So I know that it has been quite some time since I have written! To that I apologize! We have been crazy busy with travelling/ visiting villages and just learning from the awesome missionaries that we have been living with! So here is the long anticipated update on my last 2 weeks in Africa. I know have the time to write since I currently have a 7 hours lay-over in Nairobi, Kenya.
November 13- Today, we went and visited the International School in Mwanza, Tanzania. Some of the missionary kids attend this school and it follows the British curriculum. I was very much impressed with the school and all that they had to offer. They even had a swimming pool and swimming classes! I liked learning about that! Emily Miller was saying how in her son Judah’s class, he is exposed to so many different ethnicities and cultures. She said that his class of 20 was: about ½ Tanzanian-Indian and then a lot of other ethnicities that I cannot remember because there are so many. I was also very surprised to see how many Muslims there were while we were driving around the town. I don’t know why but I just did not think of there being such a heavy Islamic influence in East Africa. I guess its just because in Zambia, there is not so much of that there and so I just assumed that it would be in East Africa.
November 14- We packed up our bags and headed out to a village a little over an hours drive away. We attended church with them and then shared in MANY, MANY meals. That is one thing that the Africans do no matter what: they always make sure their guests have PLENTY to eat. We ate a meal at around 3 in the afternoon with them and then our group (Shelby, Taylor, Jessica, Amanda, Judah, Jason and I) all split up into 3 groups and headed for the homes we were to stay in that night. Shelby, Taylor and I were in the same house and stayed with an elder in the church named Josephat. He is a very sweet man and made sure we felt extremely welcomed. It was very difficult to communicate because we couldn’t speak and Swahili or the local language, Sukuma, and he and his family spoke little to no English. We were taken away one by one and directed towards the bath hut where we took a “shower” which was just splashing water onto ourselves from a bowl of water. Thankfully, Jason told us that it was very taboo to leave water in the bowl and if they came in after you and saw that there was water left, they might send you back with someone to teach you how to bathe in order to make sure you get cleaned. It is a very weird feeling to somewhat waste water in a place where water is such a precious commodity. After all three of us were clean, we sat around and played with the children and took pictures with them. We then ate dinner at around 8:30 and then went to bed. Josephat and his wife gave up their bed for the three of us. That was a very humbling experience since that meant that him and his wife and the SIX children all slept in their living room and the childrens room. Now in my saying living room and bedroom, you may get the sense that this house was big. Quite the contrary. The house was probably 20 feet by 10 feet. It was extremely small and was divided into 3 separate rooms. Needless to say, we were treated like royalty. They even put up the mosquito net in their room for us and proceeded to tuck us into it. It was the sweetest gesture. We did not sleep very well at all the night between the three of us being on a full bed, tossing and turning and the heat. But we woke up to a beautiful sunrise.
November 15- Time in Africa does NOT exist. We were picked up by Jason at 9 am and then left around 10 for the other girls. Well, we didn’t leave the house they stayed until after 11 and then had to go visit another man named John who was a strong Christian man in the village. Well, we got there to discover that good ole John had gone to the clinic that morning. We sat around under a mango tree and spoke to the others there at his house and enjoyed a couple of mangos each. Around 12:45, John comes riding up on his bike. We knew we were in for the long haul. We had 2 more meals before we left at 4pm.
November 16- We were privileged to be able to tour the hospital in Mwanza. The hospital is 10 floors high and we visited several of them. Most of our time visiting was spent in the pediatric ward. We saw many cases of severe burns along with cases of malnutrition. We also saw an albino girl with a burn on her scalp. Albinos here in Africa are seen as evil but are also taken advantage of by witch doctors. Some witch doctors will tell a person that in order to be cured of their HIV/AIDS, they need to get a limb of an albino and that will cure them of the disease. Most of the albinos end up bleeding to death. We went out to dinner at a very nice restraunt on the banks of Lake Victoria and ate some Indian food. We also reunited with the rest of our group who had gone to Geita which is about 2 hours away. It was so good to finally be back with them and we really realized how much of a little family we had become since we missed everyone so much in just a couple of days! Christmas break is going to be so weird without my HIZ group and my group of girls here that I have gotten super close with.
November 17- November 18- We travelled to the Serengeti desert for our safari. We saw many, many animals and were told that we had a very good safari since we were able to see cheetahs, leopards and lions! We were told that seeing all of those on one safari is extremely rare! We stayed at this super nice resort. We all split up into twos and each pair had their own lodge overlooking the desert from a bluff. This was the nicest place that I have ever stayed at! Emily and I had a king sized bed and a full sized bed in our tent/lodge. We also had a couch and two decks. One deck was off the side of our bathroom and had a tub out there! We each were able to enjoy a nice, hot bubble bath while watching the sun set over the desert. I will have to post pictures of how marvelous this place was!
November 20- WE ARE IN UGANDA!!!! My dream of coming to Uganda one day has finally come true. It is such a beautiful country filled with plenty of farmland and hills. We drove to Jinja and met up with the missionary there, Bobby Garner. He is a Harding graduate and has lived in Jinja for about 2 years now with his wife. His wife, Candace, teaches children of another missionary here who is Katie Davis! I have been following Katies blog, kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com, for over 2 years now so it was really cool to find out that I was in the exact place where she lives!
November 21- We went to church at Jinja Church of Christ and it was probably one of the best/lively church services that I have been to while here in Africa. The lady next to me was so happy to worship and had the biggest smile on her face the whole time. After church, we were encouraged to find some people to take out for lunch. Emily, Kayleigh and I invited Enoch and his sister, Esther, out for lunch. We walked probably close to a mile to this place called Surgios Pizzeria for lunch. We were able to eat pizza, listen to Hillsong, fellowship and overlook Lake Victoria. It was such a nice time and it was so nice to be able to sit and talk to Enoch. He is very open about his life and we were able to ask him about the war in Uganda. He informed us that the LRA had not reached the southern part of Uganda that we were in or if it had, he didn’t remember it since he is only 18 years old.