Uganda September 2018 Update 4

September 7, 2018

Seth & Melanie Birky

Morning rituals are beginning to form for the team.  Between jet lag, hard pillows & thin mattresses, outdoor wildlife, and stomach troubles—waking up in the early hours has become the norm.  This morning was another day of our no-water rituals including “bucket baths” and bringing buckets of water from the reserve tank in order to fill the tanks of our toilets to use the restroom.  God was with us through it all, and He showed up in a big way this morning when one of our team members was so sick he didn’t think he was going to be able to join the rest of us today.  We prayed, and he said he felt better nearly instantly.  He was able to join our team and experienced healing firsthand!  Thank you, Jesus!    

While it can be easy to become frustrated at the inconvenience of the situation, we find that for us, it makes us even more grateful that this is the depth of our problems.  Day after day as we take the treacherous drive to the orphanage, we see women who walk miles to the wells and watering holes, only to have to walk those same miles back with full buckets to be able to use what they’ve collected for their families.  This literal balancing act of strength and endurance is continually awe-inspiring for the group, inducing feelings of respect for these ladies and even the occasional cheer of, “Way to go, Grandma!"

Today as we arrived, many of the children were getting their hair shaved.  We are not sure how often this happens but can only guess that it is a routine procedure as all of the children seem to always be clean cut.  It makes us think about how something as simple as washing and combing hair becomes impossible when basic resources such as water are limited.  Still, the children all seem to enjoy the experience—and live vicariously through the women of the group by braiding their hair. 

With the art projects behind us, the team has had much more time to play and socialize with the children of Dreamland.  The artistic members of the team spent hours with the children teaching them crafts like string bracelets & sand art, luxury activities that the children rarely see.  The more sports-minded members of the team initiated games such as volleyball & limbo.  And the musical members of the team taught guitar and sang worship songs with the children.

We, personally, were able to spend time teaching scripture to the children through Taekwondo (or Kung-Fu as they called it).  What an honor it was to do what we love across the world and use it to teach His Word.

We were also privileged to serve lunch to the kids today:  posho (a corn mash) and some wilted collard greens mixed with minnows!  The house moms showed that they were great stewards of the limited resources they receive as they monitored every portion we served on each plate.

We are continually amazed at the positive attitudes, gratitude, and faith shown by the children of Dreamland.  They gleefully lead us to the dorms and their small, mosquito-netted bunk beds, pulling out a single chest to show us all of their belongings in the world: typically a stuffed animal or two, a sketchpad, some torn clothes, and some homemade toys made out of water bottles & trash. However, in their total poverty, we find that they are richer than all of us.  They laugh constantly, love freely, and talk about their faith openly.  As we were leaving, one of the children said, “When you go home, I will cry.  But I will pray for you every night in America.  We will be best friends.”

If you haven’t already, we would humbly ask, beg even, that you save the date for the Art for the Heart of Africa auction on Friday, October 26.  The money that you donate will literally be changing the course of these children’s futures.  These children have not given up hope.  They count their blessings and look forward to the upcoming school year (paid for by your contributions!).  They dream of becoming doctors, engineers, businessmen, and pastors.  We will leave Uganda as changed people, asking ourselves constantly, “What more can we do?” 


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