An easy day!

February 17th, 2007

Today was a much more relaxed day! We spent sometime this morning using the internet and researching our accommodation for Safari then took a car full swimming at one of the hotels in Kampala. We had lunch there and enjoyed swimming in hot sunshine!

This evening we went to Mike and Beryl’s (the English couple who founded Wellspring) and had a BBQ. It was a great celebration of all being together again with Herbert and Eve’s family and the lady from the UK who is Head teacher of the school. We sat out as hot day turned to dusk and into night with the brightest stars we have ever seen. Lovely!

 

Tomorrow we have church in the morning- Simon is preaching and I am leading the Kids Zone. Then in the afternoon we set off ‘ON SAFARI’!! We have booked two family rooms at a lodge in Kibali National Park and plan to settle tomorrow night. On Monday we plan to explore the area, visit hot springs and see Eve’s mum. On Tuesday we go on safari ‘proper’ including a boat trip to see crocs and hippos! We are taking two cars (we have hired the Wellspring Pajaro) as our last safari experience and the experience of yesterday proves that things often break on cars here and being able to all pile into another vehicle is great! Please do pray for us while we are away – safely and health being the main two things! We are back on Wednesday evening.

 

Our adventure to chimp island!!!

February 17th, 2007

Wow! What a day and what an adventure! It is now 5 to midnight and we are finally getting all the children to bed! We got up in time to leave at 6.45 this morning so it has been a long day! Getting out of the house on time this morning was complicated by a power cut which started just before we needed to get up and ended just after we left!!! We all got up and ready to two small torches!

The first adventure was the car cutting out this side of Kampala. No RAC here so Ronnie jumped out of the car and onto a boder-boder (motor bike taxi) and headed off to the nearest garage and came back with a mechanic!! Bizarre!! Anyway that got fixed while the children and I dozed and we were off again!!!! We turned off the main road and drove for 1o minutes on clay roads to the edge of Lake Victoria (the second largest lake in the world  bordered  by Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. We knew we were taking a boat but yet again were slightly scared by the reality!!!! It was a small (Herbert and Eve would say ‘large’) fishing boat with a small sheltered area in the middle. No dock- so we were all (yes ALL) carried to the boat by local men. The boat had a motor but even then the trip was an hour and a half before reaching the fist island – a  small fishing town where we dropped off a passenger and her cargo. The funniest part of the trip was when the men on the boat found a small catfish in the water puddle in the bottom of the boat and put it in a tub to show the children. I passed it to Eve and it jumped out onto her knee- lots of screaming and laughing!

We first visited an island and walked through the town and up to the school where I ‘greeted’ a class and saw their classroom. We continued to walk across the island and down to the opposite shore where the boat (after a typical African delay) came to collect us and took us to Nganba Island (known from here on as ‘Chimp Island’ (or ‘simp’ island if you are Abby!!) It is a chimp reserve – 100 acres of jungle, where they look after rescued chimps that have been captured, orphaned, injured etc. It is beautifully presented and we sat through an introductory talk and were warned that as an adult chimp is 5 times as strong as a human – if one escapes and the warning whistle is blown, we are all to run into the  lake as an adult can kill a person (reassuring!!!!) The chimps are free to explore the island but are brought in at night. They are separated from us by electric fences but there are really nice wooden viewing platforms (with shade – which was really good as by now the weather was baking despite a really cool and overcast start to the morning)

The chimps are fed 4 times a day (this bit is really for the children reading!) AT 6.30 am they have posho (a traditional cornbread made from maise flour and water) and bananas. At 11 and 2.30 they get fruit and veg and at 6.30pm they come in for porridge. It is amazing how they all appear from the forest just minutes before the food arrives. The children helped to through the food from the viewing platforms and we enjoyed watching them and reading all the signs telling us about their behaviour.

