Arrival in Mbale

Eunice and Innocent

Writing from the guesthouse on the CURE hospital compound on Thursday afternoon, we’re pinching ourselves to make sure we’re really here in Julie’s new world. All of her blogs and descriptions have certainly given us some insight, but as has been said, there’s nothing like experiencing something firsthand. What a gift to be here!

Derek secures luggage to the top of his car for the trip to Mbale.

We left Kampala yesterday morning around 11, after having a brief frenzy as we tried to locate our passports, which had been put away so securely that we couldn’t find them. Thankfully, we located them after only about 15 minutes of searching and that was a big “praise the Lord.” We really wanted to avoid giving up time getting them replaced.

Farewell to John and Cindy Norton

More luggage? Why not? Picking Doug and Julie up for the trip to Mbale.

The next challenge was getting six people and luggage into Derek’s five-seater SUV. He had booked a second car to transport all of us, but we talked him into allowing us to cram into one vehicle so we could experience the three-hour drive together. He consented, and probably regretted that as he worked to secure the luggage on top of his vehicle. :) He’s obviously done it before, and was a great sport about it. Julie was the other great sport, as she rode in the back with the rest of the luggage. She insisted on it since she’s made the drive many times and wanted us to really be able to see it, but it also was a sacrifice which definitely cost her.

Julie prepares for her ride in the back of the car. :)

We bade farewell to John and Cindy who had provided a wonderful home away from home for our week in Kampala, and off we drove. It is so broadening to see new places and new people. We didn’t miss a thing as we drove through “trading center” after “trading center” en route to Mbale. The countryside of Uganda is beautiful. The red soil reminded me of Prince Edward Island, and the agriculture did as well. We passed fields of sugar cane and tea plantations, all thriving and robust. We passed people selling, riding, playing, sitting, biking, talking, hanging. In the words of our Trinidadian friends, these people seem to know how to “lime.”

Lunch at 2 Friends in Ginja.

We stopped for lunch in Ginja after passing the headwaters of the Nile and had some yummy African stew. On to the coffee shop for delicious coffee, and then on to Mbale.

Coffee break . . .

The highlight obviously was arriving at the hospital and meeting the staff, the mamas, and the babies. Julie is very well loved here; everyone we talked to let us know how wonderful she is. We weren’t surprised, but we were proud of the way she has impacted this community in such a short time. It was pretty emotional for me to tour the ward and meet the children whose lives are being changed physically, and whose Mamas are being changed spiritually. This is an incredible place.

We eventually made it to a fabulous Indian restaurant (Derek’s personal favorite) and had a leisurely dinner on the rooftop. A perfect end to a full and wonderful day.

Today started with devotions with the staff and we were again reminded of our unity in the body of Christ. A small taste of heaven. Breakfast at the guesthouse: fresh mangos, fresh yogurt, fresh granola, fresh coffee. Yummy! Julie then took us to the market and there are no words to describe that experience. I’ll let the photos speak a thousand words, but suffice it to say that we were very impressed with her ability to wheel and deal in a seemingly unmzungu-like way. :)

The market . . .

Doug and Julie with Innocent.

Julie with Evas and Eunice.

We’ve interacted on the compound since, and joined the staff for a lunch of g-nut sauce, rice, and sweet potatoes. It was really good. We’ve loved every minute of our time. We’re headed out for an overnight at Sipi Falls, so more later. Keep praying . . .