Let me just say how truly thankful I am that our team FINALLY made it to Kampala after four days of traveling and some major obstacles. And I honestly think it was a miracle that our luggage made it here; not a bag was lost, even after all of our transfers. It was well worth it, though, the minute we stepped off the bus and saw the beautiful, smiling faces of the children at the orphanage who greeted us with "You are most welcome here" from the bottom of their hearts. That did it for me. I would have gladly endured the seemingly endless plane rides and spending the night in the Nairobi airport all over again. A line from the book called The Kite Runner explains it so well: "For you a thousand times over!"
Yesterday, we spent time with the kids and got acquainted with them (as much as you can with a hundred kids at a time!) by playing games and talking to them. Have you ever tried to learn dozens of names in one day? It's pretty difficult! They each go by a Christian (English) name, although they also have a family name, so it was pretty easy to remember the names. We also got a chance to talk with the teachers and administrators about their passion for these kids.
Today was...Bed Day! The main reason we're here is to distribute beds to the children, who were sleeping on very dirty mattresses with little or no covers, and definitely no mosquito nets, which protect against the deadly disease of malaria. Each child received their own bed, bedding, mattress, pillow cases and will get a mosquito net and a Bible tomorrow. Let me just tell you, most of them are more excited about getting the Bibles!
I can't describe the pure joy the kids had when they saw the truck pull up with their beds; they rushed toward them screaming with the largest smiles I have ever seen. They helped carry the frames to their dorms, lifting them like they were nothing. We helped them put the bedding on, but they were very eager to do it themselves. We are hoping they will have very Sweet Sleep tonight.
This journey has been amazing. I have never encountered such thankful, loving children who truly value their education and are grateful to have visitors who care about them. Some at the school are boarders, which mean they live there, and there are a few who are refugees from Sudan. The other children come to school during the day, then go home to their parents or caregivers. I had a chance to talk and play with some of these children today and they had questions about everything. The thing that most hit me was when they asked me if we had war in America. For as long as these kids have been alive, their country has been at war, and they are afraid. I hope that they see us and understand that they are loved and have so many people across the world who care for them and pray for their safety.
Please continue to pray for these children and their teachers, families, and supporters.