Back on the boat again (yes mum, life jackets on!) and we started passing round the rest of the breakfast and happily ate ‘lunch’. Little did we know!!! We stopped the boat at what looked like the bottom of a dry waterfall. We asked what we were doing now and we merrily told that we were going to the home of one of the men with us where they had prepared us lunch. EEK!! We climbed the waterfall to find a lovely little traditional village with mud huts and straw roofs and were greeted like long lost friends. We were taken into one hut and brought the BIGGEST bowls of food ever! There was steamed matoki (are you spotting a matoki theme?- it is just a shame we don’t like it!), a pileoof rice almost as large as the children and half a talapia fish. They has sacrificed so much to feed us that it was rude not to eat. Knickers! The fish was fab though – fresh from the lake.

The children got to see pineapples growing and coffee and to watch them burning charcoal. Herbert has several of his micro enterprise projects on these islands but we ran out of time in visiting them. We did find time for a short trek into the jungle to spot monkeys (and in my case to get bitten by huge safari ants!!!) It was fun (especially if you ignored the fact that it was African jungle and what creepy crawly biting things might be lurking!! We did see the monkeys though!!!

Back on the boat and off to Herbert and Eve’s island!! YES that is right – the own part of one of these islands – 5 acres to be accurate. When they bought it it was bush but now there is a team of men living there transforming it into a terrific ‘resort’ – with pathways and mud huts and a children’s roundabout etc We took an avocado tree that we had bought on the main road on the way and planted the ‘Patrick Avocado’! A fun planting ceremony! So far the area has been used by Ywam and Kids camps and in the future may be rented out as an income for the family.

Back home on the boat (the children were amazingly behaved all day)- Roo and I spent a lot of the journey making up stories about the shapes of the islands we passed!! We again got carried from the boat and all piled in the car (this time surrounded by children all waving and shouting!)

The final adventure was that the battery was flat again and so again we had to sort that out! In the end we borrowed one and a man to travel with us to a garage and he then travelled back with the battery once we had replaced it! The traffic in Kampala was stacked as usual and so the children got to catch up on three hours sleep on the way home! I don’t like to sleep int he car – there is so much to see on the roadside – shops and stalls and groups walking. I don’t want to waste a minute!

When we got back we found that as we had been expected 4 hours earlier (!) they had prepared supper so ate chappatti and chicken and samosas!!! (yeap the diet is going REALLY well- I had underestimated how many people would cook for us and be offended if we don’t eat – most seem to provide at least 5 carbohydrate dishes!!!!

Home to a hot shower, a cold beer and a DVD- plus a wireless internet connection we have bought for their home. A bizarre day of the every traditional and rustic Africa to the very modern and comtempary. A lot to process.

Thank you for your prayers by the way -all our tummies are back to normal and the heat is no longer a problem – even in the car as they have had the sunroof fixed so it opens and we get some air in the back. Simon has some bites on his feet which have been nasty and slightly infected so on Wed were very swollen and sore but are much better now. The next prayer request is for the children to sleep!!! They stay awake a long time and do sleep late but Roo seems to be awake a lot int he night (the guard dogs are SO loud all night) and this is really affecting his behaviour in the day and therefore my ability to cope with him! It is quite hard to have to do everything for them – from taking to the loo at Wellspring to cleaning their teeth with them with bottled water to remembering to give the tablets and cover in lotion and mossie repellent etc etc It is a little frustrating that I can’t do as much as I would like in the school but I had tried to prepare myself for this and the children are coping amazingly with every new situation and all the greeting and cuddles they get!! WE really enjoy our walk to Wellspring in the morning as we wave and greet everyone in Luganda!!!

Tomorrow (Saturday) we are off swimming and then to Mike’s for a BBQ. On Sunday we travel to Queen Elizabeth National Park for three days of Safari and won’t be back at Wellspring until Wed evening so the blog will be quiet but that doesn’t mean anything is wrong! I have a mobile here is anyone is keen to text (I sent one from the middle of Lake Victoria today!!-) The number is  +256753030001

PS IF you are readding this blog please do leave a message – it would be lovely to know you are out there!!

A girl’s night in! (Thursday!)

