Geelong to Uganda

Geelong to Uganda
Google image of trip from Geelong (my home) in Australia to Karamoja, Uganda!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Tsavo National Park, Kenya

Didn't I tell you not to talk to baboons kid!

Don't wake the sleeping lions!
Elephants are timelessly beautiful
Elephants, mmm water...

Evening camp drive, absolutely stunning

Mummy, wait up!

Go on, go ahead then


Hmm, how am I gunna get out of this one..

Protect the baby!

Buffalo's extra appendage
Importance of family

Safari - antelope

So close! So fantastic


There's something wrong with this tree

This tree is too short for me

This tree is way to short for me

What you looking at! These are diki-diks, they always travel in twos
What do you see!

Tsavo National Park entry
Tsavo National Park, Kenya

Friday, 1 June 2012

Holiday in Kenya!

One of the children at
Summer's Birthday Disco
For two weeks now we are all on holidays and will return to Karamoja on the 11th of June. I spent the weekend after the conference in Jinja, Uganda, celebrating Summer's birthday by having a party Sat night. We had it at Sarah's house which was really great because then it could be a party celebrating numerous birthdays that had passed, like Miriam's and some of the kids that live at Sarah's house also. We played games with the kids like Capture the Flag and 3-legged races, then eating like kings (or queens) which is only right at a party and then having a disco and dressups!!! It was so much fun and a great way to start the break :)
On Monday I took a 16 hour bus to Nairobi, Kenya and was picked up by new and wonderful friends from the PEAR conference, Greg and Lisa. They are a young New Zealand couple working with the Christian organisation 'A-Cross' in Nairobi for a year, giving financial advice and accounting assistance to help them with financial stability. They are real cool cats and actually the best, as they came and got me at 11pm from the city centre and then brought me back to vegemite toast, yay! ice-cream and the comfiest bed in the world. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven :)

Tuk tuk taxi!
Old Town Mombasa
The next morning Lisa dropped me off at the airport and I flew to Mombasa, a coastal town on the Indian Ocean. A frequently hit tourist spot but as it is 'low season' at the moment I have had a good run of seeing the best places in a fairly inexpensive way. In July-August it is summer holidays for Europe and the US so they get inundated with tourists and everything skyrockets price-wise. So I think I came at the right time for relaxation.
I spent a day in Mombasa, got a guided tour around Fort Jesus and Old Town (fascinating architecture and rich history involving the Portuguese, slavery and the British conquest). The first time I saw the ocean (after 3 months of not seeing an ocean) I internally squealed (ok, so a little bit came out). It is so blue and beautiful, even though it is a different ocean and I am on the other side of the world, for a second I was transported home :)
Me and the Indian Ocean
Fort Jesus

Canon at Fort Jesus
  I then took the ferry and an African bus (squishy) called a matatu, for like 25 cents, over to my next destination, Diani beach. I thought I might run into some problems travelling alone but God has really, really looked after me. On the ferry I met a Kenyan woman called Pamela who lives at Diani Beach and so she helped me get to my hotel, I took the matatu with her and I felt so safe! The place I ended up at is <100m from the beach, has a pool and my room is nice, plus it is close to the shopping centre and everything I need but is still far enough off the road to be quiet and peaceful (maybe tranquil would be stretching it, but I am enjoying it all the same).

Monkeys at the hotel

Activities I hope to do in the next 4 days are; take a camel ride on the beach, go snorkelling and go to Tsavo National Park and see some wildlife. I may not be able to do all of my ambitions there but that's the aim.
This one sneeked into my room!
Export Ship - Mombasa

PEAR: (Pioneers International East Africa Retreat)

The last week of May I spent attending a retreat/conference run by the mission organisation Pioneers International, called Pioneers because they specialise in sending missionaries into communities that have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ or into 'unreached' people groups, i.e. they are pioneering that place.

It was on the theme of disciple making ministries; Matthew 28:18-20 'Then Jesus came to them [the disciples] and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" '

I was incredibly encouraged and energised to get back to Karamoja and continue our work there. I'd love to see a regular Bible Study of interactive, deeper learning of God, started up with some of the people we know who may be interested.

I am being challenged to look at the whole picture of a ministry like ours. To see that we all must play a part and work together to do the best we can. I am important to the team for the vet work even when I wish I could be doing more of the ministry side, I need to remember that what I am doing is just as important as the ministry side, because it opens the door for that to take place.

Over the week we heard from each country represented about the work they do there; from Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia. Although not in East Africa, from South Africa, an Aussie woman is working with vulnerable women and children exposed to the trafficking industry there, helping them heal through group counselling with other women who have been through the same experiences and may still be living with the horror of it today. It was amazing to talk to her and to gain a small understanding of the incredible work she does. It is very emotionally draining for her as you can imagine and some of the stories she hears just break her, but she said to me 'what right do I have to say, "no don't tell me!" when these women have to face it every day and sometimes are even trapped in this life'. She is an ear, a shoulder, and when she can be, a refuge of escape for women in danger. Not only that, she, like all of us are voices of hope into the lives of the oppressed people we live with. Jesus is the hope, not the wishy washy word for hope you might use if you are hoping to win the lottery but the confident hope of knowing that there is victory over death, conquest over the sin and pain of this world that human-kind brings everyday with our actions. Victory by the grace of God, the gift of life and love, fought and won for us by our loving Father God. Every tear that falls, he feels more deeply than we know. 
I am now going to Kenya for a short holiday and a time of rest.

The Uganda missionaries