Saturday, June 30, 2007

hillary's uganda journal - june 27 & 30

June 27th
Today I had pineapple for breakfast...for a snack...AND for lunch. I thought I was in heaven!

But that's not even the most exciting thing that happened today! I went to the villages of Kassanda and Kamusenene to do sponsorship work. It was so much fun! First of all I told everyone my favorite village was Lugazi, and then I added Kitongo onto that one. But I don’t think I can have favorites anymore because every village I get to spend more time in, I fall in love with!

It is so much more relaxing when I get to go just by myself instead of with a huge group of Americans. I get to play with the kids more and its not so hectic and crazy. There was a little girl in Kamusenene whose name is Kemigisa Rose. All I did was ask her what her name was and gave her a hug. But she would always catch my eye in a crowd of kids and smile hugely at me. And then later she got on her knees in front of me (which is kind of a sign of respect) and gave me a mango. It was really cute. Here's a picture of Rose...

Then I met a boy named Tumwesige Peter and he was absolutely adorable! I noticed him right away because you just can't ignore a smile like his. It's impossible. I called him over to me, but he decided he was going to by shy and sprinted away as fast as he could. And then it became a game to him, he'd wait till I looked at him and then he'd run away laughing. Here's Peter in the background. See what I mean?

Once we got all the paperwork filled out, and all the kids wrote letters to their sponsors, we went back to Kassanda and did the same thing.

Filling out the sponsorship papers has a good and bad side to it. It's really fun getting to spend a little bit of time with each child and to find out what their favorite class is, and what they want to be when they grow up, and to hear their stories. But it's really hard for me to force the history out of these kids, who live every day trying to escape and move on from their past.

Najjuma Jesca was the first girl in Kassanda that I talked to. She is ten years old and has one brother and three sisters. And she only has a mom. Her dad was a construction worker who fell off of a building and died a few years ago. Now her and her four siblings will grow up without their dad. As she talked to me she tried to hide the tears that streamed down her face. I can't even imagine what she's feeling. I cannot relate at all. I am so thankful for that, but it also makes it easy to just forget how much suffering so many other people go through. To just write down their lives as a statistic, as some good information that will lead some heart in America to be moved and want to spend $30 a month to try and help a child move past the pain that that they’ve experienced. That thought makes me sick right now. I don't want Jesca to just be a number. I wiped those tears off of her face. It was real. I wish I could write her pain on this blog so you might understand that these children don't just need school fees. They need love…and so much of it. By sponsoring a child, we're filling a void in their lives. We're part of their lives now, they think about us every day, even though we're on the other side of the world. It's amazing the huge impact that we can have on them by just showing them a little bit of that love that they desire so badly.

June 30th
I was going to go to a burial today. Sharifa's dad died yesterday. I'm not really sure what happened, it all happened so fast. I just found out that they had taken him to the hospital and he was suffering from ulcers, I think, and that he was unconscious. Then the next thing I heard is that he had died. Sharifa is the little girl near Kamusenene who had a problem with her bladder (it was on the outside of her body). Two years ago we got her surgery to fix it. She lived in a village close to Kamusenene and they were all Muslims. But after the huge sign of love than many people from ICN showed toward this suffering child, they wondered why were so different. Her whole family, who were devout Muslims, became Christians, including her father. That is such an encouraging story, that even though we're sad about the death of her father, I am so excited that we can know he's in heaven right now. I just feel so badly for Sharifa, she has gone through so much pain, through ridicule from all the children in her village before she had the surgery, to now with her father passing away.

But, I didn't go to the burial because it was really far away and it's a really long ceremonial thing, so I went to the studio with the choir. They recorded two songs, Majesty and Joy. It was pretty uneventful. Some kids would be recording on one side of the room while the rest had to quietly sit on a mat on the other side of the room. I don't know how they could sit still so long. I couldn't. Yvonne sang this song to me on the way home:

I love you
so much.
I love you!

Haha! It was to the tune of one of the other songs they sing in the choir.

Eric decided that I needed a bodyguard, so he didn't let me out of his sight, but then on the way home he fell asleep on my lap. What a great bodyguard!

Editor's Note: For new pictures from Hillary in Uganda, inlcuding photos from things she described in earlier posts, click here


Anonymous said...

Wow Hill! What a HUGE impact you're making in those children's lives and it sounds like they're making quite an impact in yours, as well. I'm really enjoying reading about your experiences and love all the pic's. I'm so proud of you ... all the work you're doing and the love that you're giving those beautiful children. You're continually in my prayers. (and may the pineapple be plentiful!) Thanks so much for the card! Luv you, Stac-

Stephanie said...

Those kids r so CUTE! the mango girl, smirkin peter and body guard Eric :) Hmm I wanna love em too :(

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the latest on the sells

As of May 27, 2009...

Wow, it's been almost a year since we've updated this. Our family had a wonderful experience traveling to Uganda two summers ago, which prompted us to keep a journal on this blog. You can read our daily journal from our month long trip

This year brings new adventures. Our eldest daughter, Courtney, after graduating from George Fox University with honors, left for her third trip to India to spend nearly a YEAR to work at Happy Home for the Handicapped in Shimoga, India. You can read about her first trip to India and the impact it had on her life here. She'll also give us new updates from her current trip on this site (here). As of this writing, she is just starting to settle in and is very excited to be there. She has been looking forward to this for a long time!

Meanwhile, Hillary spent all of last year
touring the western U.S. with Matsiko, the choir of children we grew to love as our own in Uganda. She journalled about her experiences in Uganda if you'd like to see what that was like. At some point during this tour, she felt led to join the U.S. Army. Quite a big decision, and one she didn't take lightly. After moving through Basic Training with flying colors, she is now at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio training to become a combat medic. It's a very intense training, but we're sure she'll do well. Our whole family was able to travel to South Carolina to watch her graduate from Basic Training. What an awe inspiring experience!

Leslie is having a great year of teaching 5th graders. She's also in a Master's program, which takes a good chunk of her time. She's still finds time to read a TON of books. Literally, a ton!

Curt was overwhelmed by his experience as a first time overseas traveler and kept up his journal here (you can also read his random posts on everyday life here). The busyness of life and keeping track of his traveling kids has slowed down his writing, but he hopes to begin writing on a regular basis again soon.