November has come and gone and I feel like it was a busy month with lots that was done.
We had two guests stay with us, I have been doing some filming work, a schoolies team working on our property, the beginning of the youth center being built, living all alone in my house and more.
Recently I had the chance to do some film work for Wise Choices for Life. This is a program that I have talked about before, as we use it quite a lot here at YSU.
WCFL teaches about reproductive health, basic midwifery, a biblical design for relationships and family, and much more.
The main aim of WCFL is to save women from dying from pregnancy related issues (which happens to be 16 women everyday in Uganda)
They have a training conference every year where they train up leaders in the community to be able to go out and share this knowledge to the people they work with.
I will put a link up to those videos I did once they have been made officially public.
We also had Emily Campbell stay with us here in Uganda for a few days. Emily is very much involved in WCFL and has even been involved in bringing it to the Village of Hope and some of our YSU girls.
She got to join in on a WCFL session with our tailoring girls, and spend some time with us.
She helped sponsor Agnes and myself to attend the WCFL course last year, so it was great to be able to show our gratitude and host her for a few days.
My mother also came and visited us for a week .. and she came and took my wife and child away from me!!
Well, it was planned though.
Due to Aggie being pregnant, and wanting to have the baby in Australia, we had to plan for Aggie to fly back to Australia before she was 29 weeks pregnant, due to a policy that Emirates have.
This was a bit stressful for me because of the timing. Leaving at this time would of felt hard for me because there is lot that still needed to be done before I go.
A schoolies team coming, plus many young people are finishing school and will be coming to organize next years options for them.
I really needed to be around, but Aggie would not be able to fly back by herself with Ethan.
Ethan can be a bit of work, and Aggie's pregnancy often gives her a lot of trouble and pain. So I was very thankful to know that mum would use a free trip that she had scored from emirates, to come and visit us and help bring Aggie back to Australia, while I use this much needed time to complete some tasks.
So they left over a week ago. It was a very strange feeling coming home to an empty house after dropping them at the airport, it is the first time I have been so far away from them. And apart from a camping trip here and there that I have done, I have never spent time away from them.
I was very very anxious while they were traveling, because I know Aggie can get a lot of pain from sitting, she usually can't even last for a church service.
So how grateful to God I was to learn that they had a row of 4 seats to share between them from the 5 hours from Uganda to Dubai, and then Aggie had a row of 4 seats and mum and Ethan had a row of 4 seats for the Dubai to Melbourne flight.
So Aggie got to lay down for the full 15 hours.
Prayers were answered and I was able to sleep easy after that.
Agnes and Ethan before leaving Uganda.
Ethan in Australia checking out the ducks.
Seems like lots of chaotic interesting things this month. Political upheaval in places, a few weeks back the army was firing tear gas at civilians and protesters, I heard gun shots and lots of people running ... felt like a war zone. Although it doesn't take me aback ... I have become a bit hardened by it that I usually just smirk and think 'oh here we go again' .. I have seen it all before.
But instead of being cynical I have to remind myself to pray for Uganda and to pray for its peace.
It seems violence is much more in your face here that you tend to get used to it. A man was murdered and stabbed to death near us a few weeks back. Farouk and a few others found his body in the morning. Again this is not something that shocks me.
At YSU community house the other night, thieves broke into the gated compound at 3 am, and even went inside the quarters where our neighbor sleeps (which is attached to the YSU house) to try and steal his boda. Luckily him and his brother who was staying over woke up, and chased the thieves out of our compound. Farouk woke up as well and joined in the chase but the thieves got away.
Again this is not something that really shocks me. Home invasions are common here. We have had lots of thieves try to break into our YSU house during the night. This is why here at the YSU property (the new place) we have a night guard on duty all night, plus two guard dogs.
It is just the reality of what we live with.
The other morning when I was going on my morning walk at around 7 am, I came to my neighbors house where a group of people were standing around looking shocked but not doing anything. I had already heard the screams before hand and knew a child must of been in the process of being beaten.
Sure enough I came across a grandmother who had tied a eight year old up with rope and was punching her in the head.
Sometimes it is uncommon for people to stand up and do something, they see it as someone else's family business that you should not get involved in. So they just stand around and watch.
I was with one of my friends and by telling the grandmother to stop, the girl was able to escape the grandmothers beatings.
We managed to talk to the girl for a bit, she was a bit bloody, that she should be a good girl and behave but that if she needed a safe place to run to she could come to our property, while we try to calm the grandmother down (it is quite a regular occurrence in this household it seems) . I tried to talk to the grandmother but she had run away. She was obviously scared ... she could be in big trouble and obviously knew she was guilty. They also get nervous around people from other cultures seeing them beat children, as they know that we understand the law of Uganda.
It is one of those things where the law is in place, but is not really implemented. There is no child protection agency. Stuff like this goes on all the time, and it can be hard to know how to deal with it.
There is the balance between always standing up for what is right ... but knowing how to do that in a wise culturally sensitive way, in a community that you are trying to reach.
Intervening does not always win you the favor of the community here.
These are all things you can pray for me about. How Aggie and I deal with these issues of domestic violence in our communities.
Lastly, I am very happy to say that the building has begun for our youth center.
The schoolies team started digging the trenches for the foundation yesterday. After working a very hard day and half in the sun, they have completed.
This means that a slab should be finished by this year, and building can begin next year.
This is very exciting, to see the YSU property taking shape.
I look forward to seeing you all over the summer break in Australia.
Thank you again and God bless.