Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Where ARE they?!

"It's been a while... it's been a while since I could call you..."

V-Team is in Masindi, Uganda. It has been a strange silence to have them so disconnected from the web. Andrew, Evan, and Christian will be able to connect to internet when they travel 2 hours to a neighboring town. We will look forward to more specific updates when they are available.
In the meantime, some of you may be wondering about the Team's current homebase country. So, below, find an overview of Uganda from someone who has been there. Kay Smiley is a child advocate with Compassion International and has recently had a significantly life-changing experience in Africa.

Andrew' Leigh's Grampa, Art Gay, served several years on the board of Compassion International, in Colorado Springs, with friend Wes Stafford. This organization is doing amazing work around the world empowering children by releasing them from poverty, in Jesus name. To see Wes Stafford's remarkable new book about children in poverty, click on the picture.

Check out the Compassional International site to learn more about sponsoring children.


From Kay Smiley,
Child Advocate, Compassion International:

Uganda straddles the equator in east central Africa. It’s about the size of Colorado with 28 million people compared to our 4.6 million. The average age in Uganda is 15, the lowest in the world. Life expectancy is age 50. Childhood deaths are mainly due to malaria and adult deaths due to HIV/AIDS. Although HIV/AIDS was at 15% of the population, it has now declined to 6%.

The official national language is English and is used in all schools. Most villagers in the areas we visited spoke Luganda for their everyday language. All the teachers and Compassion staff we met spoke 2-5 languages. Some had to translate for the children, depending on how much schooling they had. Whatever language is used, Ugandans generally speak softly with a beautiful lilted British accent.

Baboons. We stayed in another hotel for one night when we went on safari. It was located close to a jungle and they have trouble with baboons stealing food from the open- air restaurant and tearing the outside of the hotel off.

Uganda is simply gorgeous. Palm trees, grasses, open spaces. This was wintertime and everything was green and lush. The best part of traveling on a bus was being able to wave and smile to lots of people and to see the countryside~
People carrying heavy loads on their heads or on their bicycles
Empty, partially built houses
Children wearing uniforms, walking home from school
Children wearing ragged clothing sitting in the dirt playing with a strip of
cloth or a stick or nothing
Women washing clothes
A cow
A goat
Yellow plastic water jugs
Women selling fruit and vegetables
Women sweeping
Hunks of beef hanging from hooks
Men making bricks or metalworking or woodworking
Trash burning
Men washing work vehicles by driving them into wet ditches
Women carrying infants and toddlers on their backs
Giant anthills
Men shoveling mud out of road ditches
Women sitting on the ground selling roasted corn from a small stove Small patches of crops
We learned that poverty is not laziness.

The best part? Playing with the kids. Holding their hands. Taking their pictures and showing them the LCD screen, getting a burst of giggles. Singing and dancing together. When I looked at all the photos, the constant theme is smiles. Happy, wonderful smiles.

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