Sorry for the delay again. We have had limited access after staying with host families. I believe everyone has cherished this unique opportunity and have really enjoyed being hosted by Ugandan families. This update today will cover the Tuesday at the resettlement centre, Mothers Union family life projects in Nyakitunda and our day with All Saints Youth fellowship. The bloggers for these days are Jacob Wain, Darren Williams and Jonny Dobson.
On Tuesday morning, we continued to work at the resettlement passion fruit orchard. The previous day we spent a long time tearing down old vines that had produced their fruit but had now wilted. However on Tuesday I was able to work with Brian, Jonny and Ben to plant new passion fruit vines. This was a great experience planting something that has new life and will grow to produce wonderful fruit. This fruit would then be sold to create some income for the resettlement centre. It was really hard work for everyone over the two days, but I’m very proud of the team for working so hard.
In the afternoon, we had an opportunity to take on the town, we headed into the local markets. It was very interesting to see how much textile recycling and reshaping was taking place. Dozens of Ugandan workers slotted into the sides of alleys and shop fronts. All sat behind singer sowing machines ready to make alteration often from previously worn materials. I reflected upon how much textiles in the UK are nearly always purchased new. With not many micro industries focusing on textile adaptation or recycling. The Ugandan’s use everything at their disposal whether first or second hand.
In the evening, we went to stay with our host families. Although we were very tired from a long day, we used our remaining energy to get to know our hosts. Over the two days I discovered they were very friendly, welcoming, fun and hardworking people. On the first evening we found out that the Father of our host family was an English teacher, he said something about keeping some banana trees as a small project. However on the second evening I realised the extent of his projects; a whole acre of banana plantation along with a large pig farm and a local bar. Clearly this was a very hard working and creative family. So it was a great experience to stay with a local family and have a taste of Ugandan life.
God bless you,
Mothers Union family life project
I was very excited about seeing another family life project after I went to a village in 2013 with the “youth to youth” mission. We went to a different project this time at a high altitude village called Nyakitunda. They have an unbelievable amount of Banana trees here and we were to then find out that this region supplies Mbarara and Kampala and is a large producer of bananas here in Uganda.
We arrived at the Church and we were mobbed by crowds of school children who came running over when they saw us arrive. We then joined the staff and parish minister for a late breakfast and some Ugandan tea. We then headed out into the very dry dusty village and started to visit some “projects” where the Diocese had provided Goats to the local people to help them become self-sufficient. There is a rule though that if your goat breeds and has a female goat that it is given to someone else in the village. If you have a male goat though then you are entitled to keep it.
It was very hot and we started going up a hill back towards the church when we realised that we were actually being tasked with working alongside the locals to build a goat shed! We were surprised but it was a fantastic afternoon and the young people once again worked their socks off with digging foundations and assembling the structure. Big shout out to Joe Porter who was absolutely amazing!
The nails were particularly difficult to hammer into the wood but the locals were amazing and the team mucked in where they could. The team have many blisters to show for three days of hard graft!
We then returned to the Church to have a late lunch and we were treated to a short service whereby the family life projects work was explained and we were given a song about welcoming visitors and a local dance that I would like to call the stomping dance. Once again it was a very special and humbling experience.
The family life project is clearly making a massive difference in villages like this one and it was fantastic to be a part of that. They are building much more than goat houses though and the strong community bond was evident.
We are back with our host families tonight (Wednesday 2nd August) and we have been made to feel very welcome just as we have done wherever we have been. I believe we can learn a lot about hospitality and welcome from our Ugandan brothers and sisters!
Tomorrow (Thursday 3rd August) we are with All Saints Church and we look forward to getting to know them better over sports and a BBQ.
Thanks for your prayers and please keep us in your prayers after a demanding few days!
All Saints day
For the last two nights, we have been staying with families local to Mbarara, all members of the All Saints Youth. (apparently in Uganda “youth” is 15-35 yr olds). Little Josh and I woke up in the house of Brian/Mugisha Mulinzi, still tired after a late night of rowdy scrabble! Josh would like everyone to know that he did win both nights consecutively, and I would like my family to know that I’m sorry to have let you down and vow to improve my scrabble game for future matches.
After an uneventful morning, we met the All Saints Youth for a hike up a hill on the edge of the town. After first introductions, it became quickly apparent that almost everyone in Uganda has a name from the Bible, except Bobs. At the top of the hill we played various games as a big group and had a good time having a laugh and building relationships. One lesson that I’ll definitely take home is how friendly people are here! You know that moment when you walk past somebody in the street that you vaguely know and you do that awkward nod thing? That particular social interaction doesn’t exist here. I must have shaken every hand and hugged every person at least 4 times.
When we reached the bottom of the hill, the stage was set for the most important moment of the trip: Mzungu (white person) United vs All Saints Youth First XI in the most heavily anticipated football match of the Ugandan season. We started well, with Josh, Mugisha and Paul (who we borrowed from All Saints) linking up well in midfield, and Jacob Wain almost taking a couple of chances up front. But it was the home side that took the lead. Timothy, the Ugandan Messi, placed a long range effort into the top corner. It was at this moment that for a moment heads began to drop amongst the visitors. We were being forced onto the back foot by an aggressive All Saints formation, with what felt 6 men up front. A second goal for the home side looks imminent. But then, step up Jacob Wain. Josh Moore, ever busy in the centre of the park, sent a long ball forward and the man from Stoke-on-Trent gave rapid chase. The keeper, the inexperienced David, came out to meet it. But the nerves showed, as David fumbled the ball, dropping it right at the feet of Wain, who netted from close range. On this occasion, it was Goliath who defeated David. Back in the game, Mzungu United upped the intensity, with big challenges flying in from Brian, and Darren shouting instructions from the back. But once again, the Home side overloaded the box, piling on the pressure. A shot came out of nowhere, and was cleared of the line… by the hand of Bex. The All Saints number 9 stepped up eagerly to take the following penalty. A low shot down the middle was expertly save by Darren, only for the striker to score from the rebound. The visitors failed to put the disappointment of the last goal behind them, and the ball was stolen after the restart. The All Saints attack was quick and devastating, and before the crowd could settle themselves down again after the penalty, it was 3 for All Saints. With Mzungu united 3 goals to 1 down, the game began to turn scrappy, with long balls being sent forward by Joseph Porter at centre back. Amidst the anarchy, Josh Moore picked the ball up on the left and played it to Ben Troth who was a constant thorn in the side of the All Saints defence. Ben and Jonny linked up well down the left releasing Ben in on goal. The shot was well saved by David, and there was a scramble to latch onto the rebound. After a fierce battle for possession in the box, the ball ricocheted off Moore and fell to Dobson, who volleyed in from the edge of the box. The game was back on. In a desperate attempt to level the scores, Mzungu United poured players forward, but it was too little too late.
Full time was called, All Saints Youth First XI 3-2 Mzungu United. Possibly the best BBQ of my life was there to welcome the tired players and fans afterwards.
In all seriousness, God’s hand was definitely on the day, as we were all inspired by the incredible faith and sense of community that the Ugandan Youth have.
Go in peace to love and serve the lord. In the name of Christ, AMEN.