Saturday was my first full day here. Every Saturday morning, the volunteers have a half work day at Amani then the rest of the day off. I briefly saw the kids and they are SO big! I am so excited to start full time tomorrow and see how much they have changed. Saturday afternoon, a couple of us went to The James Place Kids Club. Tina Weir is a full time missionary here in Jinja through HEAL Ministries. She does a lot of outreach programs in the villages and nearby orphanages. Every Saturday, kids from town and local villages come for games and a bible study. We had over 300 kids! It is so much fun interacting with the kids. I remember sitting down and kids will just surround you. I had maybe three kids sitting in my lap, two girls braiding my hair and another one fascinated with my blue nail polish :) This is one of my favorite things about Uganda. The children are so welcoming and loving. For example, I could be walking around the compound and all of the sudden there is a little person holding my hand. Or two or three kids fighting over who gets to hold your hand :) After the bible study, we had a local village team of dancers come. It was really fun!
Today (Sunday), I went to church at Worship Harvest. It was great because we were able to bring a couple of older kids from Amani to church. I brought Alima :) She was shy at first but by the time the service was over, she was either in my arms or sitting in my lap. Oh how I have missed her bubbly personality and infectious laugh!
Later in the afternoon, Becky (a volunteer I met last year and is back again) and I joined Tina's team and we drove to Canaan Children's Home. This is an orphanage that give orphans an opportunity to have a Christian education and safe place to live rather than begging and living on the streets. It gives them an opportunity to have a chance to thrive in the Ugandan community. These children are not adoptable. Unlike other orphanages I have visited, the ages are from three years old all the way to young adults in their early twenties. It was really fun socializing with the older kids. Right now, Tina has a creative arts team with her. So today I was with the older girls and played music and danced. My favorite moment however, was the praise and worship time we had. We all sat in a circle in the middle of the room where the girls sleep and sang worship songs. Last week at church back home, we sang the song 10,000 reasons. Today I sat among 20 Ugandan young women and sang the very same song. It was beautiful moment reflecting that worshipping God can be just as fulfilling sitting on a concrete floor surrounded by nothing but voices and an acoustic guitar.
At Canaan, I met this young boy who seemed automatically attached to me. His name is Gaster and he is 12 years old. He has the sweetest personality and would never let go of my hand :) He told me that he loves basketball and want to be a pilot. I had asked him if he had brothers or sisters and he said yes, but they do not live at Canaan. I can only imagine how hard it must be being away from them.
Overall, it was a great first weekend!