After an amazing time in South Africa, Kevin and I took an early morning flight up to Uganda. We hit some mad traffic on our way into town and it took nearly 3 hours (compared to the usual 1 hour). Welcome to Uganda!
Our friend Derrick from Watoto picked us up from the airport and kindly drove us throughout much of our week-long visit. It was wonderful getting to know him better and we are grateful for his generosity in taking us around.
Quick history: I lived and worked in Kampala for one year from May 2008 to 2009 with an incredible organization called Watoto. Watoto started as a church in the early 80s and has now extended into a non-profit that cares for orphan children and widows, among other powerful ministries that are impacting many lives across East Africa. Check ‘em out!
After joining staff meeting on Tuesday morning, we travelled out to Suubi village, one of 3 Watoto’s Children’s Villages outside of Kampala. We stopped by the mechanic shop & furniture production unit first, where we chatted for a bit with Chris, who helps develop sustainability projects. The photo below says it all. Such a cool cat.
Kev had never been to Uganda before, so it was really incredible getting to be with him as he experienced all that I had been passionately sharing about for years. We swung by the school office, the medical clinic, Baby Watoto, the homes… and, finally, one of the many sustainability projects – the Goat Barn.
Can I just say: I LOVE the Goat Barn! The baby goats are adorable and have the sweetest little bleets you’ll ever hear. The teenage goats are a bit rambunctious – go figure. Then you have the adult goats (just ladies since the purpose of the project is to harvest their milk for Baby Watoto, where abandoned babies are rescued and cared for). The goat’s milk is boiled once it arrives at Baby Watoto and provides local, healthy nourishment for the babies. We got to see them move from pasture to inside the barn, where faithful Uganda workers feed them. It was amazing to see this project and its success.
Next, we drove about an hour to another village, Bbira. I’ve been sponsoring a Watoto student here for just over 5 years now and it has been one of the most rewarding things in my life. Saphina is 16 now and will be graduating from high school at the end of the year. She is a hard worker in school, has an amazing heart for Jesus and a lovely spirit about her. I am so proud of her and believe she will be a standout leader in Uganda!
Thursday was full of some crazy adventures. Solange (my good friend and former boss aka Watoto Int’l Communications Team Leader), Derrick, Kevin and I headed out to the shores of Lake Victoria, the largest lake in the world and the source of the Nile River. After roaming through the smelly fish market for a little bit, we caught a boat to the island across the way and we ate our first ‘rolex’ – or chapatti wrapped around an egg omelet. It’s a local favorite and you can’t help but love the name. ☺
Once on the opposite shore, we took ‘boda-boda’ (or motorcycle taxi) rides down through the island a bit. It’s the safest place to take a boda ride, as they can be quite dangerous in the city. After lunch, we headed back into town for a few meetings and then Solange’s small group in the evening. Simply a beautiful day!
We returned to Suubi for another visit on Friday, this time to spend some time with babies. We absolutely soaked it up. Suubi’s babies home is the largest of the 3 with a capacity of 190 babies. Our time was mostly spent with the 4-6 month olds, where I met a sweet little girl and Kev hung out with the boys. We could’ve stayed in there all day! The supervisor on duty graciously showed us around and shared some of the history of Baby Watoto. It is part of the ministry that truly shows Watoto’s commitment to the health and well being of Ugandan society by rescuing vulnerable children in their most developmental stages of life.
And what is a trip to Uganda without a visit to the Equator? So here you go.
Our last full day was spent out at a beautiful resort called Wildwaters, nestled in the rapids of the Nile River near Jinja, Uganda. Solange came along with us and we enjoyed fresh juice and a bit of reading by the pool, a delicious lunch (with a fancy pineapple crumble dessert) and a walk around the grounds to see inside the accommodation and more rapids. Every part of the place was stunning!
To wrap up the trip, we attended the lively 11am service at Watoto Church on Sunday and then hit the road back to the airport. It went by quickly, but was filled with beautiful people, sweet moments, divine conversations, reminiscing on old memories and making new ones. Uganda – it won’t be the last time. You are forever in our hearts.
London… Here we come. ☺