Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lions, Tigers and Bears...Oh my

OK, so we didn't see any lions...or tigers...or for that matter bears; we had to settle for wart hogs, monkeys, giraffes, impalas, deer like creatures, hippos and cape buffalo.  Bummer :)  Before we get to the fun photos, a bit about our week.  We had many appointments for Sickle cell, wisdom teeth, broken teeth, neck pain, and cavities.  Who could ask for anything more?  We love these missionaries but they sure do break down a lot.  Actually, it isn't that often but there are just a lot of them.

As you read last week we had a wonderful week helping for a day at the refugee camp up by South Sudan.  We were very blessed to be able to get out of Kampala and do some different type of service work.  It was great to ride up with the Public Affairs missionaries (Hansens) and take turns driving on the horrible roads.  We will probably not get that far north again so this was a great opportunity for us to see more of this beautiful country. We will get to the animal park again because Rachelle is coming to visit in November and we made our reservations for Paraa already.  Chobe is the park we went to but both resorts are in the Murchison Fall National Park on opposite sides of the park.  You can pay 5,000 shillings ($2) each for park entrance if you are only going in for lunch.  It was a beautiful setting right on the Nile River with over a hundred hippos out in the water feeding.  As evening approaches they move out of the water onto land.  We look forward to seeing that when we go in November and stay overnight.

Our first view of Chobe as we walk out on the deck of the Hotel.

The Nile River
 A dead tree in a tree, wow, only in Africa...

A great view of the lodges if you have deep pockets.

The balcony where we are eating our lunch.

It is so cool to see all these animals so close to the road throughout the park.  You have to wonder about all the animals that are a few miles away from the roads.  This beautiful shot of Giraffes has been my screensaver for the past few weeks.  I like it a lot! (Thanks Reese and Ellie)

As you drive all through Africa, everyone walks.  This is a group of school kids but the road is lined with kids and adults walking on the roads to wherever they are going.  I should say that all roads are full of people walking at all hours of the day and night.

These three girls were so cute walking down the road together with their arms around each other.  They turned around when they heard the truck slowing down so we could take a picture.

You can see them breaking apart and getting ready to run.  A group of muzungus is enough to scare anyone. The kids in Africa wear all different kinds of school uniforms and man, they do look cute.

Now lets get going on our safari, should we?  It was actually all on the road as we were driving in the park to have lunch.  Have I told you lately how great Africa is?  The Tsetse flies here on our mirror were nasty.  They bite!  You can see how many are surrounding our vehicle and when we would open the window to take a picture they fill the truck and attacked.  We were all slapping like crazy.  Interesting, once we got to the lodge, they were gone.  I think it must have been posted that no Tsetse flies were allowed past a certain point.

Cape buffalo

I love the two different colorings on the giraffes here.

 Better picture


These pictures are for the grand kids that love lizards.

Duck taking off for the water.


Chillin while we wait for out lunch.

While watching the river, all of a sudden we see a hippo looking like a balloon floating down the river

Closeup.  The guides tell us the hippo will get stuck in the bend of the river and then the crocodiles will make quick work of it.
Wart hogs.  We had the guide give us a ride out on the air strip where they were feeding to get a good shot of them.  They kneel on their knees to eat.

Baboons are all along the Nile.  There have been problems in some remote area villages where the baboons come and kill the children when they are out. 

Giraffe and Cape Buffalo together

Giraffe and Impala together

Sister Squire and I had the chance to speak in Sacrament Meeting this past week and what a blessing to prepare and learn from Prophets, Seers and Revelators.  I hope as you find joy and also struggle with your daily life you will remember this from President Monson: "We were not placed on this earth to walk alone.  What an amazing source of power, of strength, and of comfort is available to each of us.  He who know us better than we know ourselves, He who sees the larger picture and who knows the end from the beginning, has assured us that He will be there for us to provide help if we but ask."  D&C 90:24: Pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another.

Hope you all remember to have a safe summer. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

These Knickers Came in Bunches

This was a special week, we were able to go out and minister at one of the refugee camps that has been set up in Uganda to help the many thousands who have had to flee South Sudan because of all the fighting. This is about 7-8 hours away from Kampala. I have to admit I was picturing some type of camp with a fence around it and all the people in bunk houses or something of the sort.  I had it all wrong.  The public affairs couple, Elder and Sister Hansen were at the camp with the humanitarian couple, Elder and Sister Hannan last April.  They were surprised at how the camp has been improved over just the last three months.  It was great to see the huts and maize and other vegetables planted around each plot of land.  They certainly don't have much but they are starting to carve out a new life here in Uganda. 

