We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

O Come, O Come! North to Uganda

Happy Christmas to all! Somehow at Christmas, there is a certain poignancy about relationships, about connections with family and friends. Perhaps it is much in part due to missing those you are far from. But this year we have enjoyed the "run-up" to Christmas visiting numerous friends (and meeting new ones) and sharing our stories and laughter and memories. The way God places us in "family" is a precious gift and then the way this large family often interconnects as different "worlds" collide is often quite amazing (we hope those of you who know us as well as some of the lovely people we visited will enjoy the pictures as you share that connection with us!) How God connects the dots in this large picture of our world is incredible; what a privilege to be part of it and what a joy to be connected! We have just returned from a great trip north... across the northern border, across the equator into the northern hemisphere... to the Pearl of Africa, Uganda. And we have loved being joined in community with others, celebrating as we do at this time, that Christ came to draw us into community .. with God Himself and with one another.
Yes... had to take the photo!

We left home at 4:30am on Saturday, Dec. 13th. We picked up Richard, Bishop Charles' nephew who travelled with us... across the Gulf of Mwanza on the short ferry, on to Geita, over 75km of bumpy dirt road to a filling station where our car refused to start. Nervous moment. But with the aid of a couple of guys who linked another battery to ours with a couple of spanners, we were soon on our way (with no further problems) first to Bukoba (a Tanzanian port on the Lake) and then arrived at the Tz/Ug border at 2:30pm. Through a rather chaotic process in various container offices with numerous papers and stamps, we entered Uganda and arrived at our first stop, Masaka at 5pm. It was then a rather interesting first night in a very insalubrious guesthouse when Plan A and then Plan B went awry and darkness was fast approaching! But we all survived with belongings intact!
Connecting the spanners
From then on, it was a great time of catching up with many friends and enjoying another country's beauty! We enjoyed a wonderful few days with the Dangers family at New Hope Uganda. It had been 20 years since I last visited, and it was just amazing to see all that has changed! It was great to share stories and laughs and food and fun with Jay, Vicki, Jamie, Jeremiah and Julia and Jennie and little Elizabeth! It was also good to share some time with Stuart and Sarah Dendy from the UK!
The Dangers and Mongers

Visiting Jennie's home. So lovely to meet Elizabeth!
From there we travelled to Kampala and had a great visit with Seb Allwright, our friend from Tadley, UK. We visited his office (AIM) and really enjoyed staying in his home. He cooked us bangers and mash for tea to the great delight of the girls who enjoyed helping him in the kitchen. He had sacrificially saved the previous four doors of his advent calendar for the girls... real English chocolate from his mum!
Peeling potatoes in Seb's kitchen

Mashing potatoes in Seb's dining room
Then we went to the home of Annie Crowe, a lovely lady from the UK who was first friends with my parents many years ago. She has been working in Uganda for the past 28 years. She took us out for a real treat of a lunch which concluded with the most AMAZING ice cream sundaes! It was lovely to see her again!
Wow! Wide-eyes and smiles with amazing sundaes!
At Annie's home
We then left Kampala and headed to Jinja where we stayed in the second "home" of Mama Oliva (Bishop Charles' wife). She works in Uganda with the East African Fisheries Commission, and it was lovely to spend time with her and see where she works. While she was at work, she arranged for her driver to take us out and show us the sights. What a beautiful place!

The River Nile

We had two nights on our own in Jinja, staying at Eden Rock Resort, a nice, but not-too-expensive place in which to enjoy the pool and a base from which to further explore Jinja. Explorer Speke was the first to identify the source of the River Nile here and we enjoyed our own explorations in a boat.

Relaxed! An easier trek than Speke!

Coffee and milkshakes! Awesome!
After our Nile explorations and an awesome coffee out (a major advantage of exploring in 2014 and not 1862!) we headed back to Kampala. It was wonderful to catch up with my old school friend, Adrienne, and meet her whole family (Francis and children Hannah and little Elijah). Happy memories and a happy time catching up with all that they are doing with Father Heart Mobility!

Playing with Hannah
Francis, Adrienne, Hannah and Elijah
And finally it was an Emmanuel International Get-Together with the Uganda team (Paul and Anita Bertrand, Mike and Marianne Botting and Tom Edom). It was wonderful to meet these guys, hear about all they are doing in Uganda, enjoy Anita's amazing cooking and share in the vibrant Christmas service at Kampala International Church.
The EI Gang
Then it was time to head home. We left at 6:30am on Monday and made good time through the border (far less chaotic this time) and down the rough road (belting out Christmas carols in which the bumps made the "glo-o-or----ias" rather interesting!) and back to the ferry by 5:50pm. But then after doing so well, Amisadai and I boarded the ferry on foot (we are not allowed to board or stay in the vehicle, but Louisa being small was exempted) leaving Tim near the front of the line with the car. We hopped off on the Mwanza side at 6:30 and waited for the next ferry to arrive with Tim and Louisa. They were not on it. Or the next one. Darkness descended and rain splattered as we sat for ages by the water edge waiting. My phone battery died. Finally on the fourth ferry they arrived, Louisa vehemently protesting the sheer injustice shown to them as they were continually bumped in the line-up! Tired and very hungry we delved into pizza when we finally got home at 9:45pm!

So, throughout the past week we have loved being joined in community with others, celebrating as we do at this time, that Christ came to draw us into community... with God Himself and with one another. O come, o come, Emmanuel. God with Us.

Merry Christmas to you all, friends and family around the world!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for taking the time to visit us! We really enjoyed it! :)


Please leave us message! We love to hear your news and thoughts too!