I already have a thousand stories that I want to share. I’ve felt every emotion possible in the past week and taken in enough information and visual images to last a lifetime. Africa is everything that I expected it to be while at the same time being nothing I expected it to be.
The Rafiki Village is run by two couples who are fulltime missionaries or ROS (Rafiki Overseas Staff) here in Uganda. Carolyn and Mike Enis are lovingly referred to as Mommy and Daddy by the children. They have been at Rafiki Uganda since its beginning ten years ago. Mike, the Village Director, takes care of all things legal and necessary to keep the Village running logistically, and Carolyn, the Childcare Director, is in charge of the mothers, the meals, and the resident children (and the mini-missionaries, [me!] but I’m sure we’re never any hassle. ;]). Cecilia and Stan Gryde have been here a little over a year. Cecilia, the education director, is basically the principal and support staff of the Pre-K to Senior High School. Stan, the Plant Manager, is in charge of making sure all of the buildings, facilities, and grounds are maintained. Those are very specific job descriptions of missionaries who, as a group, do anything and everything it takes to keep this place running smoothly. It is an extremely well run operation, and I often wonder the ROS have time to sleep.
My birthday was last Monday. Thank you so much to everyone who did so many things to make it wonderful even from 8000 miles away. The emails, Facebook comments and messages, gifts and surprises sent in advance, and prayers for that day were overwhelming and so exciting and fun on my favorite day of the year. We arrived at Rafiki on Friday, and they had a birthday celebration for all the children with birthdays in the month of September on Saturday. Everyone gets cake, which is a special treat as dessert is rare. Each child who has a birthday gets a birthday crown that is made by the other children and the mother of their cottage. They also recieve a birthday present in the form of a book. When we walked in all of the boys of the residence hall were dressed alike and giggling. Carolyn had told us to bring our camera so I had a feeling something was up but wasn’t sure what. They had me sit down and the boys brought me a birthday crown they had made and the children sang happy birthday to me.
For all you MC people, I think it’s kind of like being a sweetheart, except for 102 precious african children. The boys were so concerned that my birthday crown would not fit right, and, because of my big head (thanks dad) I worked to move gracefully so it wouldn’t fall off. I don’t know how these African women do it. I can barely keep a hat on my head and they carry huge packages with ease! This birthday is certainly I won’t forget for a long time, and it was so special to spend it with some of the most beautiful children in the world.
We’ve been here a little over a week, and my mom leaves Thursday. I’m going to miss having her here. A lot. Being alone (well not really alone, but without the comfort of home) in Africa isn’t something you can really prepare yourself for I guess. But this adventure is only three months. It won’t be so long before Christmas time and I come home and get right back to American life. I’m trying to take in every second for what God has made it to be here, and listen for His voice when it comes to the future.
Prayer requests: For the last couple days with my mom here, and for joy and perseverance for the upcoming weeks ahead. For me to cling to God above all else in times of loneliness and the moments of “what am I even doing here??”. For God to be glorified through my time here. For continued peace for my parents, as I wouldn’t be able to have this experience if they hadn’t have had that assurance from God. For safe travel home for my mom on Thursday and Friday. And for all of my friends and family at home. That each of you remains safe and healthy, and to see God working when safety and health seems far away.
I apologize in advance for any inconsistency on my part when it comes to communicating with everyone at home. Internet is inconsistent at best, and I’m trying to stay away from the computer for most of the day and off Facebook except on the weekends, just so I can make sure I am fully here and not wishing I was on the beach in Ocean Springs, at Rush events at MC, or anywhere in between. I promise to write more soon as there is so much that this post didn’t include. I’m sure I left out a million things and if you have any questions feel free to comment or email me! I might not be super prompt in my reply but I will get back to you!