Sunday, February 13, 2011

Video: Pamoja

These children live under the care of Kajjansi Miracle Center under the banner of Kingdom Child Project.  Kajjansi is a town 20 minutes south of Kampala, the capital city.  Some of you may remember Daniel Mutibwa, who was our guest speaker at TLCF a few months ago.  He is the senior pastor of Kajjansi Miracle Center.

Majority of these children are orphans or abandoned children who used to live in the slums, but are now taken in by the church.

Here is a presentation done by the children--a song called Pamoja.

We took them back to the orphanage afterwards.

Piling up in the van with the children
Believe it or not, we fit all the children in the van!

Video: Mbarara DC youths singing and dancing

This happened on the last day of a four-day conference in Mbarara.  After the last session, the youths just started goofing around, singing, dancing, performing.

This video features the music of Justus Mukisa (wearing the pink hat). He's one of the youths from Mbarara DC.

Trip Recap part 3 - Amecet

Since the last team visit to Soroti, we've been hearing a lot about Amecet, the home that offers short-term care for children infected and affected by HIV. The last time the team went there, Adrian was ruined (see previous post).

Going there I was mentally prepared for a solemn afternoon. When we sat down with Els, the lady who started and continues to run the home, she tells of horrific stories of how she found these children, some of them abandoned in a garbage dumps, some of them rescued from the altars of witchcraft, their small bodies full of cuts and burns. She remembers all the children that have come and gone. Her eyes still tear up when she talks about them.

Adrian asked her about the little girl that broke his heart last year. Sadly, she didn't make it. She died shortly after the last visit.

We got a tour of the house. Even though they care for very sick children, the place felt more of a home than a hospital.  They have three shifts of staff providing 24/7 care to the children.  It seemed like the children were really loved and nurtured here. They are taught stories about Jesus, how to pray, and how to take their anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs), among other things.

Then we got to play with the children. Adrian brought out the box of toys we brought from Canada--singing Elmos, hot wheels, dinosaurs, dolls...

Adrian unpacking the box of toys for Amecet

Here we are having fun with the children.

Ryan, Theresa and baby

Japheth with Helen
Robert and Buzz Lightyear
It occurred to us that Japheth and Robert themselves probably have never had a chance to play with nice, battery-powered toys like this. It was a pleasure to watch Robert so captivated with a talking Buzz Lightyear.

David holding baby Moses
Denise and baby

Sherene playing with a young girl

The whole scene
We're so glad to have had this chance to spend a light-hearted, fun-filled afternoon with these children who have already endured so much in their young lives. Adrian said that the experience this day brought a lot of healing to him. We all had a good day!

More information on Amecet can be found here:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Trip Recap Part 2 - Tororo

Welcome to DC Tororo
We arrived into town around noon. Our first stop -- Deliverance Church Tororo -- the mother church located in town, where we were greeted by Pastor Philemon, his wife Florence, and several other church members.

It was going to be an action-packed day. We start off with a visit to DC Rubongi. Afterwards, the ladies split off to minister to the Mar women group while the men stay behind. Then we rendezvous back in Rubongi, and together head back to town to hold an evening service at the main church.  Our schedule was so tight that lunch was reduced to munching on dry chapatis in the van.


When we got to DC Rubongi, they welcomed us with these wonderfully prepared fruit platters. The fruit was sweet, succulent, and hits the spot!

Enjoying fruit in Rubongi

After our stomachs were satisfied, we went for a tour of the "Organics for Orphans" garden located on the church grounds. This was a project initiated by Herman, another team member who visited last year. Produce grown from this garden is nurtured using natural methods, using organic pesticides, practising crop rotation to maintain soil health, and doing strategic planting of crops which complement one another. A portion of the harvest is distributed to widows and orphans in the community.

We visited during the start of the dry season when they have just finished harvesting, so the garden was sparse, with only a few crops left behind for collecting seeds.

