Africa Greater Life orphanage, which is one of the first orphanages where Sweet Sleep started their work in Uganda. As we rolled up to the grounds, our van was quickly surrounded with a flood of smiling faces welcoming us to Africa Greater Life. As I personally hopped out of the van, the children began grabbing for any piece of my clothes they could. They couldn’t get close enough to us and the hugs kept rolling in. “Hi, my name is Martin, what is yours?” echoed throughout the group as we stood and held their hands. The children were eager to show us around their home and were so happy to have us.
I had the opportunity to capture a ministry that is vital to the success of Sweet Sleep in Uganda: the newspaper bead-making project. The women and widows of the orphanage make beaded necklaces that are sold in the US in order to raise money for the beds Sweet Sleep places throughout Uganda. Watching the women pour their hearts out about how appreciative they were for supporting their marvelous craft was a humbling experience. It makes me think about all the times I haven’t been selfless.
While it was difficult to leave, it was reassuring to know that the lives of these children have been forever changed because of the beds and the mosquito nets that have been provided through the ministry of Sweet Sleep. The kids hung on to us as we waved goodbye. My new friend Martin said, “Paul, I will write you a letter and next time Sweet Sleep comes back, I will give it to them to give to you.” As I waved goodbye from the van, my other friend Allen smiled back wearing his heart on his face.
We began our trip to Gulu this afternoon. Our driver Jack made record Ugandan time to the mission house (Watoto House) in less than five hours. It was exiting to see the acacia trees with a beautiful Africa sunset behind it as we made our way north to Gulutown. During our team meeting, we were told about the logistics for the week. Tomorrow we will begin our first day of distributing beds. I am excited in anticipation for the 1300 other African kids we will be meeting and providing a safe place to sleep.