Monday, February 23, 2015

February update

As usual, I find myself with too many photos and too little time to write about our past two months. Forgive my briefness in the descriptions, but enjoy a little glimpse of our lives.

Grandpa & Grandma Gingerich stayed with us through mid-January. Much fun was had, including a routine exam of grandpa's ears. Don't blame me...he is the one who brought them each a nurse's kit.
 Grandma had the privilege of baking a cake with Lemu...or is it the other way around?
 Home improvement projects were attacked (like this shade cloth put over our porch area).
 We've been enjoying some evening walks as a family. On one of these walks, we stopped beside the grave of the girls' father (Gabriel) and paid our respects. We hope that they will retain memories of both their family and where they've come from.
 My girls LOVE hair and take any chance to don a few strands of it.
 They are still spending a good deal of time in the kitchen with me. And when they're not helping me for real, they're pretending to cook.
 The agricultural year has begun in Timu, as have the fires. People burn the land in order to clear their gardens and for hunting purposes.
 The burned land makes it easier to spot people and animals from miles away.
 We are at the end of dry season and hope to see some rains in the next month or so. For now, we must conserve water and suffer the dry, hot winds. The view below is looking down into western Kenya.
 Speaking of fires, last month I treated a little boy with epilepsy who fell into a fire during a seizure. Although kids here are mesmerized by fires, they also suffer many unnecessary burns.
 Last month I started a new ministry of visiting home-bound individuals. I identified four individuals within a few miles. I'm determined to go visit these elderly (most who are blind) on a monthly basis to see that they're taken care of. I hope that my respect of these individuals will influence others to respect their elders. Sadly, elders in Timu are not treated well. Sabina (below) was the first of my elderly friends to pass away.
 At the end of January, we hosted an AIM prayer team. They came to Timu in order to pray over the place, the people, and the future work of AIM among the Ik. AIM (Africa Inland Mission) team leaders will move to Timu this coming July.
 Here they are praying near the villages where AIM will build a house for it's team leaders.
 These women showed up to participate in the prayers.
 Another exciting development last month was when 12 Ik children were transported to Gulu (central Uganda) in order to enter primary school (elementary) there. Many Ik parents believe that their kids will have more opportunity and a better hope for the future if they can get away from Karamoja to get education. The students below are being sent and supported by a ministry called Family Care Uganda, who know of the Ik and have a heart for their future.
One Friday evening, I sat with the youth of Timu and we went through a True Love Waits training. I don't know what they've retained, but I can only hope that I've planted seeds. 
Swinging from trees
Climbing high
Cornhole in Timu! Thanks, dad, for building this beauty!
At a security training in Kaabong, the kids learned some tips for avoiding 'bad guys'. 
Kicking bad guys
Escaping
We enjoyed a pig roast with our Echelon (Baptist) friends as they celebrated the end of their bush training for six young men in Kaabong.
The delicious results of the pig roast.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

What makes a holiday?

I was finally able to upload our vacation photos and I wanted to post a few for your viewing pleasure. 

My parents were able to visit for about three weeks from late December through mid-January. It was a great blessing and comfort to have them with us. In order that we might do something different, I booked us in guest houses in western Uganda for four nights. We drove out west and did a bit of exploring as we don't usually get to see that side of Uganda. It is so very different from the eastern side. 

Our first two nights were located at a UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) hostel in the Lake Mburo National Park. On the way to the park, we passed the official equator signs. 
 This view of the park is from a resort where we stopped to get midday refreshment. We couldn't afford the expensive rooms, but we had a nice break on their grounds.
First family photo with my parents and the girls 
Did you know that warthogs eat this way? They kneel down.
Bushbuck perched on a termite mound 
Dung beetle hard at work
Topi behind the warthog
Waterbuck
Very polite zebra using the road 
Boat ride on Lake Mburo
Lots of hippo cooling themselves
For the bird lovers- we saw a goodly number of fish eagles around the lake.
Pied Kingfisher
 The Pelican house was the banda where Terrill & I stayed with the girls. Notice the window open on the left side. While we were away for breakfast one morning, our room got ransacked by monkeys. See below for the offending creature. The garbage was ripped apart and our toiletry bags were tampered with...but the worst part of the experience was the smell. They left a horrible stench in the room and for the life of us, we couldn't figure out where it was coming from. Only 24 hours later did we discover a little present left under the bed. The smell became so disgusting that Terrill had to sleep in the car that night. Never...never leave your windows open around monkeys!
Breakfast (pineapple, passion fruit, watermelon)
Grandpa with his girls. They decided that they like having grandpas. 
Grandma teaching the girls to lace yarn through holes (aka 'sewing')
Tea plantations in west Uganda along the road
As we passed Queen Elizabeth National Park, we came across elephants near the road.
 The second location we spent time at was near Fort Portal. There are a handful of crater lakes in the area and our guest house was located on one of those lakes. 
Grandma and her girls sitting at a look-out above the lake
 The guest house that I booked us into was called CVK Resort. Resort indeed. They advertised and boasted lots of amenities that they did not have. I chose the place because they advertised activities for kids to do. There was nothing! I believe the 'resort' is on it's last leg. It's glory days were probably 20 years ago. When I asked about swimming, I was directed to the 'beach'. See below. That was the referred-to beach. I later learned that this lake contains bilharzia (a parasite) and it would not be advisable to swim in. When I asked about canoeing, I was told that I'd need to turn the flooded canoe over and dump the water out before we used it. I asked if it had a leak in it and if we'd sink once we tried it out. I was told to use it at my own risk...but would I please pay them $15 to do it? I asked about hiking and they said an adult could take a walk around the lake in 2-3 hours, but that they wouldn't advise it at all for children. A second person on the staff advised that the hike would turn out to be 4-6 hours instead. What exactly did they provide at this 'resort'? We had a lumpy bed and a leaking toilet. The nicest thing (in my opinion) about the place was the croaking of the frogs at night because it lulled one to sleep. It was also a very beautiful location, even though the buildings were falling apart.
 We were able to redeem the situation a bit, and on New Years day, we found another resort that allowed day visitors to come and hang out. The girls enjoyed themselves in the pool with a blown-up whale. We were told by the owners that not many people can stay atop this flotation device. She must have balance.
 Lemu would not be satisfied until she could also try riding the whale, even though it was in the kiddie pool. She will not be outdone by her sister! ;-)
A New Years Eve kiss and toast
New babies from grandma...and they have hair to comb!
Sunset over Lake Victoria
So what made this holiday? It certainly wasn't the guest houses, the thieving monkeys, or the long hours of travel on the roads. No, it was the people we spent time with. There is nothing like family.