Sunday, August 31, 2008


Yesterday we went to the Mengo girls home to hang out for the afternoon. We brought a Frisbee (thanks Mrs. Welbourn) and the girls picked it up faster than any American kid I know. A few minutes into our game one of the mentors, Florence, who was doing the wash outside at the time, asked if we wanted to start clearing the garden.

Thus, she brought out 3 hoes, a shovel and a 'slasher' (in case you don't know what that is, it is how grass is cut around a long knife with a curve on the end). We spent 3 hours, in skirts and sandals mind you, clearing a plot. We found probably 30 old shoes amongst tons of yams that the girls will fix as a treat later this week!! These girls were incredibly hard working and cleared the plot faster than I could have imagined!

We are continuing to learn new things everyday about these girls lives, their hopes, their faith in Jesus, and the daily routines of their lives. We are excited to buy seeds this week and possibly start planting very soon! We have been attending a great church downtown, and this afternoon we are going to play soccer with the Ntinda girls! Please keep us up to date with what is new in your lives!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Leah and I have been working hard these past few weeks. What we could usually get done in about 4 hours in the US takes us the better part of daylight to get done here. We finally created a calendar of events and are ensuring we take one day off a week for personal things like laundry, running, writing on this, and sleeping late! Here are some highlights...

Wednesday-- Each week we have a staff meeting for about 3 hours (it would never fly in the US). We spend about an hour singing praise songs, then have a lesson that a different person gives each week. This week, an elderly man, Mzee Lukewa, was asked to come to the meeting. Mzee is Swahili for a wise person. This is a well earned title. His talk was on, "Having a vision and mission in life." A vision is what you see into the future while a mission is the road you take to get there. His point, is that God has a vision for each of our lives formed from many of the teachings of Jesus. This vision becomes unique through our relationship with God. Humans have self awareness, conscience and free will. We are called to exercise self-awareness with the guidance of conscience to use our free will to worship and glorify God. Wow. The lesson continued, and if you would like more information on, I have typed up my notes. Leah and I both plan to meditate on these words during our time here. His wise words and unabashed love for Jesus reminds me so much of my grandfather, Papa. I told Mzee that they will meet in spirit, and he was so interested and intrigued by this connection I made. He asked for a picture of Papa so I am getting him one!

Thursday: We told the boys at the Makerere house we would fix them an American meal sometime last week and they were REALLY excited. We decided on spaghetti, or "Super-getti" in Uganda. We bought minced meat, noodles and tomato sauce at the supermarket and fresh carrots, tomatoes, green peppers, onions and garlic off the street. They LOVED it! The best part was that they ate it with their hands, it was hilarious.

Friday: We spent the morning at the Kibuli boys home again and really wanted to get to know them better. The first game we thought of was two truths and a lie. For a group of street children in a culture that does not approve of lying, it was fun to see them understand and get excited about the game...After touring their neighboring slums and a few hours of asking questions about thee States, Leah and I went on a trek to get to our next meeting. There was a down pour of rain. Rain in Uganda is just like in the US. Walking in the rain in Uganda is nothing like in the US. The open gutters immediately fill with trash carried by water...and this trashy, mud-water flows in the street. We were covered in mud splashed on us by the trucks...Words can't really describe the circumstance, but you get the picture. We finally made it to our meeting where we got a ton of educational material on 'healthy choices' for the kids. They even have a training program we hope to send the nurse we hire to. Currently, we are cooking dinner for two of the cstone staff that have helped us so much thus far! Thank you for all your thoughts, prayers and encouragement. Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Having a blast!

Right now, Ellen is ironing clothes for an australian man who is taking his little ugandian boy Micheal for their adoption court date tomorrow. They have gone through a three year stuggle to get Micheal in their family. Please pray for them that it will go well. I think that is one of the most wonderful things about staying here at the cornerstone compound. There are four rooms and we meet the greatest people travelling through.

We spent the day organizing and contacting NGOs to put together a health education program for the homes. We are organizing a manuel for the nurse that we are going to hire as well with job description, tasks, etc. Please keep the hiring process in your prayers. We are really excited about the program that we can leave here for these children.

We have visited all of the five homes in Kampala now and are very excited about the work ahead. We are planning for mosquito nets, better methods for boiling like with big kettles and waterbottles to store the water in, gardens at some of the homes. We love getting to know the kids and each story is unique to see how Jesus brought them off the street and has given them hope and a future. The mentors at the homes love the kids well and the charactor development program at the homes is so influencial to growing the kids.

The kids are inovative somehow too. Last night Ellen and I visited the fifth home, Bukesa, and we played soccer and monkey in the middle with a soccer ball made of a t shirt and plastic bags... can you believe that! The things they make toys out of! We are going to try to teach frisbee at the makerere home, so we will see how that goes.

This week, we are going to go back and hang out more at each of the homes. By the following week, we plan to begin some of our projects... we'll keep you up to date! Hope you are doing well in the States. We love you and can feel God working through your prayers here.

Friday, August 22, 2008


We have now visited two of the youth corps homes, Kibuli and Ntinda. most of the time there we spend just getting to know the kids and mentors and finding out a little about their stories. Today, one of the girls we met is a refugee from Rwanda. Both her parents and all but one sister were killed at home when she was 7. She and her sister then moved to Kampala, and her sister just committed suicide 6 months ago. Hence, she is now an orphan and trying to assimilate into the cornerstone Ntinda girl's home.

More than anything we have been taken back, yet again, by their hospitality. The girls do not have much, but they share everything. In Uganda, not many people ever have sugar...and the girls typically only each posho (flour and water) and beans. When we got there, we were served tea with a generous amount of sugar and rolls (I didn't know the homes ever had rolls). They then insisted that we stay for lunch. They went out and bough greens, dodo, to serve us with the posho and beans. It really hits home when people with so little share so much.

We might not have been here very long, but Leah and I are both feeling very settled. We were able to do some yoga on the roof yesterday and went on our first run today. My bag did come yesterday with everything inside, it was exciting! We are beginning to make plans to visit Soroti next week to learn how to plant a garden since the rainy season is fast approaching.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

First Few Days...

We made it here to Kampala, Uganda on Tuesday August 19th as planned. Leah had a bit of a miserable flight (we think with food poisoning) and Ellen lost one of her bags. Leah is feeling much better, thankfully, and we are both delighted to be back in this wonderful country. We were greeted with white smiles and warm hugs by all the staff members. Our first day here has been rather busy. We met with Tim Kreutter, director, his son Eric, and the other two staff members who will be helping us, Phillip and Charles.

After that brief meeting catching us up on the Youth Corps houses where we will be working, we joined the mentors in their weekly meeting. This consists of praise and worship music for at least an hour, a simply prepared Bible study by one of the mentors, and then announcements followed by more praise music. God is good.

On Thursday (today) we took our first trip to one of the homes... the entry point for the kids. It was a home of boys who were so sweet and receptive to us. We walked around and talked to the boys and thought of ideas for projects... we have so many ideas. Pray that we can work through them. We let the kids ask us health related questions and they were full of them. We talked about everything from clean water, body mechanics, dust in your eyes, stomach bugs, and much more. We are going to visit two more homes tomorrow.