Chapter 17 - Update #3 -July 17, 2014
What an amazing morning to wake up in Uganda! The guest house that we stayed at in Entebbe provided an amazing breakfast for us. The team was slightly puzzled with the milk that was on the table for the cereal. It was hot! Brave team members ventured out and discovered it became more like oatmeal. Doug had a few challenges with the pitcher the milk came in! After realizing that it wasn’t working too well he opted out of having any cereal at all!
Pastor Gerald & Pastor Godfrey arrived to take us to Jinja. They came with two vehicles, one being our newly acquired van! Pastor Godfrey successfully passed his permit testing and is now our licensed driver! This is an answer to many years of prayer for Raining Hope!
I am glad that we waited until the next day to make the drive to Jinja. Watching the team members experiencing the sights and sounds of Uganda was priceless. Their eyes were wide open and their hearts were full of joy. Whether we saw sights such as Lake Victoria or the acres of lush green tea plants or sugar canes, or boda bodas loaded down with items that just seem too large to be place on the back of the bike, they all just soaked it all in.
We made a stop in Kampala to pick up some pastor materials to use in the upcoming conference. This gave the team an up close and personal experience with Kampala traffic...taxi’s & bodas jockeying for position!
The team was officially welcomed to Uganda by the traditional stop for “chicken on a stick!” As we drive up to the familiar roadside vendors, the sellers swarm the van trying to be the one we buy from. We have stopped here at just about every one of my 17 trips. I have been taught to go directly to the grills to get the chicken and the roasted bananas fresh. The consensus of the team was...DELICIOUS! This was their initiation into Ugandan culture!
But arriving in Jinja, crossing the Nile River and turning down the familiar road to the hotel always makes my heart leap! As we arrived at our hotel, I began to see all the familiar faces of friends and my Hotel Paradise family. It is like one big family reunion for me. As always, they welcome the team with open arms. The team members have been blown away at the graciousness and friendliness of everyone they meet.
I gave the team a couple of hours to unpack and settle in before supper. When we went down to the restaurant and conference center at the end of the property facing the Nile, it had made even more changes since my trip in January. It is absolutely beautiful. Pastor Doug was blown away. The last time he was here that building was not even there.
The team is loving the food here. They are pleasantly surprised at how good the food tastes! The hotel has also stepped up their menus by hiring a new chef. If there were any doubts about what kind of food the team would eat here in Africa, those concerns are all gone!
After a good night’s sleep, the team was ready for their first full day in Jinja! Yesterday (Thursday) was an extremely good day! We had an amazing team breakfast and devotion time. The setting couldn’t be any more perfect. The backdrop is the Nile River. The weather the past 2 days has been perfect! It has been cooler, overcast and raining a little here and there. Humidity is very low. I think this has been some of the best weather I have ever had in all my 7 years of travel here.
One of our first big adventures was taking the team into the local outdoor market to buy food for the home and for our meals. The average salary for a Ugandan is $270 per year. Most of the people in this market live on approximately a dollar a day. This was a great cultural experience for the team. As Pastor Gerald, Godfrey and myself bought food from various venders, the team soaked up the experience.
A miraculous moment came for me as we were buying some vegetables. I heard Pastor Doug say to someone, “No thank you. I don’t need any.” As I turned around, all I could see were plastic dust pans. As I looked at the young boy who was selling the pans, to my amazement, it was my friend who I have talked about in previous years. He is a young boy who lives on the street. We helped get him into safe shelter for about 3 months. The cost...about $25 for 3 months. I have also bought bread & juice for him so he would have some food. He works by selling these plastic dust pans. When I was here in January, I could not find him. Turns out that he cannot be in the Main Street area because he gets chased off. The fact that we found each other at that precise moment in the middle of this huge Jinja Market can only be explained by God. Pastor Doug and I were able to talk with him. We helped him to get back into safe shelter for another 3 months.
The afternoon back at the hotel we had lunch with the team and Pastor Paul! He brought his daughter, Shiphera who is now about 4 years old. Adorable and so sweet! Another pastor, Samuel was with Pastor Paul so they all joined us for a meal. We were able to get a good idea about the ministry activities that are coming up in the next few days.
Last night was the highlight of the day. We were able to go to Raining Hope Children’s Home! I am going to reserve the update on that visit to the next posting. It literally deserves to have it’s own update. It was overwhelming amazing.
I am on my way to meet the team for breakfast and staff devotions with the hotel. I will post pictures to the blog later on tonight.
Thank you for praying. It is making a huge impact on what the Lord has us here for.
mama eydie kisakye