Hope is the Spark that Changes Lives

Day 11 - in DR CongoDalenge and his wife have seven biological children and live in Gemena , Democratic Republic of Congo.  They are also the adoptive parents to four AIDS orphans, creating quite the full house.  As we visit them today, six of the children are in school, with the other school-aged children at home because they finished their final exams yesterday and the youngest don’t attend school yet.  They are excited to be on vacation while their siblings are still taking exams today and love being included in photos. 

  1. Have your friend Gilbert purchase live grubs.
  2. Put the little fellows in a bowl of water to clean them.  They will wiggle around in the water, as though enjoying their bath.

Day 9

I am drowning in my own sweat. 

I am in Congo, walking through fields and fields of tall, biting and cutting tough grass, making my way to see a corn field belonging to one of our beneficiary families.  In front of me, Mambo and Ndanda lead the way while behind me, Karina and Fred follow.  We walk for a long time and I feel my neck burning, soaking in the Congolese sun, sensing it seeping into me.  My legs are getting scratched as the grass reaches around and under my skirt, grabbing at my skin and letting go at my next step, just in time for another blade to grab on.

There are some things that are almost too wonderful for words.  Let me try to explain one of them.

Today, we visit a project we started a couple of years ago with one warehouse on a small farm called Portriez.  The warehouse produced tomatoes by the bucketfuls and we got super excited.  With what we learned, we decided to expand the project to a larger piece of land – 50 acres, in a place called Lunga Lunga (LL), outside of Mombasa.  AFCA put in a borehole and an organic greenhouse and we hit the ground running. 

Day 7

MudIt is muddy.  Really muddy.  A slippery, gooey, brown mud path winds its way up and down through a slum called Mikindani in Mombasa, Kenya.  We are not prepared for this trek, as we didn’t know we’d be visiting Berverlyne, one of the young ladies who has been in our program for 9 years.   I am wearing sandals while my boots are sitting in my suitcase at the hotel and these sandals were not made for this type of terrain or weather.

Day 6

Today the air feels brisk and cool, thanks to a refreshing rain during the night.  We wait and wait for Martin to come pick us up and finally, 48 minutes late, he and Rogers show up to take us to our last hospital stop in Uganda – Mpumudde Clinic. It is a small clinic with only 26 beds and is located about 2 hours from Kampala, near Jinja.

Day 5

Atutur Hospital – here we come!  We climb back into the vehicle and speed off to visit Atutur Hospital, a new place for AFCA.  I am excited to see this place not only because it is new, but also because we have been told that we can make a big difference here. 

Day 4

Up at 6:45. Shower. Breakfast. Hit the road again.

This time, we head east toward Papoli, a small village I love.  There, we are met by Emmanuel (Emma), a dear man who overseas so many good things.  We hug and kiss our cheeks together, with introductions all around.

Day 2 afternoon and Day 3

We travel 6 hours west towards the boarder of Congo, to Kilembe Mines, arriving after dark. The road is surprisingly good, with few potholes or surprises.  What this road has, never seen by me before, are speed bumps grouped in sets of 4, one right after the other. This gives us the feeling of being run over a cheese grater, over and over again.  As we approach any village or town, 5 or 6 sets of these sets of 4 greet us and we bounce up and down, up and down, up and down…

Day 1

AFCA Uganda - Day 145 minutes + 12 hours + 5.5 hours = flight time from Harrisburg to Entebbe, Kampala (via Qatar).   Add to that quite a few loud children on the 12 hour flight, a child who screams every once in a while like clockwork –a loud, piercing scream that doesn’t seem to end, an incredibly misbehaved child during our wait at the airport, a two-year old who climbs on my lap during the flight because he is lost and what do you have? You have a tired puppy.  That is me.  A tired puppy who thanks God every day for her own children who don’t scream on planes and who tend to behave when they are told to. 

Earlier this week I was talking to a friend and we were discussing how incredibly easy we Americans find it to change things out, to dispose of what we consider to be old and unusable, even though the items in question are still good and fully functioning.  Take, for example, a cell phone.  One day, we are perfectly happy with this phone, yet when we notice that a new model is available, we suddenly find fault with our old phone and decide to that we need a new one NOW. 

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