Virtually every time I go to Uganda, we have a party at Ray of Hope for our sponsored kids and the women of Nawezakana, as well as any special guests, like Pastor Sam Namatiiti. We started with serving around 90, and are up to 160 or so plates now. It’s not as costly as you’d think, but it isn’t cheap. With the budget tight, sometimes I think that maybe we should forgo the party and use that money for the programs.
This is the time we celebrate. We celebrate all that God has done through Ten Eighteen, we celebrate all the hard work the kids have put into school and the ladies into their businesses. We celebrate our amazing Lord who brought us all together, as unlikely and crazy as that was. We laugh. The kids sing and dance – ok, the LADIES sing and dance, too! We eat yummy food and share the excitement of those rare items: meat and soda.
We also give away friendship bracelets for our Project Friendship, which started back in August of 2011 with our basketball camp. It’s our way to say that we were thinking about and praying for you when we were making them, and you can think about and pray for us when you see them on your arm. We give away hundreds and hundreds of these each year, and everyone loves them.
So we party. (Hardship, I know!) Because it connects us. It makes us more than just “the American” and “the Ugandans.” It makes us people, friends, family. And that is why I go.