The three days I have been here in Jinja, Uganda have been wrought with adventure, amazement, and emotions I didn’t know could come out of me. After a delayed 50+ hour trip from Washington DC to Entebbe (including a mostly unwanted one-night stay in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where I danced traditional dance in a club full of content Ethiopians), I finally arrived and greeted my fiancée Melissa for the first time in over 3 months. Being with her for these three days has been incredible. Her heart for the people here reflects her love for God.
Upon arriving, Melissa told me that Julie (the current in-country director) will be leaving early (in about 2.5 weeks) as opposed to February, when she was previously going to leave. This means that Melissa and I are “in charge” now. It’s an odd feeling, but we’re ready to dive in. She has shown me around Jinja, including the ways of getting around (piki – motorcycle, boda – bicycle, and by “footing it”).
We live in a house with 4 other people – Julie, Josh, Ian, and Amberle. They’re all wonderful in their own way and I’m having a blast getting to know them. The house is beautiful. We have a “house girl” – Betty, and night guard, George. They’re quite the duo, and really amazing, beautiful Ugandans. I’m sure I will post pictures sometime soon.
Monday, Melissa, Ian, Amberle, Josh and I went to Amani Baby Cottage, an orphanage for children 5 years or under located right near Lake Victoria. After years of hearing about this child, Bobby, from Melissa (see picture below!), I finally met him! He is a child who has suffered much yet has the strength and hope to find ways to laugh and to love. I am anxiously awaiting the next time we go to Amani. We will probably go once a week or so.
Yesterday was my first day in the village of Danida. This is where many of the ‘Suubi’ ladies live (the women who make the necklaces – www.suubiafrica.org). Danida is full of dirty brick buildings, boarded up windows, and children who seem eager to hold the hands of us Mzungus. The trip there was overwhelming to say the least. One of my favorite moments there was meeting Jaja Margaret (Grandmother Margaret). She is a woman with a happy disposition and many children. I was surprised to find that she had made me a necklace. She gave it to me and I said “afoyo” (thank you in Luo). Overall, an overwhelmingly beautiful day in which I gave thanks to God for his faithfulness in bringing me here to be so blessed. There are no words and there is no way of describing the beauty of the people and of this place.