Mornings in Zambia were chilly, the air felt like fall at home but smelled like Africa. So interesting to me, I’ve never been to a truly cold part of Africa…I’m fascinated.
Each morning I bundled up in my sweater and headed out to meet my new friend Beth from Special Hope Network. Beth controlled our schedule and planned all of the meetings, I was just along for the ride!
Our first meetings with the government were slightly disappointing in terms of information we were given. But by our last day in Zambia we had enough information and positive reactions that we were all feeling hopeful. A special needs adoption program is truly possible here (and desperately needed!) but it’s going to take adventurous and flexible families with pioneering spirits to get things started. I’ll write more about our hope for this program soon.
We visited orphanages. No matter how many times I walk into an orphanage, I never get used to the sight of children being raised without families. The orphanages we visited were all nice places. Clean, organized, the children looked healthy and well cared for. But still, they’re orphanages and no child should be growing up without a family.
We spent time at Special Hope Network and my heart was so happy to see what this small group of people are doing for children with intellectual disabilities in Zambia. Equipping families to KEEP and PARENT their children, shouldn’t that be the #1 goal for all of us?
I was blessed to be invited to participate in a Special Olympics program that was coordinated specifically for the families and children of Special Hope Network. It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon and the children had so much fun.
My time in Zambia came to an end too quickly. Soon it was time to say goodbye and I was packing my bags back up to head to Uganda.
It seems like getting from Zambia to Uganda shouldn’t be too hard, right? They aren’t that far away from each other. Well, it was an all day affair including a 6 hour layover in Johannesburg, South Africa. I left Zambia at 7am and arrived in Uganda at 7pm. I was met at the airport by our friend and driver Ken and friend Kendra and her beautiful family.
After a quick hello and then goodbye to Kendra’s mom and daughter (who were flying out that night) we headed in to Kampala where I got settled into my cottage at Red Chilli Hideaway. People ask me what I like about Red Chilli’s. Despite the fact that it can be loud (it really depends on the room you get) – I like being surrounded by people. Some people might prefer the peace and quiet of being in a small guest house with only one or two other guests, I’m not crazy about it. I prefer having people around. The cottages are quiet (for the most part, one night there was a party next door to the compound and it was loud), it is cheap, the food is good and well priced, there is free wifi, a small pool, interesting people to talk to (always interesting people!), a generator (but power rarely goes out), hot water and nice staff. Downside, it isn’t fancy – the place gets dirty really fast. There are bugs and lizards and monkeys and the bar area gets loud on the weekends. But I feel at home there so it’s been my go-to place for several years.
The next morning I got up, met with Linda & Ken and we immediately headed out to start visiting and meeting. It was scheduled to be a busy week!
Part 3 coming soon.