Day 8 in our African paradise. Before unveiling the antics of today we would love to share the events of yesterday evening as they unfolded. After a lovely dinner (of which the chicken tikka masala proved a little too spicy for some) we headed into our meeting room for what we assumed would be our normal debrief coupled with a short time of worship. Little did we know that the evening would be more meaningful than we could have imagined and our ‘short’ time of worship would actually last a full 2 hours! As the youth waited we took it upon ourselves to dive into the songs of the evening,meaning that the leaders arrived to the sounds of our worship and joined straight into the praise. The evening was nothing short of amazing. The Holy Spirit entered our hearts and started to soothe some of the things we saw over the past week that had left us broken. The Lords presence was overwhelming and we could have worshipped for hours! It was a truly special evening that none of us will forget for a long time.
So back to this morning…being teenagers, we usually indulge in an extended nap time and the trips early morning demands have been a bit of a struggle to cope with. However, we were allowed an extra half an hour today which was extremely welcome. Breakfast was followed by a devotional time, led by Debs, where we read a passage from Matthew that reflected our work this week and looked at how we can serve God by helping those who have a need, whether it be physical or emotional. This especially helped those of us who were challenged by the realisation that we can’t help everybody, but served as some reassurance that this fact does not constitute afailure.
Following this Tim led us into the village and we walked amongst the rural huts in silence, allowing time where each of us could reflect upon what we had heard and listen to God without distraction. There we came to the village’s water pump where we thoroughly enjoyed interacting with more of the locals, each of us helping to pump their water and Tim even took it upon himself to ride one their bikes, much to the delight of the owner. The locals even called a few team members (Alice specifically) by name. It was so special to see that the girl Olivia remembered her from the day before, even though their contact time was so limited. It just goes to show how much of an impact a conversation can have. A few of us then presented to them some clothes that we had brought, it was particularly meaningful for us as they were so grateful to receive them, and it was so special to know that something of ours will remain with them in Uganda. When the time came we were reluctant to leave, but soon headed off to Murchison Falls, however the journey took an unexpected turn when Tim announced we were to take part in our own ‘Apprentice’…
The task was simple, we had 40,000 Ugandan shillings, a shopping list and half an hour. To be late was to receive a hefty fine. The three teams ‘Grayley’, ‘It’s The Tacos’ and the ‘Wilcats’ were ready to rock. It. Was. ON. Off we went, dashing into supermarkets and around stalls like all hell had broken loose. An array of tactics were adopted. The boys (aka Tacos) tried to utilise their “charm” which, considering their epic loss, was duly unsuccessful. Their desperation was so great that they even attempted to exchange their own comrade, Josh Yip, for a bunch of bananas. The wildcat team(consisting of Pip, Charli, Alice and Maddie) was sly and chose to buy miniature versions of the products in order to maximise profits, Alan Sugar would have been proud. However entrepreneurial prowess took a new meaning after a glorious display from the girls of Grayley( Georgie, Becca, Hollie, Ellie and Faith). No eyelashes were batted, no sweet talk was had, not a second was wasted. With an efficiency that can only be compared to that of a superconductor (Dad guess who wrote this) we swooped to victory, in which we happily basked.
After the excitement of these events we commenced the 3 hour journey to Murchison. Although our journeys may seem long, we manage to fill the time with laughter and songs. My (Pip) bus decided to personify our watermelon that we had bought. The name Melonie was given, and we gave her special care and attention. Rest assured she wore her seatbelt the whole journey and involuntarily participated in many bus selfies.
The setting was breath taking as we neared the park. The hazy purple sunset was the perfect backdrop for the rural African huts and sausage tree silhouettes. We all took many photos but none of them gave justice to the true beauty of the Ugandan land. We arrived at Bwana Tembo before it became dark and were all suitably pleased with our authentic tents and cottages. After we settled in we met for our fantastic three course dinner which was much appreciated after our long day.
After dinner it seemed that anarchy had descended as various creatures entered our tents, causing quite an uproar, there was even a bat in one of the mosquito nets! Luckily we soon discovered that we were not under siege, merely a few flies and ants had decided to grace us with their presence and we were offered a truly wild experience (and few cases of paranoia).
That’s all for today, we are heading off to sleep under what can only be described as a breath taking night sky. Stars have never seemed so bright!
We hope you are all well, God bless.
Georgie and Pip