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Wednesday, July 16th

On the 16th, we packed up all our stuff and left Hoima for good. It was a strange feeling – because I had been late in getting to Uganda, I really felt like it was too soon; I felt like I had so much more to do! But even if I had gotten there on time, I know I would have felt the same. But today held what would end up being one of the most awesome and emotional experiences for me: The dedication of a well for an orphanage and school. So we drove off to this small school and orphanage about 35 minutes outside of Hoima.

They were ready for us, and had quite a celebration for us. It was quite a treat! Then the pastor and headmaster told us how the school had been started, and how they found that there were many orphans in the area with no one to take care of them. So they started an orphanage, too! It was actually really hard to see – the school and the orphanage had mud floors. The conditions were not what I would have ever expected before I got to Uganda. In fact, as an American, I would be horrified to see children living like this. But after a short while in rural Uganda, I realized how blessed these children were – it wasn’t glitzy,and it didn’t even have concrete floors, but they had someone who loved them and was doing their best to take care of them. And now they had a well that would give them clean water. Those blessing make the things I have here in America pale in comparison. It made me feel very mixed up inside – sad and depressed and yet also happy for them. It’s really hard to even describe it, so I guess I’ll just leave it at that.

After that we headed off to Kyenjojo to visit another orphanage, run by a young American woman, Alyssa, and her Ugandan husband. It was like the complete opposite of what we had seen in the morning. We spent most of the afternoon putting together a swingset/jungle gym for the kids. I actually put my camera down and started building for the first time – it was rather refreshing.

After that, we said our goodbyes and headed out for the last portion of our journey.

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Last summer I dropped one of my favorite old lenses: My trust 50mm f1.8 EF lens. Now, it was a cheap lens when I bought it (sub-$100!), and I bought it as a senior in high school. So I’ve gotten my money’s worth. But I certainly didn’t want to buy a new one, since I’m doing this trip on the cheap. Or, at least, trying not to spend more money than absolutely necessary. So, after several months on my desk in a couple of pieces, I decided to fix it! In actuality, it wasn’t too bad! Took me a while to understand a couple of tricks about how to get the lens elements out of the casing, but with a little help from the Internet, it’s working like new! Now on to my old 20-35mm lens… Maybe I can fix that one too! (I’ll update you this weekend if I get it back together again – it’s in progress)

In Pieces... Back Together!

Go Fund Me Site

Time is running short! In just a bit more than a month, I’ll be boarding a plane for Africa! It’s incredibly exciting, but also a little daunting. I’m finalizing all my preparations, including get stuck multiple times by all sorts of needles in an attempt to get all my vaccinations finished. I’m gathering equipment and trying to figure out what bags I need to take. And I’m also doing the finances and trying to figure out if I really have enough money to go. Some things have changed recently (gotten mroe expensive), and the problem is that I don’t.

The two organizations that I’m going with don’t have the money to pay me to go, or to take care of my travel expenses. But I consider it a great blessing and opportunity to help!  And both mission organizations are full of people who are volunteering their time to make sure that they succeed in Africa.  So I’m humbled that they would want me to help them in this area.

I have had a lot of people supporting me these past few months. A lot of my family members have donated money for this trip. The problem is that I still have some more to go. There are pieces of equipment that I’ve needed to buy that have set me back. Immunizations that are very expensive and not covered by insurance. All those things are adding up, and I’m a bit short. So I’ve started a GoFundMe site, where I can hopefully make up the difference.  It’s the 11th hour, but I’ve got to have faith that it will all work out.

So please consider giving a gift. A small amount, added up with many others, can make a huge difference. If several people give $20, or even $50, I’ll be able to make my goal and go on this trip and do my best to help these organizations make a difference in Africa.