Final Post- Final Visit To Kawete, Travel, and Pictures!

Unfortunately, I had some wifi issues my final two days in Uganda, so I was unable to make my final posts. See below for my wrap up of the trip.

Our last day in Kawete is a shorter one, because we have to leave for Kampala in the afternoon. It is hard to say good- bye to these kids after spending a week getting to know them. Knowing that we were able to help them in a variety of ways though, helps to ease some of the emotions of leaving. Seeing the fields and athletic equipment being used, the smiles as they received personal care items and school supplies, and being able to spend time with them reading and studying God’s Word brings great happiness to our entire team. We spent one night in Kampala, visited some markets the next morning, and then got ready to fly out of Entebbe Thursday evening. Travel days are long, especially on the return trip home. It took us about 27 combined hours of travel between flights and layovers, so finally getting back to see friends and family was a great reward for our perseverance!

I had the opportunity to take a lot of pictures while I was in Uganda, so I’ll share those below, with a brief caption for each. It was an amazing experience, and I’m very thankful for the opportunity to meet the students we sponsor and all of the people who make CCLS-U happen on a day to day basis. God is truly at work in Uganda, and I know that the students and teachers there appreciate all that the CCLS community in St. Louis is doing to support them. Enjoy the pictures!

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Our start out of Lambert Airport in St. Louis got off to a slow start!

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In the very late hours, after landing at Entebbe airport, one major difference noted, armed policeman walking the parking lots!

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View of the Nile River from my hotel room balcony.

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Classroom rules.

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A meal was prepared for us every day in the village. I wasn’t quite sure about this at first, but I ended up enjoying the meals quite a bit.

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Two of our P7 students, Aggrey (orange shirt) and Morris (CCLS-U shirt). I talked with Aggrey every day I was there. He is a very bright young man, and I enjoyed getting to know him.

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The P7 classroom, during math class.

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This is Swamit. He just started attending CCLS a short time ago.

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Swamit and friends.

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Rev. Charles Bameka, leading Sunday worship. He was crowned as the first bishop of the Lutheran Church of Uganda on Sunday, two days after we left for home.

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The boy in the center is Crispus. He caught my eye the very first day, and ran up to greet me every day after.

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They loved to ask me to “make a picture”.

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Like our kids, they like to mug for the camera….

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and strike a pose.

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This little girl stole my heart all week. Her name is Daphne.

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We were able to go on a boat cruise one night on the Nile River. Sunset on the Nile….

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These little guys visited our hotel grounds a couple mornings during our stay.

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Putting up the soccer nets.

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During my stay, I attempted to take as many selfies as possible with the kids. I always had willing participants.

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The P7 students taking a practice exam. The real exams for them are this coming week.

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Notice the time allotment.

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If you didn’t see my Facebook post, ask me about my dinner with “the cobra killer”.

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Me and Daphne.

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The boys getting ready for some volleyball.

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Can there be too many photos of Daphne??? I think not!

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This little guy was one of my buddies all week.

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This girl smiled every time I saw her. And yes, Daphne snuck into the picture.

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Me with Fatiya, right after her sponsor interview. She drew me a pretty picture to take home.

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Left a couple shirts behind for the boys to wear.

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The boy on the left thought it was the funniest thing when I would take my hat off for a moment and show my messed up hair. He would shout “Chigoli”, which I guess means bad haircut!

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Last good-byes with Aggrey and Morris.

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OK, I know. Just one more!

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One final selfie with the team (minus Katie Killian who stayed behind for the celebration for Pastor Bameka). After 27 hours of travel to get home, we are glad to be back in St. Louis. Hope you enjoyed the blog, thanks for following!

 

 

 

 

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Day 7- Last Full Day in Kawete

Tuesday started with many stops in Jinja, where we stay each night. We had some need ed items to purchase  for the kids, like a new netball, a volleyball, and another soccer ball.  We also had to pick up some medical supplies. I haven’t mentioned this in my posts yet, but three people on our team have spent the majority of their time addressing medical needs of the people from the village. They are Dr. Kent Killian, Dr Craig Belsha, and Beth Gordon, a nurse practitioner. The work they are doing is quite amazing. They treat all sorts of medical issues to the people who come, which are many every day. They see babies, elderly people, and everything in between. Jesus instructs in the Bible that we are to care for the sick and infirmed. This is also a big part of our mission here in Uganda, and there is a great need for what these three people do. They also are working hard to train the medical staff here, so that when we leave, they can continue to give the people in the community the proper care. God’s hand is definitely visible through the medical professionals on our team!

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I mentioned in my last post that the courts and athletic fields had been completed. See below for videos of the kids in action. As you watch, you will see at least a little bit, what a big difference that these additions will make. I really enjoyed watching them play games and sports just like our students do at CCLS in St. Louis. Thanks again for all of your support for this CCLS!

As we did the day before with the men and women, we conducted Bible studies for the boys and for the girls. Each was conducted in the respective dormitories, led by me and Mrs. Killian. After the studies students received a bag with personal care/hygiene items. Once again, sharing the Gospel with them and talking about Jesus is so important. Everything we do has to be reflected through the lens of Christ’s love for us. As I stated in my first post, it is the mission that Jesus gives us in Matthew 28. I am very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this team to fulfill that task!

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Day 6- Athletic Courts and Fields Completed!