February 16th, 2007

It is very late on Friday as I type this and so this entry will be brief! Thursday was a simple but good day. Simon went into Kampala with Ronnie and they visited all the computer shops trying to get the best deal on new something-or-others for the computers at Wellspring. They chose to skip the meal at Wellspring and eat at Nando’s in town! ( a good decision as it happened!) Meanwhile the children and I went to watch ‘swimming’ (paddling!) at the nursery. It was fabulous, if hectic, as it was the first time the newest children had swum and all children were to have a turn (that is somewhere around 90 children!) There were one group swimming, one playing with water in big bowls and another playing in the sandpit. Roo and Abby got stuck in here and Roo was brilliant at congratulating the children on a successful sandcastle in both Luganda and English!

In the afternoon we made lego with Morgan and watched Cinderella (!) and then went to visit Marvin at his boarding school. Marvin is Herbert and Eve’s eldest son and was 8 on our last visit. It was lovely to see how he has grown into a man!! Most, if not all, children go to secondary boarding schools here – otherwise, with travelling the days are just too long – often lessons start at 6.30am and end at 8.30pm! YIKES Not good as it involves walking both ways in the dark every day in mad traffic.

We had a lovely supper with a couple from the church and then Simon led the worship group practise- teaching some new songs for Sunday and doing some teaching.

I put the children to bed and when the power came back on (!) had a very civilised evening with Eve and Joy watching The Lakehouse on DVD and enjoying a doughnut and a glass of wine!!!!

Housing Development project

February 15th, 2007

Today we had an easy morning at home while Simon was at work at the centre. It was overcast today and so comparatively cooler!! The heat really isn’t bad – only in the car when the windows don’t open and the air con doesn’t work! Otherwise it is easy to stay int he shade and we particularly love the balcony at Wellspring when a lovely breeze blows across the valley. It really helps that it isn’t humid.

After lunch at Wellspring (matoki- veg banana, ground nut sauce and sweet potato) we drove out about half an hour on the main road and then turned off onto dirt tracks and drove about 5 minutes into the ‘bush’. We are not such a spectacle around Wellspring  now as they are used to lots of white people visiting but here we were a novelty and had children chasing the car and waving frantically!

The Wellspring Housing Development project is fabulous. It was started a year ago when they found several people who for one reason or another (deserted by the husband or being very sick with Aids) who couldn’t afford any house. The rent was high on local houses and they had nothing to show for the rent. Wellspring bought land- 3 acres and started to build homes for two of these women to start with. The houses are either 2 or three bedroomed and have a lounge and small room for the kitchen or store (later to be the bathroom) and have an outside toilet (long drop as no running water yet) and a water collection tank to collect rainwater during the rainy season. We were shown inside and they are excellent and kept so clean and tidy! The rent is a kind of interest free mortgage, in that the house will become theirs and as rent is collected it is used to funding the building of other houses. Currently they have 6 but have plans for 25 with a community hall and children’s swing and play area in the centre.

We watched the men building bricks- they are using a terrific new system where they used the marram soil and a mix of cement and a little water and press them into bricks (Simon made one!) It is revolutionary here as the bricks 1) don’t have to be baked so save trees from being cut to make the fire, 2) the old kind of bricks were ruined if it rained before they were baked, 3) the bricks can be used straight away and so are much faster and 4) they are made in an interlocking shape (like a jigsaw piece) and so only need cement between layers and not between bricks- this saves money and resources. The houses cost around £2000 each to build but these new bricks mean it is about £1200 cheaper PER HOUSE. It is a fab new idea which is beginning to be used in other countries too to revolutionise teh building of houses and schools. Herbert is hoping to get a big business int eh UK involved to help fund the project and move it on quickly.

We were followed by a group of 4 children who we have a great time giving balloons and toys to and playing with bubbles! Hattie we gave the doll you didn’t like (!) to one of these little girls. She was so happy- I have the  video to show you. I expect it is her only toy and will be played with every day.

