blog http://routestoafrica.com/blog/rss Safaris in Uganda http://routestoafrica.com/blog/safaris-in-uganda/ <p>People do not often think of safaris in Uganda before considering other countries.  Because of turmoil in the country for many years in the mid to late 20th century, people shied away from trying to enjoy Uganda's beauty.  This despite the like of Theodore Roosevelt, <img class="left" style="float: left;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage260201-safari2.jpg" alt="safari2" width="260" height="201">Ernest Hemingway, and others taking advantage of all Uganda had to offer earlier in the century.</p> <p>Currently, though, Uganda enjoys stability that makes moving through the country safe and without concern.  <img class="left" style="float: right;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage229306-safari29.jpg" alt="safari29" width="229" height="306">Murchison Falls National Park, especially, has seen an uptick in visitors now that it has been reopened in the past 10 years.  The great falls are a wonder to see, the animals are plenty, the birds are everywhere, and the fishing is an attraction to anglers worldwide.  </p> <p>Kidepo National Park is also one with growing interest.  Now is really the time to go - before too many people realize how awesome it is. The area remains somewhat wild and raw - yet with all amenities and safety.  It is a place to see so much wildlife without many others around.  </p> <p>People often come to Uganda to go gorilla tracking, which is incredibly worth it, of course.  But, too many miss the many safari options that rival any throughout Africa.  Don't miss out.  Take advantage of Uganda while the busyness remains better!</p> Tue, 17 Dec 2013 07:27:01 -0700 http://routestoafrica.com/blog/safaris-in-uganda/ Volunteer Uganda http://routestoafrica.com/blog/volunteer-uganda/ <p>At Routes to Africa, volunteering in Uganda is for the big-hearted, willing to go the extra mile.  We work with a number of small, community based organizations, like <a href="http://www.findingthewayafrica.org" target="_blank">Finding the Way</a>, that provide counselling, love, and care to HIV and orphaned children, widows, and other vulnerable people who need a helping hand to become sustainable in their own lives.  We love to support education and healthcare initiatives supported by the local communities.</p> <p>Here at Routes to Africa, we do volunteer placements and manage all the needs of your travel.  </p> <p> </p> Mon, 09 Dec 2013 11:52:55 -0700 http://routestoafrica.com/blog/volunteer-uganda/ Zebra Stripes http://routestoafrica.com/blog/zebra-stripes/ <p><img class="left" style="float: left;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage183221-ZEBRA.jpg" alt="ZEBRA" width="183" height="221">  Why do zebras have stripes?  That is a great question and one often asked by clients.  Scientists actually are not exactly sure ,but there are many theories. </p> <p>One theory is that the patterns are a camoflauge to guard against predators.  Most predators struggle to determine one animal from another because of the colors and patterns.  So, at dawn and dusk, when predators hunt, they have a hard time seeing and distinguishing what they are looking at.  </p> <p>Some think that they are there as a guard against insects that swarm and attach.  Insects can only  see one color at a time, so they cannot always realize they are so near the zebra.</p> <p>Others think the stripes are mostly there so the zebras themselves can be set apart from one another.  No zebra's stripes and patterns are the same, so they may just be able to see one another better.  </p> <p>Whatever the reason, the zebra stripes are beautiful to look at.  At Lake Mburu National Park and Kidepo National Park, the zebras often are seen in large herds.  Viewing them as like pondering a piece of amazing artwork.  </p> <p>Any safari with Routes to Africa to these parks guarantees zebra sightings in large quantity.  We encourage you to contact us, plan a trip, and see these stunning creatures for yourself.  We have a variety of tours and packages to lend to the best viewing options!</p> <p>You can give us your best theory as to why zebras have stripes, and maybe we can include it in another blog post just from you!</p> <p><img class="left" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage437328-n687697711-1647404-2.jpg" alt="n687697711 1647404 2" width="437" height="328"></p> Fri, 22 Nov 2013 03:29:21 -0700 http://routestoafrica.com/blog/zebra-stripes/ Uganda - the Great Adventure - Rafting the Nile! http://routestoafrica.com/blog/uganda-the-great-adventure/ <p>People do not often think of great adventures when they think of Ugdanda.  They do not realize that such a small country is packed with such varied options of activities.  But, those who know come from around the world for world class adventure activities.</p> <p>I have rafted on the Nile River, and I can tell you it is one of the most fun things I have ever done.  Though I love being in water, I actually had some fear of rafting because of a canoing accident when I was a kid.  