Monday, April 13, 2009

Neighbor to Kenya

Spring break I spent in Uganda visiting Kristen Fry, a friend from back home, and rafting the Nile River. GOOD TIMES!

I arrived Saturday, on an early flight, excited to explore more parts of Africa . Kristen organized our time so that I could see some of Uganda's main attractions and cities... Entebbe, Kampala (the capital), Lake Victoria, the market place, and taxi park.

Kristen currently works with African Inland Missions, providing resources for local street kids. Right up my alley. I had the opportunity to meet her co-workers at Dwelling Place and the kids they look after. We brought them 6 stalks of sugar cane and played all day.

Means of transport in Uganda's crazy traffic: take a taxi or a boda-boda. My personal preference is the second one, what we know to be a motorcycle. Inexpensive and fun!

Tuesday, I worked my way through 12 rapids down the Nile River. I cannot describe to you how breathtaking this experience was. I went with a group of teachers from school (Eric, Becca, Jonathan, and Kate) and together we paddled through the bends and curves of the Nile. Our guide, Juma, was hilarious. I promise I spent half the day laughing. The rapids ranged anywhere from a class one to class five. We were a strong group but about 55 percent of the time our boat flipped. The best thing though is that everything is on video.

Results Are In

Both community development fundraisers have come to an end. In the "donation of slightly used shoes" project we reached our goal of 150 pairs, and then exceeded it in abundance. The shoes were delivered by 10 WNS students to kids in Sinai slum on March 20th. We spent time walking through the slum, interacting with kidos, and sharing about God's love. I am proud of my students, that they had open hearts to work hands on with the less fortunate in our surrounding area.

And... thanks to several of you at home, we are sending 166 Mitumba slum children to VBS (Vacation Bible School) at the end of April. Our original goal was to receive 200 sponsorships, but what we achieved is fabulous. To send one child it was roughly 25 dollars, meaning that we raised over 4,ooo dollars all together. Once we get back from Spring break, WNS high school students will start to prepare lessons/activities to share over the week long camp. I also want to thank our partner organization, Christian Mission Aid, in helping our projects to be successful.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tossed About

Many people have asked, "Do I feel safe in Africa?" My response to that question is definitely yes, but there has been a few instances recently where I would answer the contrary. As a whole we are instructed to use common sense in not staying out past dark, always letting someone know where you are at, and not walking alone on the streets.

Two weeks ago I attended a national soccer game, Kenya vs. Tunisia, at our local Coco Cola Stadium. This was a big game! If you don't already know this, soccer is HUGE in Africa. Over 30,000 people showed up for the event.

Just to get into the stadium was quite an ordeal. Unorganized chaos is what I would call it. We observed for a while the mob pushing through the gates and realized there was no other way to get in but to push through ourselves. So, in we went while tucking away the few possessions we brought to the game. Uncomfortably being pushed around and pick pocked we made it to the front of the mob. My friend Josh thankfully made it through but I on the other hand did not. The gates were closed and for a few minutes I was left to fend for my own. I endured the moment coming out with only a few bruises on the other end.

After making it through the first gate there was still one more to go. We joined up with other friends, and found a line to stand in as we ravaged through our remaining personal items. Despite our efforts to hide things, jewelry, josh's wallet, our tickets, money had still been taken. Then, a downpour of rain came. Our nice line that we were in ran for cover, and back to a crowded mob again. As we got closer to the door we were required to hand over tickets. In the meantime, we come across new tickets to replace the ones we lost, but others in the crowd had not. These people were chased off by armed police, almost trampling us several times. A crazy day I tell you. We did make it in to see the game, and enjoyed watching our team win the match 3-1 and the fans overwhelmingly show their enthusiasm.

Since I've been in Kenya my phone has been stolen twice. Once at school, and the other while my roommate, Julie and I, were driving down a heavily populated street in town. Taken right from my hands. Having to replace my phone and numbers was quite a hassle. I am not sad over the fact that something was taken from me though, instead my heart is burdened for the individuals who justify stealing something from someone who looks like they have more. If these individuals would have asked I would have gladly helped them, but unfortunately they did not. I recognize that there is a survival mentality here, which I don't completely understand myself because I have not been faced with it. I do believe though that there are other ways to provide for your family without stealing. I pray for these individuals and their desire to do the right thing.