I want to begin with a special shoutout to my mum and dad because I mean you guys are pretty amazing (and yes mum I did take my malaria tablet today). It has been yet another day in the Ugandan house hold and fair to say, one that has challenged us all.
We have now slightly adjusted to the 7:30am breakfast and were blessed with the good old Rolex’s and chipatis that Juliet, Elizabeth and Peace made for us along with the daily devotion, today lead by Shane on Mark 6. Soon after breakfast, we headed out on the extremely bumpy Jinja roads to the Home of Hope at around 9:30am. The Home of Hope is apart of Hope Builders International and houses children with various disabilities, there were around 40 children in this home. For me, I was really nervous on the drive because I knew that it would be very confronting but I knew that I just had to give that all over to God before arriving.
I was quite overwhelmed upon arriving at the home seeing the children and feeling helpless. My heart was immediately drawn to this one girl in a wheelchair who could not talk and showed limited movement. I felt God encouraging me to stay with her for a while and just hold her hands and occasionally she would pull on my arms so that she could get a hug. I love how God uses the simple action of holding ones hand to be able to share love. It was hard to know that some of these children were abandoned by their parents because we learnt that in this culture, a family is seen as cursed if they give birth to a disabled child. The administrator of the Home, Mercy, then gave some of us a tour of the house and even just walking around, seeing all the children and knowing how worthy they are of love and a great life yet society cannot seem to look past their physical disabilities, broke my heart.
Shane and a few of the other boys led some worship songs and we all got to sing and help the children dance. This one boy Peter was an epic dancer and loved getting everyone involved, never wanting anyone to miss out on the fun. You could see the joy and laughter in their faces despite their circumstance and that made all our hearts rejoice. We then started to leave and I noticed this one girl crying and as I tried to comfort her, Mercy told me that she was sad because she loved all the attention and now we are leaving. Although it was sad to leave her, I felt fulfilled because I knew that we had made an impact and not only that but we had learnt and received so much from the people there too.
Back to Suubi we went for lunch, a little different this time, vegetable pies (they were good!). We had a bit of chill time before heading to the Village of Hope mid afternoon for a cultural exchange experience. The mamas taught us Mzungus how to peel potatoes, Ugandan style and yes it was with a very big knife. It was quite entertaining hearing them quietly laugh at us as we struggled (a lot) but 40 potatoes later, I reckon we were quite the pros! We then all made our way to the main hall in the village and witnessed a performance on the African Drums which was incredible, the talent the Ugandans have is outstanding!
Now it was time for tribal games! We split into 5 tribes all of different colours where we competed against each other in our own tribal dance and human pyramid creation. The green tribe emerged as champions but in my totally unbiased opinion I reckon the yellow tribe was the best! The kids had SO much fun and loved wearing and being proud of their coloured headbands.
We then headed to Jinja Christian School for a friendly game of soccer for the boys and netball of the girls. In both sports, the Australians were victorious, although it was very close in both games, they made us work hard that’s for sure. Most of us girls played netball with no shoes on because mud and grass made up the court and so every time we ran, we would almost slip and fall but it made for a very fun game of netball! Whilst the soccer game was running, we all got more opportunities to form connections with the kids and enjoy their laughs, smiles and joy-filled company. Time flew very fast and before we knew it, we were heading back to Suubi house for dinner. The menu tonight was rice, a super good potato dish and green beans (yes dad I did eat all my greens).
We had a debrief time this afternoon which was helpful to share our thoughts about these past few days and in particular how we were going after we visited the Home of Hope. Just a little side note, parents, rest assured that we are in very, very, very good hands, these leaders are incredible and take very good care of us!
I honestly could not have asked for a better team to experience all this with, everyone is just the absolute best (#yeahthegirls)
Uganda just keeps getting better and better each day!
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