From that time, I would swim like a fish, but for some reason, being on moving water really scared me. But, being in Uganda, it is hard to not go rafting on the Nile.  I mean, it is rafting on the NILE.  You hear so many great stories from those who have gone.</p> <p>I also learned that you can still do the big rapids, but on one of the rafts that won't be quite so wild.  If you want wild, however, there are those rafts as well.  I am so glad I took the chance to go.  It was worth every penny of the cost.  </p> <p>I am not a kayaker, I have had clients go, and they come back saying they have never done anything like it.  One client went for 2 weeks!  I am a bit envious of that kind of thrill.  What beauty to see everyday - along with the thrill and challenge of maneuvering the river!</p> <p>We at Routes to Africa encourage you to do one of these amazing activities on the Nile River in Uganda.  White water rafting the Nile and kayaking in Uganda are incredible experiences with memories to last a lifetime!  </p> <p>Contact us today to book your adventure now!</p> Fri, 08 Nov 2013 10:12:06 -0700 http://routestoafrica.com/blog/uganda-the-great-adventure/ Chimps and the amazing Kibale! http://routestoafrica.com/blog/chimps-and-the-amazing-kibale/ <p><strong>Kibale Forest National Park</strong> is one of Uganda's major tropical rainforests.  It has a good infrastructure and a number of activities, making the forest an excellent place to visit.  Kibale is host to multiple primate species, including Chimpanzees.  The forest is also excellent for bird watching, as there about 335 species!  Multiple hike options are available.  The attractive park also provides the local people with revenue from the many visitors, and proceeds from some of the walks goes back to the community, helping to also protect to the area.  </p> <p>Kibale harbors the greatest number of primates in East Africa - home to 13 primate species.  Of course, Chimps are the main attraction and are a joy to observe.  But, one of the great things about the forest is that there are so many more primates to see, equally as fascinating.  They are a variety of monkeys:  Red tailed, red colobus, guereza colobus, L'Hoest's, black and white colobus, vervet, and grey cheeked mangabey.  Then, there are the ever-present olive baboons.  What an experience to come and walk among such interesting creatures, observe, and learn.</p> <p>Many other mammals also make Kibale home.  While on your hike, you may come across evidence of elephants, bush pig, buffalo, bushbuck, and duikers, who all enjoy the lush forest for their sustenance.</p> <p>A nocturnal walk is also an adventure; what a unique way to encounter the forest’s life!  You may see bushbabies, pottos, spectacled demidoff’s, Thomas’s galagos, Lord Derby’s anomalure, African civets, and common Genet, among others.  On nocturnal walks, there are spotlights, bringing the fabulous forest to life.</p> <p>For those who love birding, Kibale does not disappoint.  A small sampling the 335 species of birds are the great blue turaco, red-winged francolin, grey- throated flycatcher, red chested fluff-tail, green-breasted pitta, white-napped pigeon, joyful greenbul, African pitta, white-bellied crested flycatcher, woodland warbler, masked and black-capped appalises, grey-winged robin, abyssinian ground thrush, orange-tufted sunbirds, grey-headed olive-back, chestnut-winged starling, and obviously so many more.  A trip to Kibale is worth it for the birds alone!</p> <p>One does not go to Kibale for only one chimp trek.  There are a few great hikes to enjoy, which better gives a full experience of the park.  The walk through Bigodi Swamps is a wonderful way to view birds and various flora and fauna.  There isn observation tower and a boardwalk that goes through the papyrus bed.  The walk is only about 4km long, but it can take between 3-4 hrs. at birding pace, which is recommended.  As stated, there is also the nocturnal walk – a fun and adventurous way to explore!  Without a doubt Kibale has a variety of activities to make even a 3 day trip one no soon forgotten.</p> Tue, 29 Oct 2013 02:45:54 -0700 http://routestoafrica.com/blog/chimps-and-the-amazing-kibale/ Some Lessons on Giraffes http://routestoafrica.com/blog/some-lessons-on-giraffes/ <p>How would you like to be born and drop 6 feet to the ground as your first encounter with the world?  Not such a great prospect, is it?  Yet, that is the experience of a newborn giraffe.  Moms give birth standing up - with no one their to catch the calf.  </p> <p>You may not see this amazing act while on safari in Uganda, but surely you will see some truly fascinating giraffes while at Murchison Falls or Kidepo National Parks in Uganda.</p> <p>You can see if one is young or old not so much by it's size, but by how dark the spots are.  Those black spots don't just look cool, they are the sign of a wise, old giraffe.  This is fitting because the giraffe can look more distinguished.</p> <p>Do not look for giraffes to put their heads down for very long, though.  They will even drink very fast.  You see, the heart has to pump blood at such force for the blood to travel up the neck that if their heads are below the body for too long, it is dangerous.  </p> <p>It is great to view a herd traveling together, sometimes almost single file - looking for water or acacias to feed on.<img class="left" style="float: right;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/giraffe2.jpg" alt="giraffe2" width="480" height="360"></p> <p>Seeing these incredible creatures of stature in the wild is such a wonderful experience - it will make your tour even more worthwhile.  </p> <p>Let us here at Routes to Africa know how we can help you find out for yourself!</p> Tue, 22 Oct 2013 01:01:49 -0700 http://routestoafrica.com/blog/some-lessons-on-giraffes/ Video from GCCC Trip http://routestoafrica.com/blog/video-from-gccc-trip/ <p>Here is a slideshow video of the trip with the GCCC team in June.  It summarizes the volunteering aspects of their trip.  They had such a lovely time on their missions trip, volunteer and serving.  They also loved their safari and time at Murchison. Click the link to watch!  <a title="GCCC Trip June" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lz5Lr_q31XA" target="_blank">www.youtube.com/watch?v=lz5Lr_q31XA </a></p> Wed, 07 Aug 2013 10:14:45 -0700 http://routestoafrica.com/blog/video-from-gccc-trip/ GCCC Trip - Part 5 http://routestoafrica.com/blog/gccc-trip-part-/ <p><img class="left" style="float: left;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage264198-P6120417-800x600.jpg" alt="P6120417 800x600" height="198" width="264">The end has come.  After a truly amazing 2 weeks, the GCCC team has taken off from Entebbe.  It was been a wonderful experience hosting them, in order to facilitate their travel and ability to work and serve to the fullest in northern Uganda.</p> <p> </p> <p>Since the previous blog post, we have done a number of things. </p> <p> </p> <p>There was more soccer, of course!  This time it was at Gulu Crested Crane Secondary School with a group of boys who truly loved the time of training and hanging out.  You know, kids here who live up country or in the village do not receive much proper skills training, so they really appreciate the chance to practice and learn more.  Plus, it so special for them to have a chance to meet people from outside and receive some encouragement and make new <img class="left" style="float: right;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage344258-P6120380-800x600.jpg" alt="P6120380 800x600" height="258" width="344">friends.  We played a match with these guys - instead of against them - so at least some of the team won a match for the first time this trip.  HA!</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>Martin was so glad to discuss some farming and project potentials with Curt <img class="left" style="float: left;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage309231-P6120392-800x600.jpg" alt="P6120392 800x600" height="231" width="309">and Irwin.  Oftern here, the best thing that can help is simply exposure to and understanding of more and different ways of doing things.  This is not so that people here do it exactly like people in America, but to help generate ideas.  Large corporations have brainstorming sessions.  So, that kind of thing goes a long way here.  And, Finding the Way is always looking for further ways to invest in and help bring empowerment and sustainability.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>Along this line, it was great to spend a little time with one of the people who took part in the small business trainging everytime it went on.  He<img class="left" style="float: left;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage284213-P6120408-800x2.jpg" alt="P6120408 800x2" height="213" width="284"> received some investment capital, and it is wonderful to see and here how he is slowly improving the small shop he opened, and that what he learned he puts to practice regularly.  He is Johnson Odong, and he also helps and discusses things with the other participants.  That is what is about.  Seeing multiplication occur.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>Throughout the trip, some of the team were able to share a little bit about themselves and their testimony.  It was great to have various ones step up and pass on some of what they know and have learned.<img class="left" style="float: right;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage271203-P6120403-800x600.jpg" alt="P6120403 800x600" height="203" width="271"></p> <p>We continued to try to meet with all of the Finding the Way sponsored kids.  We failed to find all of them, as some were gone for some special school programs those days, but we met most.  It is special to be able to ineract with them a bit and see their joy of meeting new people.</p> <p>The final night in Gulu was spent eating more than what's normal, haha, at Martin and Juliet's place.  The widows came and helped to prepare.  We ate so many special local dishes.  Though the team had been eating local food; here, they were able to enjoy a sample of really all of the different dishes from northen Uganda.  It was great.</p> <p>Truly, it was a treasured time to meet and share among all of us.  What a wonderful experience for all.  The widows for sure loved to be around.  