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Thank you all so much for supporting me through prayers and donations on my trip to Uganda. I have been journaling a bit about my adventures so far, and I thought it would be fun to share a little bit about what is going on in this part of the world. Today is first official day in Uganda! It was quite the journey making it here, starting with a 16 hour flight and layover in Dubai which led to me getting motion sick and needing to get wheel-chaired off the airplane and through the terminals. The next day, we made it to Uganda after another 6 hour flight. We met up with Moses (our host and friend from Uganda) at the airport and continued our journey. We landed in Entebbe, and then drove to Kampala for the night. The drive to Kampala from Entebbe is only supposed to take a half an hour, but because of the traffic (there is only one main road in the capital city), it took almost two hours. Kampala is a crazy city. Everywhere you see boda bodas (motorcycles), wooden and metal shacks, matooke (plantains) stands, and tons and tons of people. I expected to see skyscrapers and big stores in Kampala, just like I would in any other city. I could not have been more wrong. The city looks like something you would see off a Unicef campaign or National Geographic.
The next day we woke up at 4am in order to beat the Kampala traffic, from which we headed out to Jinja in the Buikwe district to participate in the opening ceremony of our school, the Emmaus Nursery and Primary school in the Kizigo village. The sunrise on the drive was incredible. It looked like the intro to The Lion King. I stuck my head out of the sunroof to take some pictures of the beautiful scenery as the landscape became more and more remote. Finally, we arrived in the Kizigo village, which was very rural. You could tell that the people there were extremely poor. Many of the children we passed did not have shoes. The houses were either made of brick or mud and sticks, with either thatched or corrugated metal roofs. As we drove down the banana tree-lined dirt road, kids waved and yelled “hi mzungu!” which means “hi white person!” When we pulled up to the school, we were greeted by over 450 students aged preschool to sixth grade. They were all very excited to see us and promptly ran to their classrooms to show us their new buildings. The school is very lovely and I can tell it is already blessing so many people. A well has been built in the last month or so from kind donations, which now brings clean water to the entire village. People used to have to walk for miles in order to get water, and most of the time it wasn’t even clean. God is doing a great thing here by helping people get the resources they need to survive and thrive.
The real fun began when we had a parade down the village streets. Moses wanted to walk around the village like how the Israelites walked around Jericho. He wanted to “take the village for the Lord.” It was so cute seeing the kids march. The entire village showed up to the ceremony after. The children sang and danced for us, speeches were given, and a ribbon was cut. The kids were so precious to me. They all crowded around me when I walked by them: I think they liked my camera because they laughed and laughed whenever I would take their picture. After the ceremony, we walked to Moses’ aunt’s house, which is next door to the school. Moses’ aunt raised him and put him through school after his parents died when he was very young. His aunt prepared a feast for us (one typically only eaten at weddings), which consisted of chicken and beef cooked in banana leaves, matooke, rice, and beans. At his aunt’s, one of the children is named Samuel. He is seven years old, but he looks only two because his growth was stunted by neglect and other things before he came to live with Moses’ aunt. These women are caring for 8 children while they have nothing themselves. Tomorrow we are going back to the school to deliver supplies, train teachers, and bless them in any way we can!
Jeff and Suzie Hansen live in Bountiful, Utah in the USA. They have 7 children, whom are all married, and 15 beautiful grandchildren. The Hansens own and manage Sunset Equestrian Center in Kaysville, Utah. It is a horse boarding and training facility. Suzie also runs a horseback riding/training program while Jeff owns and runs a construction business. Together they spend most of their time managing these businesses, enjoying their beautiful family, and serving in their church.
Jeff and Suzie met Moses Muwanguzi in June of 2016. They soon became close friends and wanted to help Moses and the beautiful people of Uganda. In April of 2017, the Hansens travelled to Uganda along with Jeff’s brother and wife, Kevin and Anne Hansen, and friend Lindy Miles. They spent 6 wonderful days at the Emmaus School. With the help of family and friends they were able to build and dedicate a new kitchen at the school. Suzie, Anne, and Lindy spent time playing with the school kids, mending uniforms, distributing 600 tooth brushes to the children, and 200 “Days for Girls” menstruation kits to the young women at the school and women in the village. Suzie Hansen said, “What an incredible experience it was to serve these beautiful Ugandan people. We were very blessed with love and friendship from our brothers and sisters in Uganda. Our hearts were very touched and changed for the better. We count this experience as one of our greatest blessings from God.”
They also spent 2 days experiencing the country of Uganda by Safari. Jeff Hansen said, “This land is incredible! We saw elephants, giraffes, hyenas, multiple types of antelope, warthogs, baboons, and a female lion with three cubs and their morning kill. We also thoroughly enjoyed our day tracking and hanging out with the chimpanzees!”
Jeff and Suzie look forward to a life-long relationship with Moses, the school, and the people of Uganda!
A well-spoken guest put it better than I would have: “God enabled a couple acres of undeveloped jungle to be transformed into the Emmaus school.” In just 15 months, our remote and seemingly unprivileged village –Kizigo – now boasts a Christ-centered school and a well, thanks to our friends who have a had selfless hand in this invaluable project.
It is almost impossible to believe what God has done, and how He has used His people to reach where we are now; because, indeed, it all started with a single prayer in a circle where the school straddles at present.
Yes, I still remember that day with great nostalgia because the friends with whom we prayed were also in attendance on the official opening of the school on the 2nd of July. We marched with alacrity joining a happy throng of jubilant children in their indomitable, celebratory spirits as the band graced us with music the trumpets and drums produced.
It was a moment of joy that our humble village will take aeons to forget. We danced and celebrated, and also got time to share and learn more about each other, especially the children and the teachers. We bless the Lord for all our friends who have sacrificed their all in order to achieve this.
We intend to establish a corn mill plant at Kizigo, Buikwe district, with a chief aim of creating a sustainable local economy within the community, and also to help local farmers to upgrade from subsistence to commercial farming. The plant will…
In brief, we are believing in God for funds directed towards the construction of the Girl’s Dormitory which will not only provide accommodation to the poor girl child who resides awfully long miles away from the school but will also help cut down overall expenses since kids from well-to-do families from the city will be staying at a fee. The dormitory will further provide a sense of security to the kids thus helping them concentrate in their studies.
We hope that it will conceivably house thirty-nine triple-decker beds, coming close to 117 children, under the care of two dorm mothers. Below is the dormitory plan.
To improve the quality of life of the orphans and vulnerable children who live in various communities of Uganda.
“Empowering children through Christ-centered education”
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