Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Safari Weekend.

I'm finding it hard to put into words just how incredible this safari experience was. If you've ever been on a safari you understand the feeling, but for those who haven't I'm going to try my best to get those feelings across!

Our weekend was spent at the beautiful Murchison Falls Safari Park. On our way there we made a stop at the actual falls first. The rushing rapids and falls were so powerful and simply stunning.

The next day started at 5:30 am, we got a quick breakfast and loaded up onto a small ferry to get over to where the animals were. We watched the sunrise and sunset that day on the ferry! And by ferry I mean a flat deck with 8 cars and a motor going across Hippopotamus infested waters.
As we started driving it felt like it was right out of a movie, everything was beautiful. The scenery was what I had envisioned a safari to be like, and so much more. The flats and rolling hills, the classic African looking trees, and animals everywhere!

First off we saw tons of Warthogs and loads of Water Buffalos! Giraffes left and right constantly, and a few Elephants here and there. The Elephants were a definite highlight for me! Seeing my favourite animal almost right away was so exciting. Antelope and other similar looking animals were all over the place, the closer you looked the more there were...everywhere! We saw quite a few Hippos having a snooze in the water. On the morning drive we were insanely lucky and saw not one, but two Leopards! Every second of the driving was spent observing everything happening around us, and intensely searching for Lions.

 On our evening drive we were lucky enough to see three Lionesses relaxing in the shade. So incredible to see such a beautiful animal in the wild just casually laying under a tree. In the evening we drove up beside what seemed to be a Giraffe party, I've never seen so many Giraffes in one place before. The whole experience blew me away, God has created so many beautiful animals and such a beautiful place for them to live. The weekend felt like a dream.

Weeks with team.

I can't believe how fast these past couple weeks have flown by!

Last week we did a couple of big things, we built a mud hut, gave out shoes to nursery kids, and we gave out maize to a village for famine relief. One of my highlights was giving out shoes to nursery kids. The team that was here raised money to buy shoes to give away. The kids were simply adorable, lining up to receive what seems to us a small gift, but to them was a big deal. The shoes we were taking off the kids were either way to big or small, or falling apart. We were able to give them a better fit. To have the opportunity to be apart of giving those out was humbling and heart warming.

Building a mud hut was SUCH a fun day. Our team and a group of students worked all morning and into the afternoon to make this home for a nursery boys family. It was such a great experience being able to help build a house and cooking shelter for this family. Even through it poured rain we had a blast all together. Such a great day, the pictures say it all!

Starting last May Uganda has been battling a severe drought. The crops did not take so food has been scarce. Many villages have been suffering for months trying to get food for families. Through donations the centre has been able to provide bags of maize flour for families, each bag is around a months worth of food. We spent a couple of days dividing up big bags into smaller individual bags for the people. Then one morning a village of people came and lined up to receive their portions. The women came dressed in their traditional outfits and carried the maize on their heads all the way home. I spent the giving out time with a few others filling the bags that people brought so there was enough to give. Therefore, I didn't get outside to take as many pictures, but being apart of something like this was incredibly humbling. Knowing that this food was for some families going to be their first full meal in weeks was a feeling hard to describe. It's so difficult for us to imagine what it would be like to have to go for days without food, and struggle to provide for your family. And then to be given a gift such as the maize flour, is an answer to their prayers. When you really spend time and think about what that must be like it's indescribable the emotions that wash over you.

Along those same lines is the system of sponsoring a child. When you think about where our money goes each month, into so so many different things and activities, in comparison to the people here who have to spend the little they earn very carefully. Through Kibaale their program is $40 dollars a month to sponsor a nursery child. Their sponsorship program provides the gift of an education, which gives them a chance to get a job that will provide steady income. It provides health care for them and their families, and it's their relationships and knowledge of God blossoming through the teachings and experiences at Kibaale school. We are so privileged to live in a place where school and health care is something we don't think twice about. I pray that everyone who is reading through this will take the time to talk with God about sponsorship. And if it's something God puts on your heart I hope that you can choose to go forward with it and make a difference in a child's life. There are 8 kids in the nursery classes and 11 primary students here that are without sponsors. If Gods pulling on those heart strings of yours to do it, then just do it. ;) The main thing I've learned here is that when God is calling you to do something, there's no reason to not. God is doing amazing things in and through everyone who believes. I love it.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Week III

Well, I honestly can't believe it's already been three weeks since my arrival! It's gone by so fast, especially this past week seemed to fly by. There is a team coming next week which is going to be busy, but so fun. This week I truly felt like I found my groove; my days are starting to fill up and feel purposeful. I have been asked to paint a colourful mural in one of the rooms in the clinic used for treating kids. I am so beyond stoked to start! Come monday I will begin sketching the picture and hope to start painting by wednesday. Being able to use my talent to help out, just confirms that God lead me here for so many reasons.

This past week i've had lots of quiet time, and if anyone knows my family, you know that quiet is a rare thing! It's been so good to spend time journaling, sketching, and reading the Bible. Spending time diving into God's word has been exactly what my heart needs. It's also helped me to understand and see in different eyes the people and things i'm experiencing.
Something that really stuck out to me this week was that I began to realize why the people here have such solid relationships with God. I think it's because here, in a sense things are so simple. It's you and God, and thats the base of everything. There are so many different struggles that people here experience and battle every day, but they never forget to pray and trust that God will provide. There aren't nearly as many distractions or ways to pollute your mind in comparison to at home. There are so many temptations at home and it's easy to block out God, and forget about him. When bad things happen we so often forget that we have a source of comfort and hope in tough times. God is sometimes the last resort, but He shouldn't be. Here, most of the people cling to their relationship with God in all circumstances. Many people have a Christian faith, but not all. In a lot of the villages there's a large population who believe in witchcraft and things surrounding that. However, the majority of the people I have met put God first, and that has really stood out to me.

The way that people raise their kids is so different from at home. Most families have many children, and some have only one source of small income. It's not uncommon to see young kids raising the babies and younger siblings. The kids here are tough, so tough. Even as young kids they have responsibilities and things that are expected of them. School is a big one, if kids are in school then devoting your every last effort into making sure you pass and learn is so very important. Most kids even in nursery classes have the responsibility of walking an hour or even more to get to school on time every morning. If you have the privilege of being school, you simply don't waste it.
 I've really noticed how if a married couple with kids of their own finds out a niece, nephew, neighbour, or friends kids need another home for whatever reason, they never hesitate to offer a space in their home. It's such a beautiful thing. To see how even when people have next to nothing, they invite anyone who is in need to share with them the little they have. These people really nailed the cheerful giver part in "God loves a cheerful giver", because through their generosity I believe the Lord is constantly blessing them in sometimes the smallest but always meaningful ways.

This week Margret and her husband invited us for dinner at her place, she cooked us a wonderful meal. A cabbage fried dish, noodles, rice, and homemade chips, it all was deeeelish. She kept saying "oh it is not much, but we will share it together", which made me feel so honoured that she had chosen to share a meal with us. The generosity is something that just keeps making my heart swell.

This week we went on a sweet hike up a hill so we could see the whole village and beyond. It was hot and exhausting, but so fun. Also, while driving I saw a camel...I've never been so stoked about a camel in my life.