They have suffered a great deal, so it was great to have them receive some help and encouragement.  They have such strength amid so many dark circumstances.  It's really appreciated to hear their faith.</p> <p>At last the team had some time off.  We worked every day since arrive - and some days very long, so it was now time to relax.  After a bit of a <img class="left" style="float: left;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage307254-P6140493-800x663.jpg" alt="P6140493 800x663" height="254" width="307">journey, we arrived to a place outside the entrance of Murchison Falls National Park.  That way we could enter the park very early to insure the best chance of seeing wildlife during our safari.</p> <p>It was strange for us all to have nothing to do as we sat around that evening.  But, we were able to share, process, and pray.</p> <p>Then, it was safari day!  Everyone was definitely excited about this.  The game drive was what we call successful, since we had great views of so much wildlife.  We came across a large family of elephants.  There must have been at least 30 spread among the bushes.  There were many young ones, so the elders were trying to protect them and move them further from the road.  This caused a lot of noise and flapping of ears and so forth.  It was very cool!</p> <p>As ever, there were many giraffes.  I personally love the giraffes.  They are so stately and elegant!</p> <p>We had an incredible encounter with a lion couple.  There was a 3 legged male lion, who lost its leg to poachers.  Thankfully, the rangers found it, nursed it back to health, and released it home to the wild.  Apparently, since then, the brother to that one watches over him.  And, he even has a personal "mate."  This is not so common among lions.  The 3 of them travel together.  Awesome story.  We watched them enjoy the morning for some time.</p> <p>There was so much more, of course.  In the afternoon, there was the boat trip up the Nile River to the falls.  Hippos, crocodiles, and elephants <img class="left" style="float: right;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage385321-P6140446-800x666.jpg" alt="P6140446 800x666" height="321" width="385">were sighted, along with many species of birds.  Then, the team chose to hike up to the top of the falls, where the bus met them.  What an incredible hike.  It is about an hour or so, and there many close views of the powerful falls exploding over through the narrow gorge.  Everyone really enjoyed so much.</p> <p> </p> <p>Still, there was now exhaustion.  We reached Kampala late, but knowing the day was so worthwhile.  It was great to see the team be blessed with all the new scenery and wildlife sightings.</p> <p> </p> <p>Yesterday, after a good rest, there was swimming and shopping.  Then, in the evening, it was great fun watching the performance at Ndere Cultural Centre - something not to be missed when in Kampala.  It is as enjoyable as any broadway show.</p> <p>We at Routes to Africa say thanks to the GCCC team and look forward to <a href="http://www.jenniebeth.wordpress.com"><img class="left" style="float: left;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage286405-P6070133-566x800.jpg" alt="P6070133 566x800" height="405" width="286"></a>hosting you again.  Be blessed as you return and know that you have left some very special footprints behind!!!!</p> <p>For more personal insight on the trip, please go to www.jenniebeth.wordpress.com</p> <p> </p> Mon, 17 Jun 2013 01:40:36 -0700 http://routestoafrica.com/blog/gccc-trip-part-/ GCCC TRIP - Part 4 http://routestoafrica.com/blog/gccc-trip-part-4/ <p>Well, the past two days have been quite full - full of life, full of connection, full of fun, and full of fruit!  The team is exhausted in the best possible ways.  It is a joy to be able to be with all the people here and laugh, play, worship, pray, and eat (with our hands of course)!</p> <p>If we weren't finished with the "work" Friday, we would definitely need a few days break.  It is quite worth it, however, to both share and learn.  Despite being sore from lots of soccer, crazy bumpy roads, or whatever else, everyone is glad for it. </p> <p><img class="left" style="float: left;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage240180-P6100248-800x600.jpg" alt="P6100248 800x600" height="180" width="240">Yesterday, we went to Wii Anaka Primary School, about 2 hours from Gulu town.  Finding the Way has one of the adopted villages in the Anaka area, and they sponsor children from this school.  The team delivered some gifts for those kids and did soccer drills and played a match.  The drills went quite well.  It is such a privilege for these kids to have fun like this doing something they love.  We all know sports can be used as a great way to bring connection and joy, and this is very much the case here.  It was also great for the girls to be able to join in, as unfortunately, the girls here are just starting to do more fun activities like this.<img class="left" style="float: right;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage188141-P6100231-800x600.jpg" alt="P6100231 800x600" height="141" width="188"></p> <p>Whether we are skilled at soccer or not, our whole team does well at participating and just using it as a means to love on the kids.  