One Day until the Retreat

June 29

One day until the Women of Hope Retreat 2018.

The cow has been dispatched and it’s meat is resting on a floor of banana leaves awaiting the large cooking pot. Women of Hope have converged on the Divine Holistic Ministries campus to peel mountains of matoke (similar to a plantain), 100 lbs of “irish” (potatoes), lbs of yams and sweet potatoes and 20 chickens are waiting their fate in the shade of the dinning area. A small truck load of fire wood was delivered earlier this morning.  They will be cooking all night.

The tents are in place and the stage is set. Over 2000 women from 20 different regions will come in their finest Gomas to sing, dance, and give short skits. The event will start around 9 and last until 4 or 5.

God is mighty and greatly to be praised. His wonders to behold.

I have heard some of the stories of these women and it will break your heart.  How can they still have hope? How can they still praise God? They believe in their God with all their heart, they believe in the healer of past pain, tragic circumstances, death, sickness, disease. They believe that God will supply their needs according to his riches in glory.  They have seen and experience God’s provisions every day.  When they pray for their daily bread, they really mean it.

We all need to learn from the faith of these women.  Some are grandmothers caring for their grandchildren because the parents have died from HIV/AIDS, often times sick with the same disease.

They have strength beyond normal human strength given by hope in a savior and belief in the one true God.

June 28

I woke up to the smell of the fire pit burning not so far from my bedroom window. The solar charged battery charging station is not working and most of my electronics are dead.

For the first time, I heard the cow moo, or it might be the sad, sad, new dog that is not happy to be the new member of the security team.

Today Fred and I visited his mother in his home town village.  We brought sugar, posho (porsha- a corn flour based meal that is a staple in the diet) and rice. She was very gracious to have a stranger come visit.  The minute we arrived she began to build a fire and put a pot of tea on for us. She “buttered” bread and fried eggs for us as well.

Fred showed me the home that his younger brother (one of the 9 children of his mother) had built for her, the kitchen that he built for her and the 4 room mud and stick house that was built over 50 years ago where his mother raised 9 children. The whole mud house was not much larger than two  rooms of our in our homes.

We walked the property where his mother keeps chickens, goats, and a pig.  She also grows coffee, and most of the fruit and vegetables she needs to survive. I watched as a few hens and their biddies scratching around the property.

As we went to leave his mother cut some of the maze growing on the property, grabbed a large bag of fresh dug peanuts and presented me with a chicken. Another example of the kindhearted, generosity that I experience time and time again with the Ugandan people.

June 27

We went to Kalagala Falls today.  It is part of the Nile.  What awesome powerful beauty. You might notice in the picture of me on the high rock , me grimacing.  I have problems with high places and the water was rushing with such force, no one would survive that fall. Glad for the picture though.

Went to one of the Women of Hope members home to watch how they made bar soap for laundry and dish washing. This is one of the income producing project that the Women of Hope have started along with candle making, liquid soap making, mat weaving, Vaseline making and of course the jewelry making.

They chattered and did a little dance and song when it was time to pour out the mixture into the frames for drying.

June 26

Fred and I visited Njeru Primary School. He is on the board there and his key roll is to encourage the staff of 13 toward excellence in education and to strive to bring the children’s academics up to standard to help the children pass the entrance exams so they can proceed to Secondary or high school.

Fred wanted to present 3 of the soccer balls and a “boom ba” ball pump to the school. The whole school 500 + assembled on the grounds in front of the school.  3 ball for so many, but the joy and excitement was thick. The balls will be kept by the staff under lock and key when not in play for fear of them disappearing.

I was asked to speak to the assembly, the children speak and are taught English early on, so I was confident that they would understand me. So I gave a short speech about how they needed to put God first in their life, study hard, be kind to each other and that I loved them.  All clapped and after the head teacher said something that made the whole group roll in laughter.

I asked Fred what that was about and he said they didn’t understand my accent! That made me laugh too. Southern English!

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