Today was a long journey to a place called Galiray. It is pronounced Galilea, just like in the bible, where Jesus walked. Uganda is a country with strong beliefs and unbelievable faith. So many challenges faced in villages around the country, but each and every person gives thanks for each breath, each meal, each drop of water, each simple pleasure. How could we learn from each other when walking beside them? One way is to wake each day by enjoying the moment. Don't lose sight of what is really important.
Entering the world of Uganda, we have always been treated with the utmost respect and hospitality. Today's day was no disappointment. After hours on the road, we arrived at the most glamorous events. There is a special woman of the people, she is known as Miss Ida. The people love her power statements, passion for the people and respect for her follow-thru on promises. The people came from far and wide to see Miss Ida, but we feel so honored and privlidged to be her guest of honor. Thousands of people were there, beautiful tents giving shelter from the brutal sun to as many were able to secure their place. The AIDSpirit crew was front and center. Special musicians were there, local musicians and dancers, speakers and we were so excited to be part of this event. When we walked through the hoards of people, the children ran and hid behind their older siblings. The team tries to shake every hand of the children, but some little ones are afraid we may rub off on them. It's so cute to see their faces when they realize we are all the same, just different colors. A beautiful older woman shared her umbrella for shade with Linda and I. There is no amount of gratitude we can express to her for saving our fair skin, she was a lifesaver! Weebelah Nyo!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!
Part one - Wednesday Today we have some great stuff planned. The staff of TM has mobilized the People of Mugala Village where we sponsor our adult literacy program. Teaching a person to read and write will most definitely change their economic structure, personal sense of worth and ripple into the other villages to Change the WORLD! As we enter the deep and winding road which is 3ft wide with our 8ft bus, we knew something big was going to take place. Excitement whirled up inside of us and some of us could not be contained. It is a jaw dropping experience, as we witness hut after hut offset from the road with people smiling, waving and giggling. They all know something special is waiting for AIDSpirit at the end of this road. And our spirits inside confirmed it as we inched towards our destination ...... To be continued.
Good morning everyone! I have to admit that I have been so sick with cold I have not had time to update you all. The team continues to work hard with each child, finding out what things they enjoy and getting wonderful info to report back to sponsors. Some kids love to draw, others love writing and the kids all do something around the home. Helping in the kitchen involves sun up to sun down commitment.
Working on laundry takes all day, by hand and then dried over a bush.. Folding laundry is an option, and not a very popular one. Yesterday we ventured on the bus to take our younger kids to the farm in Buggali village. It is a truly beautiful experience to see the shear volume of food we produce! Enough to feed a family of 100 and to sell in the market. The bus ride over was fun and we saw our big young men, Tom and John, all setting posts and hanging wire to protect others from "helping themselves" to Tender Mercies' bounty.
No one in this area goes without something to eat, the blessings of food are shared with everyone. There is not one item of food, clothing or resources that goes wasted in this area! We have reached 1:00 pm and we are all digging deep for energy. The adults rush home for lunch, change into proper village clothes and board the bus for a celebration. Let me tell you, words cannot describe our upcoming events. We are greeted by costumed. Dancers celebrating their upcoming tradition of circumsicion.
This is a tradition followed by certain tribes in the villages. Our children do not follow tribal traditions or make decisions like this until they are older. The dancing ushered us into a procession of people giving thanks to AidSpirit for giving them life, CLEAN WATER! There are hundreds of people dancing, singing and bringing gifts of fruit and sugarcane to our feet. It truly is a jubilation.
Weebelee, Weebelee! Thank you, Thank you they chant for hours, as they give speeches, bring food and bow down in joy! Tonight I will try and catch up with all of you and describe the progress AIDSpirit and Tender Mercies is making in Adult Literacy and voc training. All of us thank you for giving us this opportunity to represent YOU, THE SPONSORS AND DONERS!
Saturday, January 20th I am sorry for the delay in posting this date. Let me explain how our internet works in Uganda. Think of it as a snail, he is almost to the finish line and *SPLAT*, a Boda Boda zips by on the wrong side of the road and IT IS OVER! By the way, a Boda Boda is ia motorcycle taxi which can often hold three People, a chicken , and a sofa at any given time.
Today we took the children are on a special field trip. For most if not all, it was the first boat ride, swimming in a resort pool and eating in a nice resort setting with a very, very large family! The day started with lots of pictures and and playing in the garden and on the playground equipment.
Then we boarded a double Dekker boat ride for a trip up to the source of the Nile river. Did you know that it takes three months for the water that generates at the source to reach iEgypt? It was truly beautiful come and the kids seem to really enjoy the ride. Of course, I must state that this boat what is equipped with the biggest loudest dance music DJ who play music that every single person dance to you until almost fell over.
We even had the children having to take a rest. Nonstop dancing music. The fun part I remember is when we played a song by Kenny Rogers, the Gambler. They almost love country music as much as they love Church music here. Most all of us adults kept up very well, and when the Internet is running smoothly I will upload dancing videos to our social media and website.
Most all of us adults kept up very well, and when the Internet is running smoothly I will upload dancing videos to our social media and website. OK now I'm to swimming. If you have only swim in the lake and before is not likely that it matters what you are aware, but when you are swimming in a resort pool who has graciously opened their doors to 50 people all at once, 40 of which are children, there is a slight problem with the dress code. WE DID NOT MEET IT! So off we go to rent evening suits, used, Now we are 40 children three adults in a boutique that is 8 x 8 in size. One hour later, Hooray! To be continued...........