Finally! It required some patience with the weather and with some supplies, but the volleyball court, netball court, and soccer field are done and ready for action. It was quite a sight to see the kids running around and having fun. They are extremely grateful for the contributions from the CCLS community and which made this possible.  IMG_20171023_125701IMG_20171023_174345IMG_20171023_174557

Bible studies were conducted in the afternoon for the men and for the women. I conducted the men’s study, and Katie Killian did the women’s study. Both studies went well, and were well attended. Sharing the Gospel and the love of Jesus is integral to the mission of CCLS and CCI, so this is one of the most important things we do on the trip. At the conclusion of each study, we passed out a bag with personal care /hygiene items that we probably take for granted, but they do not necessarily have on a regular basis. We pray that God will continue to watch over the physical and spiritual needs of these people.

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Tomorrow is our last full day in the village, so we will be doing all we can to maximize our time. I know it will be hard to leave, but we won’t get too caught up in that yet.  On to a restful night of sleep, more news tomorrow!

 

Day 5- The Lord’s Day!

Sunday is the day for going to church, but in Kawete, church is outside. We had a beautiful sunny day, and it was a great service. Rev. Charles Bameka led the service, which was mostly conducted in the Ugandan language. Occasionally, he would translate what he was saying for us, and tell us which Bible verses were being read. There was a printed sheet for worship, and we sung hymns in their language as well (most had melodies that we recognized because they are hymns we sing back home!). It was a challenge at times to keep up, but I definitely enjoyed the experience. During the service the P7 class was brought up to the front, and Pastor Bameka spoke to them and encouraged them, as they are taking their final steps toward taking their final exams in November to graduate to secondary school. There is a little more pressure on them, because if they do not get the required scores, it is highly likely that they do not go, and have to wait a year before they can take the exam again. We were also called up to be honored as guests, and they thanked us for coming. In all, it was an awesome experience! I’ll have to be brief today because time is short, but I’ll update you on everything else happening tomorrow. God’s blessings!

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Day Four- A Trip to the Market

We started our day on Saturday by walking to the market to purchase twenty chickens. The market in the village is a very busy place, with vendors selling all kinds of items from food to clothing to cows and chickens. It was quite a sight to see. The purchase of the chickens was made possible by former CCLS graduate Peyton Anderson. She raised more than $600 at Lutheran South, where she attends school. Peyton and her mother Kristin were unable to make the trip because of a death in the family. We continue to pray for the Andersons during this time, as they deal with their loss. Despite Peyton not being here to see the completion of her project, the hard work she put in raising that money will be very beneficial for the people of CCLS-U, and I know they are very grateful. We are all very proud of her as well. Way to go Peyton!

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When we returned, we put the chickens in the chicken coop, and set to work interviewing sponsored CCLS-U students. About one third of the students are supported financially by classes at CCLS, and individual families within the community of CCLS and its five churches. If you have an interest in sponsoring a child at CCLS-U, please contact Katie Killian. As you can imagine, there are many families in Kawete who are very much in need. Making it possible for someone to send their child to CCLS-U gives them an opportunity to receive an education, and most importantly to hear daily about the love of Jesus.

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The soccer field has now been completely marked. We need only to put up the nets on the goals. The threat of rain delayed the installation of the volleyball and netball poles for another day. It is very exciting to see these all taking form. It will be such a blessing for them to enjoy on the campus every day!

Day 3- A Change in Plans

Our third day in the village started out with sunny skies. My first stop was the three and four year olds learning English under the big tree. They are some of the most precious little ones you will see. Most importantly, they learn about Jesus.

After that magnificent start, I worked with one of the teachers and some of the older students to mark out the dimensions for the volleyball and netball courts. Rain, however, stopped us after that, so we could not mix concrete and put the poles in. It rained on and off throughout the afternoon, so no dodgeball either. The rain did not dampen anyone’s spirits though, and I was able to observe the P7 students in their English class. I was once again impressed by their behavior and attentiveness.

I also got to talk quite a bit with Jesse, a graduate of CCLS-U, now 20 years old (and also my newest Facebook friend). He hopes to graduate next year from secondary school and become an electrician. Jesse has had a break from school, so he has been helping with various tasks, especially the installation of the athletic equipment. He is extremely thankful to God for the blessing that CCLS-U has been to him and his family. He is an impressive young man, and I have enjoyed getting to know him the last few days.

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On to day four tomorrow, where hopefully we get some clear skies with more progress made on all the fields, and some outside activity. God’s blessings to you all!

 

 

Day 2- Soccer Field, Netball, and Volleyball Courts Under Construction!

Greetings! It was a great second day in the village. Excitement started to build early in the morning as equipment was delivered for the new soccer field, netball court, and volleyball. By the end of the day, the soccer goals were put together and put into the ground. We marked off the dimensions for the field lines as well. Concrete was poured last night to anchor the goals. It was interesting to see that no cement truck came to deliver the concrete though, they mix their own! I am looking forward to seeing the kids being able to play on their new field. The process will continue today with the netball and volleyball courts.

In the afternoon, the kids taught me their version of dodgeball. I did ok, but I found out after awhile I need to get in better shape! They definitely wore me out. Today I may teach them how we play. I also found out that our P7 (equivalent to our 7th and 8th graders) really know their math. We battled on the chalkboard back and forth trying to stump each other in the P7 classroom. I also got to learn some words in Lusoga, the native language of Uganda, as a group of kids schooled me on some basic words. Our conversation also gravitated towards soccer, their favorite sport. They mentioned some players that I was not familiar with, but I told them I knew Lionel Messi, the world famous soccer star from Argentina. As I saw a look of amazement come over their faces, I quickly realized they misunderstood me. I clarified that I knew OF him, and that he was not my personal friend! I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the kids yesterday, as we got to know each other better. That’s all for today, I’ll have more tomorrow on the progress of the athletic equipment, and maybe some new adventures in dodgeball, but this time American style!

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