In the evening we were invited to join Eve’s family in a party for her nieces 17th birthday. It was also Valentin’es Day which is starting to be advertised here. We went to a sport’s bar (yes a sport’s bar) in Kampala. It really is starting to be a world of wide extremes. We stopped  in a  shop in  the centre with the restaurant and it sold EVERYTHING! English brands like Dove, computers by Dell etc It is so different from the tiny shed type shops in Bweyogerere (where we live)

The sports bar was in darkness when we arrived due to a ‘small problem’ with the generator. It was pitch black as we were on the roof in the open air (yes mum we had lots of mossie repellent on and yes Jo, we had taken our malaria tablets!) Eventually the power came on but it turned out it only lit the bar and the kitchen- for some reason that no one was able to explain- that is how the restaurant always is!!!! We ate by torchlight as I had briught Abby and Roo’s torches!!!

The traffic in Kampala is terrible now and made us late…however it made everyone else..later!!! We were due to finish at 8 but getting there at 7 we found no one else! At 9.15 the birthday girl arrived along with the rest of the party!!!! We had sat in the dark but at least the BBQ smelled great! HOWEVER (!) they had ordered a buffet for the party and so we went up to find all the usual food we had eaten all day – matoki, irish potatoes, cabbage, rice, chappatti etc Chicken casserole and goat casserole being the only changes!! There was a birthday cake and they did bring over a plate of BBQ goat after the meal for the tables to share!! It is FAB!!!

Tuesday…..

February 14th, 2007

Tuesday dawned bright and sunny (but no surprise there!) Simon spent the morning in the office trying to sort out the computer issues and the children and I (when they eventually woke up!) had some quiet time at the house drawing and writing and then went to Wellspring to watch the primary school have an aerobics lesson! It was great fun…the children laughed so much! My children joined in a  little but it was hot! We went into the nursery for a while and gave the head teacher the presents we had brought for the 5 primary classes. Roo was most excited by the lego police boat which he thinks Morgan’s class should have and then as it has a motor, they should drive it on the nursery paddling pool. We spent sometime in the nursery and then joined the staff for lunch (pea casserole, avocado and rice) After lunch Simon led most of the staff in some IT training on excel and I took the children to the home of a lady we knew from last visit. Her name is Sarah. She has 4 children- two of which – Mirembe and John were some of our ‘favouties’ last time and are just as special now! She and her children , husband and sister live in one room the size of a shed. I genuinely don’t know where they sleep as it is full with two small sofas and a coffee table. We took sodas and gifts and she bought both my children a bunch of small bananas. She showed me her photo album which had the photos I gave her last time and one of Roo as a baby! She is moving to a two room house next week so is excited to show me. It was very humbling to spend time with her. I told her how much her English has improved since our last visit- she said she learnt from the sermons- she listens to the translations and learns new words.

In the evening (all kitted out in long trousers and mossie repellent) we walked to Patrick and Annets. When we left they were in a  two roomed house far away but now how the start if a lovely home just up the road from wellspring. They are our other main family that we support and  stay in contact with (many of you will remember at the first Nativity play we were praying for Annet who was going into labour at 20 something weeks) Well we got to meet the safe arrival – James and see how their home is growing. Here there are no mortgages so you build as you can. They have about half of the house built and our Christmas gift was used to increase the wall around their home to give them privacy and to stop people dumping rubbish and  walking across their land. They are so proud of their home and garden. Patrick has planted matoki trees (vegetable banana), as well as mango, pawpaw, guava, jack fruit, avocado etc Here the soil is so rich and the weather so good trees grow almost as you watch them! He has planted a lawn and has shade to sit and privacy. Someone gave him money recently and he used it to buy a strong gate. They made us so welcome and had cooked so many dishes for us: matoki from their garden, cabbage, irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, pork casserole, peas, pumpkin. they really spoiled us. We took sodas (spot the theme!) It was so good to be together again and to talk. Annet is doing a course to improve her English and is doing so well. It was so much easier to communicate this time and we were able to talk properly. Patrick and Annet are coming to the UK in June for 8 weeks. The only sad thing was that their two oldest children who we know well are away at boarding school so we missed seeing them. We may be able to visit them at school. It is sad that here the children all go away from home for a term at a time to boarding schools when they get to 10 years old. Herbert and eve’s son Marvin is away but we are planning to visit him on Thursday. Annet helped Abby to experience her first ‘long drop’ toilet which she was very excited about and came in to tell us all about it! Roo was shattered all evening and slept for 13 hours!!! I think it is the heat! Overall the children are coping so well and really enjoying themselves. The friendships with Herbert and Eve and the children are fantastic and we really feel at home in their house.

