Monday, June 30, 2014

Serving at The Gem Fundation

For the past 28 days I've been serving here at The Gem Foundation. 

The Gem Foundation was founded by Emma (read the amazing story here of how it all began), and exists to take in children with special needs that other orphanages do not have the resources to take care of. Emma's has a huge heart for these children and it's awesome to see! Macey, who like Emma, has moved here indefinitely from America, to work for The Gem Foundation. Currently there are no children in the home, yet, but it could be any day now. They are just waiting on their final approval from the government. The Ugandan staff members are hired, the home is ready, and they even have some children in mind to transfer here as soon as possible.

So as you can imagine we've been doing a lot of praying, waiting, getting last minute things together, and attending meetings. But we didn't forget to have fun!

Staff lunch/birthday party for one of the staff children. 

The sweet birthday boy!

This past week we trained the staff in Early Childhood Development, Nutrition, First Aid, and Special Needs. I put together a training manual for these topics and we taught from it. It was so much fun training the staff and hearing all that they learned. I know these ladies will be such great nannies for the children who come into this home! 

Emma sharing her vision for The Gem Foundation

Me teaching on Early Childhood Education

It's been an incredible journey to serve here and be a part of the beginnings of The Gem Foundation! I can't wait to visit again soon and meet all the precious "gems" that will call this place home! 
Tomorrow morning I travel to the other side of Kampala to serve at the Kirabo Seeds Children's Home. I am very excited for this new adventure, but I will never forget the amazing people here at The Gem Foundation!

The staff members and their families!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Last Day as a Go Team

June 2nd was our last day as a team, and we made the most of it. 

We went out to African Hearts Junior School to re-paint some of their buildings that needed to be freshened up. 

(Photo by Lindsay)
The "teacher" inside of me always loves to visit schools here. I love to see how the classrooms differ from America and I'm always amazed that the children here learn 2 languages (English and Lugandan). Of course, when we arrived at the school it was a sight the children didn't want to miss. They were peeking out the windows of their classrooms, until it was break time and they all came running up to us to greet us.

(Photo by Lindsay)

Pastor Dwight always draws a crowd! The kids love it when he calls himself "Big Jaja".
(Photo by Lindsay)

(Photo by Lindsay)

(Photo by Lindsay)

(Photo by Lindsay)

Being curious little kids. :)

I'm pretty sure some kids were skipping class to watch us paint. 

Having fun! (Photo by Lindsay)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Birthday Party Fun!

On May 31st our team joined with A Perfect Injustice to celebrate the birthday of 3 boys in their program. Every month they have a birthday party for the boys born during that month. 

It was an honor to help them prepare the food, join in with the games, face painting, and cookie decorating, as well as help serve them lunch. Here are the pictures from this exciting day!

Rachel and I cutting up fruit.
Carrying the food to the Gazebo.

Washing dishes (makes me appreciate a dishwasher)!

The boys playing with marbles.

Getting their face painted. 

Of course, we ended with their favorite activity, dancing!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Joy for the Street Boys

On May 27th our team helped at a program for street boys in the slums of Kampala.

Taking a group picture with the street boys.
We taught a bible lesson, gave our testimonies, organized games for them and finished off with face painting and coloring.

Rachel sharing her testimony to the boys.

Me telling the boys the story of Noah and talking about God's faithfulness in my life.

20 boys raised their hands to receive Christ after our testimonies and bible story! Wow!

It was amazing to see them all be able to be a kid again. For those 5 hours they didn't have to worry about being hungry, being vulnerable, where to sleep safety, or how to survive.

Photo by Linsay

They really enjoyed everything we did and we saw so many smiles. It was a privilege to see so much joy in them. They were amazing kids! So sweet and loving. I can't even imagine being in their shoes and living on the streets at night especially. Having no where to call home and no one to care for you. It was heartbreaking to think about. But today they were brought hope. Today they laughed. Today they were loved. The ministry that runs this program does such a great job! All their staff really love the children and are great christian leaders for them. What a great experience! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Teaching School at API

Back on May 28th while the Go Team was still here we had the amazing privilege to teach the boys at A Perfect Injustice. These are boys who once lived on the streets of Kampala. Now they belong to a family, receive an education, and are shown the love of Jesus. They now have a hope and a future, and most importantly have the opportunity to be a part of God's family. It was amazing to go to the village where the boys live! It is a beautiful place with huge gardens, amazing homes, fun playgrounds, and beautiful views. The boys are home-schooled right on campus. The boys are all on different levels, some have never been to school, some have only been a few years when they arrive. So, in order to avoid embarrassment and shame from the other children in public schools the boys are taught everything here. There are also a few girls from the community that are enrolled in the school, because their families are not able to afford school fees. 

The classrooms are under these gazebo's that a past IVO team provided.  

Our team of 8 divided up into pairs and taught the children different subjects. This was actually considered a fun day for the children and the teachers were able to get a much needed break. We taught health/anatomy, agriculture, art/geography, and dance! The children were so excited to have us come teach them and they were so eager to learn. They were all so smart and worked hard. 

Theresa and I taught art/geography, where we drew a map of the world. It was so interesting seeing what each grade level knew about the world. We were impressed with their knowledge! I feel like some of them knew more than me! 

After a few hours of teaching it was time for fun! Theresa, who is a Zumba teacher in America, taught us different dances from around the world. The kids were so thrilled to learn these dances. I'm pretty sure dancing is any Ugandan's favorite thing to do! Of course, they wanted to teach us their local dances at the end.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Life In Kampala

I've been in the capital city of Kampala for 24 days now. Kampala has a population of about 1.209 million people. It's the largest city in Uganda. Many people come to the city to work during the week and go back to their village on the weekends. So as you can imagine it's a very busy place and there is rarely a quite moment. At every hour of the day and night there seems to be something going on. From all night prayer meetings/worship services to weddings that last for several days to the sound of constant traffic. No matter where you go you will probably be stuck in a traffic jam for some period of time, so if you need to be somewhere at a curtain time leave early. Although, everything runs on African time anyway, so more than likely you'll still be early. Kampala is an exciting place and there is a lot of variety when it comes to stores and restaurants, which is great when you are spending a lot of time here. Here are some pictures from around Kampala: 

An average small grocery store. 

The Local Market. You will find several local woman selling the 
produce they have grown themselves. It's such a colorful place!  

Taking a walk to the local market.

This is a chapati stand.
 Chapati is an African flatbread that tastes quite delicious!

You can find children anywhere! 
I love finding children playing admits 
the busyness of the city.

Driving through the city can be quite entertaining! 
This guy is carrying hundreds of plastic bottles 
to recycle them for only a few shillings each.

This is the view from a larger market called Tusky's. 
It has 3 floors and could be compared to Wal-Mart 
(Ugandan style).

Our security guards work long hours to make sure we are safe. 
They even carry a poison tip arrow, just in case.