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Hello again from N. Uganda!

Our week was eventful to be sure.  Our first stops were  to Bala and Anyangapuc villages in which Hands Across Nations has been working for 3 years.  Monday and Tuesday we were able to spend the days in Bala with Pastor Solomon and the women’s farming group visiting their gardens, seeing their new oxen team and joining together in Bible study.  Solomon’s brother died this week from Whooping Cough.  His wife had already died so Solomon now has 3 more children to care for!  This is not uncommon unfortunately and puts an enormous burden on those left to carry on. 

It was a really great day at Bala visiting their garden plot where they planted yellow beans the first season on 2 ½ rented acres, and maize (corn) and soy beans in the same garden the second season.  Their new ox replacing Ferdinand who wouldn’t plow last year, Opio White, is plowing even better than his partner, Opio Black, and it’s been a huge help.  Opio means “twin” in the Langi language.  Their garden was  amazing for just 15 women.  Each has an equal plot in the garden so they “reap what they sow”.  Once they have sold their crops, 10% goes to the church, 10% to the school, a certain amount is saved for seeds and veterinary bills, and the rest is given to the women. 


Nursery school at Anyangapuc is taught by two young women, Ann and Cissy, 22 and 24 years old.  Their teaching tools?  A blackboard, a few pieces of chalk, and a printed curriculum.  They have just the “baby class”, meaning 3 year olds with 24 students.  I had earlier learned that in testing 1st graders in the Lira, Uganda free public school system, a Canadian educator found that 80% of the students were unable to identify even a single letter of the alphabet!  This baby class was not only identifying many of their letters, they were tracing them and singing English songs. They all belted out the Ugandan National Anthem as well!  HAN is donating pencils, sharpeners and erasers, crayons and chalk, and will also provide flip charts and markers.  A Flannelgraph Bible Story set was demonstrated, for telling the important events in the Bible in an interesting way to the children.  


4 hours to the northeast of Lira, a return trip to Adacar school included finishing the bank of latrines and drilling  a bore hole well for the Rotary Club of Colville grant.  What was to take 1 day, ended up 2 days and an overnight in the car, with all the problems of broken down equipment, and unplanned glitches during drilling. 


The well drilling was completed with the promise of enough water for over 50 water jugs an hour.  That’s a welcome change to walking 3 km for clean water, or dipping the jugs in the stagnant pond near the school.  All that is lacking is completing the installation of the pump. 


The latrines will get several coats of paint inside, and have “rough casting” on the outside to prevent graffiti.   We’re almost there!  With the added day, it gave us the opportunity to meet with a group of about 40 men and women who have risen above the refugee camp mentality -  waiting for a hand out, and for others to fix all their problems.  They have moved back to their village areas and rebuilt their mud hut homes and are willing to walk the long distance to a well in order to be out of the camp lifestyle.  It gave us the time to share from the Bible and pray with them. 


Early Thursday morning, tragedy struck as Jasper Okello, deputy director for Medical Teams International (MTI) - Uganda was killed in a bus accident on the way from Lira to Kampala.  The drunk driver was speeding, missed a curve, hit a very tall ant hill and flipped the bus three times.  Jasper’s young wife is expecting their first baby in December.  He was well loved and lived an exemplary life.  MTI Director, my host – Felix Omodi – and all of MTI staff mourned Jasper’s death along with the whole community this past weekend with about 5,000 people at his burial.  It was a 5 hour experience with family and local leaders expressing their appreciation for his life, prayers, a choir leading all of us in singing, viewing of the body, and burial on the home ground followed by a dinner served at 10 tables for all people attending -  2 cows were slaughtered for the meal.  Many had walked for hours to get there and would return home on foot.  It was a stark reminder that life is fragile and short and can end at anytime.  We must use it carefully and well, not wasting a day in worthless pursuits. 


 Jasper Okello in Padar spring 2009

A big thank you to all of you who have supported and prayed for the work here in N. Uganda.  It is my pleasure and joy to take your love, compassion and donated funds to the poorest of the poor, giving them hope for a different future. 

I do so appreciate your emails as it gives me a feeling of connection to home.

Sharing the love of Christ in practical ways in Uganda,


Carolyn's Journal November 19, 2010

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