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June 28,2011

Returning to Uganda in itself is always a joy, but to come with 3 generations of our family is a dream come true.  My daughter Kemper Rojas, and 10 year old grandson Bowe Rojas have had an adventurous spirit in taking in the sights, sounds and tastes of this country which has now become a second home to me.  Bowe’s first impression was that Kampala, the capital city was much more modern than he expected.  As we traveled north to Lira, our base town, the sight of the Nile River, with it’s Karuma Falls and rumbling rapids, and being able to toss roasted bananas to the monkeys and baboons along the road gave them both a sense of traveling toward an adventure different from any before. 

Kemper and Bowe Rojas with Rotarian Sam Okello cooling off at the Spring Protection Project funded by Colville WA Rotary


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It has been a fruitful week here in Lira, Uganda with one of our first stops at the tailoring school at All Faith Mission Church.  They’ve moved to a new location within in the church area in order to make room for the new primary school run by the church.  The tailoring school is now tucked away within a nice little enclosure to keep the sun off of them while they work.  We’ve delivered over 75 pounds of fabric and other sewing materials that were donated to Hands Across Nations by generous people in NE Washington.  During that time, Bowe made quite a stir with the children.  Most, if not any had ever seen a white child, especially one with glasses.  Within minutes he was playing soccer with some of the older boys.  Bowe had the idea to come back later that day and present a soccer ball to the head master since the ball they were using was deflated and sad looking.  The new ball was received with a lot of cheering and excited squeals of happiness.

Bowe Rojas with children at Levi's former elementry school

The village of Alanyi was the next stop with a surprise visit to our friend Levi’s former elementary school. Bowe gained an appreciation for his school in the US, as over 1,400 children attended the school, with class sizes from 100 to 180  children.  They had no equipment except a blackboard and desks.  This is a very industrious village which started their own trade school with the people very excited to show us and explain how they are doing in their various trades.  Last year, Hands Across Nations provided a Microloan to purchase equipment to get started.  The tailoring school teacher, which consists of only three machines, displayed their clothing, made from fabric donated through HAN.  The carpentry gentlemen showed us the stools, tables and chairs they have been making and explained the type work they have been making with the welding machine. HAN contributed a box of carpentry tools this trip which including a vise. They were very appreciative.


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The visit wound up with over 50 people being tested and fitted for reading glasses even those who can not read so that they can do fine handwork better.  We couldn’t leave without a quick meal of posho (cornmeal and water) and chicken with the gizzard cooked especially for the honored guests.

Reading glasses are a precious gift for those who can't see well enough to read their Bibles or do fine handicrafts.

 The week culminated in the wedding of Susan Omodi, daughter of our long time friends Felix and Esther Omodi.  True to Africa time it started 2 hours late but was worth the wait with bride and bridesmaids, groom and groomsmen similar to our wedding ceremony in the states with plenty of dancing, singing and preaching. 

 Happy Ugandan groom and bride, Dan and Susan Otim - daughter of Felix and Esther Omodi


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Two hours later we headed for the reception, enjoyed more singing and dancing, giving of cakes to family members and invited guests presenting gifts to the bride and groom.  They included goats (one in wrapping paper), chickens, and brooms, along with the usual wrapped gifts.  Unfortunately, during the serving of dinner, a thunder storm brewed up quickly and the reception ended all too abruptly.  Witnessing the joining of two lives, committed in love to each other and the Lord for the rest of their lives is a joyful occasion not matter where in the world it is celebrated.   

The wedding gift goat is even wrapped in paper to be given to the bride and groom.

We recognize that without God, no project or gift will have any eternal value.  So our desire is to listen to what the Lord puts on our hearts and follow His leading in all our efforts.   Experiencing it together with family is a precious gift beyond anything money can buy.

Thank you (Apwoyo Matek) to the many people who have promised to pray for our brothers and sisters in Uganda, and who have helped many here through your sacrificial giving.

Carolyn Kurowski, Bowe & Kemper Rojas

Hands Across Nations

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