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Hello from sunny and lush N. Uganda!

It’s been a productive week here with the first part of the week in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda.  It is a bustling city, with a crush of people constantly, making it difficult to even cross the street without taking your life into your hands.  Motorcycles travel in any direction, weaving in and around those of us in larger vehicles which are in grid lock during the morning and evening “rush hour”. 

Everything takes 3-4 times the amount of time to complete when compared to the US.  However, we were able to find a supplier for materials to be used for the hand drilled wells on our next trip.  A locking medicine cart was purchased for Ayira Hospital and Dr. Opio, the general surgeon we have worked with since 2003.  Meetings for updating Hands Across Nations policies and strategic planning for the future also took place in Kampala. 

 

Back in Lira, Dr. Opio and his wife Semmy, chief nurse, received the medicine cart with great appreciation for the donations that were given for it.  35 lovingly handmade baby quilts from Chewelah, were also delivered to the maternity ward at Ayira Hospital and the first one, made by Joy Talbott, was given out to the family of a baby boy born that morning –named “Doctor Opio”.  It is often the custom here to name a baby after a respected person or something that takes place around the time of the baby’s birth.

 

Visits to the villages to see the progress of the crop projects began this week.  Anyangapuc village was the first stop.  Beatrice, their ladies leader, who was going blind during our visit last year, had undergone eye surgery for cataracts and a tumor on the left optic nerve through generous donations to HAN.  It was such a great joy to witness her reading her Luo Bible without any difficulty!  There are 2 growing seasons each year, March through July and September through Nov-Dec.  Unfortunately for this dedicated group of women, they had paid to rent property for their garden and the owner took the money, and then did not give them the land.  It is still being addressed with the local government.  After finding another garden plot, they planted soy beans late the first season and only harvested one bag.  Almost ½ of the group left due to this difficulty, but the 18 members who continued, planted 3 acres of sunflowers for the second season, and have a good possibility of a bumper crop in 2 of the fields.  In the third field, the neighbor’s goats have chewed up half of the sunflower stems.  It is also being taken up with the local government as the law is that you must pay for anything your animals destroy.  Chili plants had been planted between the sunflowers and fortunately goats don’t like chili leaves!  Purchasing a piece of land would prevent the rental problem and also allow them to plant fruit trees for the long term. 

Anyangapuc was also the site of an all day ladies Bible study seminar for the farming group.  We spent the day in prayer, in praising our wonderful God, and learning what the book of Romans, Chapter 12 says about surrendering ourselves to the Lord, not being molded by the culture around us, being honest about who we are, serving others, and overcoming evil with good.  After each section we prayed that God would give us wisdom, strength and willingness for Him to change us, guide us and teach us how to forgive so we can move forward without bitterness or anger.  These women have suffered greatly through the 20 year war with the rebel group, The Lord’s Resistance Army.  In 2003 they killed 52 people in this village.  Many lived in brutal refugee camps for years.    I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that though I did my best in what He gave me to say, His spirit did ALL the work in their hearts.  It was absolutely phenomenal – these Ugandan women usually do not open up, and they did it so freely.  Prayer is not the preparation for the work……Prayer IS the work!! – Oswald Chambers.

 

Sunday Church was in the village of Alito where Hands Across Nations funds helped build a very large Community Center/ Church.  It is not yet complete, but this year the floor will be completed.  It has a dirt floor which is “smeared” every Saturday evening with dung to keep the dust down during their singing and dancing time of praising God.  Respiratory problems have developed so providing a concrete floor has become a top priority.  Hands Across Nations will fund the materials and specialized labor, while the village will provide 10 – 15 workers, all the bricks for the stage area, and food for the work crew during the 2 weeks it will take to complete.  Today measurements were taken to know how many “dumper” or “tipper” loads of materials are needed.  The villagers will also fill in deep pot holes and widen parts of the road so the dumper can make it to the church.  It will be cause for a BIG celebration when it is finally finished in the first 2 weeks of December.  We’ve had to wait for the rains to decrease for the road to be passable.

A enormous thank you to all of you who have been faithful in praying for us here, and for all the donations and work that have taken place to make this all possible.  Daily, I’m amazed at the difference a small area of NE Washington has made in the lives of the poor in the Lira area of N. Uganda.  It is no small gift.

Go with God,

Carolyn

Sharing the love of Christ in practical ways

Carolyn's Journal November 15, 2010

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