Gerald and Sue Paulk are currently in Uganda on a mission trip sponsored by Four Corners, a ministry with whom SIFAT has partnered many times. SIFAT executive director Tom Corson and international team coordinator Peggy Walker are also on this trip. While in Africa, they are serving with William Nsubuga and his son Sean at Agape Total Childcare Center. William, a SIFAT graduate, started an orphanage in Lugazi for children whose parents died because of HIV/AIDS.
This day began with thunder claps, and then it started, again…rain. The Four Cornersâ€™ gang, along with Tom Corson and Peggy Walker from SIFAT picked us up at the Colline Hotel, and we headed for the Orphanage. When we arrived, the crowd was enormous, as word travels quickly when free medical care and medicines are available. In fact, one lady had traveled from Kenya, at least 50 miles away, to be treated. We were without electricity for the first hour, so we made that â€œtough loveâ€ decision to see only 150 on Thursday. We saw and treated, or maybe even just consoled, everything from a man with a club foot to a mother who brought in her child with Down Syndrome (about which she apparently knew nothing). At dayâ€™s end, many were still lined up for treatment, but had to be turned away. I doubt any of us will ever fathom how well off we really are, amidst our griping about only manna in the â€œwildernessâ€.
While Sue and the gang were finishing up with clinic patients, William and Gerald took Tom and Peggy on a tour of the newly acquired (still not fully paid for) property near Mukono and then traveled to the â€œannointedâ€ garden for a brief tour.Â Tom and Peggy were, rightfully, impressed with both. The facilities on the new property were designed to house a school, but midway through construction, the owner developed other interests. When construction is completed, some 50 orphans can have a new home and facilities to attend school on site.
God is doing some amazing things through this Ministry.
We again were awakened this morning by the sounds of (noisy) African birds. Breakfast today included unsweetened mango juice; sounds healthy, looks good, but not so great. After breakfast, we enjoyed the private gardens here at the Colline Hotel. The gardens are quite large with several areas for outdoor events, but within 50 yards of this quiet and expansive area is the main road from Kampala to Jinja, which resembles the African version of the Massachusetts Turnpike, lined with hundreds of makeshift businesses, most of which offer cell phone and internet cards.
William picked us up at the Colline, and the three of us headed to Jinja, Ugandaâ€™s second largest city and the location of the source of the River Nile. It is really an incredible site seeing the slow moving waters of Lake Victoria turn into the rapids of the River Nile. Actually, technically the Victoria Nile, where several river sources and the headwaters of the White Nile combine to form the River. Then, along about Sudan, the White Nile merges with the Blue Nile to form the Great River Nile, which flows through Egypt and finds its way in the Mediterranean Sea. If you dropped a floating object in the Lake where we were situated, three months later, it would end up in the Mediterranean Sea. We then toured downtown Jinga, which, well, you just have to see the photographs. In many areas, it was bumper to bumper vehicles, motorcycles, people and vendors (most of whom were selling fresh fruits and vegetables).
On the way back to Mukono, we continued to be amazed more accidents (actually fatalities) do not occur on this main road: no yellow lines, no road signs of ANY kind, no stop signs for intersecting roads, no traffic lights, only one out of every 100 motorcycle drivers wears a helmet, etc. People in Uganda are so soft-spoken and in no hurry until they get behind the wheel of a car/van or on a motorcycle. When we stopped at a pharmacy to get Sue some medicine for the cold she was developing, two motorcycles collided head on. We just wondered, just possibly, if a contributing factor was that one of the motorcycles had no light on and it was dark! Incredibly and thankfully, no one was injured.
Long, but beautiful day. Despite the congestion and sheer numbers of human bodies concentrated in such small areas along the main road, you can gaze upward and see lush rolling hills covered in seas of green: sugar cane, tea and coffee plantations and rain forests. Churchill appropriately labeled Uganda the â€œpearl of Africaâ€.