Back on the road on Monday. Another exciting car trip! Found out that during the three and a half hours we had jolted from Musana to Kampala we’d traveled only about 35 miles!
As we were driving through the more rural part of the country, we had fun waving at many of the people alongside the road. The little kids especially would get enormous grins on their faces and run after us shouting “Muzungas!” (White People).
Whenever there was road construction or any cause for vehicle traffic to stop, there would be a jumble of people selling things. The lady with sugar cane won us over and it was fun to taste its sweet juice.
I got a chuckle out of the name of this shop at the mall. :)
At lunchtime we stopped at a mall in Kampala for pizza (of all things!). I ordered iced tea with my food which turned out to be essentially lemon water with a hint of tea. The waiter also gave me a small pitcher with syrup in it, but, I think I would’ve had to get it to Southern sweetness to dilute the tang of the lemon. Was actually quite good though!
From Kampala we still had a decent jaunt ahead of us until we would reach Kasana in the Luwero Triangle.
It was market day in one of the towns we passed through and the streets were simply covered with people and goods for sale.
Pulling into Kasana at last!
The kind Guesthouse staff had picked a bouquet of gorgeous blooms to welcome us. The staff were very sweet to us during our stay – making us delicious meals, keeping our rooms clean and cozy, and greeting us with warm smiles.
One of the benefits of being the only girl on the team was that I got my own bedroom and bathroom! Above you can see what the mosquito nets were like.
The Kasana Guesthouse
After we got our bags unpacked, Uncle Steve took us on an informative tour of the grounds. Like Musana Camps, I was amazed at the size of the site and how much there is going on!
The Institute at Kasana teaches five month courses in Biblical worldview and understanding the heart of an orphan. Some of the recently graduated New Hope young people as well as missionaries interested in orphan ministry attend.
The back of the Primary school which is located just across from the Guesthouse had Psalm 1 painted on one of its walls.
The Primary school forms a “U” shape. The covered meeting area was where Church was held on Sunday. Because the weather is so lovely year round in Uganda the people do as much as possible outdoors (cooking, washing, meeting…) and the windows and doors tend to be quite “airy”.
Here you can see one of the rainwater cisterns. In Uganda I realized what a treasure clean and plentiful water is. A water bottle filled with filtered water became very important because it’s not safe to ingest the tap water.
One of the Family home and garden areas. To help teach the children skills, work ethic, and to be able to provide for themselves, every Family has their own garden where they raise things like bananas, sweet potatoes and ground nuts.
Primary school children on their morning break. This is the view from my Guesthouse room door.
This “roundabout” is near the center of Kasana. Some of the other facets of New Hope I don’t have pictures of include a radio station, an Enterprise Farm (again teaching life skills and helping to support New Hope), a ministry for special needs children, and the Forge (a coffee house and gift shop that some of the young people help run).
This is near the entrance to Kasana. The administrative building would be on the left and the clinic on the right.
The Kasana Clinic
Since we’d gotten our system figured out at Musana Camps it didn’t take us long to get to work at Kasana. Our primary focus while we were at Kasana was seeing most of the Secondary students (basically 8th grade and high school) who Dr. T. hadn’t been able to see last visit. We also saw any of the staff and younger students that were having issues.
Because the power supply kept going off and making the indoor area dark, we hung up the eye chart on the porch. The water in the photo is from the lady who mopped the concrete floors every morning to keep the dust down.
Kasana (unlike Musana) has resident medical staff. Kimberly who is the head nurse was extremely helpful and efficient during our time there. The first day there was a little slower in terms of the number patients coming in (the Doctor was still busy though!), so, I got in on rolling cotton balls from sheets of cotton!
At Kasana most everybody could speak English, but, their soft-spokeness and heavy accent still kept me listening intently! Heard lots of “well done” while at the clinic. Ugandans say that phrase not just when you’re actively doing or finishing a project, but, also as a sort of general acknowledgement and appreciation for your presence and the fact that you might be doing something! I heard “well done” several times when I was just standing around or walking somewhere. :)
One afternoon the Guesthouse staff gave us a brief tour of the kitchen area. Made me appreciate their yummy concoctions even more when I realized the methods they use to cook! Here you can see part of the charcoal stove system.
Volleyball game going on outside the Guesthouse one evening.
The second day we were there another team arrived. They were from a British school for boys from troubled backgrounds and consisted of a football (soccer) coach, his wife who is a nurse, a fellow who is a shop (metalwork) teacher, and four of the “troubled boys”. It was fun to get to know them throughout the week and as the coach and his wife were the only Christians (and the only ones who had previously been to Uganda!) among them I was definitely hoping and praying that some seeds were being planted in their hearts! One of the boys, named Joe, attached himself to me, proudly showed me his stars-and-stripes flip-flops, and peppered me with questions about the US, telling me that he is fascinated with our country and loves our accent and culture. I found this a frankly amusing turn-about from my own interest in Great Britain! :)
This also leads to a sweet story about one of the Guesthouse staff – a beautiful lady named Jovia who only knew a phrase or two in English. One day one of the British boys wasn’t feeling well, but, the language barrier was no obstacle to Jovia laying hands on his stomach and praying for him! As it was the British boy who gratefully told me the story I know it made an impact!