The nursery and more….

February 14th, 2007

Simon has finally left the laptop (to shower) and it is my turn. We are having a wonderful time!! Even better than we expected!! It has just been wonderful (and emotional) to see all our friends again. Church was fab people here wander in very late so  every time we turned around there was someone new that we were wanting to see! We have met old friends and lots of children born since we left! We met the little girl we sponsor to go to the nursery here and she came and sat with us and brought Abby a pink flower (ahh..the way to Abby’s heart!) and so they became firm friends! Her name is Faith and is Patrick and Annet’s daughter. She also now knows all about Bertie and Hattie!!!!! I went with the children (after an hour and a half in church(!) to KidsZone. It was fun – the teenage boys who led it were really animated and fun but it is so strange to see the children sit so still and quietly (a cultural thing) – except Tabby and Morgan and my two of course! The leaders acted out a story and were great fun to watch. It is fun to play ‘spot the grown up baby’ and try to put names to faces from before. Note to my cell- our prayers that I would recognise and remember names was answered (and continues to be!) and has made all the difference (the only two I forgot I think are understandable – Restie and Teddy!!) KidsZone was about an hour long with songs and the drama and recap on last week and testimonies and prayer. But no moving, colouring etc. It is so different. They went around the circle of about 30 children and asked how they helped their mothers- it was very moving to hear how many said they helped to fetch water and wash dishes. This is about all they do in their spare time many of them and it reminds you how blessed we are and how much we take for granted. School fees are a huge issue here too and it is very humbling to think that in the UK we all have the right to free education. Here the poorest families struggle to find school fees for each child each term. Most people have no concept of saving or bank accounts and are not on a salary so really struggle and stress to collect enough money (all children here should be in universal primary education but EVERY school charges- just different amounts and often ‘school’ is way too generous a term.) Anyway….the rest of Sunday was lovely – lots of people came to Herbert and eve’s for lunch and supper and they were still trying to feed us English food so they made pizza, spaghetti and mince. We were very touched. Despite theta all of us are having a little trouble with upset tummies so please do pray for that! A local couple popped in to chat and tell us about their work. The lady works in a special needs school. It was incredible to talk to her and to hear her stories (I will save those ..for adult ears only!) The children  had a  ball – lots of attention and time to play with Tabby and Morgan. They cleaned all the stones in the yard and played hide and seek for hours. A game which is very restricted by the wall surrounding the property but they seem happy enough. (oh talking of Happy- many poeple here have misheard Abby’s name and call her Happy!!!!!-apparently it is also a name here – I am sure they just make up words to be names!)

On Monday we went  to Wellspring and went into the Nursery. There were 12 when I left and today there were 216 int eh school! There are 51 new children int he nursery starter class! All the children had had their snack (pineapple and do nut) and were outside in the playground. They have a swing and slide and roundabout too. My children were centre of attention which they coped with brilliantly as many came and laughed and wanted to touch them. I just looked  around and marvelled at the numbers!! Oh and waved and smiled- something I seem to do all day!  We gave the teachers all the gifts we had brought. First they opened the black doll from Bertie and Hattie and were so delighted to have a black doll! They loved Bertie’s letter and have put it up on the wall in the entrance hall for all to see! They think Bertie and Hattie are very beautiful and very generous! I will take photo of the children playing with it and bring them home. They also loved the greeting poster from Abby’s playgroup and this too has pride of place in the entrance hall. It looks great! The children and I sat with a large group on the carpet and played games with the toys and read a book and played with puppets. It was a bit chaotic and the children are so new to school they push forward and  snatch but we all coped and we left when we enough! It is a long morning for them all- they are there from 8 until 1.  We ate at Wellspring with all the staff (we had chappatti, meat casserole and cabbage) There are so many people working there now – all the school staff and then all the medical centre people – nurses, doctor, midwife, dentist plus all the office staff. In the afternoon Simon carried on working on their IT and the children and came home to rest and play with Tabby and Morgan (who leave school at 1) In the evening we went to visit Margaret in her home. Her son is sponsored by Jo and Phil and she is lovely! Her husband has been unemployed for 7 years but late last year she released him to go to Sudan to work. He is gone for three months and then comes home for a week. We had a lovely time together- she has a son and daughter – Samuel and Samantha who are about the same ages as mine so they played while we talked. We took bottled sodas ( a treat but also the safest way to ensure that what we are drinking is safe for us) and she gave us hot roasted peanuts (called ground nuts here) We gave her the gifts from the Prestons and they were delighted – we videoed lots for Jo and Phil and the children played together with their new presents. Their home with small and simple but they made us so welcome and were so delighted that we visited and by the love that they are shown by Jo and Phil. It was a lovely evening.

