Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day 1 - Breaking Down Barriers

The day progressed well – everyone busy about his or her task. I was beginning to feel a connection with the other men as we began to work together, and sweat poured from my forehead and through my clothes.

I found out as the day went on that many of the men spoke perfect English (to my surprise). The Ugandan’s are a very kind, and courteous people, but they are also a little shy around stranger’s, especial Mzungu.

I was being checked out. Why was I there, could they open up, could I be trusted? Valid questions for sure. Nothing like manual labor to break the ice.

In the mean time, the ladies were also breaking down barriers with the village women and kids. They were situated just opposite of the mud hut the men were repairing.

They had started with several games for the kids and story time for entertainment. Gerald, a local young man came with us as our translator (not everyone’s English was that good). He was a delight.
Several times as I peaked my head around the corner to find Gerald with a full smile, & laughing as he was conversing with the ladies.

By the end of the day some of the local men and I were having good conversations, and wheelbarrow races to see who could bring over more dirt for our construction project.

I was surprised and pleased when one young man came over to give me a piece of baked maze. They would simply cook it in the open coals of the fire and then just eat it like corn on the cob as they worked. This felt more like a act of acceptance from the  “crew” to the Mzungu as we “broke bread together”. Acts of kindness and acts of friendship as well.
At one point in the afternoon the ladies also volunteered to go down the quarter mile hill and fetch water for the construction project. As they described the brown water they carried on their heads I realized for the first time that this was also the water that the locals had been drinking.

When pastor Moses picked up our team later that afternoon he was kind enough to stop at one the wells a previous team had built. He told us that many children’s lives have been saved from simply installing nine fresh water wells around his village. Each well was supplying water for as many as a thousand villagers.
Watching the young kids getting clean water that afternoon almost brought tears to my eyes.

The significance of this trip was taking on new meaning by the hour. We were there not only looking after the villagers spiritual, and emotional needs but in a very real and tangible way their physical needs also.

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