Imagine the difference between night and day and you’re halfway there. What a world apart Uganda is compared to the US – from what is worn as clothing to what is eaten as food to what is said in conversation to how a home is kept in order. But no difference is more obvious than what we have seen in Namatala. This is the struggling, neglected village God has chosen for us to help, and it is awful. The stench alone of hard brewing alcohol, mixing with dirty, dieselized air and the smell of rubbish and body excrement is enough to gag. And these people live in this. Mud on the ground everywhere, small huts for homes, they use the bathroom wherever they want/can, men leaving the home simply to go and sit somewhere where they don’t have to be around the women and children; small market stalls line the main streets where flea and fly infested goods are sold for shillings as motorbikes and bicycles take people from one place to the next.
“Muzungu” is the word for white man, and you hear it a lot in Namatala. Probably because you are the only one they’ve ever seen. They are all wanting to touch you. They like rubbing your skin for some reason; as if they hope some good luck comes off of you onto them in the process. And God help you if you have a camera around your neck! If they see it, it is all they want, just to be in a picture. Then they want to see what you’ve taken so they try to grab at the camera to see the screen.
I am glad to have seen this with my own eyes. Haley has tried to tell me in pictures and words what it is like here, but none compares to being here. We even shared the Gospel today in people’s homes, which was quite difficult. You have no idea if they are going to welcome you or kick you out, listen to you or curse you. Luckily we were welcomed everywhere, even into a muslim home, and prayed with new believers and shared life stories. Please keep these new believers in your prayers!
Today is my favorite day but there is no guarantee that I might say the same thing tomorrow. We started off on foot sharing the gospel and near the end ran into Faizo’s Gaga (pronounced jaja) who asked us to pray for her family because the rains have flooded her home. She is the Gaga who takes care of 10 children and also this lady can praise the Lord in church.. my goodnesss!!!.. so we walked to her home and were able to assist her in hiring someone to dig trenches around the hut to prevent future floods. It cost us about 10 dollars to hire a laborer for 2 days to dig the trench. It amazes me that 48 Hours of back-breaking digging equivocates to $10 dollars. It is also very humbling to know that it would have taken her a month’s time to earn that kind of money.. unbelievable. I am so glad to be able to hear her prayer and be used by God to answer her cry for help.
Another highlight was bible study with the Ichooseyou children at the church. We brought “The Word is Comforting” felt pillows for the children to make after memorizing Isa 49:13. Their precious voices still echo in my head and heart, “Shout for Joy, O heavens. Rejoice, O earth. Burst into song, O Mountains. For the Lord comforts his people..”.
Also, the small things in life are the greatest. Watching them put together puzzles was so special. They first got so upset when I broke apart their pictures… not knowing that the purpose was to put it back together again.. what a funny concept haha. I enjoyed watching their little minds’ work, fitting edge to edge and smiling everytime they succeeded.
We went to Sipi Falls today! This is the most popular of waterfalls in Mbale, and it is gorgeous! It was kind of overcast today so it kind of took away from its majesty, but it was still great to get so close to it. We took the thirty IChooseYou children with us also, which was quite an adventure. They were singing so loud all the way there. And to them, singing is like yelling. They have no volume, just loud.
We walked down to the falls and let the kids walk around. Its so funny how they got so cold. Some of them were crying and it was like 60 degrees. Haha. They just cant handle the cold.
Once we were done, we all ate chappati’s (which is basically like tortillas) and sodas. Soda tastes so much better here!
Tomorrow is our last day in Uganda, may it be a blessed one as we share a meal with the Ichooseyou families and may the children continue to do well in school!