Tour of the Organics for Orphans garden

Following the tour, we enjoyed the second course of the "snack" that they prepared for us.  Snack was a delicious plate of BBQ chicken, Irish potatoes, fried bread (similar to banock), and more chapati!  We ate until we couldn't eat anymore.

Enjoying "snack" in Rubongi

Mar women group

Following that, the ladies left to go to DC Kidara where Pastor Amos and the Mar women group were waiting to receive us. The Mar women are a group of business-minded village women who are champions for HIV/AIDS victims in their community. They grow crops, make clothes to sell, even run a small-scale microfinance operation, with the proceeds going to help feed, clothe, and provide for the vulnerable.

We also met one of the honorary members of the group--a man, a professional accountant who is also a church member. He's there to teach the women the basics of accounting and bookkeeping. He was quite proud of the women group boasting that the women are very quick learners. In such a short time, they have  managed to accomplish a lot. One of their biggest accomplishments last year was being able to partake in buying a cow together to celebrate the Christmas holidays with meat!

Mar women group
We were so moved by what they were already doing. Our desire was just to build them up and encourage them. Theresa shared some practical tips on how to combat caregiver burnout. Sherene encouraged them with the word of God. We prayed together, ate some cake together, and after a short time of fellowship, we had to head back.

DC Rubongi service

Meanwhile, back in DC Rubongi, the boys were holding a service where Rodney spoke, and during ministry they prayed for people who were sick. Many came up afterwards to testify of the healing that they had received.

Service in DC Rubongi

Sometime in the afternoon, Ryan and David also went out with Rubongi's HIV/AIDS home-based care team to visit and pray for the sick.
HIV/AIDS home-based care visitation

DC Tororo service

Finally, we headed back to town to hold evening service in DC Tororo where Adrian preached and we did prayer ministry for people.

Service in DC Tororo

Farewell Tororo

The next morning, the pastors came by to send us off. We took this group picture prior to hitting the road to our next destination, Soroti.

Tororo group picture
[Left to right]: Pastor Amos, Florence, Pastor Philemon, Michael, Pastor Joseph,
Noah, Denise, Rodney, Sherene, Ryan, Theresa, David

Friday, February 4, 2011

Trip Recap Part 1 - Arrival and visit to Jinja

In front of Burj Khalifa
Three weeks in Uganda went by so fast. Most of the team are now back in Toronto except for Noah, who is still doing an extended stay in Uganda followed by a trip to Singapore before coming home.

New years eve on the plane went by quietly. There were no special announcements, no complimentary champagne. Twelve hours later, we arrived in Dubai, our stopover point.

We had enough time in Dubai to see the city at night. Here is a team picture taken in front of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.
Arriving in Entebbe

After a short rest at the hotel, we took off again for Entebbe the next morning. Finally we arrived in Entebbe, where we picked up Michael, the ninth member of our team.

Or rather, he picked us up in this rental van.  Michael is an old friend from Soroti, who is also a professional driver and mechanic by trade. We hired him to drive us around the country for the three weeks. His experience and skillfulness would save us many times during the trip.
Loading the van at Entebbe airport
After one night's rest in Kampala, we left the next day to make it to Jinja for a visit with the Deliverance Church pastors whom one of our teams worked with in 2010.  Unfortunately, our van overheated on the way and we were left stranded in Lugazi, a town about 30 km from Jinja, waiting for a replacement van from Kampala. 
Stranded in Lugazi
This put a little dent in our Jinja plans. We arrived five hours later than planned, leaving just enough time for a late night dinner meeting with the Deliverance church pastors and their spouses.

Dinner with Jinja pastors and their wives
Over dinner, we got to know each other, exchanged stories and testimonies, and found out a bit about the church's activities and projects in the Jinja area.  Adrian got a chance to share with Pastor Billy about our dream of being a resource to Uganda and show him our proposal. It was received so well that Pastor Billy insisted on showing us the church grounds the next day as a potential venue for where we might be able to offer training classes, should we require them.
DC Waluguba office and classroom space
DC Waluguba grounds
After getting a tour of the church building and grounds, we said our goodbyes, and then hit the road for Tororo.