Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day 2: First Full Day in the Village

June 4th

Everyone had a good night’s rest and felt recharged to start our adventure.  Our accommodations are Father Inke’s compound (2 buildings with several bedrooms in each) that was built for groups such as ours. The buildings are nice with concrete walls and floors and shingled roofs.  It is not the typical abode here, however.   A typical home’s floor and walls are huts made mostly of mud sustained with a structure of reeds and wood and the roofs are thatch made of woven grasses—all materials are found right here in the village.  I’ll try to post a couple of pictures of these huts.  They are very neat in appearance and well-kept inside and out.  All the cooking is done right outside the doors of our building though still within the compound.  They use coals and small portable stoves and manage to cook tasty meals for at least 25 people and all with a smile on their faces.  (Puts my home cooking attitude to shame!)  We compliment them often with genuine praise and it seems to be very appreciated.  Our typical meal is cooked cabbage, rice, beans, cassava (type of banana that when cooked tastes like potato), peanuts and some kind of meat(!)
Our restful day has consisted of getting to know our way around the village, visiting a baby born just this morning, as well as enjoying a game of soccer Houston boys vs. village kids (1/2 their size, btw) and it the village boys did very well. I’m sure it was a tie!
  Here are some images from the day that come to mind:  endless curious young faces, moms with babies on their backs and even children carrying babies on their backs…  our girls dancing with the children to music the children played from their own homemade instruments, vegetables planted on every available plot of land, beautiful avocado and mango trees.  The rainy season supposedly ended a week ago, so we shouldn't see any rain, though the temperature is about 80 degrees during the day and 70 degrees at night.
We broke into 2 groups: one attended the library introduction to school teachers and administrators and the other was a medical group touring the health facilities nearby.  The library meeting began with the attendees (300ppl) singing the Ugandan national anthem which was beautiful--a tear jerker for some... and it included lots of speeches thanking Mark (referring to him as a king!), and our "delegation" for the all of our efforts towards their community.  The local leaders enjoy speaking!  One comment that was humorous and probably in response to Mark trying to organize and shorten the meeting was that by 4pm our backs would be facing the building as we walked away because we would end so promptly!  The meeting lasted 2 hours and 15 minutes and that is considered short!  Nannette gave a helpful explanation of libraries and their use and Mark Cotham gave an almost poetic history of books and reading and their value to enlightening and advancing cultures.  Often times local men on stage would translate our words into alur, the local language.  Although they all speak varying degrees of english, they sometimes have a hard time understanding us.
We then broke into groups and each of us huddled with children and teachers  teaching about different kinds of books.  Thank you Diane Rager!  The banded books and their descriptions were immensely helpful.
  The medical team traveled with the district health officer and other local leaders to visit  3 health clinics and the 1 hospital in the district.  Many babies were being born and the limited laboratory and diagnostic facilities were evaluated.  Arrangements were being made to meet again later this week with the very young doctor (23) at the hospital.  He is only 1 of 3 doctors in the Zombo district (220,000 people).
  Prior to dinner, Marion Bates led us into an explanation of how our devotionals will be done by each of us for the rest of the week.  Tonight Mark talked about different religions and how there is spirituality everywhere.  He encouraged us to keep an open mind as to where everyone is in their spiritual walk.
Marion mentioned today that it is no mystery that we are in Uganda.  The people have been praying for help and "I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry"  (psalm 40:1).  We hope to be God's hands and pray He will guide us to do His will here in Uganda.

We are trying to post pictures.  They take a lot of power to upload and we are short on that!

Michelle Williams

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