Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A heart of thanks.

:: Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…and be thankful.:: Colossians 3:15

With it being Thanksgiving I find it only appropriate to list somethings I am thankful for.

1. I am thankful for a great community of support not only back in the States but here in Uganda as well.

2. I am thankful for all the kids I have been able to meet the last 4 months. Thankful for all the joy they bring to my day even on my toughest days.

3. I am thankful for the caregivers here and the friendships we have built. For their willingness to spend months upon months here taking care of the children they came with. For their willingness to share their hearts with us each day. 

4. I am thankful for the staff that I work with. For their heart to see God's healing and their dedication to working with these children. For the laughter and joy we have outside of work.

5. I am thankful for roommates who help me through the tough days here. I am thankful for their laughter and love.

6. I am thankful for all the struggles I have witnessed here. They have allowed me to see God's work and love through some of the toughest environments and situations.

7. I am thankful for God's protection. His unconditional love. His willingness to let me question Him in all things. 

I could go on an on for what I am thankful for but this post would never end. 


This year for Thanksgiving my two American roommates and I decided to make a Thanksgiving dinner for the staff, children, and caregivers here at Acheru. We bought 9 chickens to cook, 3 crates of soda, 12 kilos of rice, 2 pumpkins, 3 bags of pasta and 30 eggs to complete our meal. We made pasta salad, deviled eggs, pumpkin crumble, rice, and chicken for dinner. We tried to find turkeys but the turkey man in Kabembe was no where to be found.

We explained to everyone what Thanksgiving meant to us and how we were excited to share this holiday with our Ugandan family. All 60 of us gathered in the school room to share a meal. There is something special about sharing a meal with someone, and even more important here. In Ugandan sharing a meal is very important for relationships. We were honored that they allowed us to share this special meal with them. 

After the meal everyone broke out into dancing. Each different region shared a traditional dance. They even had us Americans share a dance. We didn't know what to do so we all broke out into the chicken dance. 

It was the perfect celebration, full of love and joyfulness. Just what Thanksgiving should be! We even had some Ugandans tell us how stuffed they felt after dinner. That's quite impressive considering they eat like champs!

Mashing 2 pumpkins!

Part of our food.

Let the dancing begin! (Moses and Fred)

Odong, Fred, Esther, Kevin, Aaron, Okello, Moses, Scovia

Martin and Peter cleaning the chickens!

The rest of the food!

Tony and Okello

Serving up some food!

Patience and Mama Patience

Blessing likes it!

Tom and Aaron

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My Story

"This is my story. This is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long."

Things are changing here at Acheru. Children who once were wheel chaired bound have now been given crutches to walk around with. Families have come. Families have gone. Families have returned.
Our nurse gave birth to a son. A playground was built. Through all these changes we still continue to praise our Savior. 

Lubowa (One of the boys I wrote about earlier) and his mother returned to Acheru today. They will be going back to Corsu (the hospital the children get their surgeries at) for review. When I saw him and his mother walk up behind the school building I dropped everything I was doing and ran to greet her. She opened her arms and embraced me in the biggest hug. We jumped around like 5 year old girls at the excitement of seeing each other again. 

I walked down into Kabembe to get some groceries. As I walked past a store I hear "Emily!" There in one of the dukas (small store) was the mother of Jonah (picture in previous post) getting her hair done. I leaned over the counter and exchanged greetings and conversations. Here in the middle of this village I felt like I was in my own neighborhood back home greeting a friend in the store. 

Before walking into town Jemimah's (another child I wrote about previously) sister handed me an envelope from her mother. Mama Jemimah was here at Acheru but had to return back to work for some time and has been away for a couple weeks. I opened the envelope from Mama Jemimah and inside was an invitation to a "Thanksgiving Party". A party to give thanks to everyone who has helped in Jemimah's recovery. As I read the invite tears starting coming to my eyes. I was overwhelmed by the idea that they thought of me and my roommates. That our relationships here have grown so strong that we were invited to come celebrate the life of this little girl with their closest friends and family.

Even though so many things change here at Acheru the relationships we have made here don't. The excitement of seeing each other never changes. Whether it has been weeks, months, or even just the day before when we last saw each other. Every morning when I walk out my door someone comes running towards me in excitement just to come and greet me.

That is my story here at Acheru. These relationships are what make my story here, and I praise God everyday for those relationships. 

Dennis and I waiting for the playground.

New playground! This was paid for by the team that was here at the beginning of the summer.

Me with Mama Enock and Mama Joshua

My superheroes!

Me with a few girls from the north. (Monica, Nancy, Doris, Scovia, and Juliet)

Me with Nancy and Aaron.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


One of the many things I love watching here at Acheru is how the kids develop. Not just physically (though that is amazing to see), but emotionally as well.  When the kids first come to Acheru they typically are quiet, scared, unsure of the surroundings, unsure of these mzungus (white people) who are around. They sit and observe. They stay in their rooms clinging to their caregiver. Eventually they find a friend, they find their niche, and their personalities begin to come out. 

Kids who were once so quiet; so scared, become the jokesters, the ones who love to just sit and cuddle in your lap, the ones who come running to you to greet you in the mornings, the ones who smiles can light up your day. 

I notice this a lot in the kids who are in my classes. I love watching them grow in their education. They become more receptive to class, they see the progress they are making, and become excited to work at school. They become more vocal to me and it allows for us to build our relationship. 

Today a caregiver came up to me and thanked me for my work. This was different than the normal "well done, thanks for you work" greeting I get every morning. This time the Aunt went out of her way to thank me. I got to sit and talk with her about the progress her niece has made and she couldn't believe it. She was excited for her. 

God knew how I needed to hear those words today. He knew I needed words of encouragement. He knew that those small words would change my whole attitude towards my class for the day. He knows what these kids are going through and delights in the same smiles I delight in the mornings. He is with them through their fear, their uncertainty, and their physical pain. He rejoices in their growth, in their healing, and in their joy. 

Jonah and his sweet smile.

Teacher Emily with the boys!

This is Catherine. This blog post was in reference to her and the change she has made in her short few months here.