Today is Sunday, January 21st I'm writing this note to let you all know that there has been a extreme cold/flu that is affecting some in our group, me being one of them. I suffered all day in bed begging for a moment when I would stop coughing. This being said, I would like to talk about the great team caring and hospitality I have received.
From Jean and Gretchen bringing up bottled water, a soothing cold Pepsi and Sue and Marcene showing me with cough drops, essential oils and enhalers. We tried pretty much everything and I was still completely bedridden in an under-developed country. Today. I was strong enough to go out with the Team and am grateful for being capable of doing that.
Through the team grapevine I ascertained that Charles' uncle had passed away the evening before and there was a huge funeral. This event could have drew 1000 people. Well a Muslim funeral would be interesting to witness, but Mr Tom was the only one attending with him.
The other balance of team members, the one not too sick or attending funerals, went to TM to play with our kids. Everyone was low energy from the activities at the hotel swimming room and boat ride, to participating in song. Everyone just needed a nap, kids and volunteers included. When I return to blogging tomorrow, remind me to tell you about the gun shots at the funeral.
Sincerely and sulabaloong! Denise @ AidSpirit USA
Today is January 19, Thursday evening. It was a special day at Tender Mercies today. A lot of what was collected over the past 10 months was on display and ready to be scooped up by our beautiful, grateful children. We started by emptying 29 larder totes full of things, separated clothes by boy/girl, size, shoe sizes, hygiene area and kicked off by selecting a favorite backpack. This was the first time in the history of coming to TM that each child hand-selected their favorites in each category.
You heard right, each one walked through with a US Team member and made their selections. There few "trade in" items, but on a whole, it went smoothly and each child had a sense of pride in their selections. From age 3 to 73, everyone had a smile! Picture a hand full of children wearing their packs and treasure into the village with pride and a sense of comfort knowing that they are loved by those that provide for them. This person is YOU the sponsors and donors.
This year's visit is providing a litany of "Best Practices" and we are all eager to put them into action! There is a common thread amoung our team members, some are listed below: We love our children! We are committed to bettering their lives! We are determined to see each one graduate! We are committed to maintaining and improving this beautiful family environment!
And, last but not least We have not forgotten what all of the children give to us, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND YOUTHFUL ENERGY! May we continue to bless and be blessed beyond measure by showing the love of God to each other!
Today was a wonderful day, filled with joy. Imagine if you start your day as an AidSpirit team member, enjoying the sounds of tropical birds out your window, eating breakfast as a family and sharing words and thoughts from a very beautiful bunch of people. We spend a brief period meditating on our own personal journeys and goals to accomplish for the day, all the while knowing we are on African time.
That truly means, don’t worry, Be Happy. No changes to a schedule could bring down the individual love and excitement we have when we see our kids at TM. How many of you can say that when raising our own children that they ran to see us and throw their arms around us and greet us with a smile. Being here reminds us of how loved and appreciated we are as their sponsors.
Imagine 35 children hugging, smiling and welcoming you, and 1000's of others that we see on our short bus ride to TM home every day. They shout to us, Mazungu! Mazungu! There way of greeting a very different type of people, White person. Some volunteers danced and sang with the children, songs of our youth. Itsy Bitsy spider, peanut butter and jelly and No More Monkeys give new meaning when they are belted out with a cute Ugandan accident!
The older boys played with their younger siblings, while they played on our iPads and phones. What a joy to have the young girls eager to show us their dorms and pictures of their sponsors, mom and dad, in America. Some pictures were tattered and years old, but they were most proud of them. We sang, laughed, ate amazing food like chapati, matokee and chips! Everyone pitches in to cook, clean and make us welcome. We close our day with a 30 min goodnight (sulabaloong) and away we went back to the hotel for a nightcap and great conversation.
Hello friends and family of AIDSpirit USA.
Today we had our first full day in Uganda and our memories and senses have been stirred by the sights and sounds of this beautiful country, even more so by the welcoming hospitality of the Ugandan people.
After almost 30 hours of travel, today's events took a lot out of our US Team. We have one new member of our team this year and I can see the excitement that surrounds all of us for our special time with the children of Tender Mercies, the upcoming sickle cell clinic and the local journeys in our local village in the Kayunga District.
We stopped briefly at our home for children to say Hello and give lots of hugs. Now we are settling in at Hotel Katikomu. Everywhere we are greeted with smiles and the local people remember us!
I am cutting this entry short, as the Internet is quite slow and I need to post this Tuesday entry before Wednesday arrives!
Tell your friends to follow us on social media and our website www.aidspiritusa.org
God is so good and it is evident by the smiles and progress around us!
Good night to our dear friends and supporters, without YOU this could not be possible.
Sincerely, AIDSpirit USA
January 2018 - Upcoming TravelHello AIDSpirit Supporters:
This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!
How exciting it is to be taking another journey to see all of the wonderful people in Uganda Africa! Our children are getting excited to see us, but little do they know that our excitement is overflowing for those of us that get to travel and see them. This is my very first attempt to blog and ask that you bear with me as a learn new techniques and share tidbits of the great things going on with our US team of volunteers. Encourage others to follow our blog by copying a link to your personal social media or even by emailing a note to the people on your address list. The more people that know about the great things going on because of the generous donations of beautiful people like yourself, the more children and people we can help in ocean away in Africa!
Keep a close eye on us as we begin our journey January 13th. For updates please check us out on our website at AIDSpiritusa.org, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Team AIDSpirit USA 2018
Excerpts and photos from Julie C.'s blog:
This day kept us on the go with teaching opportunities at home, and in the community. But of course, teaching is relative… and the AIDSpirit team continues to learn the perspectives of life in Africa.