It is a bit of a workout just to facilitate the drills - especially when you are chasing balls quite a bit.  Ha!</p> <p>After lunch, we played the 12-14 year olds in a match.  We probably shouldn't talk about it.  haha.  We had our butts kicked.  Let's just leave it at that.   It was all great fun, though for sure.</p> <p>The school is near Martin's land, so we had lunch from there and were able to tour around his family's farming.  Curt and Irwin especially have enjoyed seeing and learning about all the agricultural things here.  Martin has such a heart for farming, so he is really loving his discussions with these guys.  Hopefully it is a practical encouragement for Martin as he continues trying to farm.</p> <p><img class="left" style="float: left;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage195176-P6110347-1024x924.jpg" alt="P6110347 1024x924" height="176" width="195">Today was a special day.  We went back up to the area of Atiak to spend time with Finding the Way's group to at Awee.  For me, Jennie, this group has always been near to my heart.  It is not at all that the others haven't been; it's is just that these people have been through so much and some of the young orphaned guys are quite dear to me.</p> <p>I think it was neat for the team to "tour" the village and see how the adopt-a-village process really looked in tangible reality.  It gave them, who have seen videos and pictures at home for so long, a real perspective. </p> <p>There was a lot of praising and singing, which is common with this group.  They love to worship God so much.  We got some our gang dancing along.  They truly worship through singing and dance with all they have.  It is something we can all learn.</p> <p>We had no agenda for this time with them - just to enjoy and encourage.  Still, it ended up being a wonderful time of connection.  There was a lot of different activity in a somewhat small space, but somehow it worked.  Chris and JT, along with the help of a few older guys who were part of the soccer last week, did drills with some younger boys.  They loved it so much.  Then, they played some 4 on 4.<img class="left" style="float: right;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage203152-P6110273-800x600.jpg" alt="P6110273 800x600" height="152" width="203"></p> <p> </p> <p>Tawnya, Katie, and Tricia played a bunch of games with the girls and some younger kids.  Thankfully, one of the young adults was able to help them with any language issues. </p> <p><img class="left" style="float: left;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage222166-P6110311-800x600.jpg" alt="P6110311 800x600" height="166" width="222"></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><img class="left" style="float: left;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage219165-P6110267-800x600.jpg" alt="P6110267 800x600" height="165" width="219"></p> <p> </p> <p>Jordan once again taught her first aid training.  For all of my medical people out there - PLEASE continue to consider coming; it is such a huge need and the people are hungry for it!  Jordan also had to once again do some treatment, <img class="left" style="float: right;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage262196-P6110276-800x600.jpg" alt="P6110276 800x600" height="196" width="262">on a boy who was injured during the soccer.  It is so cool to see her do this.</p> <p>Irwin and Curt also shared all about their farms, and the people shared about their "gardens."  Even though it is worlds apart, people love it and not only learn, but become inspired to maybe try something new.</p> <p>I was the photographer as usual, ha, and also threw frisbee with kids.  I was amazed at how quickly they learned.  Essentially, all of us were doing something at the same time.  It was pretty cool!</p> <p> </p> <p>Then, we had lunch and fellowship time.  Today, the focus was from Philippians 2:1-18 - encouraging the people to be united as they follow God and then be a light to others.  This is the short version of course.  :-)  You know Jennie is teaching when the live, visual aids start being pulled <img class="left" style="float: right;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage275177-P6110366-1024x660.jpg" alt="P6110366 1024x660" height="177" width="275">out on the fly. (please note Chris having fallen on the ground to play his role, amid everyone's laughter.)  I actually thank God for my training and experience in teaching and communication, as it has helped so much in adapting to communicating in other cultures.</p> <p> </p> <p><img class="left" style="float: left;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage216177-P6110368-800x661-800x661.jpg" alt="P6110368 800x661 800x661" height="177" width="216">We prayed for unity for this village and had people ask for prayer as needed.  It was great to see God working among people in so many various ways today. </p> <p>I have so much to say, honestly, that I have nothing more to say.  I could go on and on and on.  