We tried to fit a good bit in to one day today. So, we got up and on the road early this morning, to the second prison. You probably noticed from my post yesterday, but we have to be very careful about specifics regarding these facilities, for many reasons. The main reason is that Sixty Feet is doing such an amazing work with these kids, and we don't want to do or say ANYTHING that would cause that to stop for any reason. They are giving these children hope, and for most of them, that is literally all they have.
We got a pretty good rain yesterday afternoon, so the roads were not so great on our 2 hour drive today. We went to a totally different facility that is much farther out in to the rural areas. Most of the trip was made on dirt roads, which had been converted to mud roads by the rains.
The drive was long but interesting. It was our first time to be that far out in the rural areas. We were able to see much less of the street vendors, shops, downtown etc., and much more of the mud huts, grass roofs, cows, goats and pigs. When we arrived at the facility, it was time for the children to have their breakfast. We were able to serve them some biscuits (cookies basically) with their porridge, which was a treat for these very shy and guarded kids. Then, we went into a large room, where the children that we were working with sang songs for us and worshiped. All I can say about it really is, you will just have to see the video. They sang and praised and then they all prayed, out loud together, but individually at the same time. They all were very clearly, pleading to God for hope....it was overwhelming. Most of us cried. Some of us (me) had snot and tears running down their faces by the time they were finished. When the kids looked up from their prayer time, they certainly must have wondered what on earth was the matter with all of us.
Then, we sang a couple of songs with the kids and started our t-shirt craft. It is very likely, not one of those kids have ever had a t-shirt that no one else has worn. Much less, one with their own name on it. Or, one that a herd of weepy mzungus helped them decorate. They had a great time and were all very creative. We were very concerned from the start, about having enough t-shirts for all of the kids. We didn't want to offer something like this to some and not all. When we got towards the end of the line, the girls who were handing them out, saw about 20 more kids in line, and only 1 more shirt. They started to panic and asked Diana what to do. She said "All we can do is pray." So they did. Then another team member opened up a zipper pouch in the suitcase. Guess what? More shirts. We all cried some more.
Later, we went out in to the yard (much bigger than yesterday) and did bubbles, balloons, jump rope, soccer and just played with all of the kids. It was tough to be there. It was tough to leave.
We decided to take the other road out, which turned out to be a mistake. The mud was even worse on that road than on the first, and we got stuck. A bunch of children from the village were all out running and waving at us, and those sweet kids proceeded to push our bus out of the mud. We hydroplaned for a little while, but then we got back on track....sort of. We got stopped by the police once we got on the paved-ish roads. They probably just wanted to see what a whole bus full of white people were up to in that part of town. The officer came on our bus, said "Ha-looo" to us all, and sent us on our merry way. We got stopped again, but I don't think the officer even messed with us once he realized we were all white...and women.
We finally got back to Namirembe Guest House. We had to literally get our lunch, switch out our donations, and leave. We were already late to Royal Hope Academy, and we didn't want the children to have to wait on us any longer. So we hustled on over there, only about a 20 minute drive.
We were greeted on both sides of the road, by all of the school children, lined up singing and clapping. It was so sweet. We went in to their large classroom, where they sang and danced for us some more. We sang for them some as well. Rebecca shared a little and welcomed us all. We went out in to the yard area and just played. We were able to see the kids classrooms, play their games, and I took A LOT of their pictures. Little Ruthie, who you will see when i am able to post a few pictures, stole the show immediately! She is the sponsored child of my friend Amanda, and I wanted to keep my eye out for Ruth so I could meet her. I never imagined she would find me! She was the life of the party the whole time. We all had sweet, happy, kids playing and hanging all over us. It was just what we all needed after a very sad morning.
We had the honor of going back to My Fathers House, where Rebecca, Michael, Charity and the 16 children they have taken in, live. Charity made the most wonderful dinner for all of us; potatoes, fried rice, noodles, green peas, pineapple and watermelon, that wasn't even all of it. It was fabulous. We all began to eat and then the power went out. Without skipping a beat, Rebecca, Michael, Charity and the children just went right along with what they were doing. I am sure that wasn't a first for them! We were able to talk and eat for a while with Rebecca and the kids, then we painted the girls toes outside, by lantern light. We gave them all the donations we had brought, hung out for a little longer, then we had to be on our way. Rebecca and Charity prayed. We all cried. The most surprising thing was, I realized that Ruthie was crying too. She kept saying " I want to go toooo America!" Bless her sweet little heart.
Can't wait to post some pics from today so you can put all the pieces together, but that will have to wait, because I have a low Internet signal, and I must go shower and wash all the caked dirt off my feet. :)
The place we are staying in Jinja for the next 2 nights, doesn't have power. I probably won't be able to post again for a couple of days. But, I will try to write the blogs and just post them when we get back to Namirembe on Friday.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
A very warm welcome
The kids who are new to the remand centers are not allowed to wear shirts, I think for the first 2 weeks
This little guy had special needs. We decorated his shirt for him. Broke. My. Heart.
This is the boy who almost left in tears. We got his shirt just right and he was so happy.
I don't even have words for how this moves my heart.......
I still can't believe that these kids (who did not know us) pushed our bus out of the mud.....
Hooray! We are free!
Yep, that's a pink chicken.....