Tuesday 28th October
|Ready for take-off!|
An early start after a short night but all the travellers were ready at 0900 for the pick up though Emma and Ken arrived at 9.30, promptly, lesson 1 in Ugandan time. The planning of the night before paid off so we packed and were ready to go quickly. Heather led us in a "word" from Acts and prayers for the journey and we were off into the hectic Kampala traffic. First stop the currency exchange. Emma took us to a new mall (American in appearance) with an efficient Western type currency exchange were Nigel, Andrew and Frank managed to change all the money 10 people and reconcile the sums in pounds, dollars and UGS. Meanwhile the rest of the group unwound and bonded in an upmarket coffee shop where they bravely ordered with out the means to pay, however, the new shilling millionaires were able to settle up and we set off (late) to Soroti
If you ask anyone of the 10 about their memories of the next 9 hours it will be one word, "Roadworks!" The Jinja road was at a standstill. the didn't stop the taxis driving up the dirt very and blocking the road ahead. Chaos. The 90 minute journey took 3 hours. But, this was a bonding experience for the groups in the 2 vans who chatted about life and Love Africa and everything and enjoyed the changing landscape of Uganda from the hectic city of Kampala through the tea plantations, the Nile, Lake Victoria and further north sugar plantations scrub land and the cities of Iganga and Mbale.
After a pit stop in Jinja the group had their first experience of a project when we dropped supplies at Tumaini. We entered through the Madhvani plantation which gave the group the chance to see the contrast of the factories and opulence of the family (airstrip for the LearJet and the polo fields) and the village of Kakira with the houses, market and hectic people.
There were only a few kids at Tumaini as it was school time but they greeted us extravagantly. 2 of the older girls were studying for exams and there were 8-10 younger ones. Mark (Pastor Nicholas's son) and the bursar met us (always a surprise at Tumaini - apparently there has been a bursar in place for 2 years - news to us) We managed to make the trip as short as possible making arrangements for Sunday for the recording of the children signing, the lunch for the kids and leaving the uniforms and clothes and especially the jeans generously donated by people from St James, Moreland drive, Caldicott and St Mary's schools. Beccy found that one of the girls was called "Esther" the same as one of her daughters. When she opened her iPad to show Esther some pictures of Esther she was immediately surrounded by a group of fascinated children - a true Tumaini experience.
Extricating ourselves we set off north for Iganga, Mbale and eventually Soroti. The road between Mbale and Soroti is being renovated and seems to have stalled with a temporary road surface protected by speed bumps at 100 meter intervals If there was one there was 300 which slowed the vehicles to a crawl and left those subject to motion sickness apprehensive. It got dark about an hour out of Soroti so we complete the journey in dust clouds until eventually the road works finished and we reverted to the rutted original earth road for the last few miles. Wonderful job by Emma and Ken getting us safely to Soroti. In the 2 vans the groups continued to bond and sleep. The prize in Emma's van for sleeping went to Nigel (I was in Chicago last week) and in Ken's van to Chris (I haven't had holiday for 8 months) both of whom managed about 8 of the 9 hours unconscious.
We are staying a different (and much better) hotel in Soroti, the Akello - why haven't we stayed here before. There was however a shortage of rooms so there needed to be some last minute pairing (in addition to the 2 couples) so kindly Beccy and Judi saved the day and shared. The weary group gathered for dinner at 8.45, ordered at 9 and were served promptly by 1015, welcome to Ugandan service. It was Jill's birthday though and we had brought a table cloth, cake, napkins etc some enjoyed the time together with the exception of the Ugandan red wine (best avoided in all good wine shops)
Its been 2 days of pretty hectic and physical travel, with only a small taster of the projects at Tumaini, but today, Wednesday we are in Soroti and ready to start visiting the projects. Bishop Sam and Sam the PEP coordinator have a busy day planned for us visiting the fishing communities where Love Africa has supported the PEP process
Please pray for :
- Continued good health and safe travel for the group
- That we will carry the message of God's love into the communities we visit
- Give thanks for the faithful people who serve at PAG and work with the communities
- The people we will meet in the projects who have been touched and transformed by God's love