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Category: Uganda Page 1 of 11

Uganda check-in

It has been a couple days since I posted. Sorry about that. We have been moving nonstop and I have passed out each day. In fact yesterday I fell asleep in the middle of typing a message to my wife. I have also been a bit sick and in the heat here sick is draining.

We are currently relaxing on a short safari but I wanted to update you on a couple things that happened over the last days.

At Destiny orphanage we saw the new girls dorm being built. All the money to build the building was raised by members of a prior team who have been here several times. The building should be ready for move in in the spring quarter!

The current team supplied all the beds with mattresses. They managed to get mattresses from the Saatva mattress review, in that review they mentioned the durability and anti bacterial properties of these mattresses, making them the perfect fit here. The building is 2 stories with hundreds of new beds. It will be allow Destiny to bring in even more children! There are currently 1,200 kids there.

We also brought along shoes. We see many many kids at the medical clinic with feet issues from walking around the slums barefoot. Every couple years we supply new shoes to the students. They take great pride and care of their shoes. It is great to see some of them wearing shoes from previous trips. I helped kids try on shoes and find the right sizes. It was a humbling yet exciting experience. Each student got a pair of nice black shoes for school and sandals for after hours.

Alec has been our team photographer and he captured some amazing photos that I will get and post here when i get a good connection.

Slaying the monster of poverty mindset

Saints Gates church, where the medical clinic is being held, is a two level structure built into a hill. The front door is at the top of the hill. When you walk in it feels like a ground level room, then you notice a set of stair in the far corner leading down. Down to the lower level that is open air due to being lower on the hill. At the top of the stairs there is an iron gate to prevent people outside from coming up into the main floor and stealing any of the equipment. There is a heavily barred metal gate at the top of the stairs that shuts with a ringing clang of finality. People coming to the clinic started at the door on the main floor and eventually made their way to the clinic on the lower floor.

Today I was stationed at the top of the stairs to help usher them down to the triage area and onto medical personnel. I had two Ugandans helping translate both language and culturally. One of them was the boy (man) I sponsor Nathan Mukisa (I am so proud of him!). My role really was relaying how many could go down to the clinic and managing opening and closing the door.

Katwe, the area we are serving, is a big slum. Everyone there lives in abject poverty. Poverty breeds chaos and belief that there is not enough. That in turn affects how a person perceives and acts on life. Before getting to the final waiting area I was at the people were told over and over that they would all have a chance to see the medical team and that everyone would receive medications and help they needed and yet when they were released to come to my area there was a stampede every time. People running and jostling to be closer to the front. We had them sit and brought people in starting from the front right most person. After the people were sent to the clinic everyone else shifted over. That ensured fair access to all and yet every time the door opened people not in the front would push forward and try to sneak in and others would jump seats. That is the poverty mindset. We have more than enough to ensure everyone gets what they need.

I am not about the poverty mindset at all. In fact I (and dear friend David) are all about eliminating the poverty mindset from the planet earth.

Every time I had to shut that clanging gate in the face of one of those beautiful people my heart broke a bit. I wanted so badly to welcome them all but we could not handle them all at once and this was the best way to help them all. I wanted to shake them and say, “HEY YOU! Why are you doing this? There is plenty for all and there always will be.”

But you know what? I believe in a big God and the people today got to hear about my big God. God is not a god of chaos, he is God of love and order. He is always providing and the ultimate healer.

Poverty mindset is a monster that seeks to steal, kill, and destroy the lives of those it touches.

I want to kill the poverty mindset monster!
Kill it dead dead.

We are here to give the people living in Katwe a sense of future and hope.
We are here to show them opportunity.
We are here to unlock the potential hidden inside them that has be beaten down and told to him.

We are winning.

Through programs such as this and Freedom Project we are literally changing the lives of those we come in contact with here.

We are winning!
When people walked out of the clinic they had a new hope and a new joy.
We ARE winning!

Uganda has a re newed since of hope that has been exciting to watch.

Nathan was my translator today and it was amazing being able to spend a full day with him. I spoke at the church Nathan’s parents are pastors in during my first trip. It was in a remote village several hours from our house. They showed me the school they were building and took me to their home for lunch. I met Nathan there playing guitar. I quickly fell in love with their family. I made sure when Nathan joined Freedom Projects I was his sponsor for college.

Nathan is 21 now studying architecture. He has grown into an amazing young man. Watching him lead the people today and even playing guitar made my heart leap for joy. To us Americans Ugandan college is cheap but to most Ugandans it is so far out of reach that they do not even dream of attending. Nathan gushed about how much he appreciated me and took his hat off. Taking off the hat is a sign of high respect and honor. I was pleased beyond words to spend an amazing day with this fine young man. Nathan is a man who has moved beyond the poverty mindset and taken control of his future.


