Monday, May 25, 2009

Jane: Guests from Africa

This weekend, The Hope of Africa Children's Choir were guests at our church. The children, who ranged in age from 5-10, were from an orphanage in Uganda.

They sang at all three services on Sunday--wonderful, energetic music with lively, African costumes and dancing. "They're better than the Franklin choir," said Eli (Franklin is the middle school he attends).

The best part, though was that we got the opportunity to have some of the group stay with us! That's one of my favorite parts about this new home--there is room to have people visit.

Our guests for two nights were Marvin, Gabriel, and Brian, and their chaperone, Pastor Richard.

We were just given their "English" names :-)

The three boys were just 7 years old each, and were happy, well-behaved, and loving. When they met us, the immediately hugged us and said "Hello auntie" "Hello Uncle"--apparently this is the way people in their culture address adults.

Eli had fun playing soccer with the boys in the backyard, and Robbie played basketball with them, too. They loved the handheld video games and laughed and exclaimed over them. (They are just learning English, so the international language of sports and video games was very helpful).

While the children played, we talked with Pastor Richard. "Ask me questions," he encouraged us. Well, it doesn't take much encouragement for me to think of questions--I know so little about Africa, I had many many questions.

He told us many things about Africa and about Uganda more specifically. Most of the people there farm, or have small businesses (but about half are illiterate). Malaria is a terrible threat, as is the instability of various countries around Uganda, which is fairly stable today. Several East African countries have formed a coalition, including formerly genocide-wracked Rwanda and Burundi. "Things are getting better," was Richard's reply to many of my questions about those countries that have been in the news.

At the goodbye breakfast held at our church today (Pastor Paul flipped pancakes!), Pastor Paul said that many years ago, people from America went to Africa to spread the word of the gospel, and today, Africans are bringing that good news back to us. "You have become a new face of the gospel," he told the group.

They really were a spiritual blessing to us. And now we will think of Uganda differently--we have brothers and sisters there now!

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