January 18, 2011

We are excited to share with you some of the stories from our training here at New Hope Uganda.  We are also very excited to have power!  Where to begin…

We have officially been at New Hope Uganda for almost 2 weeks.  Our travel from Jinga to Luwero was an adventure.  We piled our tubs and all our belongings into a bus with the kiddos and headed from Jinga to Luwero.  We did not have exact directions to New Hope other than go to Luwero and ask how to get to New Hope.  “Everyone knows how to get to New Hope.”  We got directions and started down an endless dirt road that was bumpy and dusty.  When I say dirt road I mean one that seemed to never end, we kept going and going.  Finally after many not so reassuring glances at each other, and some silent prayers we saw a sign for New Hope.  We traveled along this bumpy, dusty, windy and at times scary dirt road for about 50 minutes in the bus. 

Once we arrived we were greeted by some of the staff of New Hope.  We were so excited to be there and so excited we had actually found the place.  The staff was excited to share with us that a house had opened up and we would not be staying in a hut! Praise God, it is a two bedroom house with a western style toilet and running water. Not the same type of house as American standards, but a house! We only have water when we have electricity to fill the tank outside; the electricity has been off more than it has been on.  We went about 36 hours without it and ran completely out of water in the tank.  The kiddos took bucket showers and we pulled water out of the well to flush the toilet.  All that aside it is such a blessing to have a house; we are so very thankful, electricity or no electricity.    

We have been hearing each other’s testimonies and it is absolutely amazing hearing the stories from the people of Ugandan who have lived through so many struggles.  Many of them lived through the civil war and were forced to leave their homes or families.  So many of them had close friends and family members who were killed.  One lady in particular told of leaving everything and running to hide in the bush from the soldiers. They would hide out in the bush until the soldiers passed, sometimes it would take hours of days.  There are so many stories of struggles and loss that it seems like something from a Hollywood movie script, except for the fact it is the story of their lives.

We went through a week long conference called Envisioning.  It was a great gear up for our training.  It was a week of praise and worship and different speakers. Today we stated in on our training going over ground rules, conduct, expectations etc. Then we had a 52 question “exam” over Biblical knowledge.  The last question was to draw a timeline from Creation to Christ, filling in as much as possible.  Tomorrow we all work in the fields for the harvest.  The whole New Hope community comes together and goes to harvest maize.  We are excited and nervous as the same time, but it will definitely be a learning experience.  The boys  are really excited as well, I do not think they know that they are in for.

We had our first cooking experience in Africa.  We have these little round charcoal cookers.  Now when I say charcoal I do not mean Kingsford Match Light.  This is burnt hardwood charcoal that definitely has a technique to getting it going.  You have to first light some paper or dried grass in the bottom, and get a big fire going to light the hardwood charcoal on the grate above.  Once this is done you have to get the coals hot enough to set your pan or skillet on to cook.  We did not have class until 9:30 today so we had the brilliant idea to whip up some French toast and scrambled eggs.  A mere two hours later we had everyone fed, cooking is not so easy here.  It did however roast some G-nuts this afternoon, which are like peanuts.  Before you know it I will be whipping up big family meals on my little charcoal cooker.

More stories to come, unfortunately our connection speed is too slow to upload pictures for now.  Also, check out the new feature on our website called Karson’s Korner.  Karson is giving his stories from the perspective of a 7 year old.

Matthew OrtegaComment