Yesterday I was ever so close to hitting the send button to update you all about how we are doing but then poof, the power went out. The place we are living for the next two weeks is run completely by solar power and last night the computer lab was filled with lots of college students who had just finished final exams and were enjoying free time surfing the web, so I’m not surprised that it happened. But now, I am excited to share with you what we have experienced so far!
Here is some Ugandan knowledge for you. There are two seasons here, rainy and dry. Last time I was here Uganda was in the heat of their dry season, which meant bright sunshine and lots of dust, everywhere. This time around, however, we are here during the rainy season, which greeted us on the first night at Patrick’s house a 3 am with probably the loudest thunderstorm I have ever heard. If it doesn’t rain through the night, it rains for a few hours in the morning. It is very predictable and also VERY muddy. Don’t worry, I have only slipped and fallen once.
On Tuesday we made the commute from Kampala to Buloba, got settled into African Renewal University, received a great and informative tour to make us feel at home, and then on Wednesday we made the 15 minute walk down the road to Buloba Community Church. This is the ministry that Cornerstone has been investing in for the past seven years through sending teams just like ours and also through child sponsorship. This week we have been helping out with the Center Days at this school, which is the equivalent to Camp Cornerstone or VBS. We have been helping teach the lessons in the classrooms, serving their meals, worshipping with them, and of course lots of playing. It has been great for our team to invest into the staff and children that are a part of this church, but for me it has been incredible to reconnect with people I met last time and see how they are doing in life. The hugs, the pictures, the time we just get to spend together is so great and I am loving every second of it. Today I got to meet up with Jalia once again, she embraced me for so long as we just walked and talked together about how each of our lives have been the past year. She told me she still has the picture of the two of us that I sent her and that she prays for me and my family. This kind of friendship is so special to me and we have only spent maybe 7 hours total together over the past year. This just goes to show how far the love of Christ reaches and how everlasting it is. The rest of the people definitely see now how it is hard to leave this place without being happy. These people are filled with so much joy and they are truly grateful for the work God is doing through Cornerstone to serve them. I think the coolest moment for me so far on this trip was when we were leaving the school after the first day (Wednesday). There have been so many positives about staying on the university campus and it being so close to the church, but one in particular is that since we are close enough to walk there that when the kids starting walking home at the end of the day, so do we. It was such a sweet moment for me holding hands with kids as we all started making the walk home. It made me realize that I get to spend this time here pouring into people but also really living in Africa in a much more real way than before. We have Saturday and Sunday to spend more time with the kids at the school and I am looking forward to the more fun times we will have.
I wanted to tell you all a little more about where we are currently living- African Renewal University. I cannot say enough good things about this campus and how beneficial it has been for our team to stay here and be so close to the school, but also really feel like we are fully experiencing this country. This university was established with the goal to educated future leaders for Africa. They enforce the ideas of conservation, hard work, and using what God has given you to be successful. They gave us a tour of the campus and showed us the classrooms but also all of the agriculture. Essentially what they do is grow all of their own food for eating, but also for earning a profit so that one day this campus will be able to hold up to 4,000 students. This place has so much potential and I can’t wait to see how much God grows it within the next 10 years. Another great thing about living here here is that when we arrived there were about 150 students on campus who were just getting into their finals week, which means we get to live campus life with them. As a college team, this has been really cool for us. Walking around meeting students, asking about what they are studying, wishing them luck on finals, it’s kind of surreal feeling like I am living the typical college life in Africa. Also with all of the agriculture on campus I have been able to do lots of new Ugandan things like peel matoke, make chapati, play with goats…I spend my free time well. I have been able to go running with the students here, do Insanity (yes, college students in Africa do Insanity), hammock (me and my ENO have gotten some pretty strange looks, but has also been a great conversation starter and I even let some students even give it a try), read, and make new friends. At one point I looked around and realized that anything these students were doing, Auburn students do the same thing. Again, really just a surreal moment and such a unique opportunity that we have been given by being able to stay here. Our team is having a great time here and we are looking forward to getting to take some classes next week.
While God has been doing great things, please pray for the health of our team. Liz and Sheila have struggled with sickness and we pray that they will be able to join us again tomorrow. We are not sure what they have but they have been slowly getting better with rest, your prayers are appreciated. Thanks for reading and I look forward to updating again in a few days.
I leave you with this, in case you were wondering what the title means it is Lugandan for “war eagle.”