Monday, August 10, 2009
Day 10: Is it Time to Leave So Soon?
Day 10: Is it Time to Leave So Soon?
29 June 2009
We rose at the break of dawn to shower and finish packing. Although I'm looking forward to seeing John and the rest of my family, I prepare to leave with a heavy heart. I have grown to love the people I have met here, and can't help but wonder if I will ever see them again.
As we finished breakfast, Pastor Ruth joined us and finalized all of our bills for George and Gus’s transportation and the hotel. I had asked her to look into purchasing mats for the Smile Africa children to use for nap time. (They have been falling asleep wherever they happen to land -on the ground or on the concrete floor.) She was able to buy 10 large and 20 small nylon mats for 600,000 shillings (around $300). She will give mats to the families we visited in the slums, too. She was also able to get homemade brooms for Denise and I. After picking those up we said goodbye to Tororo and headed back to Kampala. George was back as our driver today.
As we traveled back toward Kampala we saw a number of baboons along the highway. We also saw many varieties of large birds –cranes, herons, and tuxedo birds included.
With 1,250,000 shillings ($625) of my donated funds still available, we stopped to buy bales of clothing for the children of Smile Africa. We felt that it was much better to spend the shillings here, rather than to lose money by exchanging it. We found a large warehouse of clothing where we purchased three 100 lb. bales of the highest quality clothing: one of shirts, one of shorts, and one of skirts and dresses. Pastor Ruth could not conceal her joy when the decision was made! “Yes!” she exclaimed, “This is a golden opportunity!” Each bale contains around 300 articles of clothing in various sizes, so all of the remaining children will receive new clothes. How wonderful!
We continued on to Entebbe to Saphan and Alex’s house (we met this couple on Day 1), where we were treated to bottled water and gifts thoughtfully selected for each of us. Mine was a beautiful maraca. We also gave them the gifts we had prepared for them.
Next, Saphan and Alex took us to Early Learning Center where their children attend school. We met the kids and Agnes, the head teacher, who founded the school sixteen years ago. The school is high on a hill in Entebbe, overlooking Lake Victoria –quite a beautiful sight!
From there, Agnes took us to her home for a bounteous lunch that had been prepared for us, including delicious baked tilapia from the lake, rice, beans, matoke, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumber salad, potatoes, brown nut sauce, mango juice, and fresh pineapple and papaya. It was our grand finale of African meals! Agnes’ husband is a doctor, so they live in a large home on a beautiful property with spreading trees and beautiful flowers. Agnes had asked to serve us because she was so touched by the things we have done for Saphan and Alex and the Smile Africa kids. She has a beautiful godly spirit about her. She and Pastor Ruth hit it off right away as well.
From Agnes’ house we continued on to the airport, and Pastor Ruth said her goodbyes. She and George needed to make it back to Tororo before dark. Saphan and Alex stayed with us until we had to go to our gate. It was a long while after that before we boarded, and we were all very tired as we began our trip home. We had been up since around 5 a.m. and going strong all day long.
Once on the plane, I visited with Robert, my Ugandan seat mate, ate a few bites of dinner, and then fell asleep for several hours, dreaming of smiling, once-ragged children in beautiful new clothes.