1 Arrival in Kampala

Here’s the first trip report from Frank and the team in Kampala:

At Rahab

“The travellers arrived weary from the long flight in Entebbe this morning at 7.30, passed through immigration uneventfully (with the exception of the 1 person who was organised to have arranged  visa before arriving), collected our 27 checked bags and spooked Paul and Emma with the amount of luggage. For most people the drive from Entebbe along the lake to Kampala was the first experience of Uganda, the traffic, vegetation, red earth and the people. 

We were allowed a brief turn around at the American Club while Paul and Emma and Clare sorted the bags and then we were off. The plans for today had changed, and they were much better. All 9 of us went directly to the Rahab drop in centre to meet Annette, her staff and about 10 of the regular girls and their children. After introductions the group broke up into little groups of team members and the girls and children to look at pictures and hear about each others lives. Annette reflected on the transformation in the behaviour of the girls through the work at the Rahab drop in centre, where shown God's love in action they respond and become different people. It was great to see everyone throw themselves immediately into the trip and engage with the girls. The group were very enthusiastic about Annette's visit and her presentations the 10th and 11th October. She gave us a brief preview of what she will say. Please recommend these sessions to your friends, I think it will be most inspiring.

Next on to Kiswa the partner school to the Gerrards Cross C of E school. We were shown in to Pastor Wilson office for a briefing and to allow us to pass on the letters and CDs that Nicola had sent. We also gave the school the "run the race t shirts" and some scholastic materials from the supplies. Just as the rain started we were led across to the school by 2 girls spreading rose petals on the ground for us to walk on. The welcome to the "dear visitors" from the school choir was extravagant. We were introduced to the prefects, staff, music director and the (fearsome) headmistress. The visitors were then called on to respond by introducing themselves, quickly learning that the response to "Praise the Lord!" is an enthusiastic "AMEN!" We were able to teach the kids the actions to "God is good to me," they were quick learners. The rain fell throughout the performance, heavier and heavier with the sound on the tin roof deafening, making it difficult to hear the kids and then suddenly there was a flood of red muddy water coursing across the school floor so we all had to lift our feet and bags off the ground to keep dry. For the finale the Kiswa kids sang and danced an energetic song which culminated in them rushing off the stage to grab the "dear visitors" to join in. Fortunately no one was free to photograph this particular spectacle but the Kiswa kids clapped enthusiastically. The exuberance these kids show for the gospel in songs and dancing is exhilarating.

The leaving was emotional, we were blessed by Pastor Wilson and led out to the ACET vans through throngs of enthusiastic kids who wanted to shake hands and high five.

The weary group then split, Phil and I went to the PAG offices to meet with Bishop Simon Peter's representative (long story but we never met anyone) while the others changed money and returned exhausted to the American Club for an early dinner and unwinding from the hectic first day.

Tomorrow is a travel day all the way to Soroti, maybe 5 hours, maybe 8 hours or more driving. 

It has been a great introduction to Uganda and Love Africa for everyone. 

Thanks for your support for Love Africa and the group, please remember in your prayers

 - to give thanks for Annette's vision for creating Rahab, the transforming work among these at risk girls and for safety for her staff and the girls in this hostile environment

 - to give thanks for Paster Wilson and his work in creating the Kiswa school for 250 children in this poor area of Kampala offering a primary education

 - to give thanks for Paul and Emma from ACET as they organise us, drive us and inform us on our visits

 - for safe travel tomorrow for the group on the long trip to Soroti .”