For now, let me give glory to God for all He is and does!  He deserves all the honor and praise!</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><img class="left" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage600306-P6110372-800x408.jpg" alt="P6110372 800x408" height="306" width="600"></p> Wed, 12 Jun 2013 11:15:24 -0700 http://routestoafrica.com/blog/gccc-trip-part-4/ GCCC trip - part 3 http://routestoafrica.com/blog/gccc-trip-part-3/ <p>So, the past 2 days, the group only worked about 5 hours/day, instead of the 12 hours/per day we were working previously.  Time is all relative here in Africa.  haha.  It helps that we love the work we are doing!  Tomorrow, we are back to fairly full days.<img class="left" style="float: right;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage257194-gccc-trip.jpg" alt="gccc trip" height="194" width="257"></p> <p>Yesterday, we went to church, and then we had some free time in the afternoon.  It was refreshing to get in the pool for a while after the long, dusty days.  It was extra hot and sunny yesterday, so the pool hit the spot! </p> <p>In the evening, we went out to Sam's home and church in his village.  The local team there wanted to play us in soccer.  After reaching - and feeling quite tired from the week - we said we would play the young kids and not so much the teenage boys!  At first, we thought we would need to give some mercy to these kids, but after a few minutes, we realized we would be lucky to score.  These kids were fast and motivated!  haha.  (Curt was glad Dori packed that debrilator, hahaha).  Of course, once we did tie the score, the teacher overseeing the match subbed in some of the older kids.  There was no way they were going to lose! They would score and the 150 or kids watching would erupt in glee.  We would score and there was <img class="left" style="float: left;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage236178-P6070175-800x600.jpg" alt="P6070175 800x600" height="178" width="236">dead silence.  Our whole group played (except Jordan and Ang who were doing first aid training), and Martin and our driver Patrick.  It was great fun for all!</p> <p>The original point of the evening was to just visit at Sam's place, see his piggery project, and provide a meal for the widows Finding the Way is starting to help.  But as can happen, it morphed into the soccer match, Jordan doing her first aid teaching, and us having some fellowship time with the people from the church and anyone around.  Surely, though, it was an uplifting time of being together and sharing.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><img class="left" style="float: left;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage245184-P6090185-800x600.jpg" alt="P6090185 800x600" height="184" width="245">Today, we left early to go and plant beans for one of the widos, Philda.  Unfortunately, it has been so dry that we could not plant.  Instead, we did weeding in her field of cassava.  It was the first time for such work for a number of our crew, haha; still, we made do.  We did in about 2 hours what would have taken her about 5 days.  That felt good.  We then prayed for her and prayed for rain (which has come this evening!!!).  It is rough for widows here.  There is no help, and you are forgotten by your husband's family.  Philda has 4 kids; none are able to be in school because she has no way to pay the school fees.  We hope that more people will choose to sponsor kids through Finding the Way so that they can start to be provided for.</p> <p>Later in the afternoon, we visited some of the sponsored kids who attend schools around Gulu town.  They love having visitors, though they are very shy.  The one girls was so excited that she almost couldn't speak.  It was cute.  Seeing them in school and hearing how they are doing is a true blessing.  Irwin and Tricia were even able to meet the girl they sponsor!<img class="left" style="float: right;" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/_resampled/resizedimage218163-P6090204-800x600.jpg" alt="P6090204 800x600" height="163" width="218"></p> <p>All in all, I (Jennie) am so very thankful for what God is doing during this trip.  It is so great to see how He is affecting people - both here and on our team!  Please continue praying for fruit, safety, unity, and focus.  Thanks!</p> Mon, 10 Jun 2013 11:35:44 -0700 http://routestoafrica.com/blog/gccc-trip-part-3/ GCCC Trip - Part 2 http://routestoafrica.com/blog/gccc-trip-part-2/ <p>Oh my, there is so much to share; yet, I have such a small amount of free time to write. Please forgive me if this, or any subsequent posts, are lacking creativity. Again, this is for anyone I know, but also for the families of those on the trip. I don’t think any of them are getting online or on facebook much, if at all. So, it is up to me to let the families know how things are going.</p> <p><img class="right" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/blog/_resampled/resizedimage300157-p6070179.jpg" alt="p6070179" width="300" height="157">And, how are we doing? Quite well I should say. One person was sick today, but just a minor stomach thing.