Monday, May 9, 2011

Days with a difference

Yesterday was Mother's Day. Not a day that we have made a huge fuss of in Australia but one that we certainly have celebrated and enjoyed. Apart from Facebook I think I would have forgotten that it was on. Saturday, I was very excited to hear of the birth of my sister's first grandchild. It was a real celebration for me thinking of her becoming a grandmother and the joy that the new baby will bring to all. I was able to speak to my Mum and Dad on Skype which is always special. Sunday morning, in my usual ritual I look through emails and facebook. I was pleasantly surprised by two lovely messages. Both brought tears to my eyes, a sense of missing the children and pleasure that though we are missed, our children can identify and appreciate God's call on our lives and the bigger picture for others.

At church and the village there was no mention of Mother's day though I had ascertained that it is celebrated in Uganda on the same day as Australia. We were able to have some lovely conversations with some of our children. In a conversation later in the day a local pastor expressed that celebrations are done very well in Australia. It is great that we celebrate our mothers. It is lovely to be celebrated but I do believe I was richer this year for not having to be 'spoilt' but appreciated. There was no pressure to buy something for me, (though Trudy did buy me some roses!) but the sentiments shared were very meaningful and a great blessing. It is so good to celebrate but great to keep the important the important. Thank you my very special children for who you are and all you mean to us.

I did get to celebrate motherhood in Uganda though. We had a lovely lunch out, people dropping in to catch up with us about various matters in the afternoon and then a great supper (tea) with the children. I really love Sunday nights for this. In Australia we would often gather as a family and we have continued to do this with a bigger family here. One of the mother's was away at her niece's wedding, look how great she looked in this photo. (Sorry for the aside but I did not want you to miss out on that). So, since there was a need I got to bathe one of the younger children which of course is fun when you don't have to do it. We shared a great meal - I do like African food except posho and small fish! Then, a great time of worship together. There are children all over you and clapping and singing. In the singing, praying and devotion I managed to have four children fall asleep on me! They were all little ones and they seem to manage it no matter how uncomfortable - not what I remember - our children always wanted to be part of the action to the very end! Then, I helped out by putting some of the younger ones into bed and tucking them in - they manage to sleep with a blanket, we have not resorted to one yet. It was such a great day for me. So often I think I practised on our children and now I know so much more. The children of all the different ages are a delight. Yes, they are not perfect but it is so nice to be a part of their lives. I think I am really a JaJa (Lugandan word for grandparent) of lots of children.
Today has been very different again. Ron will have a post on this and I haven't seen it so there is probably overlap but hopefully it won't bore you. We still don't have the container so Ron needed to make phone calls there. The guest house that is being built needed to have plumbing supplies bought. A letter needed to be typed up for someone. All these completed Ron, Trudy and I headed into town. First stop was the bank. Not a great move as it seemed our normal bank was having big problems. I waited in a queue for about half an hour while Ron did some printing. A queue perhaps with no purpose as the ATM was not working, the person who would fix it was not there, and no ideas were forthcoming of how long it would take. I felt very Ugandan as I patiently (and I was) waited. However, when Ron arrived back I quickly hopped in the car. We managed to find a different bank that would take our card and allow more money in one transaction which in the long run will save us some money - there is always something good to be found. We then went and bought a whole lot of food as we had been made aware that an orphanage Ron and Mark visited on Ron's first visit was in dire need. This was the second mercy dash if you like, the best part about this one was that we managed to do it in daylight.
I found it very emotional. This is an orphanage that through no fault of the matrons or the children was without food. Money has been given in a variety of ways and yet it was not getting through. Of course there is more to the story. We do not know it all but some that we are very clear on has not happened. We were the bearers of food and supplies. This was not a huge burden for us due to the blessings we have received. However, without us what would have happened... The only supplies that have had of food are from us in the last three weeks. We are so pleased that we are here at this time and have access to money to buy this stuff. I am sure that God knew and cared. It is hard because the children know that other 'mzungus' are responsible for the lack. Yet, it was a great family with 40 children. Matrons and an older gentleman that clearly loved the children and the children loved. Not people who come and go, these are people who live with the children - sharing their rooms. The young men, part of the orphanage, who took some responsibility for us during our visit were great. It was particularly sobering to pass by the graves. It is Ugandan culture to bury family on your land. The boys identified some of the graves and then the last one: "This is of our mother. She died before I saw her." It is such a tribute to the orphanage and the people involved that these children are growing up such fine young people. They love God, they are not selfish, they are caring, they have virtually nothing and yet are happy. We were entertained by the children with song, drums and dance. It is such a humbling experience to be the bearer of blessing to others and to be appreciated so much. These children have been parented so well by those who have had them in their care. The older ones continue the process of looking after the younger ones. It certainly will be a day that we will not forget and a good reminder of keeping the important, important. Our prayer is that matters will be settled and that this orphanage in the long term will be able to be self-sustaining and receiving all the support for which it is due.
Of course, no day is complete without some adventures. The matron had taken one of the children for treatment of malaria and so it seemed that I should be significantly involved in the preparation of the lunch! The kitchen wasn't really what I would call ideal as the smoke was not easily escaping. I know about cooking the posho but the beans! However, some good instruction, lots of help and it was cooked and the posho looked good - not really thanks to me - the mingling was completed by boys who took turns (it is a bit like trying to stir a huge pot of mashed potato and make sure it doesn't burn). This was not the big adventure though. The roof of the home had come adrift in the wind. It was a tall building. The boys were concerned for the roof and because the noise it made in the night disturbed the little children in particular. Also, it looked like more would be lifted and we were concerned with what the result might be. Hence, a trip to the nearest town to buy a hammer and nails. Then, a local ladder was found that nearly made the distance. The photos don't show the picture of getting up on the roof, the sound of the 'tin foil like' roofing iron that is used and maybe even the distance up! I prayed and thanked God for Ron's safety when he was back down.
Another few days in our exciting adventure with God in Uganda. Thank you for your prayers.

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