If you want to get in touch

February 12th, 2007

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That number is 0208 144 0456 – it will go to voicemail if I’m busy, which I am, most of the time!

I think I’ve set the site so that you can register, which I assume emails you when there are updates. You don’t need to register to add comments however, and they are always welcome!

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Arrived, rested and raring to go

February 11th, 2007

The plane finally took off about an hour late, with no explanation, but I guess due to the backlog from the snow. Ah snow, what a distant memory – it’s Sunday afternoon and I’m currently sitting in the Wellspring office, about three minutes walk from the Wanjela’s house where we are staying. It’s 5.30pm and about 25C – today’s cooler than normal! But all is well, very well, we have settled in wonderfully, and apart from the kids having a little trouble with the heat, it has been a great first few days.

The plane journey was, unavoidably I guess, little fun. Clare felt queasy throughout, and having to keep settle the kids didn’t help. Meanwhile Reuben and I were apparently the last people on the plane to get food, at about midnight, as the trolley ran out just behind us, and the trolley ahead took seemingly forever to reach us. It wasn’t worth the wait. Anyway, ‘Flushed Away’ kept the kids occupied until the began to drowse, meanwhile I thought I’d watch ‘Babel’, which is up for lots of awards – I’m sure the director was trying to do something clever, unfortunately it was also very dull -I want those two hours of my life back please.

The whole flight had been in the dark, so the sun rose over Africa in the last hour of our journey, and we touched down at Entebbe, and quickly got through customs. As we walked out of the airport Clare and I both looked at each other with a big smile, it felt just as though we had never been away, the heat, the smiling black faces all around us, and the fresh breeze coming off Lake Victoria. And then out of the sea of faces Herbet and Eve, who many of you will have met last year in the UK, started shouting our names, and for the first time we got to meet their two children, Morgan (6) and Tabby (4). They immediately grabbed a pretty happy Reuben and Abby, and we trundled our moving mountain of bags to their car – a big 4×4 8-seater MPV. In fact, as their oldest son, Marvin, is away at boarding school, they were pretty much the Ugandan mirror image of us! And it’s become apparent over the last couple of days that Reuben and Morgan both share a similar shyer, more thoughtful character, while Abby and Tabby (yes that is already confusing!) have quickly taken to storming around the place, both wanting to ‘be the leader’ – they are all getting on wonderfully.

Herbert and Eve’s homeThe journey to Bweyogerere was about an hour and a half, and very familiar; from Entebbe, the international airport, through Kampala, and out to Bweyogerere to the west of the city. What really stood out was how the spread of housing and shops had expanded exponentially since we had gone. In 2000 much of the Entebbe Road was left to forest with the occasional settlement – now the development is almost continuous. There are a few notably impressive buildings – set up in anticipation of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference, led by our very own HRH Queen Elizabeth. The residents are reasonably proud to be hosting it, but really hope that it means the roads might be brought up to some kind of usable standard so not to shake the dignified bottoms that will be attending. There is legitimate concern however, about the number of hotels springing up to cope with what is ultimately a two week event. For example, Herbert’s old school, in central Kampala with over 1,000 pupils, has just been sold and demolished to make room for yet another hotel.