</p> <p>The past 2 days we were with groups 1 and 2 in the village. We spent time at Okidi doing soccer, farming discussions, basic first aid training, and fellowship/teaching/worship time. Oh, and we ate. Everyone had the joy of eating local food like beans, local chicken, posho, cabbage, and rice – all with their fingers. It was fun to watch, I must say. Ok then, I think I will give a brief paragraph for each area.</p> <p>The soccer was awesome. Chris (Coach Sauer), is very much in his element and loving being able to work with the kids. We were all silently a bit dejected as we drove in to the area and saw the soccer field was all plowed up. <img class="left" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/blog/p6070172.jpg" alt="p6070172" width="300" height="225">And, sure enough, a big NGO is going around trying to improve fields out in the villages. It’s great, but very bad timing for us. But, as you must do in Africa, you adjust and make do. We used another grassy area, and it worked out fine. Yesterday, we worked with a couple of primary classes at the school. The PE teacher assisted. It was cute, as he wrote everything down – every drill – so that they could continue practicing. The kids truly enjoyed. They not only had fun, but also took it all quite seriously. haha. The older ones were really directing the young ones. Then, today, teenage boys from group 2 were able to come and also do “training.” <img class="right" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/blog/p6070078.jpg" alt="p6070078" width="300" height="225">Oh, they had such a great time! Most all of us on the team, as well as Martin and Sam with Finding the Way, and Remmy with Routes to Africa, all assisted or played. After the fellowship time, we then played a small match. We were beaten, a bit badly, haha. At least JT and our driver, Patrick were able to keep up and produce. hahaha. Some of us could use a hot tub, though!</p> <p>Yesterday, Irwin and Curt, both farmers discussed agricultural things with the adults. It was really eye opening for our guys to hear what all the people here deal with in trying to raise a few livestock and so forth. Actually, I think there is almost bewilderment at how fertile the soil is, still there is only enough production for basic sustenance. I think they are realizing the primitive farming and lack of resources. The people asked a lot of questions and shared a lot of their experiences. Mostly, they were encouraged that people cared enough to sit and just talk with them.</p> <p><img class="left" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/blog/p6070112.jpg" alt="p6070112" width="300" height="225">This was similar with Jordan and Ang teach some basic first aid and wound treatment. There was maybe more treatment than lecturing, since people would just say, here look at this. I am fairly sure we used up most of the first aid kit we keep on our bus. Ha! It was great to see Jordan in her element, as she is in nursing school and hopes to potentially use that trade to help people in areas like this.</p> <p>The whole team is really doing well, taking part, being open to things, caring, and so forth. Seriously, it is swell.</p> <p>Today during the fellowship time, I shared from Jeremiah. You see, here there are lots of issues with people following their traditional religion or turning to witchcraft to try to help them with some problem or to curse people they do not like. One of the young guys from group 2 to whom I have always been close, had strong pain in his leg because someone poisoned him. They put some mixture on his doorstep to his hut, and when he stepped on it, it wounded his leg. Seriously. I don’t make these things up, and I do fully believe them. I asked him why, and he said someone wanted him to do something bad to someone else, and he refusde. So, they tried to injure him.</p> <p><img class="right" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/blog/p6070162.jpg" alt="p6070162" width="300" height="225">But, before that, I knew I would be teaching from Jeremiah during this trip,and the book deals a lot with God’s people practicing things not of God and following other gods. Today’s focus was on the need to turn to God and not worship idols or live for ourselves. Then, there was encouragement for those who were like Jeremiah – truly trying to follow Jesus and point people to God’s truth, but who struggle and are knocked down because of it. There was much more to it, of course, but my focus at this point of the evening is fading and my eyes are burning ready for sleep.</p> <p>We prayed for a number of people and enjoyed praising God together.</p> <p>All in all, 2 swell days. I am super thankful, as ever, for the connection with these people and how they continue to seek God even in their struggles. There are those who turn away, but I am also thankful for His word to be spoken and received. May true change occur, and may it be ongoing!</p> <p><img class="left" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/blog/p6060061.jpg" alt="p6060061" width="224" height="299">Tomorrow is a little relaxing. Church, then rest, then to Sam’s for soccer against his church team (they requested this), and a meal at Sam’s place with the widows from the other day.