Sunday, July 17, 2011

Having a team in Suubi house

Over the last two weeks it has been our privilege to in some ways host a team of people from Australia who are here to help with the building of the Village of Hope and to learn a bit about Uganda, another country and the lives of people. I want to tell you a bit about our time with them and some of my thoughts. I hope that by being honest I will not offend because my intent is actually to show how I am feeling.
The day started with punctures in two tyres and so we did not made it to church. Let alone, the fact that Ron had to do some extra things at the house, after the night before trying to prepare and finishing late, but not being able to complete everything because the solar lights gave out! So, we left in plenty of time (or so we thought) on the bus to Kampala. Quick stop at the supermarket for something to eat and then onto Entebbe. Normally, a one hour drive. The rain started and the traffic slowed. A great lightning show but unfortunately with about 80 people killed in lightning strikes in the last month, they have lost their appeal. The traffic slowed, the traffic stopped and we waited, and waited. Rang the hotel where Katrina (whose name we did not have) was stayed and fortunately were able to explain the situation. The plane arrived, the team had to wait. There was nothing we could do. The one hour trip ended up taking us nearly 3 hours!
It was great to see everyone and the trip home in the bus was full of chatting. A good chance for us to hear and talk. For the first part people were able to see Uganda for the first time, unfortunately the traffic was still bad, so by the time we got out of Kampala it was already dark. On arriving in Jinja it was wet, the road was very wet, I have never seen it so wet. So, we trundled people into the new house with limited lighting, and lots of mud! Not a great welcome and hence some of the comments weren't so positive. For us, hard to take but on reflection quite understandable, not only we were tired, they were exhausted from travelling. Fortunately, their impressions improved and so did our relationships.
Suubi House as the guest house is called, suubi means hope in local language, it proved to be a great place. The team was able to meet together, forced to interact in some form without a complete retreat possible but still places to sit quietly and be by yourself. The large table easily fitted the team, managed with Ron and I and struggled when we were added to but was a really nice meeting place too. After all the work (with more still to come) it was a relief that it worked well, and even better seemed to help build relationships.
It is an amazing thing to share a little in the journey of people. Each one came with a different past, some with expectations, others uncertain what to expect, and all came together for the same cause to help the Village of Hope. It had moments when I was uncertain. Comments made hit different spots, showed some of my arrogance (I have been here for 6 months after all) and also reminded me of the differences in our lives here to Australia. Then, there were sacred moments when people chose to spend time listening and caring. Each person of course did this in different ways. The time when the nurse had been faced with a horrific wound that could have been dealt with differently if the mother had had money. Would the wound ever heal? (looking good so far) Or, the compassion that another showed about the things they were confronted with and understood where I was coming from (thank you so much). Or, the recognition that perhaps it was not so simple, there are not easy answers, paying school fees leads to needing to pay school requirements and then what about the uniform and the school shoes? As described in the other post the opportunity to unite a group of ladies with someone who might be able to help them by selling their products - something that has been my prayer for nearly the whole time I have been here. Even, just the chance for people to buy things from the ones who made them. What about the treasured day out with a friend who I could trust, could talk to and understood? The opportunity to have someone else teach the ladies to sew, another thing I have wanted to get on to since the arrival of more sewing machines but have not found the time. Or, having a young girl who has finished her vocational training course now able to use some of the skills in cooking for the team. The awe when a young person thinks deeply about situations and wants to make a difference not just with their money but also what does this mean for my life!
The team made a difference, they built nearly a whole house (only roof to go). However, this was not the most significant thing in my mind. They worked like a team, they let go of their differences and appreciated each other for who they are. They made a difference to many of the people they met. They might have been tired but they still had time for others. Different team members played different roles. It was great to see Andrew freed up to do the administrative things he needed to do while Jordan coordinated the building. Or, that things just got done around the place by Stan. Or, the dancing on a concrete floor at the school devotions after a long day on the work site.
I want to thank them, they encouraged me, they added to the hope that is already here in this house and gave great hope to the community. Their faith shined through their actions and sometimes they used words. So, what started for me in a less than positive way finished in a great way. Hopefully I have grown and learnt from them, I certainly think I have.

Sorry tried to find a picture of the house as they left it but couldn't, so it is a picture of the team just before loading onto the bus to leave.


  1. Thanks again Anne for a wonderful and honest blog.
    We all were so blessed by your effort during our time there but also by the HUGE effort you put in before we got there. Not sure that we still realise how big that was. Hope the planning for the UK trip goes well. Be assured you are in our thoughts and prayers. So looking forward to further pics of progress both at Village of Hope and at Suubi house.

  2. As I realise you aren't at all competitive I felt I must add an additional post so that you keep your comment numbers up.
    God bless once again