14 January 2008

Day trip to Jinja

On day 4, Saturday November 24 we travelled northeast to Jinja. Some team members had left early in the morning on another bus to go whitewater rafting on the Nile or quadding along the banks. Those of us who were a bit less brave chose a tamer day. We were planning a boat ride to the source of the Nile and some craft shopping. The drive was beautiful and took us through fields of tea, sugar cane and a national forest.

We had our first view of the Nile and chose to cross the easy way, not over the foot bridge.

As Rick always says “Man proposes and God disposes” and our plans for the day were changed when Prince Harry and other royalty decided to tour Jinja and the source of the Nile. Various dignitaries and Heads of State were still in the area after CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting). Security turned everyone else away but because the reputation of KPC and Watoto are so strong we were allowed to walk in the park for a few minutes, then it was decided that EVERYONE who did not have a name badge or credentials had to leave. I was amazed at people's reactions to royalty, both the locals lining the streets and my fellow team members. The excitement and expectations built as each moment brought them closer. Growing up as a citizen of the United States I found it a bit hard to comprehend. I have never been much of a celebrity follower either. At one moment I felt like shouting "Hey, we serve ONE God".

Obviously God did have other plans for us and we were able to visit Amani Baby Cottage and spend some time with the children there.

Amani, unlike Watoto desires the children to be adopted. Some have been reunited with family members after circumstance have improved and they are able to care for them. Whereas The Bulrushes babies move on to Watoto villages when they are around two years old, there were many older babies and children at Amani.

Here's Jeanette, a preemie who at four months old was tiny, frail and dealing with breathing difficulties. It was hard to turn way from her, so captivating were her eyes. I am certain that the hearts of those who run Amani are in the right place and the work they are doing is to be praised, but my spirit sensed more disquiet and less joy than what I felt at The Bulrushes. I think it is because the children at Amani are waiting for a home and family. The babies at The Bulrushes already have a home with Watoto.

When we left the babies we went back to the river, and now were allowed to wander about around the area of Bujagali Falls. I think my first whitewater experience will be somewhere less turbulent, but those who participated enjoyed themselves and have lifelong stories to tell.

1 comment:

Duane & Karen said...

OK...royalty was getting to be a pain at this point in the trip! :)

As for adopting the kids out. It was first highly encouraged that the kids were adopted in their own country, and if nothing "turned up" then they sought outside the country - US. Uganda makes it really tough to adopt..you have to foster their for 3 years. However, there are some orphanages that have worked around this. We are considering adopting 2 children (a boy & girl - ages 5 & 1)from Jinja - but we know we have to get our son home from Liberia first.

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