This area had lots of houses together.

Some are in better shape than others.  You can see the gardens around so they will hopefully be less dependent on the food being brought in.

This one was just outside where we handing out the hygiene kits.

This little girl took one look at me and took off running.  If I only had a quarter for every time that happened with me and the girls...

Not sure what this hole was going to be for but I am guessing it will be a latrine of some sort.  They take turns in the hole, it is already getting deep.

Elder and Sister Moore are the Member Leadership Support (MLS) for Gulu.  There are two Branches in Gulu and this missionary couple provide support for the missionaries and the members of the Branches.  When the Church humanitarian couple were there in April handing out pots, pans and blankets for the refugees they were told they really needed hygiene kits for the girls.  The Moore's posted on their blog the need and it really took off with members of the Church, Primary, Young Women and Relief Society and friends of other faiths helping provide the kits necessary.  Help came from all over the US and here in Uganda to make this effort possible.  This was not a Church sponsored event, it was just a chance to do something for the people of Africa.  There were over 3200 kits provided along with a sizable cash gift from one of the businesses the Moore's son works at in Canada.  Bags and bags full of hygiene items the ladies/girls could use.  The kit consists of soap, panties (they call them knickers), liners, shield, and instructions.  The shield snaps around the crotch of the panties and holds the liners which serve as a washable, reusable sanitary pad.  Many of the school children have to drop out of school because there is no way to meet their feminine needs. The Moores did a wonderful job and we were only there to help with the very last part of the effort.

We put together the last of the kits the night before the hand-off.  Elder Squire, Elder Moore and Elder Hansen.

The Uganda Chapter of the Days for Girls helped Sister Moore get the project moving. The Days for Girls and the Camp Coordinators worked with the Moore's to coordinate distribution. So the big day arrived and we drove 1 1/2 hours out of Gulu to meet the Days for Girls and Ugandan Government representative.

Here are the Hansens and and us with Ssimbwa Buslwa who was a driver with the Days for Girls.  He in LDS and does a lot with the Humanitarin missionaries.  He is also the Chief of his village.  Very interesting man.

Here are the Moores with Ssimbwh

A short meeting before we head out to the camp.  Most are with the Days for Girls organization who took the lead on passing out the kits.

This young lady (Imaculee) lived in Northern Uganda when  Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a guerrilla group which used to operate in Uganda, came and abducted her two brothers ages 13 and 15 to fight for them, but left her as she was only 7 at the time.  They later learned her brothers had been killed and she was still having a hard time telling the story.

It is good for us to be able to do such a small part in this part of the world.  “For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts” (D&C 137:9).
The Lord said to the Church:
“When I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings. …  

We did not have any opposition but I think we all need to be looking for our individual opportunities to do good works, and the Lord will accept our efforts. 

Now I will share a bunch of photos from the refugee camp.  The camp is outside of Adjumani, Uganda and about 30 kilometers from the South Sudan border.  It was impressive that most of them were in very nice traditional dresses, prom dresses or just nice business dresses.  When you see the scars on their forehead or side of the eyes it is a tribal marking. Many of these women have lost a husband or other family members because of the fighting in South Sudan.

 Lots of pretty head coverings and dresses

 Sleeping Children
 Anxious faces
 She has just got her hyigene kit and I think she is trying to figure out what to do with it.

 Lots of pleasant smiles

 Photo bomb...
 Dirty faces

 The Sudanese are very tall as you can see from one of the leaders of the camp.

 I love all the colors

 The old and the young, we had them all.

 These guys hung out watching all the action.

Some very beautiful ladies

 With all the ladies it sounded like a very noisy bee hive for a few hours.

Sister Squire, always will be a labor and delivery nurse.

Great example of the tribal markings.

I have no idea how this lady lost her eye but I suspect it had something to do with Kony's Army.  For a good review of the nasty type of things done to innocent citizens by Kony's Army, a good read is Aboke Girls.

 I was a bit worried this rock was for me...

 Lots of pretty dresses and colors
 Side markings on the side of her eyes.

 Another example of how tall some of the ladies are.

“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
“When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
“Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25:37–40.)

 We did go to a wild game park on the way home but that will have to wait for the next blog...