Orphan Care, Uganda

Brand New Day, Brand New World (May 8, 2010)

I couldn’t sleep last night. After waking up for the 5th time, I decided to get up and begin the day. I guess everyone else had the same idea, because most of our team was already eating breakfast. I think the monkeys were banging on my windows all night — I hear that’s common here.

Today, we go to Kampala and then on to Rapha. I’m currently headed to the bank with Joseph and Becky to exchange our currency, while the rest of the team heads on. The streets are completely crazy — like an endless flea market; the stinky sweet smell of human body odor fills the air. The streets run with red mud — it’s everywhere, and the rain makes it look like a sea of clay. Life seems to happen on the streets here. Outside my window, I see a woman bathing her children; animal carcasses hanging from door frames; an elderly man urinating on the street while tending his cattle, which have wandered in front of our van; and a woman giving her friend a haircut while her naked children dance around her — all within a few feet of each other. All of the homes are made of mud, sticks and bits of tin — all waiting for a stiff wind to knock them to the ground. Western culture runs rampant in the advertisements that are papered across buildings, inviting you to “Do the Dew” and “Enjoy Farmer’s Choice.”

While driving we pass a policeman directing traffic with an AK-47. Traffic swarms like a hive of bees — I feel as though I need a swatter; our driver seems to think so too, as he pushes people, cars, bikes and scooters out of the way with his bumper and horn.

On our way to Rapha, we quickly realize that the street isn’t much of a street at all, but more of a muddy foot path. To make matters worse, it has just rained and our bus slides back and forth like a wakeboard as our driver navigates through the dense woods and up to the hills of Rapha. We get stuck. As we exit the van to tackle the job of pushing the bus, we are inundated by thousands of mosquitoes; next to me a termite mound towers 10 feet. Glad I didn’t sit there.

Once we get to Rapha, all of the pushing and digging and swatting of mosquitoes is worth it to see the joy on the faces of the kids. They greet us with several songs and then the ladies from our team teach them some songs as well, complete with hand motions straight from Sunday School. Sarah and Melanie get a dance lesson from the kids, while the rest of us attempt to dig out the bus, which has gotten stuck again.

Before the day is done, we dig the bus out of the mud 9 times, but I feel a strange peace as I’m covered head to toe in red clay. No matter of mud can cover the joy I’ve experienced with the kids at Rapha.

We rush home and are greeted by Katie Davis and Tyler from Amazima Ministries. We share food with them while overlooking the Nile River. Melanie orders fish and Katie reaches over to pluck the eyeball out — a delicacy that her kids enjoy — all 14 of them. We talk at length about adoption and Uganda and then head to bed.

The best sleep I’ve had in 2 years.

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