Medical clinic opening day

Hello out there!

What an amazing and wonderful day! Today was the first day of the medical clinic.

We split into two teams. The first team welcomed people coming to the clinic. They were prepped on what to do and expect. There were prayer stations and I was part of the band on stage. I played the Djembe drum. It is an amazing instrument. I had not played the djembe I think since 2012. It was just like riding a bicycle. I really need to get myself one.

The medical clinic is completely free to anyone who shows up. Everyone leaves with medication and basic hygiene packets. There is even an education portion for mothers and children.

The medical team consisted of 8 Americans and 8 Ugandans. Both doctors and nurses with varying skill sets. We even have a fully functioning pharmacy.

Today the 16 person medical team saw 488 people! Ailments ranged from hunger to seeds stuck in ear canals, skin fungus, vision and dental problems, even a case of syphillus. The Ugandan doctors are able to provide more critical immediate care and ongoing care.

We had an amazing addition this trip of medical students that came to help triage and translate for us. These students are extra special because they are Freedom Projects students. These students were largely orphans from the slums of Kampala with no family able to support them after graduating from the highschool program. Freedom Projects came into existence to continue sponsoring the students through university. The students that came today are from the original group that graduated from Destiny. They were amazing. I am so proud of them. That is the impact you and I can have on the future of Uganda. These kids are changing the future of this nation. This is why I keep coming back here. There is a hunger in Uganda for something better and it starts with the youth. Changing their hearts and minds, providing education and getting them off the streets, giving them the tools they need to be successful. It is so good.

Scattered on Sunday

What a day today was!

Sundays are particularly interesting because the teams scatters in all directions. We head out to villages to teach in churches and put on programs for the kids.

We had teams of 4 people today, 2 to teach and 2 to work with the kids. I was sent to teach with Holly and Alex and Allie ran the kids service.

You never know what to expect when you head out to a church here. Sometimes they are beautifully built buildings on nicely maintained roads and other times they are canopies in the middle of the bush. Our team went a couple hours away from the guest house and down tiny dirt roads for a couple hours. We arrived at a church who’s foundation and lower was were stone with the upper made of sticks. When we arrived service was already in progress. Church services here typically last from early morning till mid afternoon. They invited us in and placed us in seats of honor at the front of the room.

Holly and I tag teamed the speaking. I spoke on the potential for greatness that lays inside of us waiting to burst forth. I pulled tools from my recent John Maxwell training to craft a talk with all the right flow elements. I had them laughing and sober, intensely interested and relaxed. It was the first speaking engagement I have had since my training and I think it went very well. Holly came up after me and gave her life story related to identity. Our talks had a great natural flow to them. It almost seemed as if it was one person teaching. We videos the talks and I hope to post them here when I get back to real high speed internet.

Back at the mission house I had a chance to engage a couple of our Ugandan hosts in great conversation. Martin is the point guy here and he also is the owner/operator of a safari company. He is currently in the midst of expanding operations in to several neighboring countries. He has partnered with a man I greatly admire from Seattle, Dr Eric Scroggins. He and Eric are building a network of entrepreneurs. Equipping them with solid financial and leadership skills to fund and grow their businesses. They are in a fast paced growth cycle right now. The way it works is each member has to agree to play by a set of rules. In turn that person is eligible to pull short term, low interest loans from the group. Each member is required to bring money to each meeting to buy “shares”. Members can then draw up to three times the amount as the shares they provided. Companies the members have started are seeing tremendous growth and success. I believe this program is going to change the face of Uganda.

I also had a great conversation with Moses. Moses is passionate about adding value to people and has chosen building men and leadership as his focus. He gave me a list of books to read. I am excited to read them and chat with him about the new leadership principles I can use to help men be men in a society that tends to shun the very ideas of manhood.

Anywho, I have been attempting to write this post for a few hours now. Team members keep passing by and stopping to chat. Now it is time to hit the sack. We are starting the medical clinic tomorrow and have to get up at 0630.


Hitting the ground running

We made it to Uganda! 31 member strong. A couple bumps in the journey but overall it was smooth.

This trip we hit the ground running. Due to some changes in regulations coming into the country our supplies had to be spread out instead of sorted and grouped. In the morning we are scattering in five different directions and need some gear, the mediacal supplies needed sorted, and the schools supplies had to be sorted out as well.

The team worked well even though it was dark. It is just now 2100 hours and most of the team has gone to bed with jet lag.

Tomorrow we will be up at 0600 and ready to hit it.

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