Saturday, September 05, 2009

Uganda Prt 1

Hello, I'm back! I'm writing after having a few days of reflection, the external processor that I am I have reflected with friends, in writing and going through some of the pictures I have taken. Out of the hundred or so photos I think are good enough for printing, you'll get a 5 minute whistlestop tour of our trip.

Last time I went to Uganda I could talk for hours upon hours about all I had seen, heard, smelt and tasted. This time round I had 8 years life experience and a leaders head on my shoulders. I think this made all the difference.

I'm definitely not that excitable any more, nor was I as homesick as last time. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it most of the time. Uganda is not a familiar country to me really. If you've been to a place once you can't say it's home, but you can feel comfortable very quickly.

As a consequence I wasn't too fussed by a lot of the things we saw, I could quite happily live in Uganda, though I have this feeling that wherever I go, as long as I've got some lovely people around me I will settle and be happy. This was very true of this trip. I was looked after well, as were the young people. We had an amazing staff team, who got on so well sometimes it was hard to break them up! The rest of the team was handpicked by God, that's for sure.

We always had enough people to do enough things. The Holiday Club was well attended, as was the building site. The builders in Rukungiri have lots of English friends now. I have a special builder friend too!! He's called Benjamin and had remembered my name (kinda) enough to ask for me on the day we came to say goodbye. I'm always struck by how friendly the Ugandan people are. I wouldn't generalise it to every African person, cos that's like saying all Essex people are chavs! The Ugandans give more than thay have at church, in their homes and of themselves. It's really something we can learn from.

My surprise really worked! the Vicar of St Hugh's rolled up one afternoon just in time to see the dusk. everyone wondered why he was in Uganda, that took a bit of explaining. And after he'd brought us all ice cream, Josh (aged 8) said "Can I go to Karen's church, I really like their Vicar?" I made it clear that everyone is welcome at our church!

We went to St John's Nyakaina on th middle Sunday. Very interesting, didn't feel long or drawn out (it was 2.5 hours long) and it included an auction to raise money for the church. Anything can be put in for auction including goats, chickens, sugar cane, and honey. I didn't take part in the auction, but most people had a go. We raised some money for the church.

The children of Rukungiri came to Rondavels (where we were staying) for some good old English Holiday Club Action! 150 children for 4 sessions. It was an experience, so now we have no excuses for running HC at Luton.

Also no excuses to turn down speaking engagements. I gave testimoy to 500 people, through a translator in the dark!! Scary stuff, but I think I was more scared of what my team would think.

Overall, it was a really good positive trip. I know my young people so so well now. We have shared this expereince. I'm hoping that I know myself enough to see how this trip has affected me, and I'll know it quicker than the 8 years it took me to dissect the last trip.

Part 2 will include photos and a more formal reflection.