Monday, January 5, 2015

Fence Posts and Sipi Falls

Well, here we are in the year of our Lord 2015.  Instead of "wishing" you a happy new year, perhaps I could be so bold as to outline what I plan to do to make sure I have a happy new year.  First, put the Savior first in my life.  Spend time getting to know all the gifts He has given me, free for each of us, if only we choose to live a happy Christ centered life.  He wants us to be happy and to have his gifts.  I will accomplish this by having more thoughtful and complete prayers.  I will study the scriptures to know what he teaches and how to be a better person.  I will be more charitable to those I am blessed to be with.  I will try and do a much better job of being obedient to His laws and commandments.

Second, I will take responsibility for my own feelings and attitudes.  I know that only I can decide to be angry, unhappy, lazy or make your own list, mine could go on and on.  Why give power to anyone else to control you and how you feel?  I will try not to be so quick to attribute my actions, thoughts or attitude to something outside my own span of control.  I think that will make me happy because I will choose to be happy.

Third, I will be a better servant to others.  There is great joy when we act on promptings without having everything perfect.  We can put off doing things until we have everything ready and then never do it because the thought and opportunity has passed away.  I am really trying to act upon those things that I believe I am prompted to do immediately, especially when they make me uncomfortable.

Hey, thanks me for the great lead-in to my fourth idea.  I will be happy this year because I am going to try and be uncomfortable.  For instance, I will leave my family and grand-kids and go to Africa of all things.  Now I can't take credit for that one this year but when I am uncomfortable, when doing good, I find at the end of the day I have grown as an individual and am happy.  Go out and do something completely out of your comfort zone and see what happens.  You may have to go back to number two because you may take some "helpful criticism" as people try and tell you why you shouldn't have done it or you didn't do it the right way.  Baloney!

For my fifth item I will be accountable.  I have seen much sadness and worry in the world as myself and others have tried to hide mistakes or problems we many have been the cause of.  I have found it is much easier to step up and say I made a mistake and repent or stop doing whatever it is.  Eventually, everything will be made known so get it out, let it go (here Nancy will break into song) and move on with life.  I found I am much happier when I have the moment of being uncomfortable rather than a lifetime of worry and sadness.

Finally, I will take great joy that not everyone thinks or behaves the way I do.  Let out a sigh of relief because I can't even imagine too many of me running around.  How wonderful that we have people who have a different a personality or believe differently than I do.  I will still hold true to my sense of right and wrong, and take whatever "helpful criticism" from those who will say I should be accepting of those behaviors I find contrary to Gods commands, but I will still love and call them friends.  If they don't like me anymore, see number two.

So, did you think the only thing I did this week was nurture my philosophical mind?  Well, while that would be enough for any normal person, I have things that needed to get done!  We went to Lira to help with a Canadian Humanitarian Group that has sponsored hundreds of children, the poorest of the poor, to attend school and have the same chance as other children.  Guess what, these kids have the same ambitions and brains as the rest of us.  Crazy, isn't it.  The color of their skin, the place they were born or if they have parents or not doesn't determine who they will be when given a chance.  Here are some of the photos.

It's true, all of the make your own happy, not wish for it, came from a moment of deep, deep thought.

We went to Lira and Sister Squire helped to do physicals on the 50 plus kids that have been accepted into the full program where they are provided one meal, tutoring and school fees.

Here are a few in the waiting room for their physical and assessment.

After doing the physical they went out and did home visits with all the families of the new students.

Group photo

Sister Ekland, who was gracious to host us and the Wallaces, teaching the children a song.

Raise your hand it you are so dang cute it hurts!

No, Sister Squire didn't need a "senior nap," she is showing this sister how to stretch her back muscles.

While Sister Squire was helping with the physicals, I was on the work crew to build a fence around the soon to be piggery.  The plan is to grow pigs to sell at a Pork Joint and use the funds to pay for the cost of the school fees and after school program.  In the next picture you see the hardware shop where we purchased wheelbarrows, shovels, hoes, pry bar and other equipment necessary for building the fence.  It is interesting, all the shops have something but you may have to go to several to get everything you need.

When you see a chubby cheek baby, you take the picture.

They put in a bore hole that they allow all the village folks around to use.  It is busy all day long as a source of water and social interaction.  The cute kids all get containers suitable to their size.  We saw some 2 or 3 year olds with 1 liter bottles on their head.

This guy came along and told us he had the megaphone to preach the word of God.  It worked well, I used it to call all the workers back off break.

