Oh, what a great day. ( I will post pics when I return home…the Wifi is painfully slow here.)
I awoke to one of the most beautiful mornings I’ve ever had. The weather was slightly overcast with no rain, but a cool 65 degrees. Uganda is on the Equator and everything is so very green. Palm trees pressed against mango and papaya trees. Lush hedges, green grass. You just really need to see it for yourself. Sam was running late this morning so I simply grabbed a chair and took it just outside the small cafe/kitchen of the hotel…took my coffee with me and just soaked it all in. It was a moment of refreshing and gratefulness.
Sam arrived about 40 minutes later and we went inside and had some breakfast. The way to explain the breakfast would be to simply call it a breakfast burrito. Africa has their version of flatbread…but its thinner than flatbread. Maybe it could be Africa’s version of a tortilla…but it thicker than a tortilla…its called chapati. They have the most wonderful egg omelets….they cook them very thin. Then they take the omelet and lay it on the chapati and roll it like an awesome breakfast burrito. Africa is known for tea so there is plenty of it to drink. It was nearly a perfect morning. The only thing missing was you!
When breakfast was finished we gathered up our daily items of water bottles and bags, mosquito repellent. (BTW…there are hardly any mosquitos this trip…it’s the rainy season and there seem to be very few.), a few snacks and we were off to the 15 minute drive to Sam’s School called, “Wings of Grace.”
The children at the school were ready. When I got out of the car you could hear the shrills of excitement and you could see the children waving their welcomes! Today was a day of presentations and celebrations. Dancing, singing, laughing, playing. Pure Joy! I was treated like a guest of honor. So many children introducing themselves in front of the whole school. Singing with great passion, loudness, rhythm, and spectacular African dancing. These children know how to dance. It is obvious that they feel the music when they dance! You must come witness it with me.
The presentation went on for an hour or two. The teachers of the school acted out a play that made all my smile muscles ache. The children were given gifts from some left over Samaritan’s purse Christmas boxes and this really created a buzz of joy. When the celebration was over, I was hugged and thanked for helping them have better lives. It is quite an emotional experience. The people of Bugiri Uganda are so grateful and they express it with purity back to God and anybody who has blessed their lives.
I climbed back into the car and it was time to go and visit some fresh water wells that we have been able to provide. These visits are exciting to me. It requires that we travel deeper into the African bush. We get out of town and head into the equator of the earth. It is beautiful. So much untouched natural creation. You see it like God created it and it is breathtaking. And then you arrive to meet God’s favorite of all creation…his people. Many of these people, out in the African bush, have not seen white people. I scared many children! LOL. It is quite an experience to be the only white person for miles and miles. Even if they have seen a white person, it is rare and fascinating to them. It is a strange experience. These people of God’s creation are beautiful and expressive…and in great desperation of the very things we in America take for granted. Clean water. There is much food in Uganda. My trip this time brought me right into the middle of mango season. They are EVERYWHERE. The ground is littered with mangos. It is a time of joy for the kids. As we drive down the roads…more like cattle trails instead of roads…you can see little village mud huts and outside are children climbing the mango trees or a group of them standing under a mango tree with a long stick trying to knock off the fresh mango fruit about to fall. When you greet the children this time of year and shake their hands…they are very sticky from the sugar of mangos. Its not gross…its funny. Nothing a little wash of the hands from the new fresh water borehole won’t take care of!
The boreholes…aka…fresh water wells that are hand pumped…provide the cleanest freshest water you’ve seen. We visited one in a village called Sanika that was drilled in the shade of some huge trees…some of them mango trees. It seemed the water came out ice cold and as clear as I’ve ever seen it. Prior to receiving this borehole the people would have to walk about 2 miles, one direction, to carry water back from a diseased water hole. This water hole is at the low point of the area, so all the rainwater running off the land and picking up animal feces and dead animal carcass disease with it. Then the people have no choice but to drink it. It is their only option. Until you came into the picture. Thank you for teaming with me and Return Hope. We are providing fresh water wells to people who have never had fresh water in their lives.
When the well begins to pump…and the people begin to drink the fresh water. I am convinced you can witness them getting healthier already. Fresh water wells changes the life of someone immediately. Their kidneys and liver begin to function properly because they are loaded down with water born diseased and bacteria. Skin diseases go away. Nobody should have to drink dirty water in the 21 century. Thank you.
We are in process of actually drilling 7 fresh water holes as you are reading this. Each borehole can easily serve 10,000 people. That is a lot of changed lives. That is a lot of thankfulness. You can imagine my day as we traveled and visited these fresh water wells. The people knew we were coming and they were excited. The came bearing gifts of nuts, mangos, chickens. We had to accept their gifts. Our trunk of the car was full. We simply take the gifts back to the school children in town. It is a win/win for everybody. We were in some very poor villages or we would have probably had several goats given to us as well.
One of the wells we drilled recently…had a problem and dried up. We don’t know why. But, we promise the people that Return Hope will never leave something that goes wrong undone. You and I both know that things can go wrong. So…it was exciting for me to show up and tell the people who’s well had gone dry that the drilling rigs would be following behind the new water surveyors and that a new well would be drilled within the next 14 days. It feels good to prove our integrity. I’m almost grateful for the well drying up, because it gave me a chance to prove I’m a man of my word. The people were so grateful. Imagine how concerned they must have felt after having fresh water for 6 months and then seeing the well literally go dry. I imagine the people felt deep desperation thinking they would have to return to the diseased water source. Again…it didn’t take long for us to solve the problem. We found out the drilling company we were using…didn’t actually survey that specific water well location. The locals told us they never brought out a surveyor like they usually do, or what is professionally called a geophysical surveyor equipment that identifies where great underwater sources are. So…we fired that company and interviewed a new one and we are convinced this one will not try to cheat us. Time tells all things! We are able to fix any problems with the wells without any extra costs to the donor who gave the money for the well to be drilled. God is good….he provides, if you trust Him!
Return Hope charges 7000.00 US dollars for a fresh water borehole. You can’t beat that price…and I promise you we do it with the best materials for drilling and pumping. The water wells and the land are given as a gift to the community. Nobody but God owns that water well and the people respect it and desperately need it. I’ll post pictures when I return.
That is what we did the rest of the day. It began to get dark and the rain clouds were looking pretty dark and were approaching. As the sun was setting I got to ride in the car back out of the African bush and into town. Again…Uganda isn’t nicknamed “The Pearl of Africa” for no reason. You must see it with your own eyes.
I’m considering a short trip in October. I think I can get us all back here for about 5 days on the ground for a very good price. Do you think you could scramble raising some funds and join me? October is one of the cheapest times to fly to Africa. That is the biggest expense. I don’t bring people to Africa to make money. I do all I can to break even on the costs. I promise you we will do a quick mission trip at the cheapest price I can get you. You must come with me. You’ll never be the same.
I’m preparing to leave Africa today. I have a 3 hour drive back into the city of 5 million. Kampala Africa. My plane doesn’t leave until 11:30 pm. I think I have just finally adjusted to the 10 hour time change…but with only 3 days on the ground…it’s time to be thrown off my time clock again. It can be a pretty brutal flight. I won’t lie to you. But it’s worth it.
I love you and I’m grateful you have read along this journey with me. Thank you for investing in Return Hope, financially. If you are not doing so, would you please consider it?
Jesus did so much for each of us. We must return the love in anyway we can. I can’t think of a better place or a better people, or a better need than those of Uganda.
If you have questions please just contact me.
The emails come directly to me. I will personally answer them quickly.
See you back on USA soil soon.
Travel with me to Africa soil soon!