Enough of the politics – I’ll briefly say what we have been up to. After we arrived on Friday we felt very well, but Herbert and Eve’s wise advise to try having a rest found us all asleep for a couple of hours in the afternoon – well all but Reuben, who proceeded to fall asleep at dinner that we had out at a fabulous Indian restaurant, Nawabs, that used to be one of our favourites. It has now moved to the top of an impressive three storey shopping mall, which was incredibly western throughout – just another sign of Kampala extraordinary pace of development. Our happiness at being reintroduced to the almost legendary Ugandan lager, ‘Nile Special’ was compounded by the fact it is only 80p a pint, in a restaurant! In fact most dishes were £2-3 for top-notch Indian cuisine.

Saturday’s trip to ‘the park’ turned out to be not a stroll amongst leafy palm trees, but much to our surprise a visit to Kampala’s very own Thorpe Park -‘Didi’s World’. So let any thoughts you had of us deep in the African jungle be banished right now, as our first full day incorporated a very amusing bumper car session, a wide selection of merry-go-rounds featuring cars, animals, trains and even boda-bodas (mopeds), and then a Moonbase type activity centre to finish. Bizarrely the entire place was deserted, a wedding, which we got to observe, may have meant people stayed away, but for £1.50 a person for the day, I’m surprised there aren’t more Brits here avoiding the queues at Alton Towers! It was a unique experience, that was a real surprise, in more ways than I can ever say here… let’s just leave it at that. We actually ended up eating at a Korean restaurant that evening (come to Uganda, eat Korean…) it was an absolutely amazing place, elegantly finished in more marble than I’ve seen for a long time. It would have cost a fortune in London, I think it came to about £5 each.

Today we had church, at Wellspring Christian Fellowship. It was wonderful to be back, greeted very warmly by many who know us from when we worked here. The church is about 200 strong I guess, but you would never know that at the beginning of the service, as people slowly arrive over the first hour. By 11am, after the first hour of worship, most have arrived. Seeing Patrick, the pastor and a close friend, preach was very exciting, he has come on such a long way in his maturity and authority. He was teaching from the story of Joseph, about setting goals and persevering – a message that will tie in well into what I will be teaching – but more of that, and our now well filled itinerary, next time.

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Ready and waiting…

February 8th, 2007

So, today’s the day, in fact, I write this as we sit at the departure gate, waiting for our plane, so this is the very hour!

Waking to five inches of snow was a bit of a shock, but it kept Reuben and Abby busy all morning – they are pretty hyped, but coping pretty well. I guess the transistion from snow to equatorial sun couldn’t be much more stark. It actually meant the journey here was very easy, as we enjoyed a very clear drive to Heathrow, as so many people hadn’t driven to work this morning. Upon arrival at the check-in however, it was a different matter, an absolute scrum throughout the airport – it was complicated and unclear for us, let alone visitors to our country trying to get home.

We’ve invested in a great little piece of technology for the kids – they are both sitting in the departure lounge, listening to their own mp3 players. Reuben is engrossed in the tales of Brer Rabbit, Abby’s chosen Beauty and the Beast. I’ve dumped about 35 hours of material on to them, so it should keep them busy.

Well, we’ll be boarding shortly, so the next issue will be from Uganda! Thank you all for your prayers, we look forward to keeping you updated.

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Four days to go…

February 5th, 2007

Well, our bags are packed, and we are ready to go, at least, the kids are.. The cries of ‘are we nearly there yet’ seem to be a little premature, but there has been so much build up for Reuben and Abby, who can blame them.

Last week we finally got some good phone time with Eve, Wellspring’s administrator, and Patrick, the leader of the Wellspring Christian Fellowship to firm up the itenary. Although, in Uganda, firming up any schedule is usually a loose term.

Our flight leaves on Thursday, at 9pm, which means we arrive in Entebbe, Uganda’s main airport, at about 8am Friday morning. Quite civilised apart from being woken for breakfast at about 5am.

Any bets please on whether the kids will sleep… (praise the Lord for in-flight movies!)