Amani and Ekisa

I said that I was going to write on the blog every other day - and there is just so much to write about in one 24 hour period here! Today I visited Amani and Ekisa. You have heard me say alot about Amani and it feels like a second home to me now. David, the driver that our teams have gotten so close to, is pictured below.

Ekisa is a special needs orphanage and it is where Mweru lives (pictured above with Emily holding him). I have written about him many times in the past trips to Uganda because he stole a piece of my heart. He started out at Amani Baby Cottage and is so incredibly fun to be around! (and now that I think about it, MOST of the ministries that I work with had volunteers that started out at Amani). Mweru doesn't know how big he is now (almost as tall as I am now) and he still runs to jump up on me when he sees me! I guess he'll be 40 years old and still jumping up and loving on people! He lives in a world full of energy and happiness and his JOY is contagious to all around him. I walked into Ekisa as the children were going down for nap time and Emily (one of the two Emily's that run Ekisa) let me peek in Mweru's room because he wasn't asleep. As soon as he spotted me, he jumped up and ran to my arms laughing and chanting a chant that only Mweru can say! I love him. He reminds me of innocent, pure, unconditional love. After he ran around the yard, his auntee helped him back to bed for nap time. I sat and talked with the staff and looked around the room and realized how incredibly lucky these children are. They have handicapped workers that work with the children because they understand the needs. The scripture painted on the walls as you enter Ekisa is Psalm 139: 14 and is pictured above.
When I was returning to Amani, there was a really loud noise and alot of smoke at one of the factories down town. David (the Amani Driver) and Trey and I were near the factory and we saw alot of people running and then heard explosions. We turned around to leave the area because there were some people throwing large rocks into the road. We later found out that the people were rioting because the factory blew up and there were employees inside that died. I'm not sure if that is all totally the truth yet but whatever happened, we learned that when the unexpected happens in Uganda, it is best to stay low key and out of sight. Uganda is typically safe here but when the people are scared, they do crazy things!
I returned to Amani to help in the office for a bit and then stayed to play with the children. What a joyful way to end the day: laughing, playing, hugging and singing with God's children here in Uganda! They all have imaginations that are wonderful. Two little boys were tying twigs around their head imitating my headband! Some were playing with cars and trucks and riding toys. One little girl was imitating one of the auntees at Amani and telling the babies to stop crying (and the babies were not crying that she was talking to!). Then there was Godfrey and Richard. They are two babies that have become great friends but when I picked one up, the other would cry. Children are the same everywhere. They just want to be loved. And, as for me, I'll keep trying to figure out what God is calling us to do, although I have an inkling as my grandmother used to say!
I am figuring out my schedule here. I will be helping with preschool in the mornings at Amani. I am going to work with the young ladies one afternoon a week at the Pregnancy Crisis Center. I'll be helping out with the Ekisa children one afternoon a week. Tomorrow I'll be at Canaan to see what I can do there weekly and visit the Amazima Feeding program. There are alot of wonderful things going on here in Uganda and God is still opening my eyes to many more needs. I realize that we are all the same: in need of HOPE that can only truly come from above.
I wish tonight that everyone reading this could hear the African Music outside my windows. There must be a wedding or some festive event going on. I can see the lights and dancing and I can hear the people laughing and talking. I'll go to sleep tonight to the wonderful sounds of Africa.