Thursday, June 25, 2009

Drive from Mbarara to Entebbe continued....

unable to continue on post below.... so I will continue here!

1980 Felix was married and his son Dennis was born. In 1989 Kuny's Lord's Resistance Army came to Lira.... they selected a few and Felix was one of them. Survival was paramount since he had a wife and family at home in Lira, he survived the torture and escaped by pretending to chase a chicken into the woods where he hid until he could get away. His turmoil was not to end here... the Ugandan army found him, he looked like a rebel and they imprisoned him. The torture he endured while in his own army's prison surpassed that of the rebels but still he survived. Eventually the soldiers were convinced by villagers who said they knew this man and he was released. Months in a healing center and then back to his family. Felix, the man we know today is who he is because of these horrific experiences, they did not cripple him but caused him to become a true believer in God, in family and in helping others. MTI/Uganda has benefited by it's association with this great man along with the 11 biological children and the 10 "adopted" children he supports. This is a man to respect and this team certainly does. Thank you Felix for sharing your love with MTI and the people of Uganda. May your dream for Uganda become reality!

Goodbyes were shared behind eyes filled with tears... tears that reflect the many experiences we shared during these 10 days. Uganda.... may you continue to rise and to fulfill your dreams of peace, of good health, of enough food to feed your people and an economy to support these beautiful children. You are in our prayers and in our hearts... forever!

Drive from Mbarara to Entebbe - – 6 hours

Tuesday, June 24, 2009

“On the road again”…. the promise to stop at the Equator to visit the acclaimed shops there keeps our spirits up. This highway is undergoing construction and the dusting, bumpy ride doesn’t seem like fun on this last day of ours but off we go amid the continuous color, noise and smells. Somehow this country has gotten to each of us, we “get” why Megan will return in July for her fifth visit to this country. Our MTI drivers have become our friends, the work that MTI has done and is continuing to do is so incredible that we want to help; the natural beauty behind the din is captivating.

The Great Adventure auction will have some wonderful Ugandan crafts; we have bought some wonderful items under Deb’s knowledgeable direction. The silent auction will have treasures that represent Uganda and it’s charm. The Equator shops have some delightful batiks, baskets and soap stone sculptures that complete our buying. The MTI bags that came here filled with supplies will return filled with Ugandan crafts.

The Lake View Hotel near the Entebbe airport is under renovation but is well appointed. Our rooms have every comfort and we are delighted to regroup and most of all to have dinner with Felix Omodi, MTI/Uganda Program Manager. Felix has promised us that tonight he will tell us his story, we have all heard enough of this that we can't wait to hear it from him. A man whose big heart and strong character are visible, he throws his head back and laughs easily but if you look closely you see the scars on his face and his nails... what were once his nails are empty nail beds. Evidence of the torture he incurred and will share with us at dinner.

This beautiful starlite evening is the perfect setting. Our team, David Alula, MTI/Uganda's Health Manager are seated on the terrace. Felix begins by sharing that his father, as was his grandfather, was the Chief of his tribe. As Chief, Felix's father took 5 wives. The first 3 did not give him a son so her married Felix's mother and a son was finally born. This man had 34 children and because his duties as chief were absorbing he had no time to spend with these children or wives. His family lived in a hut where the children all slept in the kitchen, hygiene was impossible so all the children had jiggers. Felix's mother was a religious woman and took Felix to the Catholic Church where an Italian priest noticed his poor condition and asked his mother if he could take him into the church family and help to educate him. At 6 years old Felix was devestated when he was pulled from his family and certain that this white man must have plans to eat him... after all these stories were all he knew of the white people. After some time Felix grew to trust and even love this man who treated him with respect and gave him an education that would have been impossible if he had stayed with his biological family. When the priest was called to another post this unlikely pair said goodbye for good. The priest continued to send money for Felix's education and care but to this day Felix has no idea what happened to this man who changed his life. His dream to become a Catholic priest was ended when the Church found that he came from a polygomist family his dreams were crushed because of his father's sins. One year later his mentors came to him and said they would send him to Kampala to become a veterinarian. Felix completed school and worked for 4 years as a veterinarian.

War in the form of Kuny's

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

June 25, 2009

London! We arrived yesterday late afternoon. Blog for Tuesday to follow! Some time to process before we board our plane tomorrow and return to Portland/Woodland with a new appreciation for MTI's incredible work in Uganda!

Images by Sue!

Images by Sue!

Images by Sue!