The time in Uganda is how I wish my schedule in America was, relaxed and never rushed. I would say that when someone tells me to be ready to go by 7:30 that they mean that here but truthfully they mean to be ready by 8:30 or 9:00. You see, this is how I wish we lived life, completely in the present and not trying to hurry to move on to the next thing. Getting used to their time schedule was never really hard for me but then I was surrounded by images like the one above and that is when I realized to take advantage of each moment.
I have only been here for two weeks but I have already had so many amazing experiences and opportunities. These experiences will never be forgotten and I know there is so much more to come! One experience reminded me of my grandmother. I got the pleasure of meeting a 103 year old lady. She was still walking, dancing and smiling with joy. However, this sweet old lady did not have a mattress to sleep on. I got to be a part of giving her a place to rest each night instead of sleeping on the dirt floor. I just know how often my grandmother hurts but I cannot imagine the pain she would have if she had no choice other than to sleep on the ground. Sometimes a small amount of comfort can bring the greatest amount of joy! This sweet lady’s eyes started glowing when we placed her mattress in her home and made her bed for her. She then went outside where her family was sitting in a circle and another other older woman joined her. The two women began to dance with joy and once again time stood still.
Another experience I had with really adapting to the time here and enjoying the present was by singing and dancing to songs with the children of Kamiluk Primary School. Just a little background info to this understanding: I was involved with leading every classes Bible Study. Before the Bible Study began we would sing just a couple of songs and then at the end we taught them one song that went with the lesson. Now you are up to date! What I was missing through this entire experience was that the children just loved us to love on them by singing and dancing with them! They loved that so much that they wanted to sing and dance for hours! With song that were uplifting and glorifying to Christ! This was brought to my attention one day when I was so caught up in trying to check off a list instead of paying attention to the present. So, that day we sang and danced for hours and the image of the smiles on their faces is painted in my memories forever. I caught myself stopping to stare at what was happening because of Christ several times and I was overwhelmed with joy!
I am beyond grateful for the experiences I have had so far!! I know that there are many more to come and I am excited to see what the Lord will do over the next 5 months that I am here! Please pray for these children and their families, that the Lord will meet their needs!
XO– Kerri McGehee (also known as KK in Uganda)
On the third day of our work in Kamailuk, I was responsible for passing out coloring sheets and markers to students who were exiting the medical clinic. As students walked in the door, I would hand them a piece of paper and some markers and direct them to a place to sit. Then a boy pushing another child in a wheel chair came through the door. I had seen the boy in the wheelchair many times and introduced myself to him. He had cerebral palsy. While I was handing a piece of paper to his friend, I showed him a coloring sheet to see if he wanted one. I highly doubted that he could color but I wanted him to feel included. He nodded yes so I got him a few markers. I had no idea how he was going to color. I pulled up a chair in front of his wheelchair and he slid halfway off of his chair and used one of his arms to prop up on. I laid the sheet of paper on his chair and placed a marker in his hand. He adjusted his arms, body, and fingers to color the detailed picture. Of course I picked the hardest design for him to color, but he remarkably colored very neatly! It was a slow process, but I was so impressed.
While he was coloring and I was handing him markers, I became angry. I asked God why He would allow this little boy to be physically impaired in such a hard place to live. Children without special needs live a hard life in Uganda, so I couldn’t imagine how hard his life was. To be honest I never think about children with special needs living in other areas of the world. Soon I was reminded of a scripture in the Bible that silenced my anger. The scripture reads, “As [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9: 1-3). This child with cerebral palsy was displaying God’s works right in front of me. He could color and write! Not only could he do that, but he could do it well. I’m not sure if that is normal for people with cerebral palsy to do, but it looked like a miracle to me. I know God has much bigger plans for that little boy. I thank God that he reminded me that everything and everyone is in His hands. I know He loves that boy much more than I do, just like He loves everyone of His children no matter their disabilities.
So our first week is about to come to an end and our projects at Kamailuk Primary School are now over. Thanks to Embrace Uganda, the teachers at Kadacar, Koreng, and Kamailuk primary schools received gifts of appreciation for their work. The soccer game between Koreng and Kamailuk is now on and the trophy is ready to be awarded. The awarding of the trophy and the closing ceremony will culminate the highlight of this busy day.
The morning was busy preparing the gifts for the teachers and volunteers. This was interrupted by our usual breakfast as well as our worship and devotion. After breakfast, there was a bit of confusion about whether I would get to help to deliver mattresses or if I needed to stay behind to help finish the gift bags. I have grown to accept whatever comes with each new day and to work wherever I am needed most. Fortunately, I didn’t have to forego one activity for another.
We took our group photo and boarded the bus for our final day of delivering mattresses. What an amazing time we had to experience the gratefulness and faith of the elderly people we blessed with mattresses, posho and beans. In the home of the first woman we visited (Margaret), she blessed us with a prayer for us.
Though this is my second trip to Uganda, I have had many first time experiences in mission this week. As Pastor Michael puts it, I have come with “new eyes,” and I am looking forward to many more new experiences in the week to come. To name a few of my new experiences, they include seeing new areas of Bukedea District, sitting on the mattresses while riding on the back of the truck, helping with food preparation and doing the dishes at our guest house, learning to play new games with team members, helping out in the medical clinic, and seeing a new secondary school in the making. Now I am anxious to see what the Lord has in store for next week!
I got to spend the weekend with our Edith in her village which is about 7 hours from Kampala. She has such a huge heart and threw a big party for the entire village complete with a wonderful meal, music and dancing. About 250 people attended and many walked long distances. And she accomplished this extraordinary event even though the closest paved road is a 30 minute car ride away and her village has no electricity or running water. She is one amazing lady with a heart of gold! Special thanks to her best friend Addie for traveling with her and to Kasekende Hannington and Oliver for coming to celebrate with us! I love you so much sweet girl!
Today I have left home.it was very interesting to see so many people. I even saw people who looked like they were from Tibet. So many races, Creed’s, cultures and ethnicity. It is truly larger than I thought. Staring out of the airport I actually got to understand just how vast this world is. And how much the world needs Christ. Today an Asian man who worked at the hotel was telling me about refugees from Uganda at the hotel. He told me I was going the wrong way! And at first it was discouraged but instantly I was reminded of my servitude to his commission. And how this is exactly what he wants from me. I only pray that he will shield me from sin and allow I to teach his word and prosper in my spirit of which he has to offer. So that I may be able to meditate on his word. How great is he that I may serve him. The father who loves me is so my father in Heaven. Praise be his name!