The adventure never ceases. Mel and I are here right now with two guys, Ben Hull and Josh McGrath, who are working on making a documentary about the water crisis in Uganda and what the Ugandan Water Project is doing about it. Collins is a Ugandan who currently lives in upstate NY and is helping them as well. The project is called Uganda23 and you can check it out at http://www.uganda23.com.
The timing of our trip was shaped by the schedules we have going on at home: Liz’s grad classes and Mel’s work schedule. Liz finished class during the first week of the UWP Team 10 trip and Mel has a week off of work during the second week of our trip. If that doesn’t all make sense, that’s ok, basically we couldn’t travel with the team and therefore have about 5 extra days after the team left to do ministry in Uganda. Because the film crew is here for two weeks after the team, we get to spend that time together as a team of 5. So fun!
We arrived after a grueling trip up north; it took 9 1/2 hours in the car. We had a few materials (film equipment and a bin of donations for the community) and so we had three of us squished in the back of the land Rover, where there is no leg room putting our knees at our chins and we had to climb in from the back. The first 4-5 hours were ok. We watched the road slowly deteriorate. At first there were places with sidewalks, gutters, and shoulders on the road. (Not all places, but some in and around the city.) After an hour of so, there were only shoulders on the side of the road. After another hour or so, the edges of the road started to be eaten away and made it difficult at times for two cars to pass each other. Once we reached Gulu, we weren’t always even driving on pavement.
That was fine, except the road continued to get worse. The pot holes were big and deep and our average speed was 20 kilometers per hour. We were in the back of the vehicle and really really were turning into bobble heads with movement of the car. We were on that next road for about 4 1/2 hours (which took 2 1/2 on the way back because they fixed parts of it!)
Josh wasn’t feeling well since that morning and after a car ride such as we just had, he went straight to bed. We were able to sit and chat with pastor David over dinner and prepared for the next day. On Sunday we enjoyed their church service, which is a little different than home. It had 1 1/2 hours of music and a 45 min sermon. During the sermon, Mel and I helped with the Sunday School class and she gave her dental presentation. She did a great job! We were able to give out a toothbrush to everyone and a bunch of toys for the church to share with the community.
Later that day we met with Flavia (see the other post) and went out to the deep villages to meet people. Ben was looking for some people to meet and build relationships with some stories to share in his film. We meet a wonderful lady named Grace and you’ll hopefully hear her story in the film when it’s done.
Monday Mel and I rested (yay!) and Josh continued to be sick. We took Josh to the clinic because he wasn’t improving (stomach and head pain, vomiting, the works) and Mel stayed with him during the afternoon. Liz and Collins helped Ben as we went back and he filmed some interviews and shots of the boreholes and water ponds that are used out there.
When we returned, we had some decisions to make about the next few days. Ben and Josh had hoped to stay up north longer to capture some more stories about the water crisis, but we determined that we needed to get Josh to the doctor in Kampala for a better evaluation. (It was a long night!) By Tuesday morning, we had secured a flight from Gulu to Kampala and just had to get him through the ride out of Kitgum. Thankfully they had done some work on the road and we made good time.
We got Josh to the doctor and he was diagnosed with a stomach bug (a nasty one!) instead of anything worse that we had feared. Praise God! He should be back to normal in a day or so. They will stay around Kampala-ish area and finish their filming before heading back at the end of next week.
Tomorrow we will go with Collins to the slums to work with the Street Kids Ministry. We are really excited, though afterward we will be flying back to the US. It is also a grueling flight(s), though in length not bumpiness.
See you all soon!