The part of the Ebenezer Family home where we would meet each night. They had the names of the tribes of Israel (which they had studied) on the walls as well as the scripture from Samuel from which their name is taken – “Thus far has the Lord helped us.”
While we were at Kasana we were assigned to a specific Family Group that was our “Family” during our stay. Every evening after supper we would visit their home and spend time with them during their nightly devotion and family time. These sessions were truly some of my absolute favorite parts of the day! It was a fantastic opportunity to get a feel for the families and it was such a very sweet, joyful time. Uncle Elly (the Ebenezer Family father) would usually lead us in prayer and a devotion – although one night Dr. T. got roped into sharing! Then, sometimes we would sing worship songs a capella, sometimes play an exuberant game, and sometimes just visit and get to know one another. The last evening we were there, Samuel and Derek were sorting beans to get rid of sticks and pebbles and so I got to help with that project! Everybody was so kind and welcoming and my heart felt so full with all the fervent love and truth being abundantly shared. With my own family being quite small it was a treat to have so many brothers and sisters for a while! :)
The Hope Family house.
Wednesday morning, Hannah, let me tag along with her to the music classes she teaches weekly to the students. She was teaching several of the Primary classes and it was very neat to see how the school functions. Contrary to my perceptions of Africans, Hannah told me (and I could tell) that the children are just like the ones over here in that some of them have a natural feel for music and some of them have to work harder to get it. She has been working with the classes on rhythm – on hearing a pattern, mimicking it, and then being able to stick to one particular pattern while another group does a different, but, complimentary pattern. Something else I thought was great was that she has been having them memorize Zephaniah 3:17, the verse that talks about God rejoicing over us with singing. While helping with the classes I also got to meet Hannah’s intern, Joel, who kept courteously going out of his way to make sure I had a place to sit in each room! I also got in on two, different Bible studies that Hannah is involved in. One for middle-school age students where they are going through the Chronological Bible and one for the Secondary girls on purity and Biblical womanhood. The study going through the Chronological Bible was on the story of Hannah and Samuel and I was really struck by the verse where Hannah’s husband is trying to comfort her about not having any children and asks her, “Am I not more to you than ten sons?”. It struck me that while this was Hannah’s husband speaking about himself it could very well be the Lord asking me the same question about all the things I think I need. He is truly sufficient for all my desires!
In the afternoon, I went back to the clinic so the Doctor’s sons could go help with the soccer camp the UK fellows were putting on.
Worship with the Hope Family.
Thursday morning, Hannah was going to be in Kampala, but, she encouraged me to go to the worship time the Hope Family has every morning at 9am. Another favorite memory! The Hope Family is for the little ones about 3 years old and under. The aunties and uncles welcomed me in so graciously when I showed up unexpectedly on their door and invited me onto their porch. Uncle Stanley played the drums and we all sang and praised the Father together. The babies were all so smiley and responsive (even the tiniest ones!) to the music and it was overwhelming to see the love and Name of Jesus being proclaimed over these precious little ones. Many of the songs were in Lugandan, but, they did sing “This Little Light of Mine” mixed with “Amen” as well as a song that went “My Redeemer lives, my Redeemer lives, my Redeemer lives in ___” and then they would name somebody in the group and whoever was around that person would hug and tickle he or she. For the next couple days I went around humming “My Redeemer Lives!”.
After the worship session, Auntie Irene took me inside and showed me pictures and told me stories of the different babies – where they came from and where some of them have gone. Really sweet.
Courtyard of Kiwoko Hospital.
Kimberly took us one day on a quick trip to the hospital at the nearby village of Kiwoko. The hospital and New Hope have a lot of connections and many of the staff at Kiwoko are Christians too. Dr. T. was able to visit with one of the doctors there about what they have for optometric care. He found out that there is a doctor in Kampala that does cataract surgery and that it costs about $50! Dr. T. is definitely wanting to figure out a way to refer those needing the procedure done as that’s certainly a coverable cost!
Part of the road leading to the Secondary Site.
Thursday evening Auntie Virginia accompanied me to the gate on the Primary Site. Aunt Nancy (a lady from the Midwest who has been teaching at New Hope for about 15 years) had invited me to supper at her home which is on the Secondary Site. There is a little bit of walking distance between the two sections of New Hope property. Aunt Nancy and her adopted daughter, invited me in to their cozy home (they have a sidewalk, a full-length mirror and lots of books!) and fed me on fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, lemonade and chocolate cake! They had also invited a young couple (who I found out is from my area!) who are currently spending a year at New Hope and working as a nurse and a teacher. After supper, we sat down in the living room to get better acquainted and Nancy’s daughter serenaded us in Lugandan while she did the dishes.
To be continued…