</p> <p>Thanks so much for praying and caring. Keep it up! Blessings!</p> Sun, 09 Jun 2013 03:58:18 -0700 http://routestoafrica.com/blog/gccc-trip-part-2/ GCCC Trip - Part 1 http://routestoafrica.com/blog/gccc-trip-part-1/ <p>so, all we really need to know at this stage is that mangoes are in season!!! woo-hoo! you have not had mango until you have had them here.</p> <p><img class="right" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/blog/gccc-part-1/p6050022.jpg" alt="p6050022" height="153" width="204">beyond that, yes, we have reached gulu and all is well. for me, of course, it is just coming home. great to see friends and people i know. fun to have people greet me and be glad to be together again. but, for the group who is here, there are a lot of eyes wide open and amazed observations. it is fun to watch on my part. and more than that, i just really love showing people what things are like here and letting them meet the people and hear from them.</p> <p>despite all they have been through, the people are full of welcoming hearts and thanksgiving. as i was praying for one widowed lady today, i just felt like i needed to pray for her smile to be infectious. and, that may have been more from her to us than to others.</p> <p>anyway, to the details for the families and church and those praying…</p> <p>all went smoothly on our flights. we had a slight delay getting into london, but nothing major. we easily got out into the city and were able to walk to most of the major sites in central london. i think everyone enjoyed that – at least a little exposure to a major city in the world. from there it was onto entebbe, uganda. and again, all was smooth. flight were full, but i think everyone – including me, which is amazing – slept at least enough to be ok. we did some detail things in kampala, like visiting the Routes to Africa office. it was exciting to see where Remmy has us setting up shop for the new business.</p> <p><img class="left" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/blog/gccc-part-1/p6040001.jpg" alt="p6040001" height="225" width="300"></p> <p>we had lunch and then headed north to gulu. the road is the worst i’ve encountered it in 5 years. with construction and potholes like swiss cheese, it was slow and dusty a large portion of the ride. so, what i was used to being a 4 and a half hour trip was 6 and a half. but, we were alright.</p> <p>i think the team is amazed at all they are seeing. that is for sure what curt keeps saying. haha</p> <p>today, we toured the market in gulu and the grinding mill where martin helps at times. ate local food. then, we met with the widows that martin and his wife have been starting to help. i do not know what had me tearing up more – the harshness of their stories and all they have endured, the way God’s community of believers works in the way martin and juliet have been investing in them, or the focus on and worship of god these women have despite their struggles.</p> <p>one woman started by saying….”i thank god that my husband was killed. because, we are to thank god for all the good things and thank him for our problems.” right, well, it does say that in scripture, doesn’t it? and i mean, she is genuine. it is not that she doesn’t have pain, but only that she presses on. each woman testified like this. yes, as you can see, these women are already followers of jesus; yet, they may not have a place to stay, often go with maybe one meal a day for they and their kids, cannot pay school fees, etc.</p> <p>they are desiring, and have started to some small extent, to work together as a group to form a sort of co-op, where they have food supplies (like rice or corn meal) and sell it at the market. if you have where to get these things, then you can make a little money. this is one of the new potential projects some of you have heard me allude to that finding the way would like to do. martin and juliet have the vision, the widows have the desire, but as ever, the resources are lacking.</p> <p>martin gives what he can. he and his wife have them for meals and help as much as possible, but they also literally do not have much extra. yet, they give what they do have. and, they care. what more can any of us do but care? in our words and in our actions.</p> <p><img class="right" title="" src="http://routestoafrica.com/assets/Uploads/blog/gccc-part-1/p6050009.jpg" alt="p6050009" height="225" width="300">so yeah, a blessing day. the heaviness of their stories disappears as we all begin to worship and praise god for who he is.</p> <p>the group then played some soccer at the hotel to try to prep for tomorrow’s start of the clinics chris will be doing. but, we ended up just playing and having a good time.</p> <p>not a bad first day that was supposed to be a bit simple as we adjust to the time change and the long journey. haha. (actually, everyone is doing good so far with physical adjustments. you can keep praying for that)</p> <p>thanks for praying and caring as well. more in a couple days as soon as i can get some time!</p> Fri, 07 Jun 2013 03:56:11 -0700 http://routestoafrica.com/blog/gccc-trip-part-1/