We had a tree stump right in the way of where the fence would go.  Elder Wallace took a few swings and decided it would be worth it to get one of the locals to dig it out.  It was negotiated to cost a little over a dollar for the 1/2 hour it took to get it out.  It may not look like much but it had very deep tap roots. 


Here he is with the last piece of stump after digging and chopping it to bits.  He gave me a good warrior yell.

This is the rock for the cement.  In Africa you get little rocks by spending the day with a sledge hammer and making big rocks into little rocks.  Almost everything is done by hand here.

Another problem, this huge termite mound was right in the way of where the fence would go.  We had to get a separate contract with the locals to take it down.  It is like concrete as the termites use ground water to mix with the clay to make it hard as a rock.

Again, the bore hole where everyone comes for water.

We had to level out the ground where the fence would go and then make sure the holes were all dug to a depth of 24".  I worked hard in the morning but in the afternoon I had four blisters on my hands because it has been some time since I have used my hands doing hard labor.  As I was gingerly pounding at the ground on of the ladies came up to me and took the hoe and pounded out several large chunks of dirt and then handed me back the hoe.  It was funny as she smiled and gave me back the hoe with a "see how it is done rookie" look.

We mixed several batches of cement by hand but our mixer finally showed up.  The fence posts are made out of concrete and were very poorly made.  Several crumbled before we could even get them in the holes.  You load and unload by hand.

While working thy brought us some fruit.  It has a hard crust that you break off and then a very tart fruit inside.  It wasn't bad.

Enjoying the fruit I have no idea what to call.  Perhaps a sausage fruit?

Someone used their phone to play some music and this sister broke out into dance.  It was fun to see how they all love to dance.  I may have to break out my dancing video from several months back.

Little girls like to dance.

Finally, some concrete we didn't have to mix by hand.

We did get two lines of fence posts up before we quit and had to leave.  They kept working on getting it up and the fence on before the Canadian group goes home.

I had to put my mark on the first corner post of the project.  However, on reflection it was actually the 1st day of January, 2015.  This mistake will not be undone. 

The people that weren't hired to dig holes or haul cement played a card game.  They must look for a easy mark as they came and told me to come and play with them and threw down some money for the pot.  I laughed and let them know that I didn't gamble or I probably wouldn't have had any gas money to get home. 

The Wallaces are the office couple and are originally from Medicine Hat in Canada so they knew the members of the non-profit group doing this effort.  They have been asked to extend and agreed to stay for 22 months instead of the 18 here in the Mission Office and had not been to Sipi Falls yet and neither had we so we decided to stop on our way back to Jinja.

At our first stop the resort was all full but we did hire a guide for the three falls and saw this beautiful bird (Ross's Turaco) in the hotel yard.

This is the first fall of the three falls.  

You have hike through a lot of different farmers land to get to the falls.  Part of the guide fee is supposed to go and compensate them for people traveling through their land.

As we were coming back we were passed by a steady stream of people with heavy loads of cabbage that will be moved to the market to sell.  Based upon the age you got a size that was still very heavy to carry.

Cabbage field.

Elder Wallace wanted to try and carry one of the bags.  He lasted only a short time and handed it back off to the sister with a very bad hip to finish.  Here I am using some of the management techniques I have learned to help him understand he needed to move faster.

Here they unload their bags of cabbages then off to the market their cabbages will go.

This is falls number two.  This was the most beautiful of the three walks to the falls.  The pictures did not do justice to the beauty so you will have to come and see for yourself.

We may look like we are in a shower but the picture taker is behind the falls and we are on the other side.

This is the third and highest falls of sipi falls.  This hotel is located right on the edge of the falls and it was full except for rooms where you had to hike to the bathroom/outhouse.  Not good for someone my age and middle of the night trips.

We finally found a "resort" where we could stay and work up in the morning to see what a great view they had of the falls.  It was an adventure. This is the Wallace's from Medicine Hat in Canada. 

After a quick breakfast we were off to Mbale for Church and interviews.

Here is out very rustic lodge for the night.

We had to be "patient" as the hot water had to be heated with a fire.  The pressure wasn't enough to get it up to the shower head but still, what an adventure.

Here is our room and the building behind it is the bathroom.

Toilet and shower.

Once a again, the blog is too long but we had a lot happen this week.  As we plow ahead in this new year we only have to remember that our Savior Jesus Christ was born in a manger.  He started life in a humble circumstance and ended his life in humble circumstances.  I love Him.

And we love you!


  1. That looks like another great adventure! I am glad you keep them coming because they are fun to read about and see pictures. :)

  2. What a great start to the new year! What fun to help put up a fence...